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10 Things You Should Know About Maputo

It’s not far to get there

Maputo lies just an hour’s flight from Johannesburg and there are flights between Nelspruit KMIA and Vilanculos – the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago.

If you prefer travelling by road, in November 2018, the Maputo-to-Ponta do Ouro road, encompassing Africa’s largest suspension bridge (Katembe Bridge), opened. It reduced travelling time between Kosi Bay and Maputo from six hours to just 90 minutes.

Visa-free for Southern Africans travellers

Most Southern African travellers do not require a visa or can attain a visa on arrival for stays not exceeding 30 days. Make sure to check based on your location

Your next MICE and bleisure destination

There are many reasons why Maputo is the perfect place to host your travel incentive. The country has seen an influx of interest in MICE tourism in the past few years and, considering its close access to South Africa, this is likely to be a key consideration for MICE planners when MICE travel kicks off in the post-pandemic recovery stages.

“The advantage of choosing Mozambique as a MICE travel destination is that it has so much to offer, with a uniquely African experience,” says Natalie Tenzer-Silva, Director of Dana Tours, a Maputo-based destination management company that specialises in small and large-scale events, successfully hosting events for up to 3,000 delegates.

“There’s good infrastructure, no tourist visas required for SADC nationals, and Maputo combines perfectly with leisure day trips or bleisure add-ons to the beach and islands,” adds Tenzer-Silva.

The Dana Tours team’s local knowledge and on-the-ground experience ensures peace of mind, value and that everything runs smoothly.

Getting Around

Driving in Maputo can be stressful for those not used to the traffic and navigating unfamiliar roads.

Most travellers, leisure and business, opt for included transport and tours, with reputable local companies to navigate the city with ease.

For example, Dana Tours offers transport, transfer and chauffeur services in the capital to suit all requirements. The company carries passenger liability cover to the value of US $2 million, giving clients added peace of mind. They also follow a strict HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) policy, updated recently in light of the covid-19 pandemic.

 Where to Stay

Accommodation is another essential factor to consider. Southern Sun Maputo is a popular accommodation choice in the city for business and leisure travellers. Expect complimentary Wi-Fi, efficient service and a right-on-the-beach location. There are venues for conferences and meetings, and it’s ideally close to the local markets and architectural highlights for sightseeing.

For a grander experience, check into the Polana Hotel. It’s considered one of the finest hotels in Africa, exuding the charm of the bygone Portuguese era. It was built in 1922 and offers views over the vibrant city centre and the Indian Ocean.

Beyond the capital, the Diamonds Mequfi Beach Resort in Pemba, Anantara Bazaruto and Nahyeeni Lodge, Inhaca are spectacular. Here are some further ideas for mid-range and budget accommodation in Mozambique as well as more information on our five favourite hotels for business.

Sightseeing

Maputo brims with exciting cultural, architectural, art and foodie experiences.

A guided city tour is the best way to get your bearings and get an overview of the city. Meet the Maputo beloved by its locals by visiting the Fortress, Central Market, Museum of Natural History, Railway Station and FEIMA curio market, Maputo City Hall, Cathedral, Botanical Gardens and Iron House.

Mafalala lies just on the outskirts of Maputo, a historic neighbourhood in which visitors can dive into the local culture. Enjoy a three-hour meander through the historic district where guests will learn more about Mozambique’s history and get acquainted with the delicious food and community life, Mafalala literature, marrabenta (local rhythm), traditional dancing and sports. The tour is also part of a community development programme run by a local NGO focused on elevating the Mafalala community and creating opportunities for its women and youth.

Tick off the local art and culture route. Stops along the route include Malangatana’s house (famed Mozambican painter and poet) and the Ntsindya Cultural Centre (intellectuals, musicians and writers who fought for independence once gathered here). Visit other cultural heritage venues, including the Xipamanine Market, with lunch at the home of Walter Zand, a renowned Mozambican artist.

Or journey back in time on a walking tour of Maputo’s historic downtown district, Baixa de Maputo. The Baixa was the epicentre of colonial Maputo, and this tour takes guests to the very heart of the story.

Shopping

Here are our recommendations on what to buy – and where to find it:

  • Shop for colourful capulanas – They’re traditionally worn by the local women. The best place to get them? Casa Elefante in Maputo.
  • Carved wooden boxes – Find them at the FEIMA crafts market here in the capital and these items can easily be bartered.
  • Roasted cashew nuts (one of the county’s most significant exports) at the Central Market
  • Batik paintings – FEIMA crafts market
  • Tipo Tinto – this local rum is easy to find, especially close to the beaches in Mozambique.
Out of the City

A trip to Maputo perfectly combines with trips out of the capital to discover the beaches and islands.

Consider a day trip to Inhaca, Santa Maria and Portuguese Island including snorkelling and seafood lunch in Inhaca. Breathe in the fresh sea air and discover this little slice of Mozambican paradise.

 

For the adventurous, try your hand at scuba diving, snorkelling, boating, tubing, sunset cruises, jet-skiing, kayaking or fishing with plenty of swimming and relaxing on a sun-lounger with a cocktail in hand. Non-motorised activities are typically complimentary at ocean-based hotels and resorts.

And for those who can’t decide between the beach and bush, famous beach and bush combos in Mozambique include:

  • Gorongosa and the Quirimbas
  • Gorongosa and Bazaruto
  • Anvil Bay

 Mozambique can also be combined with the Kruger National Park as well as Hlane National Park in Eswatini.

Eating out

For foodies, a Maputo food tour is a must. Around five hundred years of Portuguese influence mixed with local African culture, locally-grown tropical fruit and delicious fresh fish and seafood make Mozambique heaven for food-lovers.

Embark on a culinary journey through Mozambique, sampling the most amazing speciality food (and drink). “This was one of our new day tours released in 2019, and it’s been a hit,” says Tenzer-Silva. “Highlights include a tasting of traditional street food, Badjia (bean dumplings fried in oil), Matoritor (a coconut sweet), and fiery Piri Piri.”

Need to know

The official currency is the Mozambican Metical (MZN), which is divided into 100 centavos. Foreign currency, including South African Rands, US Dollars and Euros, are accepted throughout most of the country. Portuguese is the official language and English is widely spoken in the popular tourist areas.

Ashton Sobhuza
the authorAshton Sobhuza
Dear readers! Welcome to my travel experiences, tips, and itineraries! Born and raised in Zimbabwe, I’ve always had a love for the creative and artsy stuff. I am an explorer and an adventurer! I am currently a writer with Byolife Travel and Gallivant Africa.

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