The capital of Mozambique, Maputo, has continually been shaking off its impoverished city life to emerge as a hub of vibrancy and confidence. Alongside historic Portuguese architecture are modernized makeovers of skyscrapers and hotels, separated by the old town (Baixa) and downtown, helping to make choices for travelers more abundant in leisure and tourism. Greeted by long, wide avenues lined with jacaranda and flame trees, sounds of music and welcoming locals, it’s difficult not to enjoy yourself here! Read on to learn about all the fantastic things you can do in Maputo:
1. Old Portuguese Fort
Whilst there might not be a great deal to see here, it should still be on your must do list if only for the view from the top and breathing in the fragrant smell of the frangipani trees. In addition to being one of the oldest landmarks of the city, it also hosts a grand collection of cannons from around the world, mingled in with bronze statues of former heroes and art monuments. With a free entry, combine it with your visit to the market, just next to it.
Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Conceicao
Address: Rue Marques de Pombal, Maputo 1100, Mozambique
2. Fish Market (Mercado de Peixe)
The Fish Market is a Mozambican experience that you have to try on your trip to Maputo. Wander around the various stalls to get a glimpse of the huge prawns, scuttling lobsters and a bountiful selection of sea bass, calamari, kingfish and red snapper. Be prepared to get persuasive banter from the stall holders, but it’s all done in good humor and with a smile. If you do buy fish here, you can take it to the nearby restaurants who will cook it up for you with a special Mozambican touch.
Mercado de Peixe
Address: Marginal, Maputo 1100, Mozambique
3. Mercado Municipal
The first thing that hits you as you enter the Mercado Municipal is the vibrant hub of colors - everywhere! From the capulanas worn by the women to the array of goods on display: vegetables, baskets, spices, all laid out perfectly, ready to grab your attention. Munch on a bag of their delicious cashew nuts and buy some spices to take home. The building itself is more than 100 years old which makes for a beautiful setting while you do your shopping.
Address: Rua torcantins 70, Maputo, Mozambique
Website: Mercado Municipal
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4. Maputo Central Railway Station
It might seem an odd choice to visit a railway station on your ‘must see’ list but the Central Railway Station is no ordinary station. This incredible Colonial building, designed by Gustav Eiffel, has recently been beautifully restored in keeping with its historic charm. Old locomotives are on display and there is also a museum at the back. At certain times you can listen to live jazz music but it’s best avoided during commuter times.
Maputo Central Railway Station
Address: Praca dos Trabalhadores, Maputo, Mozambique
5. Mesquita da Baixa
This is the largest and oldest Mosque in Maputo and is a fabulous example of Portuguese and Arabic architectural design with its geometric, stone shapes on the facade standing out in pride. Situated in the old part of town, it was built at the end of the 19th-century and the mosque and its 6 minarets have been recently restored. The beautiful building, now more than 100 years old, also houses a great little cafe where you can sit and admire the surroundings.
Mesquita da Baixa
Address: Rua da Mesquita, Maputo 1100, Mozambique
6. Feira de Artesanato, Flores e Gastronomica (FEIMA)
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Located in the Parc de Contin, this open air artisan market is a treasure trove of stunning handmade items so you might want to give yourself some time to get around it all! Sculptures, paintings, crafts, fabrics and jewelry are just a small glimpse to what you can buy here. Stallholders expect a bit of bartering so be prepared to get into the swing of the banter and make your purchase for a good price. When it all gets too much, take a break and chill out at one of the many food stalls set up around, sit back and watch the world go by.
Feira de Artesanato, Flores e Gastronomica
Address: Av Martires da Machava, Maputo 1100, Mozambique
7. Ferry to Inhaca Island
Inhaca Island was once part of mainland Mozambique but is now separated from Maputo Bay, so there are many ferry companies offering the 2 hour journey across the ocean to reach it. A protected nature reserve, you can enjoy the tranquility away from the city and try your hand at snorkeling or exploring the coral reefs and mangrove swamps. There are more than 300 species of birds here and extra excursions are also available for whale watching and island hopping.
Ferry to Inhaca Island
Address: Av Kenneth Kaunda, 1170, Maputo 1170, Mozambique
Website: Inhaca Day
8. Núcleo de Arte
A creative art space, Núcleo de Arte is a combination of permanent, collective and solo artwork through exhibitions and workshops which can both be viewed and acquired. Part of the exhibits include artwork made from AK 47 machine guns, landmines and hand weapons from the Mozambican Civil War - extraordinary sculptures sending the message that wars can be overcome.
Centro Social Núcleo de Arte
Address: Rua da Argélia 194 Maputo, Mozambique
Website: Centro Social Núcleo de Arte
Inside the soul of Maputo
Whether you’re walking along the wide avenues, strolling through colorful markets or taking in the splendid sights of the city’s architecture, Maputo is sure to leave an impression on you. With plenty to do and see for every traveler, you’re only problem will be fitting it all in! So pack you bags and keep the list handy for your own adventure into the soul of Maputo.
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