Maputo has been the capital of Mozambique since 1898. The city was previously called Lourenço Marques until the country's independence in 1975.
It is the largest city in Mozambique and the country's most important harbour. It is situated at the mouth of the Santo River in the extreme south, 90 km from the border with South Africa.
In comparison with other sub-Saharan African cities, the urban area feels small and concentrated, with wide avenues and old trees. People are generally out and about in the streets, walking, driving and getting on with life. The vibe is healthy and active, with little begging and lots of street vendors and markets. There is no heavy presence of police during the day.
There are few tourists to be seen and at times the atmosphere is as much South American as African. Buildings range from old colonial palaces to new high-rise constructions, but the dominant architecture consists of Stalinist-looking concrete-walled boxes, generally with badly eroded paint and rusty security bars.
Fortunately, these tend to fade into the background, and there are enough buildings with old charm and lush enough gardens, cycads, coleus, flamboyant, jacaranda, bouganvillea, etc, to give a pleasing if shabby feel. Especially outstanding buildings which shouldn't be missed are the Pancho Guedes creations: Guadiesque, surreal and difficult to find.
The city provides a range of accommodation, from many-star hotels e.g. Polana, Cardoso, Southern Sun to comfortable backpackers' hostels ,Base and Fatima's and reasonable options in between Mozaic Guest House.
Most international flights to/from Mozambique use Maputo's airport (IATA: MPM).
LAM - operates a high number of domestic flights within Mozambique.
TAP - flies non-stop from Lisbon.
SAA - operates two flights a day from Johannesburg to Maputo and SA Airlink has five flights a week from both Durban and Cape Town.
Ethiopian flies - non-stop from Addis Ababa.
Taxis from the airport to town should be around 500 Metecais (approx US$18). Hotels generally send their buses to meet flights, but only if they have passengers on the flight with bookings at their hotel. Local SIM cards can be bought at the shop near the exit from the terminal where there is also a bank.
Rail services to Maputo are slowly improving, altough the lines currently operating are of limited use to tourists. An exception is the daily service from Ressano Garcia at the border with South Africa, it is a convenient way of traveling here from Johannesburg and Pretoria as daily trains connects with the city of Komatipoort across the border.
The highway from Johannesburg to Maputo is very good. From Johannesburg, take the N4 towards Nelspruit (about 400 km). From Nelspruit, continue following the N4 to Komatipoort, the last town on the South African side (about 100 km).
Just past Komatipoort is the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia border post. NB: current car registration papers (or good facsimile thereof) and third party insurance are required to get a car past the border. Insurance can only? be purchased at the border. On the Mozambican side, just follow the N4,now called EN4 for a further 80 km or so to reach Maputo.
Also easy access from Manzini in Swaziland, around 186 km. With minivan/taxi the cost from Manzini to Maputo is around US$8 with luggage. The drive time, including getting visa at the Namaacha border post, is 4 hrs. The price for visa is US$66.
From Durban, on the KwaZulu Natal coast (South Africa), Maputo is 600 km away and best approached via the Golele border post into Swaziland. The shortest route from Golele into Mozambique is at the Goba border post.
Lebombo/Ressano Garcia Border Control The border control can be very intimidating to new and even returning visitors to Mozambique. As you drive into the Mozambican side of the border, you will have many people rushing to your vehicle some even looking quite official and then directing you to perform this or that activity. The goal is probably to intimidate you so that you use their services,expertise to expedite the border crossing, which they do.
They will then suggest that you pay them a fee that you believe is fair for all this. In essence, the role of these helpers is to "fast track" your queue through the border control, meaning that they kinda bump the ordinary traveller out of the queue. This is done with the tacit approval of the border officials--implying that they are part of the tactic, and they quite possibly also receive some gain from it.
Depending on your standpoint, it may be viewed as encouraging an activity that is not entirely legal but expedites your passage, or something you are vehemently opposed to.
If you are a little adventurous, it is possible to cycle by means of a mountain bike from Maputo to Ponta do Ouro. But be warned that you will have to push your bicycle for about 30 km through thick sand. The trip is well worth it, and the look on the locals faces when they find out where you are going is not to be missed. Be warned though that it can be dangerous at times so try to travel in a group.
You can walk the center of the city by day but steer clear of the central business district at night.
Metered yellow-roofed taxi longer distances or at night but agree to a fare beforehand as many don't have meters. Ask hotel desks or locals for guidance on reasonable fares (e.g., Hotel Cardoso to Feira Popular or Mercado Central is around Mt 150 - 200 (US$4-5).
"Tuk-Tuks" are also a great way to see the city. The driver's are typically more fluent in English as they offer their services as tour guides to the passengers of visiting cruise liners.
A very inexpensive way to get around is by mini-bus or "Chapa" . They work like small busses and have routes that criss-cross the city. All major routes begin and end in either the downtown core/market area, called "Baixa" , or in the middle of the city, on Av. 24 de Julho, called Museu.
If you can speak Portuguese, then this is an excellent way to travel, or if you have a local friend to take you. Prices are low, Mt 5 (US$0.20) for most trips and Mt 7.5 (US$0.30) for longer ones all one way. Even if you don't know which Chapa to take, it's a great way to explore the city.
If you get lost, just find a Chapa that is going to one of the two major chapa terminals within the city: "Museu" or "Baixa." Generally the navigators usually hanging out of the passenger side door will be yelling the destination. Note that the destination which is written on the windshield may read "A. Voador" - but don't fear, this is just an archaic name for the terminal in the Baixa.
Drivers cannot get away with overcharging you because you can easily see what the locals are paying, or the locals themselves will object. To get off, say "paragem" to the assistant.
Chapa routes can be identified by a colored bar on the windshield. Among the routes that tourists are most likely to want to use are:
- blue chapas, which go west to Xipamanine
- yellow chapas, which run north and south on Av. Lenine, or on one of the parallel avenues to its east
- red chapas, which go north and south on Av. Guerra Popular
- green chapas, which run east and west along Av. Eduardo Mondlane
- black chapas, which run east and west Av. 24 de Julho
- pink chapas, which use Av. Eduardo Mondlane, Av. Julius Nyerere, and the Marginal to connect downtown to Costa do Sol.
All of these routes continue far out into Maputo's suburbs, where they split off from one another, but this part of their journey is not likely to be part of your itinerary.
While chapas are an interesting and authentic form of transport, they are not particularly safe. Even locals suffer from frequent pickpocketings on chapas, or while waiting for chapa stops. The minibuses are always packed far beyond their originally intended capacity, seats are frequently broken, and many travelers have to stand up while riding, though there are no handrails or appropriate places to hang on like in a larger bus.
Chapa drivers are notorious for disrespecting traffic rules and taking unnecessary risks with passenger safety to cut a few minutes off the journey.
Beware of the safety issues regarding chapas when you decide whether or not to experience this form of transport as a tourist or resident.
Maputo has also been expanding its fleet of city-owned buses, which use the same terminals as the chapas. They have more varied routes than the chapas do, which can make them more difficult to use for the visitor, but you can always ask the conductor, or other passengers, if it's going your way. To take a city bus, you board at the rear, pay the conductor, and exit from the front.
The Railway Station on Praca dos Trabalhadores is sometimes mistaken to be the work by Gustave Eiffel. However, the building is an imposing structure and well-worth a visit, especially at Friday or Saturday nights where live music often is played.
The National Art Museum has a small but good collection of Mozambican art, including several large canvases by the world-renowned Malangatana.
The Jardim Tunduru is a very pretty (albeit small) botanical garden.
The Museum of the Revolution chronicles Mozambique's fight for indepedence from Portuguese colonialism.
The Mercado Central in the Baixa district has fresh fish, crabs, calamari, fruits and vegetables, and many household staples. Safe, lively and recommended, especially if cooking for yourself.
Walk up Avenida Julius Nyerere. Start from the Hotel Cardoso or Natural History Museum along R Mutemba to Nyerere then left (north) to the Polana Hotel. Boutiques, restaurants, curio vendors, video stores, etc. to be seen in the relatively upscale Polana neighborhood.
Casa do Ferro Avenida Samora Marcel, is a building designed by Gustave Eiffel, architect of Paris' Eiffel Tower. It is also known as the "Iron House" or "Steel House" because of its all-metal structure. Originally intended as the Governor's home, it turned out to be too hot to live in under Maputo's tropical conditions, and is now a museum.
Museu de História Natural, Praca Travessia de Zambezi,close to Cardoso Hotel. Enjoyable little museum. Lots of stuffed animals, birds and reptiles with full-size models of elephants. Interesting collection of wooden carvings, including a selection of traditional and very uncomfortable looking wooden pillows.
Visit some beautiful beaches, such as Catembe and Ponta d'Ouro. It is very jovial in these atmospheres and are generally safe, but beware of pickpocketing and avoid bringing valuables with you on a beach stroll. Ponta D'Ouro and Ponta Malongane have some beautiful scuba-diving spots, with either campsites or chalets right on the beach.
Take in a wedding. Beautiful tribal singing and women ululating. Civil ceremonies next door to Avenida Hotel. Several weddings on Saturday morning.
Work is now available to the locals, but if you are a foreigner and thinking about taking a sabbatical, it is a perfectly safe and comfortable place to do it. However, new regulations on expat workers in Mozambique have imposed quotas on the number of foreigners a business can employ, and it is getting increasingly difficult to obtain work permits as a foreigner in Mozambique, in particular with small companies or organizations.
On July 1, 2006 Mozambique officially introduced the second metical, dropping three zeros off the old currency. As a result, all prices you see in this article, or else where on the internet that are in thousands should be converted down by a factor of 1,000. As a result Mts. 10,000 would now be MZN 10.
The local abbreviation for the new currency is MTn. As of January 1, 2007 only the Bank of Mozambique will convert the old currency, but only until December 31, 2013.
African fabrics both waxprint and woven in the fabric shops along the Avenida de Guerra Popular
Cashews all over the place, roasted, salted, plain, any which way and nearly anywhere. The number two export of the country, selling for about US$4 per pound (MtN 200 per kg).
Wood carvings, boxes, picture frames from curio vendors.
Batik cloth ranging from the tacky animal stuff to glorious works of art. Most of what is on offer is on the lower quality end, but persistent searching will yield some gems among the dross.
The easiest place to buy touristy things is in the Parque dos Continuadores (also known as FEIMA) at the corner of Av. Julius Nyerere and Av. Mao Tse-Tung. The selection is large, with many vendors. Be prepared to bargain. There are also vendors lined up along the Marginal and some in the baixa, particularly on the weekends.
For counterfeit DVDs, cell-phone parts, used clothing, etc., go to one of the many city markets; the two most convenient are probably Mercado Janeta, at the corner of Av. Mao Tse-Tung and Av. Lenine and Mercado do Povo, on Av. Karl Marx.
Or you can just browse the many sidewalk vendors - there is a particularly heavy concentration in the baixa, near the chapa terminus at Av. 25 de Setembro and Av. Guerra Popular. From here you can also catch a chapa to the massive market at Xipamanine, which sells just about everything imaginable.
The local cuisine is a mixture of African, Portuguese, Middle Eastern and Indian/Pakistani cuisine. All these different cuisines are served at various areas in the city.
Any number of small cafes serve simple dishes and juices that are affordable. Unless you are adventurous, stay away from most roadside stalls especially if they are serving meat. Safe roadside fare includes cashews,usually fire roasted without salt served in small paper cones, fried bean cakes called Bhajia, uncut and unwashed fruits,cut and wash yourself with bottled water, and soft-serve ice cream. Expect to pay between Mt 15 and 50 (US$0.60-$1.50).
The fruit from roadside stands is usually fine, especially if it has a hard peel, which most do (banana, mango, pineapple, tangerine, papaya etc.). They expect to sell the fruit by the kilogram, so be prepared for strange looks if you want just a couple of individual fruits. Prices change with what's in season, except for bananas, which are always available - a couple of bananas should set you back 5 or 10 MTn.
The smaller cafes will have egg sandwiches, fries, grilled chicken, small pastries, and simple hamburgers. Expect to pay between Mt 15 and 75 (US$0.60-$3).
Do not lose sight of your credit or debit cards or they may be cloned. Rather always pay cash at any restaurant.
Cantinho do Brasil Av. Vladimir Lenine 1057. Good Brazilian snacks and feijoada. A good place to enjoy a snack, good coffee and good internet.
Gelati Av. Julius Nyerere 794. Good ice cream, on its own or served with Crepes.
Mercado Janeta corner of Av. Vlademir Lenine and Av. Mao Tse Tung. Many food stalls located inside the market with a standard roster of dishes, consisting of a lot of starch, a piece of meat, and a lot of sauce. For starch you can choose rice or, occasionally, xima; for meat, chicken or beef; popular sauce options include peanut curry and guisado, a kind of tomato stew. 40-60 Mt. Food is generally only served at lunch; at dinner a few places will be open but you'll be eating leftovers. If you want drinks, however, there are plenty of options at all hours.
Zambezia Av. Mao Tse Tung, just east of Av. Vlademir Lenine. Very good Zambezian chicken, with coconut milk and spices. Convenient to Fatima's.
Twingo Av. Vlademir Lenine, close to Av. Agostinho Neto, next to the Mimmo's. Broad and fairly inexpensive menu (the prato do dia is particularly cheap) with a good bakery.
Gracianna In the Parque dos Continuadores, which is bound by Av. Mao Tse Tung, Av. Armando Tivane, and Av. Martires de Machava, one block west of Av. Julius Nyerere. Mozambican food, generally around 150 - 180 MTn. Quite tasty. Try the mucapata.
Mamma Mia Also in the Parque dos Continuadores, right next to Gracianna. Mozambican and Italian dishes, all very tasty. Slightly more expensive than Gracianna.
Mimmo's, two locations, one on Av. 24 de Julho and Av. Salvador Allende, the other on Av. Vlademir Lenine near Av. Agostinho Neto. Mostly Italian menu. Tuesday features half-price pizza (takeout only) and commensurately long waits.
Chicken Piripiri near the corner of Avda. 24 de Julho and Avda. Nyerere serves grilled chicken and also very good prawns. Famous, and in a posh location; the chicken also costs twice as much as it would from a takeout joint.
Mercado do Peixe The fresh fish market. Behind the Sasol Garage on Av. Marginal, you chose you own prawns, clams, crab, Grouper, Coral and Rock cod, Squid and a galaxy of other tropical fish still flapping at the market, then retire to one of the many small restaurants behind the stals where they are cooked beautifully. Everyone's favourite Sunday afternoon.
Mundo's next to Avenida Hotel on Av. Julius Nyerere. Multiracial meeting place with bar and restaurant, including pizza. Lots of televisions tuned to sport from South African channels. Internet free for 30 mins. per day, after that for moderate charge.
Restaurante Escorpiao, in the Feira Popular (in the Baixa district). Has a huge menu, a decent wine list (by Mozambican standards) and caters to moderate budgets. Not fancy, frequented by locals. Delicious arroz mariscos (seafood stew with rice). Soggiest vegetables in town; for better Portuguese-inspired fare, try Restaurante Cristal, Costa do Sol or Monte Alentejano.
Waterfront, Av. 10 de Novembre, Good, mainly seafood, restaurant on the seafront.
1908, Av. Eduardo Mondlane and Av. Salvador Allende. Decent food in a very nice old building.
Cristal, on Av. 24 de Julho, intersection with Av. Tomas Nduda. Very popular with the Portuguese. A mostly expensive and mostly Portuguese menu. Try the acorda.
Monte Alentejano, Av. Julius Nyerere, just down from Av. 24 de Julho. Another popular Portuguese place.
Costa do Sol restaurant, on Av. Marginal in Costa do Sol (5 km north of Maputo by the sea - take a taxi, they will wait and bring you back). Icon over 70 years old. Average seafood in low-key atmosphere. Booking recommended at weekends and if you want an outdoors table. Also has a few rooms.
Restaurant Sheik, part of the Sheik entertainment complex. Offers high-end Chinese and African cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. The disco below has dancing, drinks, and fun until the wee hours of the morning.
Zambi, on the bay in the center of town, a few kilometers south of Club Naval. Modern, sleek eatery, good menu selection. Big terrace in the front overlooks the road to the bay, with an open kitchen dining room inside. Worth the money,which is still cheap by western standards.
Filini, restaurant and bar, located in the Radisson Blu Maputo, offers exquisite italian cuisine in a stylish atmosphere. Straight forward simply cooked italian food. Friendly and fast-paced unpretentious service. Wide selection of wine.
Fruit juice is usually sweetened nectar and not fresh 100% juice. The usual selections of sweet carbonated beverages are available. Pressed sugar cane juice is available in some markets.
Pepsi and Coca-Cola are widely available, as well as Sprite, Mirinda, and Fanta fruit-flavored pop (Orange and Pineapple are most common, Grape is also sometimes available). Coca-Cola is more common than Pepsi. "Sparletta" brand fruit-flavoured pop is also widely available. Expect to pay between Mt 15 and 50 (US$0.60-$1.50). Shop owners are usually very strict when it comes to the empty bottles as they are expensive and reused, do not try and keep one without trying to pay the full price for the bottle first.
The wine selection is reasonably good, and depending on your budget you can get a range of South African, Portuguese and Chilean wines. Most common are cheap South African and Portuguese wines, but you can find nice wines (for a price) in upper-end restaurants and certain bottle stores or delis. Wine by the glass generally comes from a box.
Beer is widely available, with 2M ('dois-em'), Laurentina, Manica, and Raiz being the common selection. Laurentina comes in two varieties, 'Clara' a lager, and 'Preta' a very dark Lager with hints of coffee and chocolate. Locals tend to order the Laurentina varieties simply by saying Clara or Preta, and leaving out Laurentina.
Preta is the most expensive beer, followed by Manica and then 2M. Raiz is a newer beer intended for the budget market and is considered a 'cheap' beer. The larger beer bottles are also expensive and should always be returned or purchased. The beer itself is very inexpensive and reasonably good ranging from Mts 30 to 50 (US$1-$2).
Drink water from a bottle (25-40 MT/1,5 l), not the tap.
Coconut Club, Maputo, Costa de Sol. 10PM till late/early. A hip dance club. Expect to be blown away by the architecture, the dancing, the buzz, if not the prices. 500Mts.
Xima's bar, on Av. Eduardo Mondlane, is popular with the locals and has live music on the weekends.
Africa Bar nightclub is on Av. 24 de Julho near Av. Karl Marx.
Gil Vicente is a bar attached to the Gil Vicente theatre, across from the 'Jardim Tunduru.
Centro Cultural Franco-Mozambicain has live music and cultural events.
Central Train Station houses a jazz lounge on weekends.
Feira Popular is in the Baixa, and houses many bars and restaurants.
Dolce Vita Av. Julius Nyerere 800. New, upmarket bar with blue lighting.
Havana Bar a bar during daytime and a disco at night.
Coconuts a dicotheque in front of the beach. An amazing vibe.
Demand generally outstrips supply and hence prices for accommodation are quite steep in Maputo. Most hotels are around Avenida 24 Julho, but there are some others out in the suburbs. Some mid-range hotels spend more money on their website than on their bricks-and-mortar, which can lead to raised expectations for hotel quality. $100 a night does not get you very far in this city.
Hotel Continental, Av. Filipe Samuel Magaia 177, Maputo. Small single rooms from US$60. Double and Twin rooms for only $70. This hotel was newly renovated in July 2013. All rooms have private bathroom, air-con, television, and wifi. It is situated in the historical 'baixa' area of Maputo just a short walk from many of Maputo's most famous attractions.
Fatima's Place, 1317 Mao Tse Tung Avenida, Maputo, Dorms from US$20 (as of Sept 29/11). Many people really enjoy this place, but it has more of a party atmosphere and is quite a bit larger than Base Backpackers. Some have found the staff and the other guests to be quite standoffish. Others have had more serious issues such as being forced to pay for bookings they did not agree to.
It's a bit out of the main part of downtown, but still a very easy and generally safe walk to the business district. Fatima's also offers shuttle service to Fatima's nest in Tofo beach, around 7-8 hrs north of Maputo. While this bus is very convenient, it can also be extremely dangerous and the motorist has stolen from expat passengers in the past. Take at your own risk. One free internet computer available. Daily shuttle to Tofo $25.
Pensão Martins, Av. 24 de Julho 1098, Maputo. Double and Twin rooms for less than $100. This famous pensao is perfectly situated nudged between the Baixa and Museu, with these two popular areas of Maputo right at your door step. All rooms have private bathroom and rates include breakfast.
The Base Backpackers, 545 Avenida Patrice Lumumba okay rooms, balcony with a partially-obscured view over the sea, 1 computer with internet - separate pay, a small room with a tv and news, a self-service fridge and kitchen facilities. Staff quality can be mixed. One told a guest whose laundry was not returned clean as promised, "It's not my problem, it's your problem." However, they can also be really good. One in particular gave excellent advice on safely walking, where to go in the country, and was overall very helpful for everything.
The place is not super new or modern, but the beds are clean and it looks pretty good compared to a lot of Maputo. One positive quality is its central location. The dorms become very hot during the spring and summer so use cold showers and the fan to cool down a bit. 9 USD for dorms. Base is small, with only two small dorms, so you should call ahead for a reservation. If you are traveling by yourself, you could walk up and get lucky, but there are no guarantees. Only way to book is over the phone or via email. Daily shuttle transfer to bus station where you catch a bus to Tofo: 15 USD and leaves at 4:15am.
Manico Camp (Inhaca Island), Inhaca Island, Maputo. Located at the point of Inhaca Island closest to Portuguese Island, Manico Camp offers a range of accommodation options and easy access to those with their own boats.
Duqueza de Connaught Guest House, Av. Julius Nyerere, 290 - Maputo/ The only Guest House or B&B right in the centre of Maputo. Comfortable rooms with air-con, roof fans, cable television, tea & coffee station, and refreshing pool. Maputo's Restaurant and Bar area is just metres from the door $100-$150 per night incl. breakfast.
Guesthouse 1109, Av. Patrice Lumumba, 1109 - Maputo. Fantastically located on the leafy Av. Patrice Lumumba on the incline between the Baixa and Museu. Comfortable rooms with air-con, cable television, tea & coffee station, and a refreshing pool with amazing views of the city. Maputo's Restaurant and Bar area is just metres from the door $100-$150 per night incl. breakfast.
Pestana Rovuma, Rua da Sé, 114 Caixa Postal 4376 - Maputo,
VIP Grand Hotel Maputo is a conference-hotel near the commercial centre of town, the Feira Popular, the ferry to Catembe. The rooms are pleasantly clean and modern with good wireless internet included in the room rate.Great pool area.
Villa das Arabias, 698 Av. 24 de Julho,. Ambitiously marketing itself as a boutique hotel this small establishment doesn't quite live up to the fancy website. Still the kitsch Arabia theme is something different, all you can eat breakfast and modern (if impractical) bathrooms make this a reasonable choice. Avoid the cheapest rooms which are down in the dank and airless basement. Wifi available for a charge. $100-$150 per night.
Matola River/ Maritima Lodge, near the Matola river, signposted from the EN4. A 30 minute drive from downtown Maputo. On the banks of the Matola River, spacious rooms in a thatched complex. Air conditioned rooms. Braai and self catering facilities. Breakfast included in the price. Ample and secure parking for your boat and caravan. Swimming pool. Dstv and fridge in room. Single Mts 2,100, double Mts2,300.
Sommerschield Guest House & Restaurant, Rua Beijo da Mulata 148, Sommerschield 2 1102 Maputo. Within 6 kilometres from the Maputo International Airport, 20 minutes’ walk from the beach and located 2 km from the city center, Sommerschield Guest House & Restaurant is housed in a modern building in one of the most prestigious neighborhoods of Maputo and combines all the comfort and family atmosphere whether you are on business or leisure. $90-$150 per night incl. breakfast.
Catembe Gallery Hotel. 14 luxurious rooms that are individually decorated by leading Mozambican artists. Inconvenient to find, approximately 45 mins from the CBD (via crowded public boat, then taxi), located on a remote dirt road on the opposite side of the bay. It has a bar, beach, library, pool table and swimming pool. Internet access is available. Rates start from about €60, up to €380, depending on type of room selected.
Hotel Cardoso. Opposite the traffic circle from the Natural History Museum. Recently refurbished and is a solid 4-star hotel although things often tend to go wrong. Staff fluent in English. A great garden to have a drink in and watch the sun set over the Baixa and Rio Santo. Doubles with a river view and airconditioning were US$140 or more in May 2009.
Hotel Polana. The grande dame of Maputo hotels, a colonial era masterpiece by Sir Herbert Baker, famed South African architect (who also did the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town). As close to perfection in service, food, pool, view, etc. as can be found in Maputo. Doubles from US$217. Good place to have a drink, or to have lunch in the Tea Room.
Hotel Avenida . 5-star hotel on Avenida Julius Nyerere. Has large and fairly comfortable rooms. Rooftop pool and bar for excellent sunsets and a good way of appreciating the rather confusing geography of Maputo. Several restaurants (Thai, Greek, Indian and pub style) within a few minutes. Hotel shuttle to and from the airport available. Free access to the Internet. Rooms from around US$170 (April 2009) including good breakfast but really the only thing that is 5-star about this hotel is the price.
Radisson Blu Hotel An international hotel chain, the 5-star Radisson Blu boasts a 12 storey building with 154 rooms in one of the city's trendiest spots on the marginal road along the beach. This new property features a striking design, ocean views and is one of the best hotels in the city. There are several restaurants and bars across the road. Free Internet for guests and delegates. The hotel hosts, an ocean view bar, a Filini restaurant (offering exquisite Italian cuisine in a stylish atmosphere) and a lounge bar. Nightly rates starting at U$220.
Violent crime does not rise to the Johannesburg level but is still a problem. Occasional pickpocketing attempts do occur and are almost guaranteed on busy streets. At night, it is better not to walk around alone but you are generally fairly safe in the well-lit areas along Avenida 24 de Julho. Regardless of the hour, be smart when walking around: don't carry much around in the streets with you, and if you have a bag, keep it close to you.
Avoid the footpath between Jardim dos Professores and Avenida 25 Setembro at all times (day and night). Despite being a popular shortcut frequented by many locals, muggings do occur by groups of armed thieves, wielding knives and other rudimentary weapons, who hide in the dense brush and corner you from both sides.
If this happens, it is best to cooperate with your assailants and not fight back. Muggings also occur along Avenida Marginal between Avenida 25 Setembro and Rua Caracol. Joggers should be vigilant and not carry expensive electronics. The footpaths from Avenida Friedrich Engels to Avenida Marginal should be avoided at all times.
If you have a cell phone, do not flaunt it: pickpockets have been known to take cellphones right out of people's hands while they are talking on them.
The local police are out of control and will target foreigners in the area around popular backpacker hostels, bus stations, etc. Carry a certified copy of your passport,not your real one and a copy of your visa too, so that there is no potential problem with the police,you are legally obliged to carry both at all times.
Corruption is everywhere in this town, be careful during both day and night. Always have a companion and carry a copy of your passport.
Policemen here enter the police force by paying a large sum and earn their living by extorting from tourists and locals in both day and night in both quiet and busy streets. Always carry some change just in case. Do not carry passport or expensive electronics around since they can be taken from you by the police or locals to extort more money.
Also, very obviously, do not carry drugs or knives (penknives) around with you at all. One backpacker arriving by bus from Tete was detained and taken to the police station where he was robbed. Do not expect the police station to be a sanctuary if police hassle you.
However, if an officer tries to fine you because he believes something is wrong with your passport, demand to be taken to the Chief of Police. He will almost certainly let you go because usually he is only trying to solicit a bribe.
Malarial prophylaxis is essential in all parts of Mozambique.
Do not drink the tap water. "Your stomachs are not used to it."
There is high HIV incidence. For your own safety, do not have unprotected sex.
Prostitution is not prudent.
English (and some Portuguese) language radio transmissions are available from BBC World Service on 95.5MHz. Also, local radio station LM Radio, broadcasts fully in English, on 87.8Mhz. Mainly play golden oldies.
Since in Africa internet connectivity costs are rather high, and hotels might provide it charged extra, or limited complimentary data packages, it might be nice to know that there are a few places in Maputo that offer you wi-fi access. Among them, you can find them in:
Marisqueira Sagres, next to Nossa Casa.
Southern Sun Hotel, on Avenida Marginal - good wifi coverage in the bar and lobby.
Clube Marítimo, on Av. Marginal, opposite the Fish Market.
Dolce Vita, on Avenida Julius Nyerere.
Nautilus, both on the corner of Avenida 24 de Julho and Avenida Julius Nyerere, and in Maputo Shopping Center
Surf, on Jardim dos Namorados (Avenida Friedrich Engels)
Café Sol, on Sommerschield II neighborhood (past the University Main Campus, on Avenida Julius Nyerere)
Fishing Boats at Catembe
Take the short ferry ride across the bay to visit Catembe. Its relaxed atmosphere is a pleasant retreat from Maputo. It's not recommended on a weekends, however, as it can be overrun with people 'enjoying' the weekend.
Day trips out to Inhaca Island are easy to do on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The tickets cost 200MT (one-way) on economic class or 400MT on first class. Just catch the local ferry at 07h30 and after about two hours you will arrive to Inhaca. You may need to pay 20MT for another small boat to get you closer to the shore, or walk in waist-high water.
Alternatively, there are several private yacth companies that take tourists to Inhaca for about 2.000MT at almost any day. Order your lunch early as it can take hours out on this relaxed island. The ferry leaves from the same place at about 15h00 on the same day. On the island you can walk up to the Lighthouse (about 3 hours walking), or catch a boat to the southern tip to do some worthwhile snorkelling.
It is also possible to visit Ilha dos Portugueses, a smaller and unhabited island that can be seen from the center of the village. IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of February, 2014 the ferry's schedule was changed to run Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Double-check their departure hours at least one day in advance!
A few tour operators,Tours Maputo , Tours & Travel Mozambique and Mabeco Tours, also lead other day tours to such places as the Maputo Special Reserve (formally the Maputo Elephant Reserve), Macaneta Beach, and Bilene Beach. These trips can be costly if you do not have a few people to go with.