Photo Credit: Photo credit: Anna Estevao
How to Experience Maputo, Mozambique Like a Local
Anna Estevao is a 29-year-old solo traveler originally from Maputo, Mozambique. After having her first taste of travel at the age of 17, her wanderlust continued to grow, leading her to venture out and explore many more destinations. She is now based in Porto, Portugal. However, her beloved mother country will always be home, and she returns often to visit her family.
Estevao loves educating others about Mozambique and sharing its unique beauty and culture. She spoke with Travel Noire, sharing her top tips, recommendations and things to do and see to experience Maputo like a local.
“Maputo is the capital of Mozambique and sits on the shores of the Indian Ocean,” she shared. “It is an ideal travel destination due to its diversity and the numerous things it offers. It is a uniquely African experience for all kinds of travelers, a paradisiacal destination with impressive architecture, beautiful nature, diverse culture and a tropical climate.”
Her favorite thing about her hometown is the people. Often described as calm, friendly and outgoing, they are warm and hospitable. She also loves the delicious food and amazing beaches.
There are various modes of transportation visitors can use to explore the city. The most common way to get around is by “chapa,” a minibus. This mode of transportation is simple, easy and cost efficient.
“They give you the option to hop on and off at the various stops, with the possibility of riding on the next one at any given time,” she said. “They are normally very crowded, as they are popular with locals from all economic levels.”
There are also private taxis, which can be requested through various taxi apps or found at different spots around the city, typically near hotels, hospitals and restaurants.
“More adventurous people can take a “txopela,” a tuk-tuk able to accommodate a maximum of two passengers,” she said. “These affordable moto-taxis have a curtain in the back seat to offer passengers some privacy and protection against the wind, sun and rain.”
She believes a minimum of three days in Maputo is good amount of time to see the city’s highlights. Use her three-day itinerary to get the most out of your time in the Mozambican capital.
Start your day with a visit to Maputo Central Market. It is a vibrant marketplace for all your local shopping needs. The market sells everything from fruits, vegetables and fresh fish to local crafts and traditional food.
Indulge in the local culture, as you interact with vendors and sample some of their delicious food.
Explore the Museum of the Railroads of Mozambique. It is a well-preserved treasure of colonial architecture where you can see old models of trains. The exhibition is in English and Portuguese.
Head to Maputo waterfront for dinner. After a long day, there’s nothing better than enjoying a lovely view of Maputo Bay. Estevao says that it is the best seafood in the city and it is accompanied by live music.
Take a stroll on the Costa Do Sol beach. If you enjoy jogging, it is the perfect place to join the locals jogging on the sidewalk. See fishermen on their boats and taste fresh coconut water and blended sugarcane juice.
Take a relaxing boat cruise along the Maputo Bay to Inhaca, and enjoy the scenic views of the coastline. You have the option of renting a private boat or you can use the local ferry, which is more affordable.
Inhaca is famous for its beautiful, crystal waters. You can swim or relax on the beach, visit the lighthouse and enjoy seafood prepared at the local restaurants. Return to Maputo at the end of the day and watch as the sun sets.
For dinner, take a stroll around Avienda Julius Nyerere and dine in the restaurant of your choice. Soccer lovers will enjoy the famous Mundos. It is a great place to go to watch a game accompanied by great food and a pleasant atmosphere.
Start the day with a visit to the Fortress of Maputo. There are some interesting and informative exhibits explaining the formation of Maputo over the last 500 years. It represents one of the primary historical monuments in Mozambique.
Then, embark on a cultural tour of Maputo’s historic neighborhoods. Visit the Casa de Ferro, or the Iron House, a unique and historical building that Gustav Eiffel designed. It was originally constructed in Belgium and later reassembled in Mozambique. Take a walk around downtown Maputo, known as Baixa. Enjoy the busy town as you head down to the Mozambican harbor.
Explore FEIMA, Maputo’s open air artisanal market. Stroll around and check out the huge variety of locally made items. Take a minute to enjoy the food they offer. Taste the famous Zambezi chicken from the province of Zambezia. It is marinated in coconut milk and typically eaten with rice or xima and matapa.
Watch the sun set at Dhow. In addition to the incredible view, it also has great cocktails and delicious food.
For dinner, head to Zambi, a restaurant famous for its five-star cuisine. Try amazing dishes, like the prime steak, lobster or traditionally prepared octopus.
Tips for Individuals Traveling to Maputo
For any traveler visiting Maputo, here are some tips that Estevao recommends for your stay:
- Casual, comfortable clothing is suitable throughout the year.
- Pay someone to watch your car if you park it.
- If driving, make sure that you have third party vehicle insurance.
- Take precautions, such as not displaying expensive jewelry and other valuable items.
- It is acceptable to negotiate prices at the market, but it is generally done in a civilized manner.
- If stopped by a traffic cop (official uniform is white shirt and navy blue trousers) for a traffic offense, you might be asked to pay a spot fine. When you pay, always insist on a ticket and an official numbered receipt containing the officer’s name.