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Archive for the ‘Maputo’ Category

Filed Under (Maputo, Mozambique Travel) by Marian on August-19-2008

Maputo is fast coming into its own and is now considered an ideal destination for an exotic weekend adventure. Old buildings have been restored, new buildings are going up at an alarming rate and business is booming, and still retains a distinctly Mozambican charm. In a single weekend you can explore the cultural heritage of the city, relax on beautiful Inhaca Island, gorge yourself on the famous Mozambican prawns and – if you’re brave enough – venture into the legendary Mercado Xipamanine. Here’s our guide to getting the most out of 48 hours holiday in Maputo

For the culturally inclined….

Cathedral of Nossa Senhora da Conceicao
Maputo’s famous cathedral, built in 1944 in dedication to ‘Our Lady of Conception’, is situated in Independence Square at the top of Av Samora Machel. Keep an eye out for the strong Portuguese Catholic influence in the awe-inspiring stained-glass windows and elaborate interior.

Train Station on Praca Trabalhadores
While train stations are usually a means to an end rather than a sightseeing destination, this particular train station is definitely worth a visit. The beautifully domed station was built in 1910 by Gustav Eiffel (he of the tower fame) and is considered to be one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.

Keep an eye out at the entrance to the station for the curious monument to the soldiers killed in the Great War (1914-1918). The stone statue, which depicts a woman killing a cobra in a pot of boiling porridge, is the work of the Portuguese sculptor Rui Gameiro and simultaneously honours the fallen soldiers and a local woman who rid her village of a deadly cobra. Better than another cenotaph I guess!

Casa de Ferro
Ever heard the saying ‘people who live in the tropics shouldn’t build iron houses’?

Nope? Neither had old Gustav when he came up with the highly impractical Casa de Ferro (Iron House), which he designed as a residence for the governor of the Portugese colony. Unfortunately the prefabricated iron building became (unsurprisingly!) unbearably hot under the African sun and the governor couldn’t live there.

Jardim Tunduru
Behind the Casa de Ferro lie the Jardim Tunduru (botanical gardens). At times a little overgrown, these beautiful gardens, which were designed in 1885 by the English gardener Thomas Honney, provide welcome shade on a hot steamy afternoon. Honney also designed similar gardens for the Sultan of Turkey and the King of Greece. At the entrance to the gardens you will find a statue of Mozambique’s first president — Samora Machel.

Potter around a museum…

Museum of the Revolution
Situated on Av 24 Julho, this museum recounts the violent struggle against Portuguese colonialism in Mozambique. The history is fascinating, but be warned that all of the captions and texts are in Portuguese.

The National Museum of Art
Tucked away at 1233 Av Ho Chi Minh, the National Museum of Art houses an extensive collection of paintings and sculptures by famous Mozambican artists. The exhibitions include works by Chissano, Malangatana, and Naguib, along with a variety of temporary exhibitions.

The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum, which is housed in a beautifully restored colonial building, is situated near the Hotel Cardosa. While the building is definitely worth going to see, the museum displays will appeal to a rather specific audience — its main attractions are a large shark collection and a collection of elephant foetuses, showing the stages of development during gestation. Interesting…

Do some shopping

Mercado Xipamanine (Rua dos Imaos Roby)
Don’t visit the Mercado Xipamanine — the largest market in Mozambique — expecting to find the usual selection of counterfeit trainers and plastic junk. Xipamanine is known far and wide as the place to stock up on capulanas (traditional multi-purpose cloth worn by women) and for its traditional medicine (curandeiros) section, where you can take your pick from animal parts, herbs and lucky potions.

Saturday Craft Market (Praca 25 do Junho)
Taking dried herbs and animals back through customs could be interesting, so for a few souvenirs make sure you drop by the Saturday Craft Market. Here you’ll find a wide-selection of handcrafts from carvings and jewellery to paintings and batiks. As the name suggests, it’s only open on Saturdays, so make sure to work this into your itinerary.

Central Market (Av 25 de Setembro)
Almost anything can be found at the Central Market: fresh fruit, veggies, curios, a steady supply of pickpockets… make sure your belongings are safely stashed on your person and don’t flash too much money around.

Take a trip…

Inhaca Island
Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax on one of Mozambique’s many unspoilt islands. The coral reefs around the island are easily accessed from the shore and abound with a variety of tropical fish. The island is also home over two hundred bird species as well as a biological museum and research centre.

If you can’t tear yourself away from the beach, just check yourself into the comfortable Inhaca Lodge. A luxury ferry runs daily from Maputo to Inhaca Island, which is about 35 kilometres offshore. You can catch the ferry at the bottom of Av Samora Machel (from the Porto de Pesca).

If you wish to take a shorter trip or are on a bit of a budget, Catembe is just across Maputo Bay. Ferries leave fairly often (about every two hours), the trip is short (no longer than fifteen minutes) and very cheap. Once you reach the island, you can pop into one of the many little restaurants, munch on some prawns and drink a couple of icy Dos M beers.

Enjoy the local flavour…

Av Julius Nyerere
This street (just south of the well-known Polana Hotel) is the best in town for restaurants and cafes. You’ll find anything from peri-peri chicken, seafood and spicy Indian food to coffee shops and delicatessens selling pastries.

Fiera Popular
This quaint and festive fairground can be found on Av 25 de Setembro. The restaurants here tend to offer very good value for money and if you really aren’t stomaching the tastes that are Maputo, you could always cross the road and go to one of the many South African fast food joints that have sprung up in the capital.

For a more local flavour, try out either Restuarante Escoriao or O Coqueiro, which both have great Mozambican and Portuguese dishes. Escoria has a huge menu, a good wine list and although upmarket is not too pricey.

So, there you have it — 48 hours jam-packed full of culture, history, nature, fun and surprises holiday in Maputo Mozambique

by Rebekah Kendal

Filed Under (Accommodation, Destinations, Maputo) by BC Travel on April-24-2008

The Polana Hotel has a really great atmosphere. The Polana was a very pleasant experience. The pool is relaxing. The room decor was very upscale and tasteful. Nice use of woods and comfortable accents. The staff is friendly and speaks English well. The breakfast (included in the room price) is one of the best that I have had at any hotel. Views of the sea are wonderful from both the pool and most rooms. If I go back to Mozambique, I will stay here again!

Filed Under (Maputo) by Marian on April-6-2008

Maputo is the capital of Mozambique. It is a bustling port city, with a population of about two million people and beautiful avenues of trees of various colorful types. Maputo lies only 100kms from its neighbors South Africa and Swaziland

There is a wide variety of tourist accommodation and destinations available to choose from and within the Maputo surrounds, can be found tourist or holiday destinations to meet anyone’s need. Luxury hotels cater for the wealthier tourists and visitors, but there are a host of holiday accommodation and backpacker venues to choose from.

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There is a ferry to serve those tourists or people who wish to cross to Catembe and there are various means to get to Inhaca Island and the tourist, holiday accommodation establishments and fishing destinations that are on offer there. Maputo, formally known as Delagoa Bay and then as Lourenco Marques, or LM, was a very popular tourist destination until the early 1970s. 

Things to see in Maputo

 The Railway Station on Praca dos Trabalhadores was designed by Gustave Eiffel (after his fall from grace in the Panama Canal scandal), and bears the mark of his genius.

– 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 independence 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.

 Praça dos Trabalhadores is a building built by Gustave Eiffel.

Places to eat in Maputo

Depending on the budget one can go to the many cafes that serve simple dishes that are affordable. One can try out the roadside stalls, which is usually cashews, fried bean cakes called Bhajia, fruits and ice-creams. If you want to eat in a nice restaurant, you can try out Chicken Piripiri which serves mouth-watering grilled chicken and only the best prawns. This place is also a middle-ranged place. But for those who want to splurge there are a couple of good restaurants to try. They include:

 Restaurante Escorpiao, in the Feira Popular (in the Baixa district). Has a huge menu, good wine list and caters to moderate and high-end budgets. Not fancy, frequented by locals. Slightly better than the Costa do Sol. 

 Costa do Sol restaurant, in Costa do Sol (5km north of Maputo — take a taxi, they will wait and bring you back). Icon over 50 years old. Great seafood in low-key atmosphere. Great variety too. Excellent service.

Night Life in Maputo

  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.

  The Centro Cultural Franco-Mozambican has live music and cultural events.

  The Central Train Station houses a jazz lounge on weekends.

– The Feira Popular is located in the Baixa, and houses many bars and restaurants