What To Do, What To See, What To Eat
A place to expand your architectural appreciation and food focus, Maputo tempts visitors with the possibility of year-round sunshine, beaches and exploration.
Despite a turbulent past, Maputo has emerged as a must-visit city for anyone serious about exploring the best of what the African continent has to offer. Culture and cafés, markets and malls, islands and industry, Maputo remains under-visited but visitor ready.
Markets in Maputo – there’s plenty of informal markets around the city, but the Maputo Central Market is one of the best places for souvenir shopping both edible and crafted. Best for cashews, carvings and capulanas (the traditional cloth used as a sarong style skirt, dress or baby carrier).
Maputo’s most famous market is the fish market (Market du Peixe). While the name is self-explanatory for what to expect inside it doesn’t quite do justice to the complete experience. Choose your fish and then take it to one of the restaurants outside who’ll hustle for your business and prepare a fish-dinner that you won’t forget.
Walk Maputo – a walking tour of Maputo is not only a local-insight, but the best way to get a sense of the city, a feel for real-life Maputo and to make sure you know what you’re looking at.
Island hop in Maputo. Inhaca Island – Mozambique’s islands and beaches further north are amongst some of the prettiest and most abundant dive and beach spots on the continent, but you can enjoy a little taste of it just off the coast of Maputo. Inhaca Island is a 2.5-hour ferry trip away, but well worth the (sometimes) rough crossing. Beach, snorkel and explore and then return to Maputo in the afternoon.
Beach day in Maputo. Maputo city (along Avenida Marginal) has plenty of beach for you to enjoy looking at or walking on, the best place for a proper beach-day is slightly outside the city. Just 15kms north of Maputo the Macaneta peninsula is a long stretch of sand, warm Indian Ocean and a great day out of the city.
Picnic in Maputo. Tunduru Gardens in downtown Maputo are over a hundred years old. These botanical gardens aren’t very impressive but are a good place for a break from the city-busy. Make sure you see the Samora Machel statue just outside the gardens. Alternatively, head to the Teachers Garden (Jardim dos Professores) after a visit to the Natural History Museum.
National Art Museum – a collection of classic and contemporary Mozambican art. Paintings and sculpture by Mozambique’s most famous and revered artists.
Chissano Gallery – arguably no Mozambican artist is more widely known than the sculptor Alberto Chissano. His family home is now a gallery of some of his finest work in wood, stone and iron just outside the city in Matola.
Train Station – a landmark that recently turned 100 years old, the Central Railway Station in Maputo was regarded by Newsweek and Travel + Leisure Magazine as one of the most beautiful in the world.
Fortress– what was once an imposing and formidable structure is now a fascinating fort-museum surrounded by gardens. Statues and relics of its history are located throughout the fortress.
Iron House – believed to have been designed by Gustav Eifel (the same one of Paris fame), this structure served as the impressive but impractical home of the governor. Walls and ceilings made of iron might not be great for the heat but are very impressive to look at.
Natural History Museum – while the museum’s collection of taxidermy displays might seem a little strange to some (or even unpleasant), the building itself as well as the gardens make it a worthy must-visit.
Núcleo De Arte – not far from the Natural History Museum this art gallery and culture space is one for art lovers. With some for sale and some to just be admired, it’s contemporary art by the some of Maputo’s newest artistic talents.
Piri-Piri or Peri-Peri – this fiery chili condiment goes with everything. Usually served fresh and at a variety of heat levels, the hottest piri- piri is not for the faint hearted but is worth the burn.
Pastéis de Nata – aside from the language, the Portuguese impact is especially evident in the food and perhaps most deliciously in a freshly baked pastel de nata. These Portuguese egg tart pastries are the tastiest (if not the healthiest) breakfast coffee complement.
Prawns – grilled or fried, small or giant, of all the seafood in Mozambique the most famous are the prawns. You haven’t had prawns until you’ve eaten them in Mozambique. Enjoyed with rice, fries or even fresh pão.
Pão – ‘pow’ as it’s pronounced is a staple, and delicious. Fresh, hot white bread often baked in wood fired ovens is available everywhere and best when very fresh.
Prego – combining two already great tastes, pão and piri-piri, along with a piece of steak, this spicy sandwich is on another level. Even when the steak isn’t the most tender, the spice of chilies and the freshness of the pão makes this a roll to remember.
2M or Laurentina – two beers that perfectly complement the weather. Best served ice cold.