Maputo: 08 Jun - 21 Jun 2018

Updated: Feb 16

Ever wonder what it would be like to visit a city with a population of one million people and be the only tourist?


1. Flew Ethiopian Air from Vienna to Maputo (MPT) connecting in Addis Ababa (ADD). Because of morning fog at ADD, our plane was diverted to Djibouti where we refueled before continuing on to ADD. We therefore missed our connecting flight to MPT. Ethiopian Airways provided incredible customer service: one of their agents provided us with a transit visa (to exit the airport), a voucher for a free night at a hotel (with breakfast, lunch and dinner) and transportation to and from. Note: morning fog at ADD is a common occurrence.

2. Immigrations: exited the plane on the tarmac and walked to the terminal. The terminal is confusing (forget it Jake, it's . . . Africa) and we were unsure where to proceed to purchase our visa. You need to walk to the back of the terminal, bearing right, proceed around the kiosks (a button hook). If someone asks to see your Yellow Fever certificate by all means show them, but you will need to most likely show someone else after you get your visa. You can purchase your visa for $50 (MZM - 3000, Euro - 45, GBP - 40) cash or credit (you can use visa for your visa). The visa will take up one full page in your passport. Then proceed to Immigrations, baggage claim and then depart departure.

-Note: youths will "help" you with your luggage when you exit departures (if you have arranged for a transfer, your driver will not object). They are not just being friendly, and will expect payment after depositing your luggage in the trunk of the car (mine "requested" $10, they didn't know who they were dealin' with).

-Note: if you have transited a country at risk for Yellow Fever, then proof of vaccination will be required to exit terminal. If not, you will be vaccinated at a cost of $50 (do you really want some stranger in Africa sticking a needle in your arm?!)

3. Taxi into town: Expect to pay ~ $10 (@ 600 Met), agree on a price prior to closing the taxi door. Or arrange with Michel at +258 82 777 7464 for an airport transfer for @ $10 (nothing like exiting departures and seeing a friendly face holding a sign with your name on it). He's honest and speaks perfect English.

4. Guest House 1109: This is the best deal in Maputo. I found that most of the lodgings in Maputo were ridiculously expensive, but this place is reasonable, luxurious (I recommend room #9) and centrally located (with a pool). Full (and I mean full) breakfast included. Your host is Nunno.

5. Bistro No. 1 Wine House (Avenida Amilcar cabral Nº54; up the street from Guest House 1109): First night in Maputo, Susan and I wandered around in search of food. Streets were eerily deserted and we were hungry. We should have been scared, but we weren't (it's Maputo!). After refreshing ourselves with a beer at a Chinese restaurant (they're everywhere - like the Roman Catholic Church), we stumbled across this place. Service was a might slow, but the meal and wine were delicious.

6. Maputo Central Railway Station (constructed from 1908 to 1916 in the Beaux-Arts style). According to some travel literature, this is one of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Train Stations in the World. I dunno. It reminds me of the ad in the airplane seat back magazine that lists the "10 Best Steak Houses in the US", only to find in the that the ad was created by the . . . "10 Best Steak Houses in the US, Inc" who just happened to be owned by the above listed 10 steakhouses. The best part of the experience was walking to the station (there will be no other tourists to be seen - you are it!).

7. The Longest Suspension Bridge in Africa: The Maputo-Katembe Bridge (US$700m) is being constructed by state-owned China Road and Bridge Corporation. If you didn't know any better would think you were in New York City.


Maputo-Katembe Bridge

8. Inspect the statue of Samara Machel located in the center of Praca da Independence. The nine-meter tall, bronze statue depicts the first President of Mozambique and was designed and funded by a North Korean outfit - examine it carefully, as some may say it has a rather Asian quality, compare to the image on every denomination of the Metical (Mozambique currency). It sets in front of Maputo City Hall on the spot formerly occupied by a statue of Joaquim Augusta Mouzinho de Albuquerque, Governor-General of Portuguese, Mozambique from 1896 to 1897 (see below). There is a smaller, similar statute down the street at the Tunduru Gardens.

-Note: In 1998, twelve years after Samora Machel's death, his widow Graça Machel married Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, thus becoming the only woman to have been the First Lady of two countries.

9. Fortaleza da Nossa Sennora da Conceicao: A fort built by the Portuguese in the 1800's to defend Maputo. Some interesting sculptures (including Joaquim Augusta Mouzinho de Albuquerque - see above). Entry Fee ~ 20 Met. Not bad.

10. Zambi Restaurant: One of the best restaurants in Maputo. When you visit Maputo you have to eat prawns at least once and this is the best place to do it.

11. Spar: There is a Spar grocery store on Avenida 24 de Julho, that has a good selection at good prices (and liquor).


Mozambique Tiger Prawns at Zambi Restaurant

12. If it's Sunday night @ 1900, go to Arts and Artist in Residence, Cafe Camissa, Avenida 25 de Septembro 1025. A delightful mix of music (live and DJ), art, artists and booze. Note: there is a modest cover charge (em dinheiro) - I had too good of a time to remember the exact amount.

13. Try some Amarula which is a cream liqueur from South Africa (think Bailey's). It is made with sugar, cream, and the fruit of the African marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea) which is also locally called the Elephant tree or the Marriage Tree. It has an alcohol content of 17% by volume, so drink up.

14. Maputo is pronounced Maputoo by the locals. Give it a try . . . so you can blend.

15. Prior to leaving Mozambique exchange or spend all your Meticals, as they cannot be exchanged outside of Mozambique.

16. Useful Portuguese phrases:

-a conte port fa vor: The bill, please

-Dosh M (2 M): the most popular beer (cerveja) in Mozambique

17. Recommended listening:

- Mozambique by Bob Dylan

Maputo-Katembe Bridge

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