Melting Pot of Cultures – Maputo, Mozambique

Melting Pot of Cultures
Maputo, Mozambique

Background and Basic Info

Beautiful Beaches
Beautiful Beaches
Mozambique offers a fascinating melting pot of cultures that have left their mark through history. Maputo, the capitol city along the Indian Ocean is home to ‘boa gente’ warm and friendly people and a tranquil ambiance. After five centuries as a Portuguese colony, Mozambique gained independence in 1975. Now after 25 years of civil war, abandoning Marxism in 1989, and surviving massive floods and a severe drought, the development of the country is progressing in a positive light. Relatively untouched by tourism, the country is well known for gorgeous beaches, magnificent seafood, and magical marine life in the Indian Ocean. Mozambique is a jewel of Southern Africa with fascinating cities like Maputo and beach towns to explore.

How to Get There
Major airlines fly into Maputo airport regularly. From South Africa, the major courier is Pantera Azul, Tel: 498868, Translux and Intercape Bus Services. It is also convenient to take a mini-bus taxi from Manzini, Swaziland to Maputo (3.5 hours). Many travellers rent a car from whatever Southern African country they are travelling from. The drive from South Africa to Maputo is beautiful along the Indian Ocean coast, but be aware of the chaotic city driving in Maputo and the streets showered with potholes. (Maputo is not a wheelchair-friendly city on sidewalks)

How to Get Around
These are the courier services that are used for long distant travelling within Mozambique:
DHL: Av. 25 de Setembro 1622. Tel: 307290/4
Nemada Express: Av. 24 de Julho 1245. Tel: 304041
Panthera Azul: Av. Mao Tse Tung 748. Tel: 498868
Skynet: Av. Samora Machel 8. Tel: 305353

Taxi ranks around town are located near areas below:
Gelados Italianos:Av. Mao Tse Tung. Tel: 416497
Hotel Avenida:Av. Julius Nyerere. Tel: 492000
Hotel Cardoso: Av. Mártires Mueda. Tel: 494334
Hotel Moçambicano: Av. Filipe Samuel Magaia. Tel: 429252
Hotel Tivoli: Av. 25 de Setembro. Tel: 307600
Hospital Central: Av. Eduardo Mondlane. Tel: 428493
Mercado Central:Av. 25 de Setembro. Tel: 422340
Preça Cine-Africa:Av. 24 de Julho. Tel: 301044
Shoprite: Av. Acordos de Angola. Tel: 466095

Maputo is very much a walking city. The Mozambicano flair allows you to stroll along the streets with the relaxed routine of Maputo locals.

Local Services
Maputo has a variety of banks, ATMs and services around the city. Banco Internacional de Moçambique (BIM) have ATM’S and accepts Visa. Banco Austral, Av. 25 de Setembro, 1184, accommodates Mastercard. The post offices are located on Av. 25 de Setembro 30 and Av. 24 de Julho 239. Pharmacies are on Av. Karl Marx 426 and Av. Eduardo Mondlane 1425. To develop the film you have been carrying around, go to Alpha (Interfranca) on Av. 24 de Julho. Some supermarkets in Maputo can be found on Av. 24 de Julho, Av. Acordos de Lusaka and Av. Vladimir Lenine.

Local Attractions
Maputo offers places to walk to and learn something about the country’s history along the way. Visit the Revolution Museum on Av. 24 de Julho – near Av.Albert Luthuli. Close by is the Casa da Cultura on Av. Romao Fernandes Farinha. The city hall is on R. da Radio, which is near the Art Museum on Av. Karl Marx and Av. Ho Chi Min. Visit the Brazilian Cultural Center on Av. Zedequias Manganhela and Av. Karl Marx and the Portuguese Cultural Center on Av. Julius Nyerere. For a craft cultural experience, visit Extravagancia on Av. Mao Tse Tung, 1247. Extravangcia is a workshop of traditional Mozambican crafts where you can see the artists at work. At the moment, they are developing a teaching studio which will offer classes to anyone interested in the craft arts.

Things to Do

Kid on Beach
Kid on Beach
Aside from grazing along the Baia de Maputo beaches and boardwalk, the city offers bustling markets and streets to explore. Be sure to pick a few of these market locations and bargain your price for the perfect Mozambican drum or hand-painted batik.
Bazar De Povo: Av. Karl Marx/Av. Ho Chi Minh
Mercado Central:Av. 25 de Setembro
Mercado Estrela: Bairro Alto Mae
Mercado Janeta: Av. Vladimir Lenine/Av. Mao Tse Tung
Mercado Xipamanine: R. Irmaos Rubbi
Mercado Dos Artesanates: Praça 25 de Junho(Saturdays a.m.)
Mercado Dos Pescadores:Av. Marginal (opp. Clube Maritimo)
There are also smaller markets near Hotel Polana on Av. Julius Nyerere and a Saturday market.

Catch a concert or local theatre group at Teatro Avenida on Av. 25 de Septembro, or an exhibition for foreign films at Centro Cultural Franco-MOçAMBICANO on Praça da Independ�ncia.

About 9 hours by bus, but worth every hour along the rough roads lies Inhambane and Tofo Beach. Inhambane is a bay town with a strong Muslim culture and Portuguese architecture that creates a beautiful mix of features. Stay at Barra Lodge or Barra Reef Backpackers.

Tofo Beach is only 30 kilometers out of Inhambane and is known for its surf, fascinating whale shark dives and tranquil beaches. Stay at Bamboozi or Fatima’s Nest and chill on the hammocks framed by the sand dunes and the sea.

Vilanculos is halfway between south and north Mozambique. Best known for its Bazauto Archipelago surrounded by coral reefs and schools of dolphins. You can engage in excursions to the three islands, Baaruto, Magaruque and Benguerra with Sailaway Dhow Safaris. Stay at Baobab Beach Backpackers to relax in the paradise setting.

Places to Eat, Drink, and Stay

Mozambique’s great quality is its seafood. The Fish Market, Nautilus and Escorpiao offer wonderful seafood feasts. People of Maputo like to party until late, so many restaurants close at about 11 p.m. during the week. Those travelling on a budget may find that lunchtime specials offer the best value and vegetarians will be limited to salads, pizza and dishes of typical Mozambican cooking (Matapa – greens, cashews and coconut milk), Mucapata and vegetable curry. If you walk along Av. 24 de Julho, you will find restaurants that range from Thai, Portuguese, Churrasco, Italian, Chinese and café-style food.

For a late-night out in Maputo, find yourself at one or more of these places:
Africa Bar Av. 24 de Julho for live music and dancing.
Vovó Nhaca, Bairro Mavalane, a popular night club and restaurant.
For a local spot, find Djamba House, off Av. do Trabalho.
Sheik Av. Mao Tse Tung, is a sophisticated nightclub. Free entrance for ladies – Thursdays
Sanzala, Av. 25 de Setembro, 151 (near FACIM) has outdoor and indoor dancefloors Jam-packed on the weekends.

jn the City
In the City
There a three hostels in Maputo that are located in different areas of the city. The Base, Av. Patricia Lumumba 545 is the most centrally located and overlooks the Maputo Bay-Baia de Maputo. Fatima’s Place, Av. Mao Tse Tung 1317, is the longest running hostel and close to restaurants, shops and markets. For a sea-side suburb accommodation, Maputo Backpackers is located on Av. Quarta 98 in Costa Do Sol. Hostels range from $8-15 a night.

Background info on Mozam’s political history
Main Mozambique webpage
Accommodation info and more on travelling in Southern Africa
Useful information about Mozambique