Maputo is the capital and largest city of Mozambique, lying in the south of the country, not far from the border with South Africa. The city is undergoing rapid redevelopment, buoyed by recent economic growth, while an ever-increasing number of tourists are choosing to visit Maputo in order to sample its rustic yet charming vibe, akin to that of many Brazilian cities.
The city is a hive of activity, especially in the centre and towards the harbour, which is arguably the busiest area of Mozambique. In recent years, the city has experienced something of a cultural boom, with museums, galleries and bars all springing up to try and help give tourism a shot in the arm. However, some of the natural attractions also help to bring people to Maputo.
The city’s roads vary in quality, but for negotiating potholes and cracks, a large family car would help to make driving in Maputo a more pleasurable experience.
Museu de História Natural isn’t the biggest museum in Maputo, but it’s certainly one of the more interesting. Among the number of exhibits here are stuffed mammals, reptiles and birds including full-sized elephants, not to mention some traditional wooden carvings.
In the Baixa district of the city, the Mercado Central is a good, cheap place to go shopping. This large market sells fresh fruit and vegetables, clothes, ceramics and even a few souvenirs which might be good as mementos of your trip to Maputo.
The National Art Museum is as good a place as any in Maputo to see works from local Mozambican artists. Amid all the smaller paintings, there are a few large canvases from Malangatana, one of the most famous painters in the country.
Maputo has two absolutely stunning beaches – Catembe and Ponta d’Ouro. Both are pretty popular and offer some spectacular views of the city’s bay as well as several ideal spots for either scuba diving or surfing.
If crossing the border from South Africa, the N4 motorway is the best route, as it becomes the EN4 when in Mozambican territory.
Border control is known to be strict between South Africa and Mozambique. Although hectic, if you do what they say, you should be able to leave quickly.
Maputo’s road network is pretty easy to understand, although some roads are undergoing maintenance works, which can cause traffic delays.
Maputo International Airport (Louren√ßo Marques Airport) is around two miles northwest of the city centre. It‚Äôs the largest airport in Mozambique and serves the widest range of destinations, covering Africa, Europe and Asia.
The airport is near the Rua De Sacadura Cabral, which goes south onto the Avenida Joaquim Chissano. Turn onto the N1 and then onto the N2, which goes into the city centre.