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Why you should spend a day in Maputo

What to see and do in the capital of Mozambique



Director of Mozambique Voyages
Published on

07 Aug 2018

Updated on

15 Nov 2023

Radisson Blu Maputo Hotel And City View

For the first time in many years, the beauty and potential of Mozambique are truly being appreciated. With 2,500 kilometres of virgin coast, unexplored and unspoiled game reserves, coupled with the establishment of peace and a smooth transition to democracy, tourism in Mozambique is taking off!

Mozambique has something for everyone. Extensive coral reefs offer divers a chance to experience close encounters with tropical fish as well as dolphins, stingrays and sharks. Others may prefer the excitement of game fishing or simply sunbathing on palm fringed beaches in azure waters. Other major attractions include safaris and game viewing as well as historic-cultural adventures. Evenings can be spent savouring world famous prawns, sipping fine wines and dancing to the latest Latin or disco music while waiting for the sunrise to bring on a new holiday experience. So come and visit Mozambique and join the new wave of tourists rediscovering Mozambique’s much splendour.

Maputo Samora Machel Statue
Samora Machel Statue
Maputo Beaches
Maputo Beaches

Welcome to Maputo

Known as the 'Hanava of Africa' thanks to its vibrant culture, architecture and climate, Maputo is a worthy stop-over before or after your grand Mozambique adventures. Formerly the famed Lourenço Marques, Maputo is a city of wide, acacia-lined avenues and tall buildings overlooking Maputo bay and the Indian Ocean. Maputo is also home to the mouth of three rivers: Rio Matola, Rio Tembe and Rio Umbuluzi. So the water is very brown and muddy, and not the blue colours you would expect from the Indian Ocean.

Maputo Natural History Museum
Maputo Natural History Museum

Unique Architecture

One of Maputo's more distinctive characteristics is a remarkable wealth of architecture ranging from the classical Bauhaus design to a robust Luso-Iberian colonial style making it one of the most unique cities in Africa. Gustav Eiffel constructed an Eiffel house for the governor in similar style as the Eiffel Tower, and also designed the roof of the famous CFM Railway Station, which is today a national monument.

Other notable sights include the Maputo Fort (Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Conceição), which was built in 1765, the Natural History Museum, the Samora Machel Statue (of the first President of Mozambique), and the central market which sells all manner of fresh local produce. For souvenirs, head to the curio market for some handicrafts.

General Maputo Railway Station
Railway Station in Maputo
General Eiffel House Maputo
Eiffel House in Maputo

Afro-Portuguese Style

Mozambique’s distinct local style consists of a vibrant blend of African, Arab and Portuguese influences and provides a refreshing contrast to the other countries in the Southern African region. Their passion for life can be seen in every corner of this diverse country, from Maputo’s modern, bustling city streets and pulsating nightlife to the colourful markets and small traditional fishing villages, which dot the coast.

Maputo Wood Carvings
Maputo Wood Carvings

Staying in Maputo

Maputo now sports a lively and growing restaurant scene and a wealth of tourist facilities. When it comes to eating, Maputo has numerous small local restaurants where often the catch of the day is served. I recommend restaurants like Costa do Sol (for seafood and an ocean view), Zambi (for grilled chicken and yes, views), and Peri Peri. The hotels in Maputo are predominantly business hotels as tourism to the capital is still in its infancy, yet they provide all the comfort needed for overseas travellers. For those looking for a bit of nightlife, head to Avenida Julius Nyerere (the main street in Maputo) for a variety of bars, restaurants and clubs all within walking distance.

We recommend staying at the Polana, Radisson Blu, Southern Sun or Pestana Rovuma.

Polana Serena Hotel
Polana Serena Hotel
Southern Sun Maputo Pool
Southern Sun Hotel

Getting Around

Maputo has a good taxi system and all drivers have a sheet with fixed rates depending your destination. Rentals cars are also available from hotels and the Maputo Airport but driving here isn't really advisable. There are way too many cars in the city and driving is hectic.