Life in sunny Maputo is largely lived outside, whether that means enjoying the afternoon at a sidewalk cafe, or simply taking a walk along a street lined with flame trees. You can savor the busy modern vibe of Avenida Marginal, or relax in the slower pace of the coastal Baixa area.
Stroll the pretty tree-lined streets of Maputo, with Mediterranean-influenced architectural gems like the train station.
Maputo has a renowned live music scene, along with casual beer bars, sophisticated cocktail lounges, sweaty dance clubs, and more to satisfy every taste.
There are stellar beaches to enjoy in the immediate area, many of them accessible by boat, including Catembe, Ponta do Ouro, Praia da Macaneta, and Inhaca Island in Delagoa Bay.
From the Casa Elefante, with its selection of artisan craft work, to the Xipamanine Market every Saturday, you'll find virtually anything you need at markets, including foods, gorgeous batiks and other textile goods, and wood work.
Local cuisine means a delicious mix of Southern African, Portuguese, South Asian, and Middle Eastern influences, with both traditional and modern fusion cuisine to savor.
Located almost on the tip of the peninsular jutting out into Maputo Bay, this interesting museum is housed in a supremely elegant colonial-era building, with gardens to match (and an engaging mural by the Mozambican artist Malangatana). Inside, you'll find carefully stuffed (and often fairly bloody) samples of South East African fauna, special exhibitions on elephants and snakes. One thing's for sure: You'll come out with a renewed appreciation for the country's biodiversity.
A key part of the capital's cultural life, the Centro Cultural Franco-Moçambicano celebrates links between Mozambique, France, and Francophone African nations. But, on a more everyday level, it's a vibrant music and drama venue, with shows taking place on a daily basis. Located in the historic core of the city, the center has an on-site gallery showing contemporary talents, runs masterclasses for traditional musical instruments, and also has one of the best cafes in town (but book ahead, as it's pretty popular).
Maputo's central railway station is one of those termini that is much more than just a place to get in and out of the city. With its stunning late 19th century Art Nouveau design (created by an associate of the great Gustav Eiffel), the station is on a par with Grand Central or St Pancras, but relatively few get to see it. Marvel at the wrought iron decorations and the delicate dome, but go inside as well, where there's a lively exhibition space for local artists.
Maputo's cultural pride and joy, the National Art Museum is like a pantheon of national artistic heroes, and you may be surprised by how many of them there are. From the celebrated sculptor Chissano to the muralist Malangatana, this museum is the perfect introduction to modern Mozambican culture, and houses over 2,000 works. It's also fairly easy to find, with a memorable address at the intersection of Karl Marx Avenue and Ho Chi Minh Avenue. If you love what you see, be sure to visit the Chissano Gallery. It's a little out of town, but for art fans, it's a must see.
Maputo's gastronomy revolves around the sea, which isn't much of a surprise seeing as the Indian Ocean is right next door. The Mercado do Peixe (Fish Market) can be found a mile or two up the coast from the city center in a large, custom-built hall - and it's a magical experience for seafood fans. First up, there's the energy of traders hawking their fresh shellfish and fish. But after that, the real highlight is having the chance to visit restaurants adjoining the main building, which serve the freshest grilled fish you'll ever taste.
Maputo is a true year-round destination, with a warm, relatively dry climate that varies little from season to season. Temperatures range from 65 to 80 degrees.
Maputo International Airport (MPM) is located just under 4 miles from the city center. A taxi to the city should cost about MT500.
Train service to Maputo is limited, with the exception of a daily run to and from Ressano Garcia, which is located on the nearby border of South Africa.
Maputo connects to Johannesburg in South Africa via the N4 highway. It is also feasible to drive to other locations in South Africa, including Durban, along with other centers in Mozambique.
Daily bus connections are available to Johannesburg, along with other major centers in Mozambique.
Stay in a classic whitewashed Maputo villa at the Hotel Cardoso, where your room overlooks the bay from a cliff. The Hotel Maputo offers classic contemporary furnishings and a convenient location near the Baixa.
Baixa - this is a busy commercial area where you'll find the old railway station, built by Gustave Eiffel, along with many of the city's markets.
Sommerschield - this is the heart of modern Maputo, where you'll find the Polana Shopping Center along with historic landmarks like the Polana Serena Hotel.
Alto Ma - here you'll find many restaurant and nightlife options, along with attractions like the 1975 Museum of the Revolution.
The most reliable public transportation system comes via the Chapa, or minibuses, but be forewarned that you will likely need some Portuguese to be able to navigate the extensive system. Fares start at MT7.50.
You'll recognize official metered taxis by their yellow roofs, but even with the meter, you can negotiate fares. A typical fare across downtown runs about MT150-200.
The city core is fairly compact and can be easily explored on foot, but a car will let you venture beyond the city limits. A compact rental starts at about MT2,800 per day; you'll find Sixt and Euro Rent in town.
Street vendors and local shopping can be found virtually anywhere in the Baixa area. For malls, look to the newer areas around Avenida Marginal in the southern part of the city.
Spar and Vosso Supermercado are two of the larger chains operating in Maputo, while Mercado Central in the Baixa district sells fresh food. A gallon of milk costs about MT230, and a dozen eggs about MT95.
Seafood is naturally a local specialty, and you'll find delectable dishes prepared on a grill with beach views at the Restaurante Costa do Sol. Main dishes start at MT400. O Escorpião offers classic Portuguese and Mozambican dishes with mains starting at MT400.