1. The beach is amazing
Maputo was formed by the Portuguese as a port (harbour) at the Indian Ocean. Today it is home for a wide variety of beaches, that comparing to Maldives or Seychelles, still keep that non–commercial, wild flavour.
The tropical savanna climate is in favour for the wild exotic vegetation to grow and even if most beach resorts are spread all across Mozambique, you can still find nice, cosy beaches in Maputo.
I recommend that you take a ferry ride from Maputo to Catembe beach. Do it early morning, in order to catch later the sunset that offers a spectacular view over Maputo.
The ferry goes daily from 5am to 11:30 pm, just remember that in the weekend it’s usually overcrowded.
2. Riding horses
Besides scuba diving and snorkeling, another popular activity for tourists is riding horses by the beach area, or at the local farms.
This sounds like a lot of fun and for sure it is, but for the people that never rode a horse in their life extra attention is required.
My story is that the horse i was riding simply ran off with me. I was in a group of 4 riders and what i didn’t know about this beautiful animals is that they are also highly competitive. Once you have one running like crazy, the others will follow for sure. If for them it’s just a game running freely on the beach, for you falling down can cause serious health problems.
3. Visit a farm
You need to hire a car and get a reliable driver but it’s all worth it once you reach the country side of Maputo.
The farms are a great place to relax with your friends, interact with all sorts of animals, or simply enjoy a beer in the company of a horse
(yes, you read that right, often horses came to the bar to ask for their dose of beer simply by knocking their hoof to the ground).
4. Not all Africans speak Swahili
Even if some of them do speak Swahili, don’t make like me the assumption that everyone knows the language.
The official language in Maputo is Portuguese (that remained until today from the colonial period) and it’s better to just stick with that when talking to a local.
5. Favourite dish
Considering its wide opening to the ocean, in Mozambique you definitely cannot miss the seafood restaurants.
My favourite dish: fresh prawns cooked hot in peri–peri sauce with some rice on the side (the portuguese influence again, whoever ate one time at a “Nando’s” restaurant knows what i’m talking about).
6. Bring cash, avoid ATMs
It’s better to carry cash anywhere you go instead of cards, as there have been reported cases of credit cards cloning and skimming.
Small notes would be amazing.
Maputo is definitely the art scene, the heart of Mozambique with its museums, galleries and street artists bringing life to the markets.
You will bring home items such as woodcarvings, paintings, african masks or jewelry.
As a tip, just remember to don’t engage in a conversation with a vendor if you are not willing to buy anything – otherwise it’s very hard to dismiss him afterwards.
8. Street food
The local food was influenced by the Portuguese, Indian, Chinese and Arabic cuisines and it’s served hot, which translates as very spicy.
Even if seafood dominates the market, you should definitely try the fresh fruits (bananas are amazing) and the cashew nuts.
9. Don’t drink tap water
This is a commun advice for african countries and not only, as our stomach cannot handle new things just immediately. One solution is to buy bottled water or simply try to boil the water.
10. Travel as light as possible
There are so many advantages in travelling light, i’ll just point few:
- You’ll not feel so tired, carrying all those heavy bags
- You’ll actually fit in their mini–buses, called chapas
- You’ll not bring unwanted attention towards you
- You can move faster and smoother
- Less things to worry about, more to enjoy
- You can bring home more souvenirs for your friends and family (you’ll have extra space in your bags!)
Travel safe !