- Area: 346.77 km2 (133.89 sq mi)
- Calling Code: (+258) 21
- Currency: Mozambican metical (MZN)
- Population (EST): 1,766,184
- Official language: Portuguese, other
- Time Zone: CAT (UTC+2)
10 Reasons to Visit Maputo
1. Fantastic Train Station
The iconic, soaring dome of Maputo's landmark train station makes it one of the most exciting buildings in the city. Built by an associate of the brain behind the Eiffel Tower, Alexandre Gustav Eiffel, the train station is a wonderful highlight for architectural fans and sightseers. The wrought-iron lattice work is truly superb, and the pistachio-green interior is lined with lovely pillars and charming verandas. It's one of the most beautiful train stations in Africa, and if you're traveling through Maputo, it should most deﬁnitely be on your itinerary. It's also fun to do some people watching here, and see the hustle and the bustle of locals and travelers who are passing through.
2. The Famous Plaza
The Praça dos Heróis Moçambicanos sits on Avenida Acordos de Lusaka, and is situated near the airport. Here you can see the beautiful 95m-long mural that was proudly painted to commemorate the revolution. The rich colours and moving display are a symbol of national pride and independence. Walk along the mural and be sure to take in the details of the painting. It's a wonderful bit of cultural heritage, and the Plaza itself is a nice place to relax in a local cafe. It's not uncommon to see travelers and businessmen taking in the plaza sunset at dusk.
The House and Studio of the famous painter Malangatana is a fantastic highlight in Maputo. He is one of Mozambique's most treasured artists, and today, the walls are covered with his beautiful paintings as well as sculptures on display by Alberto Chissano. This makes for a lovely day trip, and the art of Malangatana is hailed for good reason. Tickets for this site can usually be purchased at the train station, and tours are arranged for most days of the week. Be sure to bring your camera.
4. Natural History Museum
Near Hotel Cardoso you will ﬁnd the Natural History Museum of Maputo. The inspiring and stately Manueline architecture alone is a great reason to visit the Museum. There's also a stunning garden with a famous mural by the aforementioned Malangatana. The mural is considered a national treasure, and is perfectly framed by the verdant plant life that surrounds it. There are some really interesting taxidermy specimens inside, as well as an educational ethnography exhibit.
5. Praça da Independência
Here is another plaza that is popular in Maputo for its wide expanses, and proximity to the white, spired beauty of the Cathedral of Nossa Senhora da Conceicao. It is also ﬂanked by the neoclassically designed City Hall; in and of itself a marvelous spot to visit. The Governor's residence is also nearby, designed by Eiffel in the late 19th century. With all of these buildings around one plaza, this is a wonderful central location to take in a number of popular attractions in one place.
6. Old Military Fort
Built by the Portuguese in the 19th century, the Old Fort has a lovely garden inside and small museum of early Portuguese artifacts. On display here is the cofﬁn of Ngungunhane, the ﬁnal ruler of the Kingdom of Gaza. The Fort is rich with history and things to see, and really gives you a look into Maputo's fascinating past, and cultural inﬂuences. The Garden is a fantastic place to sit and relax, and take a break from walking and sightseeing. Those who are military history buffs will get a kick out of the design and construction of the Fort, as well as the effective preservation techniques that have kept in such good shape.
7. Markets & Bazaars
There are a number of charming markets and bazaars in Mozambique, and some of the best of them can be found in Maputo. Take for instance the Municipal Market, where there are endless rows of vendours hocking their wares. It is here where you can purchase some of the best, fresh produce, wild ﬁsh, colourful packets of spices, and fragrant fruits. This is the main market of Maputo, and you can really ﬁnd pretty much anything that you need. If you're not looking to buy, it's a fun place to take a stroll and check out the local scene. The best time to buy fresh ﬁsh and vegetables is in the morning before the crowds arrive.
Also of note is the Fish Market, which is lively and popular amongst the people of the city. Off of Avenida Marginal is where you'll ﬁnd the market, and it's brimming with ﬁsh caught right off the waters of Maputo.
8. The Artist's Cooperative
The Artist's Cooperative is a fantastic place to see the latest and greatest pieces of art that Maputo has to offer. Many of these pieces are just for display, but some are for actual sale, and make a fabulous addition to any collection. There is everything here from pottery to paintings. In the garden of the co-op you can see the actual artists at work, perfecting their craft. The adjoining cafe is a great place to grab a cup of coffee or a snack.
9. National Art Museum
Mozambique is a very artistic nation, and the National Art Museum has on display some of the country's most cherished artists, like Malangatana and Chissano. It's great to spend a whole day at the museum, and see whatever current exhibition is open. There's no better place to expeience the rich culture of the country. Take your time and have a tour, and a guide will be happy to further educate you with the history of the nation.
10. Iron House
Designed by an associate of Eiffel, the Iron Horse was built in the late 19th century, and was meant to be the governor's residence. The metal plated exterior eventually made the building unlivable due to the tropical conditions of Maputo. So, even though this building was not lived in, it still stands as a stunning piece of architecture that Maputo takes great pride in.