Unlike other African cities, the Port of Maputo feels like a small town, and it has many wide streets lined with old trees. The streets are busy with people going about their daily routines, and there are many street vendors and markets. One is not aware of a strong police presence in the daytime.
The Port of Maputo is not a popular tourist destination. Its buildings are a mix of old colonial mansions with new high-rise buildings, but much of the architecture is plain and minimalist with chipping paint and many rusting security bars.
Travelers to the Port of Maputo tend to see the beautiful old city charm or the cosmopolitan aspects of the city. A wide range of accommodations can be found for all types of travelers. Its multi-national atmosphere and Portuguese colonial history lend it an atmosphere that sometimes seems more South American than African.
Unfortunately, the long civil war devastated the Port of Maputo, leaving it in disrepair with many immigrants and refugees moving in where the affluent once lived. The city is working hard to restore its past grandeur. The five-star Polana Hotel is operating again. And the Port of Maputo is alive again with people, busy markets, and a cosmopolitan café culture.
The Port of Maputo is the doorway to many wonderful beaches and holiday resorts both north and south of the city. The Maputo Elephant Reserve contains gorgeous coastal areas and increasing game. The inland lakes at Bilene and the Xai-Xai beach offer great fishing, water sports, and ample surroundings for easy relaxation.
The Port of Maputo’s Central Market is housed in a beautiful, but a little shabby, building. It bustles with selling of all types of goods that include traditional handicrafts, foods, and everyday household items. Watch for pickpockets, though, and hide your valuables.
The Museum of the Revolution in the Port of Maputo tells the story of the long struggle against Portuguese colonialism. Displays include photographs, maps, and weapons that tell the story, all captioned in Portuguese.
Inhaca Island is about 40 kilometers off the coast of the Port of Maputo. This popular spot has wonderful beaches and some of the area’s best coral reefs. Visitors will find a marine biology museum, an historic lighthouse, and much protected forest on the island. The island is popular with snorkelers and divers who love the reefs or the many sunken wrecks. The Wall, a 20-meter cliff, hides many caves and ledges that support marine life. Sports fishing is also popular at Inhaca Island.
Divers and surfers are familiar with Ponta d’Ouro. About 120 kilometers south of the Port of Maputo, a sandy road leads to the popular spot that boasts some of the most perfect waves in the world. While there, visitors swim with dolphins. Local pubs offer refreshment and the local Tipo Tinto Rum, and locals sell hardwood carvings of all kinds. Visitors are warned not to remove shells from the beach, as they were probably stolen from the reef.
Travelers who want to visit the Port of Maputo by sea can find a list of scheduled cruises by searching for “Maputo” on the Cruise Compete website.