Mozambique’s colonial history has left Maputo with an eclectic range of buildings and a diverse mix of people. The city has broad avenues lined with jacarandas and acacias, and was designed in grid format in Portuguese colonial times so it’s easy to find your way around. A focal point in the city is the Praca de Independencia, a wide plaza surrounded by splendid old buildings.
The country’s mineral wealth is leading to a business boom and construction is happening everywhere. Some poorer areas are being flattened to make way for development, but its wide avenues and Mediterranean-influenced architecture will hopefully not be lost in the frenzy.
If you tire of the city, some beaches are easily accessible.
The cuisine is diverse because of the Portuguese and Muslim heritage, and seafood is abundant.
The cost of staying in Maputo has risen in recent years as foreign businesses set up shop to capitalise on the mineral wealth, so it’s no longer as cheap as it used to be. The developments have seen more high-class hotels appearing so there’s a good choice of accommodation. Supermarkets and pavement cafes have popped up too, which is never a bad thing.
Maputo is GMT +2 and has no Daylight Saving Time.
The currency in Mozambique is the Metical, and banks and forex bureaus exchange all major currencies. In southern parts of the country some hotels accept South African rands, US dollars or pounds sterling to pay for accommodation. Further north, dollars and sterling are widely accepted. ATMs have spread into tourist areas. Credit cards are usually accepted at upmarket hotels, but carry cash everywhere else.
Mozambique has a warm, tropical climate with an average temperature of 28°C. October to April is rainy, humid and very hot, while June to October is cooler. Maputo’s dry period is May to August, with January being the hottest, wettest month and July the coolest.
Electrical sockets are the round two-pinned type with a voltage of 220V.
Mobile networks have the city covered. Local sim cards can be bought at the airport to keep costs down if you’re going to be making local calls. Internet access is rarely free, even in hotels, or is free only for limited downloads. There are some internet cafes and a few cafes offering wifi.
Taxis are the most reliable form of transport, and more pleasant than the communal minibus taxis. Fix the price upfront because taxis are not metred. There are ranks outside most top-end hotels. Some taxis will go anywhere in the city, but others operate on set routes. That’s useful to get into the city centre cheaply from the outskirts. Tuk-tuks are a cheaper, more amusing option.