Landing on a small prop-plane in mid 2012, having traversed the African continent (twenty-three African countries and Madagascar 🇲🇬), relieved to visit such a different country in the continent (the Brazil of Southern Africa)!
Maputo, capital of South East Africa’s Mozambique, is an Indian Ocean port with preserved Portuguese colonial architecture. Many turn-of-the-century buildings are in the downtown jacaranda-lined Baixa neighborhood. The bronze-domed CFM Maputo Railway Station, for example, was completed in 1916. The Baixa also has an expansive Municipal Market. The neoclassical City Hall is in the nearby Praça da Independência square.
Maputo, capital city with touches of Portuguese colonial architecture - would definitely feel at home in Bahia, Brazil or Rio de Janeiro: sexy, humid, exciting - with flashes of danger at some corners and sultry encounters around others… not sure what to expect really: I just dove-in and traveled with Canadian friends so met there throughout much of the country (even to the north- which now has had issues with Islamist insurgents).
Capital of contrasts!
Maputo had some great history museums and modern art galleries, restaurants galore - Churrasco, spicy 🌶 local foods, and boring Portuguese fare. I stayed at a beautiful colonial hotel restored to its former glory surrounded by imported marble and festooned with manicured European gardens with touches of African exotic flowers (like a little Cape Town) … also stayed in a backpackers lodge full of young people from everywhere! I loved it!
From visiting a swanky country club with a white South African friend to walking around the city slums with another backpacker from Spain; from enjoying fresh clams at an elegant restaurant on the water front, to sampling yummy grilled spicy 🌶 chicken (which I added even more of my favorite hot sauce in all of Africa: Piri-piri) - one can find anything in the capital of Mozambique!
Bazaruto Archipelago! 🐋
The idyllic islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique are known for their unspoilt beauty and diverse ecologies. The pristine coral reefs are home to more than 2000 fish species as well as whales and dolphins!
Scuba diving and snorkelling in the Bazaruto Marine National Park is superb and sought after by many travellers. Mozambique visitors who would just like to get away from it all will find Bazaruto just the place to relax, sip cocktails and indulge in a delicious seafood beach dinner or perhaps sail away on a dhow for a castaway picnic:
… and Northern Mozambique:
With tranquil Lake Niassa to the west, the barely explored Niassa Reserve in the middle and the palm-fringed islands of the Quirimbas archipelago off the east coast, northern Mozambique is the nation’s last frontier, a potpourri of mystery, intrigue and adventure. You could argue all day about its most precious sights. The historical legacies of Ibo and Mozambique Island are perhaps the finest in all Africa; diving in the Indian Ocean is still a little-known quantity; and the low-key, community-involved resorts of the Quirimbas and Lake Niassa regions deserve far more credit.
Poor roads and historical remoteness can make travel in the north a tough and uncomfortable business, but it's never drab. Allowing you plenty of time to sit and observe, the geographic detachment can quickly become addictive. With natural gas recently discovered in the area, its isolation might not last forever.
Visit while it's still there:
White South Africans and Whites in Portuguese-controlled Mozambique enjoyed very close relations during the colonial era. When South Africa implemented the apartheid laws, Loutenço Marques, the capital of Mozambique, became a destination for many Whites to go to escape the conservative social policies of the apartheid government. When Mozambique gained independence from Portugal in 1975, thousands of Mozambique-born Whites moved across the border to South Africa, the descendants of which are today Portuguese South Africans…