Just like in much of Africa, the transport only leaves when it is full or almost. As on that morning of February 2017 there was only one passenger on the bus that would go directly from Manzini to Maputo for 90 rands (~6 euros), I had to board at 6:30 into another bus that for 45 rands stopped at the border of Lomahasha-Namaacha. There I entered Mozambique with my tourist visa issued by the Embassy of Mozambique in Brasília. Nowadays this is no longer necessary, since it can be issued at the border for only 50 dollars.
I exchanged the money on the street and immediately jumped with my backpack in a van to Boane, for 50 meticais (Mozambican currency, equivalent to 0.7 euros). As soon as I disembarked, I had to take a last bus to Maputo downtown for 20 meticais. Speaking the same language as the local people helped a lot in this confusing transfer.
Tourism in Maputo
So I walked to the Fatima’s Backpackers hostel, where I dropped the backpack. Then I had lunch at Royal Sweets, an Indian restaurant with very cheesy decor. At least there is a good wi-fi, air conditioning and they accept credit cards.
Randomly, I followed on foot passing through some points of interest, like the Church of Santo Antônio da Polana, with a modernist style of architecture.
Further south, I entered the Museu Nacional de Geologia (National Museum of Geology), an interesting geology class accompanied by a significant collection of rocks and minerals. It costs 50 rands for admission.
After that, I saw unpleasant things. Sorry Mozambicans, but the city is kind of dirty, decadent and insecure. Not even the seafront is nice.
There on Avenida 25 de Setembro, I was stopped by some policemen. Since I was carrying my passport with the visa and had no illicit substance, they did not ask me for money, as it could be expected.
So I returned to the hostel, where I met a group of Brazilians. We dined at the same Indian restaurant and enjoyed some 2M local beers (80 meticais) at the hostel. The collective dorm bed is not very comfortable. However, it is definitely the best place to meet other travelers.
Theoretically I would go to Tofo Beach at dawn, but due to cyclone Dineo hitting hard the region of Inhambane a day before, I had to stay in the capital. So I took the opportunity to stroll through the historic center, where buildings, monuments and museums are located. Next to the Metropolitan Cathedral and in front of the City Hall, in Independence Square is the statue of Samora Machel, the revolutionary leader of Mozambique’s independence from Portugal.
Another nearby famous building is the Casa de Ferro (Iron House), built in that material in 1892. It had several functions over time, but being too hot ended up abandoned. It has recently been renovated as part of a historic building in the Tunduru Gardens, an unsuccessful attempt to make a botanical garden. At least admission is free.
Proceeding, I went into some more museums, all of them costing between 20 and 50 meticais. There is written information in both English and Portuguese, but they are small and not so interesting. Here is one of the rooms at the Museu de Arte Nacional (National Art Museum) with modern works…
…of the Museu das Pescas (Museum of Fisheries) and their vessels and implements…
…And Maputo Fortress with its internal cannons…
But what I liked the most was the Museu dos CFM, which is inside the central station of passenger and cargo trains of Maputo and tells more about that.
Stay tuned for the strange hours of operation of the museums: While the art one only opens at 11 o’clock, the natural history closes at 15 hours and 30 minutes.
I had lunch by downtown, then observed some buildings with interesting architecture and finally I entered the Municipal Market, which sells food, mainly not processed.
At night, I, Felipe (Brazilian) and Jake (foreigner I met in Windhoek), attended a musical presentation at the Centre Culturel Franco-Mozambicain. On stage there were Bholoja (Swazi singer, guitar player and pianist), Rodália (Mozambican singer) and Samito (Mozambican percussionist). I do not know how to call the rhythm or the language of the concert, but it was very intense and cool.
At 5 o’clock at dawn, I, Jake and the 8 Brazilians were able to leave by an arranged bus to Tofo, farther north. The return to Maputo was at 4 o’clock in the morning, but only 3 days later.
In the afternoon I went with Juliana and another Brazilian I met in Tofo to FEIMA (a handicrafts, flowers and gastronomy Fair). There are, literally, hundreds of booths of the most varied souvenirs, not only Mozambicans. With a bit of negotiation one arrives at very good prices.
The following morning began the marathon of flights back to Brazil. I had breakfast in Maputo, lunch in Johannesburg, snack in Windhoek and dinner in Luanda. The first part was in a modern airplane and with on-board service at state-owned LAM (Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique), at a cost of 5717 meticais (~81.7 euros).