Maputo - Mozambique - The journey of extremes

by Daianne Travels
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Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique is a country in South Africa. Maputo is the capital and largest city of Mozambique. Maputo was famous for the inscription "This is Portugal" written on the bridge of the municipal building. Today, it is a port city in the Indian Ocean, with its economy centered on the harbor and also is known as the "City of Acacias" because of the locust trees, commonly found along its avenues and the Pearl of the Indian Ocean…The area was explored by Vasco da Gama in 1498 and colonized by Portugal in 1505. Mozambique became independent in 1975, and became the Republic of Mozambique shortly after.

Most international flights to/from Mozambique use Maputo's airport. You can fly with TAP, which flies from Portugal daily or SAA or LAM, which also has a lot of flights to Mozambique or fly with Ethiopian Airlines from Frankfurt, Milan and Rome. The best time to visit Mozambique is between April and October. The only official language spoken in Mozambique is Portuguese.

In Mozambique are two big cities, Beira, in the country centre and Maputo in the south central, both being connected by a fast line, cost about 40 U.S. $ a journey  with a TCO bus.

In Mozambique, you can make snorkeling around the Bazaruto Archipelago, take a boat ride under the palm trees of the Quirimbas Archipelago or try a safari in Gorongosa National Park…or to visit its capital…Maputo.

In Maputo you can visit: Tunduru Garden, the famous Manueline Arch; Fortress of Maputo, , Maputo Cathedral, Museum of Natural History; Tunduru Gardens or the impressive building of the central station or the Iron House – which was designed by Gustave Eiffel. The main attraction is the fort of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, where the Portuguese settled. In Maputo are big buildings and monuments, large avenues and all seems intact after several decades of changes…From the harbour at Maputo, you can take a ferry to Inhaca Island and take a boat trip from Inhaca to Portuguese Island that offers beautiful white sand beaches and beautiful lagoons, being also a natural reserve…that’s really worth! Also you may try just 50kms south of Maputo is one of the more raw African nature…Maputo Elephant Reserve, there your pictures will look spectacular with all kind of animals and birds.

So many places to visit in Maputo you don’t have, visiting Maputo itself is great, surprising and may seems a little bit shabby and somewhat a heaven in a puddle of mud…anyway if you want to shop you can go in Shanty Craft, where you will find souvenirs, you can make shopping, like food, drinks and stuff like that in supermarkets as Mohammed & Co Supermercado, or can buy some clothes and other things from the Polana Shopping Centre, or buy fresh vegetables and fruits from Municipal Market Square or go to the crafts markets, which are in different corners of Malputo, and there you will find nice souvenirs.

The city is full of contrasts, will see superb villas, luxurious, with the view over the sea, rich people with expensive cars but on the other hand you see the slums, filth, the garbage thrown everywhere, people talking loud, fish smell .... For sure Maputo has a huge gap between rich and poor people.

If in Maputo, things are somewhat ok, elsewhere, it seems detached from the movies ... is a total struggle with the poverty, women are exploited, have a kind of pole, where every end have buckets of water, woods, trying to deal with a blazing sun in a constant struggle to survive ... those children with their bones out, yes, they are found here, the elders bringing home the little ones, in their back and arms, the malaria mosquitoes, the rats, everything makes you see life in a different way …the water makes you cherish, maybe every drop, to value hygiene products, clothes that you have, the bed where you sleep, your family, the living conditions and high level incomparable to what is here…

All these things make me think of those who leave in such missions to help children and people here, because most people who live in the city imagines you came here just to get some food and go, well, it is totally wrong… basically you expose your life, health and psyche, to give and to do well you mission, you have confidence that you will come back healthy, nor will you be able to withstand a world so harsh that occur in the 21st century …

Therefore, beyond the things that seem impossibly hard and untouchable, we all should reflect more on our own being, to look more around us, to have the ability to be more positive and wise and to turn every journey into something constructive, not only a road, a defining lesson for the world within us and outside of us.

Regarding to Maputo, my advices are to be very careful while travelling around the city in ''chapas'' or mini-buses, as there are reported cases of robbery, accidents and overcharging...also is I recommend not to go alone or only with your partner, of course is your choice, but would be wisely to be with a group or at least to fit into a tourism group or something like that and avoid going out at night.

To complete the review of Maputo, this is a lush capital, apparently comparable with Dubai. As in Dubai, you will meet high poverty and often unbearable opulence, making Maputo, a diverse and contrasting city.

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