A Day in Maputo, Mozambique

2023 HAL World Cruise

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Maputo is situated near the convergence of four rivers and sits on a large natural bay on the Indian Ocean.  This area was originally settled by the ancient Tsonga people as a fishing village.  But then, Vasco da Gama arrived in 1498 and the area began to grow under a gradual process of colonization and settlement by the Portuguese.  In 1781, the Portuguese established a fort here.  The area continued to grow with economic prosperity as a port city (then named Laurenco Marques after the navigator who explored the area in 1544) eventually becoming the capital of Mozambique.  By 1975, Mozambique obtained independence from the Portuguese and the city was retained as the capital but renamed Maputo (after Chief Maputsu I of the Tembe clan of the Tsonga people.)    But after only 2 years of independence, the country fell into a civil war that lasted from 1977 to 1992.  In 1994, Mozambique held its first multiparty elections and now remains a relatively stable presidential republic.

Maputo has been one of the most stylish cities in Africa.  Laid out in a convenient grid pattern of wide tree-lined boulevards with mosaic paved sidewalks, the city boasts Portuguese-style colonial buildings and offers an old-world charm with a pleasant Mediterranean vibe that attracted a cosmopolitan crowd.  That is, until the civil war left it in disrepair and shabbiness.  But today, the residents are working on it.  They are cleaning up, sprucing up, and attracting more and more tourists to the beaches and restaurants.

Here are some photos:

If you remember, we left Reunion expecting to visit Madagascar next. But Cyclone Freddy regenerated and forced the cancellation of our stop in Tolanaro. We turned south and skirted that large, magnificent island as we headed to Maputo, Mozambique.
And 5 days later, we awoke in Maputo.
Many of our shipmates signed up for African Safaris. They departed the ship in Maputo; bused to Kruger National Park; and will rejoin the ship in Cape Town. We had enjoyed this experience in 2018 and you can check the archives for a descriptive and photos of that wonderful adventure!!!

However today, from our balcony, we watched them depart–albeit a little wistfully–and wished them fascinating adventures over the next several days!!! We’ll be anxious to hear of their adventures!!!
We, on the other hand, decided to take the ship’s shuttle to the local Craft Market.
Well you just know they were awaiting our arrival!!!
And we were ready to get in there and do some shopping!!!
And the shopping was appealing. Lots of clay pots……
…..and many, many artistic vendors with carvings, batik, jewelry, and more just waiting to be chosen and given a new home!!!
After a fun afternoon at the craft market, we considered ending up at the local mall—nah, we already had the “good stuff”!!!
So we chose, instead, to ride the shuttle back to the ship taking photographs along the way. This is the old fort built by the Portuguese in 1781.
Now, the railway station is gorgeous. Designed by Mario Veiga, Jose Ferreira da Costa, and Alfredo Lisboa de Lima, it was constructed from 1913-1916. It remains one of the best examples of Beaux-Arts style.
The building is often, wrongfully, attributed to Gustav Eiffel. Not so, that iconic dome was designed by Ferreira da Costa and continues to inspire!!!
In the square where the Railway Station is located, this Monument to the Great War stands as a memorial to the Africans and Europeans who died during WWI.
The station continues to run efficiently today. From our balcony, we watched many commuters come and go, all day long…..
…..and into the evening.
Returning to the ship, we took a few final photos of the boulevards,…..
…..the square…..
…..and an encompassing panorama. This is a city that grows on you!!!
We will look forward to a return visit!!!

Next, we sail to Durban and begin a four-port adventure thru South Africa culminating in Cape Town.

Stay tuned for more of the journey!!!