Maputo, capital city of Mozambique
Maputo is undeniably one of the most attractive capitals in all of Africa. Trees line the avenues, cafes spill out onto the sidewalks and the Mediterranean-style architecture makes you feel like you are in an entirely different world. There are also shops, restaurants and museums galore, making it a delightful city to explore.
There are a number of interesting museums in Maputo. One of the best is the Museu Nacional de Arte, which highlights the country's finest contemporary artists, including Chissano and Malangatana. To view more sculptures by Chissano, visit the museum dedicated just to him in Matola, a suburb of Maputo. His works are displayed in his family's residence there. For more paintings by Malangatana, visit his home and museum on Rua de Camões. There are also several Chissano sculptures on display at the house.
A Malangatana mural decorates the Museu de Historia Natural as well. The recently renovated museum is one of the finest in the country, and its garden and Manueline architecture are truly beautiful. The collection includes a particularly interesting collection of taxidermy specimens, including elephant pieces that are unique in the region.
The Museu da Moeda is also worth a visit. The collection highlights local currency, including tokens used by early barterers and modern-day coins and bills. Located in the bright yellow building on the Rua Consiglieri Pedroso, the museum takes about an afternoon to explore fully.
For a more somber museum experience, visit the Museu da Revolução. The country's independence struggle is well-documented there through photos and artifacts. Although all the information is in Portuguese, visitors of every language will appreciate and understand the events that influenced Mozambique's recent history.
The story of the revolution is also told at the Praça dos Heróis Moçambicanos, a monument with a 95-meter long-mural dedicated to the struggle. In the center of the star-shaped monument are the remains of some of the country's greatest heroes, including Samora Machel, Eduardo Mondiane and poet José Craveirinha. Permission to visit the site is granted through the Bureau de Informação Pública, and photography is prohibited.
One of the focal points among artistic circles in Mozambique is the Núcleo de Arte, a long-standing artists' cooperative. The gallery often shows pieces by up-and-coming artists and includes a pottery area, a garden and a studio in which you can watch the artists work.
The Praça de Independência is the heart of Maputo. The wide plaza is lined on one side by the neoclassical Conselho Municipal and on the other by the Catedral de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, whose soaring white spire is a symbol of the city. Locals gather on the plaza daily to relax, socialize and shop from street vendors.
Just a short walk from the plaza is the Casa de Ferro, designed by famed French architect Gustave Eiffel. The building is the official governor's residence, but the tropical conditions have eroded much of its metal-plated exterior.
In the mid-19th century, the Portuguese built the Fortaleza, a fort that now surrounds a beautiful garden. The site is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Maputo today, and the small museum highlights the fort's importance to the Portuguese colonists.
Maputo Geographical Location
Maputo is located on the southern tip of Mozambique facing the western coast of the Mozambique Channel.
Maputo is the largest city in Mozambique with a population of approximately 1,500,000.
Portuguese is the official language of Maputo although Emakhuwa is spoken by nearly a quarter of the population as well as other Mozambique dialects scattered across the country.
Maputo Predominant Religion
- 28% Catholic
- 18% Muslim
- 15.5% Zionist Christian
- 11% Evangelical Pentacostal
- 1% Anglican
- 7.5% Other
- 19% None
The Mozambique constitution supports religious freedom and have seen a rapidly growing Evangelical Christian community.
The Metical is the official currency of Mozambique.
May through September are the coolest months of the year while October through April can become uncomfortably hot. It rains most frequently during their warmer months although overall there is little rain.
Maputo Main Attractions
- Maputo Elephant Reserve
- Museum of the Revolution
- Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Conceição
- Other Attraction in Maputo
Natural History Museum
- Maputo Central Market
- Barragem dos Pequenos Libombos
- Polana Casino