Olá Maputo!


Clients wanting a new and different weekend getaway? If they like urban culture, a tropical atmosphere, the arts and great food and beer, Maputo may be the answer, especially with two current specials in the SA market (see boxes inset). While it isn’t immediately obvious to the naked eye when one walks through the streets, behind the somewhat run-down facades lies a fortune in history, art, sculpture, jazz and crafts waiting to be discovered.

The services of a good tour guide can transform a short trip to Maputo into a very special experience.

How about a walking tour focusing on the art and architecture of Maputo? Maputo a Pé, conducts walks (as much or as little walking as the clients want), taking in the houses and commercial buildings of a group of ’70s architects’ Afrotropicale style, Pancho Guedes being the most famous of them. A visit to the studio of Gonçalo Mabunda provides a treasure trove of sculpture created from unearthed and disarmed munitions dating back to the wars of Mozambique’s recent past.

Gonçalo Mabunda’s world-famous sculptures turn old munitions from two wars into art.

The art gallery and the Institute of African studies (where Ruth First was assassinated and a memorial stands to her memory) may also be seen. Contact Jane at jane.flood@gmail.com.

A city tour gives another perspective on the city. Book a half-day tour through Dana Tours (see Travelinfo, or call +258 21495514, or go to www.danatours.com). Guests will visit, among other sites, the Museum of Natural History, the beautiful Railway Station, the Fort, the market, and the Steel House designed by Gustav Eiffel. Dana Tours also offers full-day excursions, one to the Macaneta Peninsula, 30km north of the city, where visitors spend the day at a beach lodge, and another to Inhaca Island for a day of sun, sea and snorkelling.

The latter includes a stop at the Marine Biology Museum. A catamaran day-trip on board uMoja, to Xefina Island, just off Maputo, transports guests into the tropical blue. Anchored off the island, they will enjoy a beautifully prepared lunch and drinks, and dinghy trips to the island bring them to a white powder beach for sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling. This catamaran trip is ideal for small groups of around 20 people. Go to www. maputoyachting.com or facebook @maputo. yachting, or call +258 84 900 9899.