Visitors will notice that Maputo has plenty of public mail boxes on its streets. Those boxes, that can be found all over the city, are from the preindependence period (before 1975).
Since it's still possible to see the portuguese armillary sphere on those mail boxes, it definitely brings memories from the old Portuguese ruling time when Maputo city was known as Lourenço Marques.
I guess that due to very limited human resources, those mailing boxes are now out of use since the current mozambican mail system doesn't collect any mail from it.
Would one imagine that on one particular building on Avenida 24 de Julho, one of the main avenues in Maputo, there's a tree that has been growing, growing, growing on the edge of the roof and it seems that nobody cares about it !!!
The tree sprang up right there and right there has it been growing and thing's are likely to be kept that way. Amazing !! - Who would think that this could happen ??
Somehow on Avenida Julius Nyerere there are only 3 particular trees (out of many other trees) that hold various nests of some little birds locally know as Xiricos.
Those particular trees are located on Julius Nyerere Avenue right in front of the Europcar office (near Polana Hotel).
About 36 km offshore of Maputo crossing the Maputo Bay lays the Island of Inhaca. The island is reached by either air or boat and on the island no cars operate.
One hotel the Inhaca Lodge offer accommodation here and in recent years several local establishments opened that offer backpackers a place to stay.
Since 1976 the island has been declared a nature reserve that offers magnificent subtropical dunes and several coral reefs in the vicinity.
Most of the local inhabitants residing on the island live from either fishing or tourism. Some of them have opened small restaurants that serve some of the most magnificent sea food.
To relax, wander around or for some spectacular diving this is close to civilization but yet so far away a rather unknown subtropical paradise!
Just opposite of Maputo lays the old prison island of Xefina. The buildings have not been used since the Portuguese have left in the 1970's and the island is only home to a few people. Unspoiled beaches and some nice pathways crossing the island can be explored.
During the last World War the Portuguese also build some artillery bunkers along the coastline to protect Maputo from a possible attack.
The few times I visited the island I went to the Club Navale and negotiated with a skipper there to charter a yacht and sail across the bay. If you have a group and some more time ask them to prepare a seafood barbeque on the beach for you. A real treat!
The island offers panoramic views across the Bay and the skyline of Maputo and you can enjoy a day out in almost isolation away from the bustle and hustle of the capital of Mozambique!
Crossing the river from Maputo one would use the local ferry, price per person around 0.20 USD. From here one has a view over the entire city in a complete different world. Catembe is a sleepy little town that is pleasant to visit. One of the attractions here is the Restaurante Diogo close to the ferry jetty that offers spectacular seafood including the famous LM prawns.
The ferry jetty is in the port of Maputo along the Avenida 10 de Novembro
When you cross the border between South Africa and Mozambique at Komatipoort it is advisable to get one of the local "assistants" to help you getting your papers thru. We have witnessed some people trying to do it on their own, but lots of hassles. It took us 30 minutes in total and we were on our way again and only costed us R50.00. These "assistants" do not ask you for money it is a given that you would tip
The Kruger Park has also become for the inhabitants of Maputo a main attraction and on recent visits to the park I was astonished as to how many Mozambican cars drove around the park. Just 70 km from Maputo one reaches the border to South Africa and the park is a stone throw away. Over 2 Million hectares of Lowveld offer the Big Five; Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino & Buffalo as well as hundreds of other species in the flora and fauna world.
Leave Maputo on the Western Highway towards Ressano Garcia. Here you cross the Mozambican / South African Border to Komatipoort. In Komatipoort the Kruger Park is sign posted to the Crocodile River Gate where one enters the park.
Catembe is located on the other side of the bay from Maputo city. Catembe is a rural area, and the life is not so hectic as it is in the city centre. The main attraction in Catembe is the beach, which is quite long and wide. But the water is not so clean. The beach is a gathering place for young people.
Catembe has several small cafes. The streets are without asphalt paving.
The real African life starts where the concrete buildings ends. Densely populated areas without asphalt paving are just outside the city centre.
T3 is a suburban area in Maputo where burning barrels outside cafes replace lights in the nights. T3 is a poor area, and people live in very basic houses or shacks with sheet metal. The place looked peaceful since everybody here lives under the same conditions. Expect to be looked at by the locals if you are white. They are not used to see foreigners here.
To get here, take a chapa (Toyota Hiace) from Avenida 24 de Julho in the city centre. It's easy to see the different chapas because T3 is printed in the windows. The trip takes 25 minutes, cost 7 Metacais and T3 is the last stop.
T3 is pronounced "Te-tresh". Strange to call a place like this by number and not a name.
Finding out the stories of people who aren't there on holiday - you'd be amazed what goes on & who passes through Moz. There are a great many things I haven't told people in Europe - they'd have me committed! but it's all true, and real.......
During the Second Boer War (or the South African War), 11-Oct-1899 to 31-May-1902, after being captured by the Boers, an young Winston Churchill made a daring escape to Lourenço Marques by slipping past the sentries.
Try the Miradouro. When you reach the end of 24 de Julho avenue, although it seems there's nothing more beyond, just walk one block more and you'll reach one of the most peaceful panorama over the Costa do Sol sea front.
Avenida Marginal is just under your eyes, with Clube Nautico.
After independence (in 1975), the city's name changed from Lourenço Marques to Maputo.
Maputo's name has its origin in an old, fierce tribal leader, named Maputa, who once ruled over the whole region.
A curious note is that sewer covers found on the streets Maputo still carry the name of Lourenço Marques, the former name of this city during the time of Portuguese rule.