Maputo and Inhaca Island

Maputo is the colourful capital city of Mozambique in East Africa. This Indian Ocean port has Portuguese colonial architecture and many well preserved buildings can be found in the downtown neighbourhood of Baixa, which is lined with jacaranda and flame trees.
Maputo is one of Africa’s most attractive cities and the most developed in Mozambique, but you can still enjoy watching the locals go about their daily business, trading their wares.  

Enjoy the Mediterranean-style feel of the city and its wide range of hotels and restaurants, shady sidewalk cafes and a lively nightlife and cultural scene and be sure to take time out to see the bronze-domed CFM Railway Station, which was completed in 1916. The Baixa also has a large Municipal Market, which is situated near to the Praça da Independência plaza, the site of the neoclassical city hall. Look out for the women wrapped colourful capulanas (sarongs) who sell a multitude of things, from seafood to spices at the municipal market.  

For a more leisurely pace of life, head along the seaside Avenida Marginal, where fishermen parade their fresh catch of the day and banana sellers lazily present their wares from the shade. Seeing and getting to know Maputo should be a highlight of any trip to Mozambique and a great way to understand more about the people and the country before you head to the beach or out on your safari experience. 

Inhaca Island is only a few minutes by boat from Maputo and this lovely little island is home to some of the rarest fauna and flora species of the world.  The perfect place for some weekend relaxation away from the bustle of Maputo, this little town is also a marine research centre. The reefs here have been designated a reserve and therefore protected.  Just three kilometres south is the uninhabited island Portuguese Island of Ilha dos Portuguêses. A former leper colony, this idyllic little island is now part of the Inhaca marine reserve system.

Just south of Inhaca, across a narrow channel at the tip of Machangula Peninsula is Cape Santa Maria, whose restful beaches and clear waters make it a perfect place for snorkelling. The area is also known for its pelicans and flamingos. You can visit Cape Santa Maria by boat from Inhaca or direct from Maputo, however you can also reach by land through the Maputo Special Reserve which is home to elephants, leopard, antelope, crocodiles, hippos, flamingos and jackals. The reserve combines lakes, wetlands, swamp forests, grasslands and mangroves.