Maputo, Mozambique Cruise Port

Along Africa's southeastern coast is the Portuguese-inspired Indian Ocean cruise port of Maputo, Mozambique. The country's capital and largest city, it's noted for its mix of colonial architecture and more modern building styles. Before Maputo gained independence in 1976, it was known as Lourenço Marques after the after the Portuguese navigator of the same name. He helped establish forts and trading stations, and the Portuguese government kept developing the area while changing its landscape (for instance, by draining marshes and planting blue gum trees). These alterations kept the city growing rapidly, and made it an important port during the gold rush years of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the country’s independence and a period of financial struggle, it’s becoming an area of commerce again, one tourists can explore while enjoying the hot, dry climate. Here are a handful of our favorite experiences when cruising to Maputo, Mozambique:
 
  • The Feira de Artesanato, Flôres e Gastronomia de Maputo (FEIMA) puts two favorite tourist activities together: shopping for local handcrafts and eating local food. The colorful archway is hard to miss; along with traditional African masks and hand-woven baskets, try the zambézie chicken or matapa (a popular Mozambican dish).
     
  • The Iglesia de San Antonio de la Polana (Church of San Antonio de la Polana) is an example of one of the city's more modern buildings. Erected in 1962, it's shaped like an upside-down flower or star. The view from indoors is also unique, thanks to the stained glass windows – and the feeling you're in a large tent.
     
  • For history, visit the Fortaleza de Maputo (Fortress of Maputo). Housing the remains of the last emperor of the Gaza Empire known as Ngungunhane, it began as a Dutch trading post. Today it's a site to learn about the city's military past and view artefacts.
     
  • Animal lovers can check out the Reserva Especial de Maputo (Maputo Elephant Reserve or Maputo Special Reserve) located on Maputo Bay and part of the Usuthu-Tembe-Futi Transfrontier Conservation Area. Along with more than 300 elephants, the reserve has several species of birds, zebras, crocodiles, hippos, and more.
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