When you disembark at Maputo on an MSC Cruise to Africa, you will find a lively port city where intense flavours of the continent are seasoned with a hint of Portugal. In the architecture and every-day life in Maputo, a strong influence of Portuguese colonization, which only came to an end in 1975, can still be felt.
While strolling through the city, such as the heart of the central and extremely busy Baixa neighbourhood – which has been defined by some as the Paris of Africa for its busy day and night life – you will encounter large Rationalist-style buildings. A short distance from Baixa, there is a marvellous railway station, designed in the beginning of the 20th century by Gustave Eiffel (yes, the one that is also responsible for the famous Paris tower), full of marble and wrought iron, decorated columns and beams.
It is decorated with clocks, enormous ceiling fans, azulejos tilework, carved wooden doors, wrought iron benches, large bells and two antique steam railway engines displayed on the tracks. To get your strength back, stop by the fashionable Kampfumo bistro. Avenida Samora Machel hosts the famous Casa do Ferro, a building constructed entirely of iron plates, designed by the same prolific French engineer for the city’s Portuguese governor.
A visit to one of the public markets during your stroll through the city cannot be avoided. The characteristically busy Mercado Central, with stalls heaving with exotic fruits and vegetables; Or, the incredible fish market, located slightly farther from the city centre in Caminho da Costa do Sol.
Come here mid-morning, when the fishmongers are yelling their offers for all to hear and the market is overflowing with fresh fish: an impressive array of seafood, including large crabs, sea snails and lobsters. Behind the market, there is a locale where the daily catch is cooked. The peri-peri shrimp, with their unique spicy aroma are a must-try. Finally, visit the FEIMA Curio Market, where you will find rarities and interesting artisan products. Lovers of relaxation, on the other hand, will have the chance to go on an off-roading excursion to the beautiful beaches on the Indian Ocean.