The CPRsouth conference 2018 took me the city of Maputo. After a series of connecting flights from Delhi to Maputo when I finally landed at 2 am at night, it was calm, moonlit and the streets were filled with the promise of an even brighter morning. I was put up in Polana Serena Hotel. This hotel is in business since 1922 and has all the riches of Portugal architecture. It is much more aesthetic in real than the pictures over the internet. It is one of the most expensive hotels in Mozambique. But since it was covered by my conference organizers, I could only thank my luck for being selected. The Indian ocean view from the hotel is majestic. The stay is no less than a royal affair. Since I visited in the first week of September, it was the perfect weather to feel the sea breeze on the face and in my hair while standing and gazing at the endless oceanic view.
The conference kept me busy during the days and I had evenings to myself. I utilized my evenings walking around the city and trying out the diners. It is a heaven for the seafood lovers.
Luckily, my last day in Maputo was a part of an extended weekend for the folks of the city. So, I got to see the raw, fun and chilling side of the people. I went to Costa Do Sol to get some beach air in my hair and was I happy! I saw hundreds of people sitting on the elevated platforms around the coast, enjoying freshly barbecued fish, 2M beer (a specialty) and the lovely beach. The best thing about the crowd was the freedom with which the women were expressing themselves. It was the first sight for me where women with their bold, carefree attitude were enjoying themselves in their vibrant batik dresses and fancy clothes and shoes. And the real mood setter was the catchy, groovy Mozambican music. You just cannot not shake a leg or two to that music. The beaches are naturally magnificent, but I just had one remorse looking at them. It was how people threw their beer bottles (in millions) around the area. I think this is something that should be managed at the earliest to maintain the serenity of such a place.
Walking along with the vast stretch of coastline is surreal. The people you meet along the way are filled with enthusiasm and will greet you ‘Hola!’ in the warmest way possible. The smile you see on the faces when they say hi lingers on I must say.
Things to do in Maputo
1. Walk along the beaches.
2. Visit the Feima market near Polana Serena Hotel for local batik paintings, handbags, beautiful dresses, and lot more souvenirs. I was lucky to meet this ambitious young woman named, Vanessa. She designed items from dresses, skirts, handbags, laptop bags etc. with their famous batik clothes. You can feel her smile reaching her eyes as she displays her artistic work.
3. The famous train museum at Maputo Central Railway Station. I feel its unfair to take pictures of the museums because it needs your human presence. Nevertheless, I couldn’t stop myself from clicking the rest of the station.
4. Walk around the city.
5. Try out the beautiful restaurants available at every corner with their fresh seafood and Portuguese cuisine.
*There are quite a number of Indian restaurants in the city in case you start missing Indian food.
Lastly, the Airbnb I got had the nicest host named Lisa. She made me feel at home and had a cute self-decorated place.
My advice to the people planning a trip to Maputo would be to not doubt the destination solely on the safety parameter. It is safe, vibrant and has a lot to offer.
I took Kenya Airways from Mumbai to Maputo, Mozambique via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Kenya. The connecting flight from Kenya to Maputo was delayed by more than fifteen hours but the airline provided us with a nice stay at Weston Hotel and also paid for the transit visa.