I’ve traveled to Mozambique a few times over the past three years. It’s been a unique experience for me in that I don’t usually return to the same place every year. But, alas, with the boyfriend working there I really had no choice. (He’s back to Portugal now, thankfully.)
I have been to Mozambique so many times, you would think that I would be sick of it by now. But you would be wrong. Surprisingly, even for me (because I know how much I love going somewhere new and different), I often find myself yearning to be back in Mozambique. I’ve realized how much I love that place – even without the boyfriend there. So I hope I’ll be able to continue to return often (this year?). And until then, here are the 5 reasons I just love Mozambique so, so much:
Okay, Bilene is not usually every local’s favorite place. It gets crowded on the weekends in the summer with bratty 12-year-olds riding four-wheelers through the sand and drunk 20-somethings getting into all kinds of trouble day and night. But in the off-season, Bilene is my definition of paradise.
It’s super easy to reach (about 2h30 from Maputo on actual paved road), it has a beautiful lake beach with balmy water and there’s plenty of places with great food.
I do suggest staying away from the town center for some peace and quiet. I’ve stayed at Villa Espanhola, which is located on the outskirts of Bilene right on the beach, and absolutely loved it. But my favorite place to stay was at Nghunghwa Lodge. It’s located on the other side of the bay so you’ll really be away from it all.
Ponta do Ouro
Now this is a local favorite. Ponta do Ouro is where everybody from Maputo meets up on the weekends. It’s a great place to hang out with friends, surf, get some sun and party well into the night.
The beach is really beautiful but you’ll have to watch out for bluebottles: they’re a kind of jellyfish that can sting you and hurt a lot. Sometimes, depending on the tide, they’ll wash onto shore. Also, watch out for sharks. Yeah… The beach is beautiful but in general proceed with caution in the water!
What I don’t like so much about Ponta do Ouro is the drive there: a bumpy 3-4 hour drive through sandy trails. But it’s all worth it once you arrive!
Maputo’s Parks and Beach
Maputo probably gets a bad rep for its chaotic traffic, aggressive drivers and constant construction projects that interfere with the road infrastructures. But you’ll find a few green places to get away from it all right in the heart of the city.
My favorite park is Parque dos Namorados (loosely translates to the Couples Park), which is located right on the city’s southern tip. You get a lovely view of the Indian Ocean and the park offers plenty of shade. More recently, the city decided to manufacture its own beach too. Right next to the Avenida da Marginal (the main road that connects the city’s north and south along the Indian Ocean) lies a wide and long stretch of white sand. I wouldn’t sunbathe here (the water isn’t the cleanest) but it was the perfect place for a morning or evening walk.
Travel some 6 hours to the north of Maputo and you’ll reach this little slice of heaven. Inhambane (and Tofo and Tofinho, which are two beach towns right next to it) combines the best of both worlds: tons of water sports for the more active, and beautiful stretches of sand for the lazy beach bums (aka ME).
It’s a bit of a drive to get there from Maputo so we only went twice, and I definitely wish we had stayed longer both times. Perhaps next time!
Maputo’s Breakfast Scene
Um, yes. This is definitely a legitimate reason to fall in love with a place. I have never seen a city do breakfast and brunch so well without attracting an impossibly vast crowd of people. From the classic toasted bread at Nautilus in the city center to the delicious pastries from Gulodice, there is something for every kind of appetite.
What more can a girl ask for?
DISCLAIMER: This list is based on my travels through Mozambique. I haven’t visited all of Mozambique – nor am I trying to pretend like I have. I have mostly stayed in the southern part of the country, near Maputo and its surrounding areas. I would love to eventually travel all the way up to the north of the country.