To be honest, we picked Base Backpackers largely because of the $20 per night price tag. We'd by lying if we told you it was a perfect situation: we had a private room in the basement that wreaked of mold, had to walk two flights of stairs and across a hallway to go to the bathroom, cold water showers, and internet so bad that old school AOL dial-up would have felt like luxury. With that said, the hostel was in the heart of the city - a safe, bustling area, across the street from Chinese and Indian food, and in walking distance to the Intercape bus station. The managers are extremely friendly, and the "guard" - a mutt resembling a bijon frise named Spudd - made for a warm, tail wagging welcome when we came home. Do we recommend Base when you visit Maputo? Well if you can afford a splurge on a hotel, then this might not be the place to do it. With that said, in terms of value for the dollar, Base was a fair deal.
For large portions of great seafood at reasonable prices, Sagres is definitely worth a visit. The cracked black pepper prawns are particularly good. The seafood salad has been my only disappointment (plasticky "crab" sticks). It's right next to the sea, which adds to the atmosphere, and there's a guarded parking area outside.
Av. Marginal 4272, Maputo, Mozambique
+258 21 395201
Jardim dos Namorados is a small, colourful park perched on a hilltop overlooking the Bay of Maputo.
Its attractions include a children's play area, a wonderful view of the sea and a cluster of ice cream parlours and cafes.
One of the most popular cafes is "Surf" which sells an imaginative range of pastries and light meals - although the service is a bit hit and miss at weekends, when it gets very busy.
Jardim dos Namorados is THE place in Maputo for wedding photos so at weekends you will no doubt come across several wedding parties: processions of jubilant Mozambicans dressed in suits, silks and satins, all swaying, singing and posing for the camera.
Avenida Julius Nyere, Maputo
Google map: tinyurl.com/yc6wgg9
Taking the coach between the coastal cities is a pleasant and comfortable way to see a lot of countryside (north KZN coast, skirt the Drakkensberg, cross Swaziland, descent into Maputo).
Tickets are easily purchased ahead of time at the Durban terminus. Everybody recommends to use the Mozambique owned service rather than the SA owned one (easy to tell - it has a Portuguese name - something Azul as I recall). That worked for me, comfortable seats, refreshments, air conditioning, helpful staff.
Durban bus station is organised but you won't want to spend much time there as it has the same edgy feel as any major bus terminus in a European or North American city (even on a Sunday morning departure). Border crossings (two because of Swaziland - make sure your visa situation is sorted before travel) are relatively painless. Even the rest stops are interesting.
Maputo bus station is pleasantly chaotic and not too hassled, like that lovely languid seaside city itself (better than the somewhat bureaucratic 1970's southern-Europe style airport). I only got to spend two days in Maputo but it is charming and atmospheric though becoming a playground for South Africans so progressively losing much of it's Luso/Afro distinctiveness. Lots of great food, especially seafood of course. Loads of restaurants, bars and clubs (though Sunday night is quiet) and it will feel quite familiar if you have been to Lisbon, or indeed Macao. It is not compact but laid out with wide boulevards so not very walkable, but taxis are cheap and easy. And you have to love a city that has streets named after Trotsky, Stalin and Kim Il Sung!
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