Maputo

While travelling on my around the world trip I decided to extend the trip by a few weeks and looked at what countries I could reach easily from South Africa. This included looking at Swaziland, Angola and a few others. Of all these Mozambique seemed to be the most exciting and relatively easy.
We would fly back to Johannesburg and then take a bus potentially through Swaziland although for logistical purposes and time we did not do that.

We took a taxi as soon as we arrived in Johannesburg and went straight to the bus station.
We were told that the bus does not like waiting for foreigners (those that need a visa – South Africans and Mozambicans don’t) and so we should take our things off the bus and run.

And run, we did but we didn’t take our bags, we arrived and the border queue was long and slow and getting a visa at the border in Mozambique while a formality it was not a quick one, there will be a wait. With such a huge queue we would be certain to miss the bus, when some normal clothed people making out we were foreigners took us to another queue spoke to the guard and got us processed right away. There was still a wait but because and only because of this we got our visas in time. These people then asked for payment, which is when acting confused works well. I can’t remember if we paid them anything but we certainly didn’t pay for what they asked.

We got on the bus and crossed the border. We arrived at the bus station and a kind Mozambican girl who had travelled on the bus with us helped us get a taxi and made very effort to make sure we would not be overcharged. Taxi drivers like to overcharge here (as elsewhere).
We took a taxi to a hotel but the room stank of cigarette despite me explicitly asking for a non smoking room and having no additional room. We then said we would have to leave and asked them of another hotel.
A mistake, they recommended (and I wonder if out of spite) a much more expensive £120 per night hotel VIP Grand Maputo Hotel. You should know the VIP (Very Important person) is them not you!
A poor excuse for a hotel, if it was a thing I would wish it would rot in hell..well maybe not.. but perhaps you get the picture. Wikitravel describe it as “The rooms are pleasantly clean and modern with good wireless internet included in the room rate, but service is poor, and food is awful. “
Exactly correct. Notice also that the staff in the restaurant wanted tips only given directly as one alleged that it otherwise goes into his manager’s pocket.

The first full day for my trip was spoilt. I had dropped my wallet in the lounge on the sofa (and passport), carelessly I admit, the evening we arrived. The next morning I get a call they found my wallet. It was there minus my money (I can’t remember now but maybe minus £400 in South African Rand, Pounds and Meticals (Mozambican money).
We pointed this out.
The staff or more correctly the manger we asked to see (he was not Mozambican) was apathetic.
Jinhee pointed out should check there camera.
After prodding mostly from upset Jinhee they did and they found out the culprit. This actually seemed to irritate the manger who had wanted to do nothing.
It was their own security staff.
We saw him take it on the CCTV video.
They said they won’t call him but challenge him when he came to work.

Well it was dealt out of our site I got back Most of money (not all, he had spent quite a bit it (for Mozambique seems)). We got back, with no apology, even for their initial reluctance to do anything and despite the experience we stayed until we went to Vilankulo but changed to the far superior Hotel Cardoso for our return.

At the VIP the staff were differing in hospitality, some when we asked where to get the bus to Vilankulo wanting too hard to push their transport than give the information we required. Well I mean one staff was like that. Another we asked was far more helpful.
And the food.. Well it wasn’t great unlike every other restaurant we tried in Maputo which were very nice.
Overpriced as well, although I might not quite call it awful per se. relatively speaking to the abundance of nice and cheap places to eat in Maputo it was awful.

We walked a lot around Maputo but also took the larinjinha, a motorised tuk-tuk very cheap and great. On another day I hired a Habana and a driver. We went around in Maputo with the classic Cuban car from the 1950’s I think.
It was a head turner and drew a lot of attention.
Our driver guided us through the markets of Mercado central, to the beach and around Maputo.
Having a tour in such a classic (and comfortable car) was a great experience.
It was expensive but a lot of fun. I would do it again.

Maputo is as I mentioned a great place to eat. In the day it is safe to walk around although night a taxi is better. Despite this one friend told me she was mugged there, so it pays to take care.
The architecture in Maputo includes some crumbling Portuguese architecture and the train station is beautiful.
Hotel Cardoso was an architectural delight with a nice view of the city in green fields
People were friendly. As we left there was a huge rainbow over the town, once affected by war that now has hope and seems to be heading for more fruitful days.