Browsing Tag

mozambique

Chili sauce vendor in Maputo at the Mercado Central

15 Quirky Things to Do in Maputo

I spent six days in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. Two friends joined me for the last two days but the rest of the time I was alone. Other than booking my flight and accommodation and buying a guide book — the Bradt Travel Guide for Mozambique, which has a short and rather disappointing chapter on Maputo but was helpful nonetheless — I made zero plans before going. Once there, I continued making zero plans and just wandered around looking at things. I realized Maputo is one of the most underrated travel destinations in Southern Africa (perhaps surpassed only by Johannesburg), especially for people who like cities. Maputo is cosmopolitan, with incredible food, history, architecture, art, and culture. There aren’t many cities like that in this sparsely populated corner of the world. Here are the top 15 quirky places/things I discovered in Maputo. This list is by no means comprehensive. Read to the end for a few tips about visiting the city. My Favorite Things in Maputo 1) Architecture Quirky architecture is everywhere in Maputo. 2) Museu De História Natural de Maputo (Museum of Natural History) This is one of the strangest museums I’ve ever visited. The building is stately […]

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Pansy shell on Bazaruto beach

Three Days in a Mozambican Paradise

Yes, I’m a travel blogger, and yes, I travel a lot for work. Yes, I often field sarcastic Facebook comments like, “Wow, what a rough life you have!” or, “I wish could quit my REAL job and become a blogger like you.” I usually resent these comments. Travel blogging is harder than it looks and most of my travel is far from glamorous. My most recent trip to Mozambican paradise, however, was an exception. This trip was every bit as glamorous as it looked and you should resent me for it. Looking down on the town of Vilanculos, Mozambique, during my helicopter ride to Benguerra Island. We flew from Johannesburg to Vilanculos with Airlink, as part of a campaign to promote Airlink’s flights around Southern Africa. (Incidentally, the flight from Joburg to Vilanculos is ridiculously short — like an hour and 15 minutes. That’s about the same amount of time it takes to fly from Joburg to Durban.) Once in Vilanculos, we took a 10-minute helicopter ride to Benguerra Island, the second-largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago. A birds-eye view of Benguerra Island at low tide. The helicopter dropped my colleague Frances and I off at Benguerra Island’s Azura Retreat. Azura is literally paradise. My villa at […]

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A Crumbling Hotel in Paradise

I recently spent three days at the Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort and Spa, a perfectly maintained luxury hotel off the coast of Mozambique. I loved every minute of it, but my favorite part of the trip was the time I spent exploring an abandoned, dilapidated hotel that was crumbling into the sea before my eyes. The slowly disintegrating Santa Carolina Hotel. The Santa Carolina Hotel is on Paradise Island (formerly called Santa Carolina Island), which is a quick boat ride from both Bazaruto and the coastal town of Vilankulos. We took a half-day excursion there from Anantara. While my travel companions were lounging on the beach or walking around other parts of the island, I was creeping around the old hotel grounds taking pictures. One of the hotel buildings. Another building, perhaps a former staff quarters. Check out the stairwell on the side. Santa Carolina Island was a penal colony during World War II and was eventually developed as a resort destination in the 1950s. I’m not exactly sure of the history of the hotel. According to one post I found it was built in 1962 and abandoned in 1974, due to changing economic conditions and civil war. But I have a hard time believing that this […]

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Living Like Queens on an African Beach

“Dolphins!” The boat captain pointed into the flat, clear, turquoise water. I caught a glimpse of dolphin fin a couple of hundred meters away. “Let’s swim with them,” said Theresa. She flung off her sarong and dove over the side of the boat. Pippa, Bridget, and Sandi followed in quick succession. Theresa took several strokes and then turned around. “Aren’t you coming, Heather?” I looked over at the captain. He was staring into the distance and seemed hardly to have noticed the boat’s deserters. I shrugged, pulled off my shorts and tank top, and jumped. Our gang walking out to the boat that would take us on a day trip from Bazaruto to Paradise Island, not long before the moment described above. We never caught up with the dolphins. We didn’t swim very fast and the dolphin pod was probably frightened by all the estrogen. But that didn’t matter. Over the course of three days, our group of ladies managed to: Sled down a sand dune in the midst of a sunset sandstorm; Explore the ruins of an abandoned beach hotel; Ride a pack of lazy horses up and down a pristine, white-sand beach; Spend many hours doing nothing, gazing out at the sea; Drink dozens, maybe […]

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