- Eswatini (Swaziland) Cultural 1-day Tour
- Maputo One Day Tour
- Maputo Downtown Walking Tour
Best time to go: May – October
Tour at a glance:
Cultural Tour of Eswatini (Swaziland) in One Day
Within an hour, the rich fabric of African cultures is shown as we go from bustling Maputo to vibrant eSwatini. One of the remaining “formal” kingdoms in Africa is Swaziland, a small nation with two main valleys sandwiched between mountain ranges. On this one-day tour, we’ll get a close-up look at the distinctive, vibrant culture that developed in one particular valley. The tour stops in the Mantenga Cultural Village, where you’ll experience a vivacious Siswati dance replete with thundering drums that will stay with you long after the day excursion is over. At the Mantenga Waterfall, there is a little period of calm and introspection despite the hectic agenda. Lunch is taken at the famed Malandela farmhouse, and the nearby House on Fire demonstrates how eSwatini’s distinct personality is continuously evolving. The famed Swaziland Candle Factory, which has evolved into a centre for craft and art, is the tour’s last destination.
Walking Tour of Downtown Maputo
The greatest way to experience Maputo and its culture is this. We explore the city’s most famous locations and their histories in 3 hours. The most comprehensive tour available, featuring plenty of history, art, and architecture, as well as charming guides
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral
The large white cathedral, also known as Nossa Senhora da Conceiço the cathedral or the demon’s cathedral, was constructed between the years 1930 and 1940 by Marcial Simes Freitas e Costa, a volunteer deputy director of the railways at the time. The building was a significant accomplishment for the Catholic Church at the time, which was still feeling the impacts of the Portuguese Revolution of 1910 and had a very small presence in Mozambique. During Pope Francis’ visit to Mozambique, this was one of the locations in the city where hundreds of people got the chance to see him (3rd to 6th September, 2019). The second and most significant papal visit we have ever had. There contains artwork by Simes Freitas (marble sculptures), Francisco Franco (statue of the Sacred Heart of Christ, baptismal figures, bronze doors), and Antonio Lino within (marble altars). During the war, the Netherlands manufactured the stained glass windows. Because of an incident that occurred in 2007 (the explosion of a bunker), which resulted in significant destruction and fatalities in Maputo, we can now discern various patterns on the stained glass windows. Nossa Senhora da Conceiço is a beautiful illustration of the many Art Deco structures in Maputo. Some even assert that if we combined all of Maputo’s Art Deco structures, the city may resemble Miami in some ways.
Ancient Town Hall
Aranaldo Pacheco Pereira Leite, Franz Keindl, and Carlos César dos Santos planned and constructed the town hall in the 1940s. The words “Aqui é Portugal”—this is Portugal—were once carved into the Lisbon-style pavement in front of it by president Américo Tomás during a 1964 visit to Mozambique. There used to be an equestrian statue of Mousinho de Albulquerque in place of the current Samora Machel statue (now in the fort). The structure, together with the cathedral, served as the symbol of Portuguese Mozambique’s pride. We have lovely replicas of the ancient Lourenço Marques (modern-day Maputo) within, along with a lovely viewing hall.
Samora Machel Statue, a bronze sculpture, is situated in the middle of Praça da Independência. It is the nation’s first president. The statue honours Samora Machel (1933–1986), a military leader and revolutionary who served as Mozambique’s first president. The Mansudae Overseas Projects, a division of the Mansudae Art Studio, created and erected the statue in Pyongyang, North Korea. It is 4.8 tonnes and 9 metres tall. At the beginning of Samora Machel Avenue, the statue is 2.7 metres high and is lit up at night. The statue has drawn flak for not closely resembling Samora. The Mouzinho de Albuquerque statue, who served as the general of Portuguese Mozambique from 1896 to 1897, is now replaced with the Samora Machel statue in front of Maputo City Hall. On October 19, 2011, the statue was unveiled, marking the 25th anniversary of Machel’s passing in an aeroplane crash near the intersection of the borders of Mozambique, Swaziland, and South Africa. The statue was built under the direction of Mozambique’s president, Armando Guebuza, and inaugurated in front of a large international delegation.
Center for Franco-Mozambican Culture
French Mozambican Cultural Center: With numerous cultural events, the French Mozambican Cultural Center is currently one of the busiest cultural venues in the city (live music, photo expositions, ect). Dr. Eduardo de Almeida Saldanha initially constructed the structure in 1989 (the same year Lourenço Marques was named the capital of Mozambique) as a social club and casino. Wells Inc. of Lourenço Marques served as the architects, and Rochelle & Smith of Johannesburg served as the builders. Scotland was the source of the imported ironwork. Saldanha’s ambitious ambitions were abandoned because the concession for a casino was not made. He sold the structure to two Englishmen in 1906, and they turned it into the renowned “Hotel Clube.” It was expanded in 1917, and a 50-room addition was constructed. The French turned it into a cultural centre in the 1990s after it had been abandoned for a considerable amount of time. With his planes, chairs, and other creations made of bullets, firearms, and iron, Gonçalo Mabunda is one of the most well-known artists in Mozambique today. His work can be found inside, in addition to the exhibition area and the stage.
HOUSE OF FERRO (The Iron House)
– The Gustave Eiffel-designed “Iron House” was imported pre-fabricated from Belgium in 1892 and put together outside of what was then the town. He didn’t like the building, the remote location, or the fact that it was made of iron in a hot country like Mozambique with no air conditioning. The court of justice was therefore expected to enter but chose not to. As soon as religious organisations were banned from operating in public schools following the revolution of 1910, the Sisters Hospitallers’ female school was forced to close. It was subsequently converted into offices. It was relocated to its current location in 1972 to serve as a geographical museum. Displays there also depict how an office could have appeared during the Portuguese explorations. It currently houses Mozambique’s cultural heritage authority.
Botanical Gardens of Tunduru
One of Maputo’s most picturesque and lush areas is the Tunduro Garden. If you take the trip on Saturday, it will be even more interesting because there will be many wedding celebrations taking place that day. There will be lots of dancing, singing, and joy. But the large fruit bats will be present for you regardless of the day you do the tour (a bit of safari in the city). Vasco da Gama was the name of the garden before independence as a tribute to the Portuguese explorer; however, immediately following independence, the name changed, just like the names of the city, avenues, etc (we will explain to you during the tour the reason why we had all these changes). The lower portion of the land had already been occupied by the neighbourhood horticulture and floriculture association from 1885. The villa Joia’s upper portion was once its garden. In 1907, Thomas Honey combined the two and created them as they are today. Prior to that, Thomas Honey had created gardens for the king of Greece and the Turkish sultan. On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Vasco da Gama’s passing, the entry arch in neo-Manueline style was built in 1924. A modest cast iron “wallace” water fountain with four caryatides supporting a dome, built by Fonderies d’Art du Val d’Osne in 1872, is also visible inside the grounds. Many of them are still in existence in Paris and were built by Sir Richard Wallace as a gift to the city in order to supply safe drinking water. How was Maputo reached? Theoretically, French engineer Eugène François Tissot, who had purchased the Lourenço Marques drinking water concession in 1985, sent it here as a gift. Intriguingly, Tissot met a tragic end when he shot himself in the head after first killing his wife and daughter.
Central Market: David Carvalho constructed Maputo’s best market in 1901 using Belgian-imported iron materials. It is the best market in terms of freshness and cleanliness. If you want to buy ingredients for a recipe that is uniquely Mozambican, come here. You may buy here. Cassava leaves are used to produce the renowned Matapa with prawns, and you can even ask the women for cooking advice. The best cuisine is available in Mozambique, which draws inspiration from its unique and rich past. Utilizing local products and cooking techniques, influences from the Arab, Portuguese, Chinese, British, and Indian cuisines have all been included. Mozambique’s cuisine has been strongly influenced by Portuguese cuisine, including the starchy root mandioca from Brazil, cashews from Brazil, and bread. Using ingredients like “piri piri” chillies, onions, garlic, sweet peppers, bay leaves, lemons, fresh coriander, paprika, and cinnamon with wine (also introduced by the Portuguese) The indigenous women and chefs’ culinary prowess has evolved over time into a distinctive and delectable variety of stews and curries. But the most delectable experiences are frequently found in simplicity. With only salt, a squeeze of lemon, garlic, and sometimes a sprinkle of piri piri, grilled prawns, lobsters, calamari, and a variety of tropical fish and clams are served (hot chilli sauce). Any visitor will find eating regional specialties like Matapa, which vary significantly depending on where they are in the nation, to be a fulfilling experience. The ladies will undoubtedly assist you if you get Matapa or another item from the market by offering advice on how to prepare it. We also pause to sample some of the regional fruits, like the massala, ata, coraço de boi, and others.
The earliest mosque in Maputo was built on Rua da Mesquita and was made of wood and zinc, like most of the buildings in this region. The mosque itself is new, while the lower façade dates from 1887 with additions made in 1902. In this region, there were many Indian residents. Given that the majority of the population in this southern region of the country is Christian and that the majority of Muslims reside in the northern region, the mosque also demonstrates how well ties between the various religious groups are. Despite the majority of the population being Christian, there are no confrontations between the many religious groups.
Central Train Station in Maputo
railroad station It is allegedly the most picturesque place in southern Africa. The Maputo central station is listed as the third most beautiful train station in the world in an American publication. When we travel to the railway station and see the picture exposition of the list, we won’t reveal which ones made the Top Ten list in order to keep it a surprise for you. The Alfredo Augusto Lisboa de Lima, Mário Veiga, and José Cristian da Paula Ferreira da Costa-designed and—contrary to popular belief—José Cristian da Paula Ferreira da Costa-built railroad station was erected between 1908 and 1910. All of the stucco work was completed by Pietro Buccellato, while the cupola was prefabricated in South Africa. You can see two vintage steam locomotives on display when you enter. The Gaza or No. 1 was one of them, and it was the first model to run between Maputo and Pretoria on the narrow gauge railroad between Xai-Xai and Manjacaze and the branch line beyond. There aren’t as many passenger trains operating these days, and those that do mostly serve the less affluent suburbs of South Africa and Melbourne. A functioning gallery sponsored by the cultural organisation Kulungwana is located in the former waiting room near the end of the rails on the left. You can also eat lunch or grab a drink at the Xitimela (train) restaurant before visiting the gallery. The railroad station is quite well-liked. Here, scenes for Leonardo DiCaprio’s film Blood diamond were filmed.
Do Bagamoyo Road
Most individuals who have visited New Orleans have the impression that Bagamoyo Street is like New Orleans in Maputo when they stroll through it. Prior to independence, the street was known as Araujo Street. It was initially a residential street, but due to its proximity to the harbour, it started to become a bit busier with a lot of hotels and bars, the majority of which are now run-down. With houses that feature iron pillars and verandas during the day and a street that never sleeps at night, it is a jewel of French colonial architecture. Red light district Bagamoyo is the location of further Blood Diamond sequences starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Nossa Senhora da Conceiço Fortaleza, as it is also known, was first constructed in 1787 out of wood. The stone seaward wall was constructed in 1811. According to a plan from 1851, the fortress was now entirely composed of stone. It was partially rebuilt and partially renovated in accordance with Joaquim Ariel Silva’s 1945 proposal for the Direcço de Monumentos Nacionais. Inauguration of the entire project took place in 1956. The connecting wall and its two battlements are largely original. Numerous remnants from forts across the nation, including the demolished Sofala fort, cannons, and other historical items may be found inside. The remains of Ngungunhana, King of Gaza, who passed away in 1906, are housed in a coffin carved by Paulo Come, together with a statue of his Victor Mouzinho de Albulquerque, who unfortunately passed away even earlier, in 1902, by his own hand. His statue was first placed in front of the Municipal Council in the 1940s (where we see the statue of Samora Machel today). The artist was Leopoldo Simoes e Almeida. A statue of António Enes by Teixeira Lopes is also there; it was formerly located in the square in front of the fort.