Located near the very southern tip of the country, Maputo was once renowned as a beautiful city and rated by world travelers alongside Cape Town and Rio. The capital is slowly recovering after 20 years of war, nevertheless, it’s still an interesting place, with a very lively atmosphere and it’s still retained its old charm. The oldest historic site is the fort, where you can patrol the ramparts, look at the old cannons or just sit and rest in the grassy courtyard. A must-see is the train station, designed and built in the early 1900s by the same Eiffel who gave us the famous tower. Recently renovated, it looks more like a palace, with polished wood and marble decorations, topped by a gigantic copper dome.
Other highlights include the Botanic Gardens; the National Art Museum, which has a fine collection of Mozambique’s best contemporary artists; and the lively Municipal Market, where fruit, vegetables, spices and basketwork are sold. Perhaps the best symbol of this recovery is Maputo’s Polana Hotel, once a majestic monument to grand colonial style. Allowed to decay after Mozambique’s independence from Portugal in 1975, the Polana has been restored and is now one of the most expensive hotels in Africa.