Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Visiting Mozambique brought back some childhood memories for myself where my dad would prepare delicious peri peri LM prawns as a Sunday accompaniment to family lunch.  I recall my dad explaining that LM stood for Lourenço Marques, words which seemed strange at the time for a 8 year old.  18 years later, we got to visit Lourenço Marques which is today known as the city of Maputo in Mozambique.  Maputo is also widely known as the City of Acacias as the acacia tree's are commonly found along this coastal country.

We began our trip by checking in at the Southern Sun in Maputo.  A beautiful hotel with direct access to the beach and local restaurants.  The breakfast was fantastic with a variety of options for vegetarians to non vegetarians including a welcoming tranquil view of the ocean in the mornings.

The beautiful shore alongside where we took our evening stroll.

Locals digging for prawns early in the morning.

Maputo to date still has a high degree of Portuguese influence with the official language of the country being Portuguese.  This dates back to the colonial ruling pertaining to the voyage of Vasco da Gama around the Cape of Good Hope which marked the Portuguese entry into society, trade and politics of Mozambique.  From that moment on, the Portuguese gained control of the Island of Mozambique and penetrated the regions for trade.

Mozambique which is still one of the poorest countries of the world, is rich in culture, beauty, exotic beaches, wildlife and heritage.  We began our day with a tour of Maputo, with our first stop being the Casa do Ferro (The Iron House) designed by Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France) in 1892.  Interestingly enough, Eiffel hadn't visited Mozambique.  We're sure if he had, he would have realised that a iron panel house is not very practical in tropical conditions especially during the rainy season.  Luckily, no one has lived in this house since it was erected to bear the noisy clammer of raindrops on the iron panels.

We later visited some of the local markets, Polana shopping center and some of the museums around the city.  On route to the Polana center, we bore witness to a leprosy victim who was scurring on the road, begging for donations.  It was a sight that we would never forget, a one legged man who's face looked half dissolved, using his hands to move around on the road.  It was indeed very sad and a sight that one would see in a sci fi movie.  Our taxi driver Jorge, immediately asked us to wind our windows up as he tried to drive away.  Puzzled by this behaviour, our taxi driver explained that he advocates not coming into contact with those suffering from leprosy in fear that you become infected with this bacterial infection.  

As we drove on in silence, we arrived at the local market where we purchased a few souvenirs. Jorge pointed out to the Mercado de Xipamanine  market which extended to the lengths of a few soccer fields.  At this market, one can purchase anything from food items, second hand wares to pet food.  Notoriously known to the locals as the hub of the underworld with a huge variety of stolen goods for resale, we gave this market a skip.

We stopped over at Polana shopping center for some refreshments and window browsing.  With quite a variety of outlets in the center, we did find it to be a bit pricey.  

If you are seafood lovers as ourselves, you will appreciate Mozambiques vast seafood array of culinary dishes on local restaurant menu's.  We have eaten some of the best tastiest and freshest seafood in Mozambique.  

Our favourites were the huge piri piri (peri peri) prawns (camarões), calamari (lulas) and crayfish (lagosta).  Mozambique's cuisine is a tempered combination of Portuguese, Oriental, African and Arab flavours married together with warm spices, cashew nuts and coconut milk.

Mozambique has a wide variety of experiences to offer tourists.  We will definitely head back to explore more of the beach resort options in the future.

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