6 Best Sights in Maputo, Mozambique

Casa de Ferro

Look out for the improbable 1892 "Iron House," one of Maputo's two edifices designed by Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame—the other is the Maputo train station—and donated by the French to Mozambique. Originally designed as the residence of the General Governor of Mozambique, the house only became habitable with the advent of air-conditioning. An iron house might have looked good on paper, but was not very practical in the extreme heat of a Mozambique summer.

Av. Samora Machel, Maputo, Mozambique
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Rate Includes: Free, Daily

Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Conceição

Though it's on not-so-scenic grounds and is not very well-maintained, this historic late 18th-century Portuguese fort, with its stout stone walls and cannons reminiscent of Cape Town’s castle, is worth a visit. It's best to hire a guide, as site information is very sketchy. You'll find it at the bottom of Avenue Samora Machel, near the sea.

Rue Marques de Pombal, Maputo, Mozambique
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Rate Includes: Free, Daily 8–5

Maputo Railway Station

Designed by Monsieur Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame, Maputo Railway Station's vaulted roofs, hand-carved doors, broad, curving platforms, antique light fittings, and spacious proportions make it one of the most beautiful and elegant train stations in sub-Saharan Africa. There’s live jazz many evenings, especially on weekends, in the historic bar on the station platform.

Praça dos Trabalhadores, Maputo, Mozambique

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Maputo Se (Cathedral)

Dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception), the gleaming white Art Deco Roman Catholic cathedral in Independence Square has a slender spire more than 200 feet high. The first stone was laid in 1936, and it was consecrated in 1944. It looks like a glistening, very elegant wedding cake and it's well worth a visit. Look out for some interesting art works inside by local artists António Lino, Francisco Franco, Simões de Almeida, Leopoldo de Almeida, and António Maia Ribeiro.

Praça de Independência, Maputo, Mozambique

National Art Museum

A small but good collection of paintings and sculptures by some of Mozambique’s most famous artists is on display here, including several large canvases by the world-renowned Malangatana.

1233 av. Ho Chi Minh, Maputo, 1233, Mozambique
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Rate Includes: 20 MZN; free Sun., Tues.–Fri. 11–6, weekends 2–6

Tunduru Botanical Gardens

Designed in 1885 by Thomas Honney, who also designed gardens for the King of Greece and the Sultan of Turkey, these gardens, although somewhat neglected, are well laid out with some interesting plants and large shady trees. Visit with care—don’t venture in alone and avoid the lower area, frequented by homeless people. Outside the gates there’s an imposing statue of the first President of Mozambique, the charismatic Samora Machel, who died in a mysterious plane crash (his widow, Graça, married Nelson Mandela some years later).

Rua Henrique de Sousa, Maputo, Mozambique