Mozambique

When We Were There: May 8-13, 2009

Places We Visited: Maputo, Vilanculus, Chimoio

View all of our posts about Mozambique here.

Exchange Rate: $1 = 27 Mozambique Metacals
See a breakdown of our Mozambique budget here.

WHAT WE DID

Maputo
We checked out the market, where we bought the supplies to cook up a good curry, and we also checked out the souvenir market, which we found to be way overpriced. We also visited the small but interesting art museum. Perhaps it’s the Portuguese influence, but our first impression of the city was that it reminded us of South America.

Vilanculos
We used Vilanculos as a base to take a dhow out to the Bazarutu Archipelago, where we snorkeled, laid on the sugar beach, hiked about, and had a nice picnic.

Chimoio
Primarily just a stopover on our way to Malawi, we wandered around town and had a nice meal. The people here were the friendliest we found in Mozambique.

WHERE WE STAYED
We found accommodation options in Mozambique to be dramatically overpriced. You did not get what you paid for. We were also surprised to find that much of it was booked up.

Hotel Santa Cruz (Maputo): Arriving late in the evening to Maputo, this was the only budget option with rooms available. It seemed more of a locals hotel, but there were a few travelers. The room was clean and had basic hotel amenities. 1250 Metacals for a double room with private bathroom and breakfast.

Fatima’s Backpackers (Maputo): One of two backpackers in Maputo, it’s not the one I’d choose if the other had availability. The staff is completely indifferent and unhelpful. When we asked a question, we were lucky if they looked up from texting on their phones. When we asked if there was availability for a second night, no one could tell us. The room we had booked was not available when we checked in so they gave us another pricier room but wouldn’t reduce the price to what we had been told when we booked. This room had a private bathroom but instead of just letting us use it for their error or giving away our room, they locked it and made us use the communal one down the hall. They did have a kitchen that was sufficient. 750 Metacals for a double room with shared bathroom.

Josef & Tina’s (Vilanculos): The only place in town with a room it wasn’t very nice, and was quite pricey. The ceiling was waterstained and collapsing, and the bathroom had no water to begin with. We had to ask twice before the water was turned on. Additionally when we asked where we could eat dinner they could make no other suggestions except their hotel. Oddly enough when we then asked what they had on offer, they then said they had no food. Eventually they made us fries. 2000 Metacals for a double room with shared bathroom.

Pink Papaya (Chimoio): Run by a German couple, this small but quaint backpackers was our nicest accommodation in Mozambique. The room was large and comfortable, the shared bathroom adequate. They provided a map upon check-in along with detailed suggestions on places to eat, buses, crossing the border, etc. They also had a kitchen available for use. 700 Metacals for a double room with shared bathroom.

PLACES WE ATE
We ate very little food in Mozambique worth noting. Prices were high and portions small. We cooked for ourselves when we could or bought meat pies and whatnot from the grocery.

La Plaza (Chimoio): Despite its odd location inside a store, La Plaza had good food. We enjoyed seafood dishes that were really nice, squid for me and prawns for Jeff. The bread was nice as well as the vegetable side dishes. The chocolate mousse was, however, more like unset pudding. 620 Metacals for dinner for two.

NOTES

*Mozambique was the only country we really didn’t like. We found it be expensive for what you got in return. We also found that the people in general weren’t that friendly. The beaches are nice, but we’ve seen nicer and thus wouldn’t recommend going there just for them.

*Buses in Mozambique just plain don’t make sense. They all “leave” between 4 and 5 in the morning. By “leave,” however I mean that’s when they load the bus and then turn on the engine. They usually idle, however, for another hour or more before actually leaving. Additionally, if you want to put your bags in the luggage hold you have to pay a fairly substantial amount. If you want to leave it in the aisles for everyone to climb over, however, it’s free. So as you can imagine the bus is packed full of people and bags while the luggage hold goes empty.

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