Maputo City Tours

Maputo Mozambique

Join us on board “The Maputo Express”. The Maputo Express is an open-style-tourist train with a flexible “Hop On and Hop Off” facility. Welcome to the best view of the City and the most enjoyable way to discover it; Maputo at your own pace! On your journey you will experience the wonders and delights of Maputo City; its colonial Portuguese architecture; the vibrant markets and traders; you will see and languish in the history of the old buildings; enjoy the interactions of the bustling Municipal Market areas where fruit, vegetables, spices and basketwork are traded.

Maputo Express City Tour of Maputo

Adult Ticket US$ 30 - Kids 5 to 11 yrs US$18 - Family Ticket (two adults and two Kids) US$92
Valid all day however many times you hop on and off

Welcome to the "Maputo Express" Mozambique City Tours

MAPUTO - Welcome to Maputo the capital city of Mozambique. Join us on board “The Maputo Express”. The Maputo Express is an open-style-tourist train with a flexible “Hop On and Hop Off” facility. Welcome to the best view of Maputo City and the most enjoyable way to discover it; Maputo at your own pace! We have provided a distinctive and modern transport experience with friendly staff. Come with us and hear more about the people and places that make up this fantastic city, from the legacy of its Portuguese colonial past to its present day African ambience; from the historical architecture and buildings that adorn Maputo to modern urbanism that is developing around it, a truly memorable experience.

On your journey you will experience the wonders and delights of the Maputo; its colonial Portuguese architecture; the vibrant markets and traders; you will see and languish in the history of the old buildings; enjoy the interactions of the bustling Municipal Market areas where fruit, vegetables, spices and basketwork are traded. Additionally, you may want to relax at the Waterfront and Beach area, or, just sit and daydream in the grassy courtyard of the old Fort.

Sightseeing has never been so much fun! It is not only WHAT you see in Maputo, it is HOW you see it. The Maputo Express gives you the ability to maximize your stay in Maputo; Experience all that Maputo has to offer, take in the shopping as well as culture and of course the magnificent cuisine. You will love it!

About Maputo City

Attracted by the rumors of pearls in the 1700s, the Portuguese established the capital city of Lourenço Marques, or Maputo as it is known today, in the southern reaches of the country. It became one of the most stylish cities in Africa, with broad avenues lined with jacaranda and acacia trees, sidewalks paved with mosaics, tall buildings and a unique Mediterranean/African atmosphere that attracted a wealthy cosmopolitan crowd. The civil war left the city in a state of disrepair, and although still tainted by shabbiness, Maputo is recovering some of its former glory, and today the bustling capital reveals many Portuguese-style colonial buildings, and offers culture and old world charm, along with numerous places to enjoy Mozambique's famous peri-peri prawns and cuisine.

Maputo Railway Station:The building of the Maputo Railway Station, is built in front of the “Praça dos Trabalhadores“(meaning workers square), the former Mac-Mahon Square. The construction of the “Department of Railway of Lourenço Marques” as it was called in the colonial era, started in 1908 and ended two years later in 1910. The project was designed by an Engineer, Alfredo Augusto de Lima, The remarkable bronze dome, founded specially for the building, was constructed in South Africa and its assembly was an innovation for that time. The construction of this central station was vital for the region with its operational inauguration and opening on 19 March of 1910, and then the subsequent running of the first train to Lhanguene.

Praça dos Trabalhadores &War Memorial: Just in front of the Railyway Station there is the Praça dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Square) which has in its centre the unique colonial monument that remained in the City after the independence reminding us of the effort of the Portuguese and Mozambican soldiers during World War I. The monument was conceived by the sculptor Ruy Gameiro and was inaugurated on the 11th of November 1935. On the upper side of the monument seats a statue of a lady holding a snake with her right hand. According to popular myth the snake lived amongst the trees in the square and it used to bite those who wanted to rest below the shadow of the acacia trees. Attempting to kill the snake a lady prepared a pot of porridge and whilst hot carried it on her head. The snake tried to bite the lady’s head and instead fell into the pot of hot porridge and died. Therefore, it is belived that the statue standing in the centre of the square was built in honour of the lady, popularly known as Senhora da Cobra (meaning snake lady).

The Municipal (Central) Market: The building of the Municipal Market or Central Market, or even the Down Town Bazaar, is situated in the down town area “Baixa” of Maputo City, along 25 de Setembro Avenue, the former Republic Avenue. The Market was built between the years 1901 and 1903 replacing an old wooden market that stood previously in its place.The building has got a “U” form design and it was built in the neoclassic style of Anglo-Saxon architecture. The roof is made of iron and is typical of many commercial houses existing in the same area. The building is believed to be a replica of Aster Hall, a building in the German Town of Hamburg. The Market building is one of the oldest buildings of Maputo City, with spectacular architecture; however, it was damaged some time ago by fire destroying some of its finer elements. Nevertheless, the market is still standing and is an important testimony of the
presence of colonial architecture in Mozambique. The market houses a wide variety and diversity of businesses with commodities such as fruits, cashew nuts, fish, meat, aromatic herbs and spices as well as handcraft and souvenirs.

The Municipal Council Building: “The Municipal Council building is located in the upper part of The Independence Square formerly known as Mouzinho de Albuquerque Square and also known in the colonial period as “Paços of Municipal Council of Lourenço Marques”. The building was initially started in 1914 and eventually finished in 1945 by the Brazilian Engineer Franz Kandl and by the Portuguese Engineer Francisco dos Santos Pinto Teixeira.The “City Palace” as it was also known is a beautiful example of period neoclassic architecture it combines numerous styles: the frontal part has classic elements; straight lines and composed columns, these are based on Jonic and Corintic styles. The external walls are paired and made of bricks of cement, these form air boxes for insolating against the sound, heat and external humidity. Besides being a very attractive building,
it houses the Municipal Council Offices of the Mayor and town council, additionally the “Palace” is used as a stage and backdrop for many musical shows, whose stages are assembled in the main entrance facing the Independence Square.

The Cathedral: Just near the Municipal Council Building there is the Holy Cathedral which, through its architectural beauty is another “must stop for anyone in the down town area. Due to the rapid growth of the City in the early part of the 20th century it was decided that the small churches in existence were not serving the expanding congregations and influx of European Christians. The idea of building a Cathedral which could suit everyone was born in the early 1930’s. It was Sebastião José Alves, the then Governor of Mozambique who launched the idea. However, it was in era of D. Rafael Maria de Assunção (1920-1936), Colonel José Ricardo Pereira Cabral (General Governor of Mozambique) donated for the population of Mozambique, on 15th August 1931, the plot where the Cathedral of Maputo is now situated. The building design was a self-initiative of the Engineer Marcial de Freitas e Costa who also directed its construction. The launching of the first brick took place on the 28th June 1936, in the last public act of D. Rafael Maria de Assunção who was, at the time, the Apostolic Administrator of the Prelazy of Mozambique. The decoration of the Cathedral was enriched by various Portuguese artists’ Then the building was completed and opened on the 15th August 1944 by Cardinal Cerejeira.
Amongst the numerous Christian Chapels existing in the City of Maputo the “ Cathedral” stands out not only because of its beauty and architecture importance but also because of its spectacular white colour in the form of a cross.

The Tunduro Botanical Garden: The Tunduro Botanical Garden is located in an area known as “Horta dos Banianes” in central down town of Maputo City within a few metres of the Cathedral. Originally established in 1885 as “Vasco da Gama Garden” the Tunduro Garden was designed by the British landscape architect Thomas Honney, the same man who designed gardens for the Sultan of Turkey and the King of Greece. Between the period 1907 and 1918, the garden was under the charge of Thomas Honney who used only the lower part (about 30% of the total area) of the garden which extends some 64 000 m2. Between the period 1927 and 1944 the garden area was extended and used more extensively under the charge of Guilherme Melquíades. The entrance shaped in the form of an archway built in the Manuelino architectural style is painted in white and adorns the main entrance from Samora Machel Avenue. Within the gardens,
there are different native and exotic plants and trees from Africa, Europe, Asia and South America.

The Samora Machel Statue: The statue of Marshal Samora Moises Machel is located in front of the Tunduro Garden and besides the Iron House. Samora Machel was born on the 29th of September 1933, in Chilembene, Gaza Province, south of Mozambique. In 1963 he joined FRELIMO in Tanzania, in order to take place in the National Liberation War. A bold move at the time in 1967 he created a Female Nucleus in order to include women in the Liberation War. In June 25th 1975, the country got its independence from the colonial power of Portugal and he became the first President of Mozambique. Samora Machel was a charismatic leader of socialist inspiration, he faced, almost alone, the racist regimes of South Africa and Rodhesia (Zimbabwe) and fought against RENAMO in a long civil war within the country. He died on the 19th of October 1986 when the plane he was travelling on crashed in Mbuzini, South African territory. The accident was rumoured to have been a pilot error on behalf of the Russian pilot who was flying at the time. There was speculation of the possible involvement of the South African Government but it was never proved.
A National Hero and “Father of the Nation”, Samora Machel symbolizes the liberation of the human being from all forms of discrimination and exploitation. Thus the reason a Bronze Statue was erected in the 1990s in his honour. The statue depicts Samora Machel with his arm raised and finger pointing up, a characterising stance of his during his popular speeches.

The Iron House: Originally constructed in Avenida Josina Machel and now located near the Tunduro Botanical Garden and the Statue of Samora Machel the Iron House is one of the most unusual and fascinating buildings in Maputo. The building itself is entirely produced of steel and was designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (the same Architectural Engineer who designed the worldwide famous landmarks of The Statue of Liberty in New York and the Eiffel Tower in Paris). The Iron house was completed in 1892 and commissioned by the Portuguese Colonial Governor from Belgium. It was originally designed to be the residence of the General Governor of Mozambique; Although designed as a residence it was never occupied as such due to the hot and humid subtropical climate in the City of Maputo. After completion in 1892 it was initially used as a judicial court building and thereafter found many uses varying from a teaching college for Nuns to a municipal land works and planning office. It was moved from its construction site in 1974 to its present location and the Iron house once again had many and varied tenants. Its later history found it being used in its present use by the National Directorate for Cultural Heritage.

The Natural History Museum: Located in Avenue Travessia do Zambeze this impressive building has housed the National History Museum since 1933. The building is built in the Neo-Manuelino architectural of the early 20th century finished around 1911. Originally called The Provincial Museum it changed name in 1913 taking the name of Dr Álvaro de Castro Museum (who was the General Governor of Mozambique) this name remained in place up until 1975 after which it was renamed as the Natural History Museum.One of the main attractions is the complete collection of elephant foetus, which is believed to be unique and show the gestation of the foetus from conception to birth. The Museum also possesses an important collection of antique sculptures and represents the various ethnic groups of Mozambique.
· The Museum opens from Tuesday to Sunday and also on holidays (except the 1st of January, 1st of May and 25th of December) from 8:30am to 3:30pm, closing every Monday.

The Art Nucleus: The Art Nucleus is a long-standing centre of Art and also an association house for artists gathering here in Mozambique. It was established in its current location in the Polana district within the Maputo City. The centre has always been connected and an expression of Mozambican politic history. The name Art Nucleus appeared for the first time in Mozambique in 1937 as a title to an exhibition depicting “Lourenço Marques”. Due to the lack of freedom of political expression that existed within the Portuguese colonial regime the centre was mainly used for exhibitions of the works from Portuguese artists. However, due to the persistent complaints and objections of some Portuguese artists (although often manipulatively through the colonial political regime) they slowly opened the Nucleus to the growing numbers of Mozambican artists. One of the most noteworthy of these artists is Malangatana
Valente Ngwenya who, expressing his feelings of nationalism obtained huge acclaim with first individual exhibition in 1961. The political freedoms where shortlived from 1964 onwards many Mozambican artists and their works were rounded up with their works destroyed by the Portuguese Secret Police (PIDE) with the members of the Nucleus arrested and accused of being FRELIMO party sympathisers. After independence in 1975 the name of Nucleus was briefly changed to “Centro Organizativo dos Artistas Plásticos (COAP)”, meaning Organizative Centre of Plastic Artistic, a shortlived experience and very soon after the name of Art Nucleus Association was reinstated. Led by artists such as Bertina Lopes, Malangatana and Alberto Chissano the members of the Nucleus dedicated the development of the centre to Mozambican modern art. As the funds from government and foreign agencies dried up there then followed a very static and dry development period through the civil war years. With the cease fire of the Civil War in 1992 and the subsequent launch of a major project for peace consolidation “ Transformação de Armas em Instrumentos de Trabalho” meaning Transforming Weapons into Working Tools(supported by the Justice Department, Peace and Reconciliation of Mozambique Council of Churches) there was a new phase for the life of the Artistic Nucleus. Many young Youth artists took up the initiative; in 1993 after reopening of the building young artists created works of Art using AK47s, mines and a variety of weapons. These works were exhibited within the workshop held in 1998; further exposed through the internet at, the virtual exhibition of these works has reached a Global audience. Now the Nucleus is a flourishing centre for art and holds various workshops and exhibitions exposing Mozambican art across the world. · The Museum opening hours: from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Saturdays only in the mornings.

The Fortress – “Nossa Senhora da Conceição”: Located next to the Maputo Fishing Harbour, downtown, the Fortress “Nossa Senhora da Conceição" is one of the most important and historical monuments of Maputo City. The history for the Fort stems from around 1721 when Dutch settlers established Lagoa Fortress on the right bank of the Espírito Santo River, (The Maputo River) at the Ponta Mahone, (Catembe). This was abandoned in 1730 and then re-established by Austrian settlers in 1777 and used for the slave trade, this was then destroyed in 1781 by a Portuguese expedition coming from Goa.In order to protect the Portuguese trade and commerce in the area a basic fort area was established on the left hand side of the Bay in 1782. Later this military establishment was transformed into a fully fledged Fortress and its construction concluded in 1787.
In 1796 the Fortress was attacked by French pirates who although unsuccessful in holding on to it due to illness from Malaria and other diseases severely damaged its infrastructure. The Fortress was rebuilt by Tenant Luis José and inaugurated on the 25th August 1799.The impressive tree that stands just in front of the Fortress has a dark past because of its use by the Vátua warriors who hanged the captured prison governor in 1883. The building as it stands now was built in 1940 currently used as the Museum of Military history.The construction design (a squared plan built of red blocks) is typical of this many other Portuguese Forts spread around the East African Coast. Inside there is a distinctive painting of Ngungunhane whom was one of the main leaders in the colonial resistance war. The Fort also houses his coffin, which was laid to rest here after having been deported and executed in Portugal. Additionally there are statues of Mouzinho de Albuquerque and António Enes whom were icons of the colonial presence in Mozambique. In acknowledgement of its architectural and historic importance the Fortress was classified as a Mozambican Cultural Heritage Monument in 2002; as such it is protected by the Law of Protection of Cultural Heritage (Law nr. 10/88 of 22nd December).· The Fort is open to the Public on Monday to Sunday from 09:00am – 12:00pm And on Public Holidays from 14:00pm – 17:00pm

The National Coin Museum: Located in Consiglieri Pedroso Street on 25 de Junho Square. The National Coin Museum is also known as “Casa Amarela” (meaning Yellow House) due to the obvious colour of its exterior walls. Built in 1860 it is considered the fist masonry house of the ex-Lourenço Marques belonging to an Indian merchant trader who then sold it to the Portuguese Government who used it as the Headquarters of the first Colonial Government. It was inaugurated on June 15th 1981 as the National Coin Museum following the celebrations of the first anniversary of Mozambique’s currency “ The Metical” .It houses around 4300 coins and notes over 1000 of which originate in Mozambique. It has an impressive collection of artefacts such as medals for which a whole room is dedicated, agricultural tools as well as currency notes and coins from around the globe. Amongst the coins and notes possessed by the museum it also has 4,83 grams of gold powder known as “Metica” (a word of Arabic origin) from where the name Metical (Mozambican Currency name) originates from.
· The Museum is open to public from Tuesday to Saturday, from 09:00am to 12:00pm and 14:00pm to 17:00pm. Sunday and Public Holidays from 14:00pm to 17:00pm. Closed on Mondays.

The National Museum of Arts: Situated on Ho Chi Min Avenue nr 1233 and built in 1964 it was originally used by the Association of Goa Citizens. In 1989 it was opened as a Museum to the public.The Museum houses various collections of paintings, sculptures, drawings and engravings of artists who have lived and worked in Mozambique stretching from the 1950s to today. There are also works belonging to different colonial institutions, these collections are organized in a permanent exhibition that occupies two rooms.The Museum encourages the development of contemporary art enlarging its collection and promoting regular exhibitions. Additionally the Museum offers educational programs, guided tours, workshops and matters related to the Arts. The Museum also has a library and document archive for use by researchers and the general public.
· Opening hours from Tuesdays to Fridays, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm; Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays (except the 1st of January, 1st of May and 25th of December) from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, closed on Mondays.

The Saturday Bazar: If you happen to be visiting the Praça 25 de Junho on a Saturday before lunchtime, you will come across this market in the middle of the Square. Here you can buy anything from a batik to a painted bird or a carved wooden head. There are also sandalwood products on sale. The market attracts many tourists so be prepared to haggle and bargain for a better deal.