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Maputo

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... is the region which covers the southernmost part of Mozambique, bordering onto South Africa's Elephant Coast to the south and Swaziland to the west.


Maputo City, formerly know as Lourenco Marques, or "LM", is the capital of the country, is set on the northern bank of the Tembe River where it flows into the enormous Maputo Bay. It is a bustling city of around 1.5 million people, whose attractive jacaranda and palm lined avenues have a distinctly Mediterranean feel. As well as a good deal of fine Portuguese architecture dating back to colonial times, there is a fair smattering of rather more grim modern office blocks and a considerable quantity of condominium developments. As usual with a place of this size in Africa, it is surrounded by huge shanties, where the poverty is evident. The city offers exceptionally colourful markets and a very active nightlife. Overall it feels relatively ordered, safe and well maintained, pleasant by the standards of most African capitals.

Polana Serena Hotel ... is a relatively impressive large hotel in the city centre which is naturally focused on business travellers.


Peninsular de Machangula is a 40km tongue of land which projects northwards to protect the broad Maputo Bay. The most northerly part, Inhaca Island, is of considerable historical interest, having been the first site used by Portuguese traders after they rounded the Cape in 1550, trading with the local chief for ivory and other natural resources from the interior. The peninsular has large coastal dune-fields to the east, sub-tropical forests, lagoons and mangroves to the west. There is a decent sized settlement on the west coast and a good deal of agriculture in central areas. It also has the most southerly coral reefs along this coast, the water temperature in the bay being slightly higher than the ocean beyond, making it quite a target for divers. Despite being relatively close to the capital city, this area feels remarkably remote and untouched.

Machangulo Beach Lodge ... is a really lovely and remote beach lodge which is most commonly accessed by road and boat from the Kruger area of South Africa.


Maputo Elephant Reserve, just to the south of the Peninsular de Machangula, was once home to a full range of wildlife and within touching distance of beautiful beaches and sub-tropical islands. However in recent decades the reserve has suffered severe poaching, with the 65 rhinos introduced from South Africa having all been killed, whilst cheetahs, leopards and buffaloes are also thought be now locally extinct. Of the 350 resident elephants, only around fifty are thought to be surviving. Over the years a succession of wealthy foreign investors have been courted to develop substantial bush and beach tourism projects, to include a complete restocking of the reserve. So far these attempts have not amounted to much. Facilities here remain virtually non-existent and the only visitors tend to be day-trippers from beach lodges within striking distance.


Ponta Malongane is the section of coastline which runs north for 20km north from the settlement of Ponta D'Ouro on the border with South Africa, a stunning area of broad open beaches backed by vegetated sand dunes and a largely uninhabited hinterland.

White Pearl ... is a really high class beach lodge on a lovely remote beach which is most commonly accessed by road and boat from the Kruger area of South Africa.


Ponta d'Ouro is a small coastal settlement immediately to the north of the border with South Africa. It is very popular with South African self-drivers, who come up here primarily for diving and fishing. Visitors from further afield are relatively rare and so the lodges are very much focused on this domestic demand.
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