It can be hard to imagine Capetonians ever wanting or needing to leave the Mother City for a holiday escape, but if you do there’s a tropical neighbour up north that provides an intoxicating alternative that will pique the interest of even the most devout local.
The allure of Mozambique extends beyond its convenience of being visa-free and an exotic mix of Portuguese and African influences. Think pasteis de nata, piri piri chicken and king prawns, says Natalie Tenzer-Silva, Director of Maputo-based Dana Tours and a South African expat who lives in the Mozambican capital.
Mozambique is close enough to home for a warm tropical escape or city break. A holiday here offers everything you could love about a place like Cape Town, but without the December crowds, queues and N1 peak-hour traffic.
Like Cape Town, Mozambique offer its own unique vibe, an incredible food culture and dynamic local people. There’s nothing like heading out on a day trip along the coast, with afternoons spent sipping rum and tucking into fresh seafood.
Here’s how Mozambique can melt the hearts of even the most hardcore Capetonians:
For the love of the ocean
In Cape Town: Avid kite-surfers can be seen regularly along Table Bay at spots like Betty’s Bay, Big Bay and Dolphin’s Beach. Muizenberg is a hotspot for surfers and the beaches of Camp’s Bay and Clifton are a boon for sun-worshippers.
In Mozambique: Capetonians can leave their wetsuits at home thanks to its tropical climate and warm Indian Ocean. Secluded beaches are an easy find, especially on the islands in the Quirimbas Archipelago. Kite-surfers can test their skills near Vilanculos and even participate in the Vilanculos Downwind Kitesurfing Festival from 23-26 September. During the months of June to September, swim in the company of whale sharks when they arrive to feed and mate in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Marine Park and Tofo Beach, which are also superb spots for scuba diving.
A dose of city-life
In Cape Town: Cape Town Citybowl holds many secrets to its past, from its colonial architecture, the Castle and Company’s Garden to Bo-Kaap and museums such as District Six. It is easy to see why it is referred to as one of the most beautiful cities in the world with its iconic Table Mountain – a source of beautiful views. Pound the quirky streets of the city centre, browse the boutiques, and take up your favourite spot at one of de Waterkant’s coffee shops. With so many respected galleries (cue Zeitz Mocaa) and delectable restaurants from which to choose, there is always something to do in Cape Town.
In Mozambique: Much like Cape Town, Maputo is a sprawling port city. It’s trade history brought cultures from all the corners of the earth with Bantu, Portuguese, Arab, Indian and Chinese influences still felt today. Capetonians will love exploring the downtown neighbourhood of Baixa, lined with jacaranda trees and pretty colonial Portuguese architecture. Head to the National Art Museum for your art fix, relax in the shady street cafés or pastelerias by day, and live the legendary music bars by night. For an insider’s perspective, Dana Tours offers a day experience to get your bearings in this lively city, as you explore the Fortress, City Hall, the Railway Station, FEIMA curio market, the Botanical Gardens and The Iron House, said to have been designed by Gustav Eiffel.
And the food?
In Cape Town: It’s a well-known fact that Capetonians are big on food, with fresh coffee, local wine and craft beer from the local breweries the order of the day. Weekend Markets like Oranjezicht, the Woodstock Exchange and Hout Bay are always buzzing and there’s something for every palate around every corner, from Baia Seafood Restaurant (V&A Waterfront) to street-food style vis en tjips at Kalkies, not forgetting the foodie wonderland of Franschhoek.
In Mozambique: Like Cape Town, Mozambique has its fair share of markets too, with a dash more rustic charm, of course. In Maputo, Indian traders sell spices in side streets and fishermen trade in the broad coastal boulevard. Capetonians should definitely pay a visit to the Mercado do Peixe (the Fish Market), where you can tuck into freshly caught seafood and giant tiger prawns which are prepared right in front of you over an open fire. Let’s not forget Mozambique’s beloved piri piri chicken paired with a Tipo Tinto rum and raspberry, or a crisp Laurentina.