Photos Izak van Zyl
A myriad orange lights dance on the black sea as we descend into the belly of the port city of Maputo in Mozambique. The air hostess's voice sounds melodic as she welcomes us to the city in the strange lazy cadence of Portuguese, 15 minutes earlier than planned. She also wishes us all a merry Christmas and happy new year.
Private bathrooms, beautiful sea views and air-conditioning add to the appeal of the lovely room. In-room amenities also include free wireless Internet access, tea and coffee facilities, a mini bar and other thoughtful touches to enhance your experience. The added convenience of a wake-up call facility ensures that the needs of guests are met. Smoking and wheelchair accessible rooms are available on request. Rates include breakfast and kids under 18 stay and eat breakfast free!
The waves crash on the beach meters away and the soft blue light around the massively tall palm trees twinkle in the water of the stunning swimming pool. Aaah, paradise!
Our first stop is the Maputo Railway Station, built in front of the "Praça dos Trabalhadores" (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 remarkable bronze dome, founded specially for the building, was constructed in South Africa and its assembly was an innovation for that time. Our next stop is the Fortress or "Nossa Senhora da Conceição" which is located next to the Maputo Fishing Harbor. The Fortress is one of the most important and historical monuments in Maputo. The history of the Fort stems from around 1721 when Dutch settlers established Lagoa Fortress on the right bank of the Espírito Santo River at the Ponta Mahone. In 1796 the Fortress was attacked by French pirates who severely damaged its infrastructure. It was rebuilt by Tenant Luis José and inaugurated on August 25, 1799. It is an inspiring and amazing place which is well worth a visit.
There are many other attractions in Maputo but we only have time for one last stop – the market. Built between 1901 and 1903, the building has a "U" form design and was built in the neoclassic style of Anglo-Saxon architecture. The building is believed to be a replica of Aster Hall in Hamburg. It's a hive of activity on a Saturday morning, with a wide variety of produce such as fruits, cashew nuts, fish, meat, aromatic herbs and spices as well as handcraft and souvenirs. A definite must-do!
We are treated to a wonderful dinner in the hotel dining room that night. The intoxicating aromas assault your senses as soon as you enter the elegant, dimly lit dining room. I am not normally a fan of a buffet (there is an a la carte menu as well), but this feast I must sample. And I am not disappointed.
Beef, roast chicken, and fish of all varieties wink enticingly at the different food stations including interesting and delicious side dishes like spinach soup. Our waiter Fernando is excellent and well-informed. I start with the tomato based seafood soup with prawns, calamari, mussels and line fish and proclaim it superb. We continue with the roast beef, pink in the middle, cooked to perfection. The dessert station includes a range of delectable treats such as apple tarts, crème Brule, cheese cake, lemon cakes, chocolate brownies and tiramisu; so if you're on a diet, stay away.
We have a night-cap overlooking the ocean a bit later. "I don't want to leave," says Izak. "Neither do I!"
So the following morning we re-book our room for another night.
The day goes by in a shimmering delightful blur involving swimming, laughing, cocktails, more swimming, reading and more cocktails. The drinks and food are not cheap but the reasonable room rates and splendid included breakfast plus the excellent service more than make up for it.
This article should actually be titled "my holiday by the seaside" because for four entire days I felt like a gleeful child on holiday...
Telephone: +258 21 495 050 Fax: +258 21 497 700
Email Us: SSMaputo.Reservations@tsogosun.com
Physical Address: Avenida de Marginal Maputo Mozambique
Postal Address: PO Box 4354 Maputo
Getting there: There are no direct flights from China to Mozambique but two airlines service that route from Johannesburg in South Africa - LAM Airways and Airlink. The flight only takes 40 minutes and to drive to Maputo from Johannesburg takes about 7 hours by car. Air China outbound flights to Johannesburg in South Africa operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with return services from Johannesburg offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Flights will departs from Beijing at 23:15 Beijing time, and arrive in Johannesburg at 7:35 local time on the following day. The inbound flight departs from Johannesburg at 11:50 local time and arrives in Beijing at 7:30 Beijing time.