UN logos
Ports
Maputo harbour. Photo: Nuno Ibra Remane / Creative Commons

Maputo, Mozambique

about 2 months ago
Written by Ronald Toppe
Ports > Maputo, Mozambique

Maputo, Mozambique

about 2 months agoPorts
Written by Ronald Toppe
Maputo harbour. Photo: Nuno Ibra Remane / Creative Commons

Statsraad Lehmkuhl visits Maputo December 17 2022 - January 3 2023

Maputo is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Mozambique, in the east of southern Africa.

The way the globe is unfolded when presented on flat maps deceives us. Africa is really huge, the second largest continent after Asia. Mozambique is also large, two and a half times larger than Norway.

Rivers

The country has a low coast, and rises towards a mountain plateau inland. Several large rivers flow from the plateau, such as the Zambezi and the Limpopo. The grey-green, greasy Limpopo is probably familiar to many from Kipling's story about how elephants got their long trunks.

The 2 574-kilometre-long Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa, flowing from Zambia through eastern Angola, along the north-eastern border of Namibia and the northern border of Botswana, then along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe to Mozambique. Photo: Ronald Toppe
The 2 574 km long Zambezi is the fourth longest river in Africa, flowing from Zambia through eastern Angola, along the north-eastern border of Namibia and the northern border of Botswana, then along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe to Mozambique. Photo: Ronald Toppe

Mozambique was populated by hunters and gatherers when the Portuguese Vasco de Gama and his crew arrived there in 1498. By then, Arab traders had lived along the coast for several hundred years. The Portuguese built trading posts and fortresses, and used the land as a stop on the sea route going further east.

The country remained a Portuguese colony until 1975, when it became independent after a ten-year liberation war.

A marked for building materials in Maputo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A marked for building materials in Maputo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Civil War

The Portuguese had little focus on building up infrastructure, the economy and education, and eventually gave the rights to the rich natural resources away to private companies. After Mozambique became independent, the country experienced several decades of civil unrest, before a new constitution focusing on free elections and a market-based economy was enacted in 1990.

Since then, Mozambique has been democratic. Most of the 30 million inhabitants work in small-scale agriculture, and agricultural products are the country's main export along with aluminium.

Vegetable marked in Maputo. Photo: Rosino / Wikimedia Commons
Vegetable marked in Maputo. Photo: Rosino / Wikimedia Commons

Port and railway

Maputo in the very south of the country is the most important port in Mozambique. From here, the country's export goods are sent out by ship, and by rail south to Pretoria in South Africa. The city has around one million inhabitants.

Maputo lies inside Maputo Bay where five of the many rivers from the interior ends, a strategic place to set up a trading station, as the Portuguese did here in 1782. In 1787 the station was reinforced with a fort. A hundred years later, the trading post had grown into a town, which grew further when the railway was built in 1895.

Maputo. Photo: Creative Commons
Maputo. Photo: Creative Commons

A planned city

The town was named Lourenço Marques after the Portuguese trader who first settled here. The name Maputo, after one of the five rivers, was given to the city the year after the country was liberated.

Maputo was originally a planned city, with separate areas for housing and others for industry, wide avenues and rectangular blocks. But in recent years the population has increased rapidly, and the city has grown. Now many of the inhabitants live cramped and impoverished, and struggle because of the lack of infrastructure.

Women sifting through the sand one of the many beaches. Photo: Rosino / Wikimedia Commons
Women sifting through the sand one of the many beaches. Photo: Rosino / Wikimedia Commons

In the middle of summer

Maputo has a tropical savanna climate, with dry winters and humid summers. Maputo is south of the equator, so it is the middle of summer when Statsraad Lehmkuhl arrives in December. The city gets 813 millimeters of precipitation annually, slightly more than what Oslo receives.

Normal maximum temperature in December: 30.1 ℃
Normal rainfall in December: 118 mm

Next port: Cape Town
Previous port: Mauritius

One Ocean logoUN logos

The One Ocean Expedition is a circumnavigation by the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl. We aim to to share knowledge about the crucial role of the ocean for a sustainable development in a global perspective.

Website by TRY / Netlife