Cima Walk (uptown): 7km; 4 miles
This walk, starting and ending at the Hotel Polana (designed by renowned British architect Sir Herbert Baker), explores the newer part of Maputo. Built on a hill overlooking the bay, the Polana, where there is safe short-term parking, recalls the opulent 1920s when no expense was spared on style and luxury. It is a fascinating place to visit. The Polana’s marvellous lift, with its carved hardwood panels, ornate iron railings and crystal windows, is on its own worth the trip.
Walk out of the Polana parking area, cross over Av. Julius Nyerere, turn right then, after crossing Av. Mao Tsé Tung, on your left you’ll see two stately old colonial homes. The first villa is still occupied by the descendants of the original owners, while the second was the Ungumi Restaurant, once the finest dining establishment in town.
From here, continue around the building onto the Rua Kwame Nkrumah. To the right, one block up from here is the Church of Santo António da Polana. Do enter this serene building and admire the enormous stained-glass windows extending into the soaring spire.
One block further on, take a left turn into Av. Mártires da Machava. After five blocks you will reach Av. Eduardo Mondlane with its four traffic lanes. On a corner to your left, is the Bureau de Informação Público (Public Information Bureau, also known as BIP), on the ground floor of the meteorological institute, which offers a good variety of useful and informative videos, books and magazines about Mozambique.
From here, turn to the right and proceed along Av. Eduardo Mondlane, past the sprawling grounds of the Central Hospital to the lovely and unmistakable Restaurante 1908. This elegant Victorian-style mansion, which was once the hospital of Lourenço Marques (Maputo’s pre-independence name), has been converted into a restaurant that serves a variety of very good Italian dishes.
Cross Av. Eduardo Mondlane to Av. Salvador Allende and walk four blocks towards the bay. At the junction with Av. Patrice Lumumba turn left and enjoy the excellent view during the short walk to the Natural History Museum, built in the Manueline/neo-Gothic style. Exhibits include stuffed animals and the only known collection of elephant foetuses, displaying most of the 22 months of gestation. The museum director, Dr Augusto Cabral, has a wry sense of humour and is a fount of information on Mozambique’s history and wildlife.
Walk back around the praça and turn left into Rua de Mateus Sansão Muthemba with Clube dos Empresários almost immediately to your left. The shady terrace overlooking the swimming pool is a great place to sit and sip a cold drink. Carry on down the road, watching out for the for the stately homes on your right, two blocks before the intersection with Av. Julius Nyerere. Continue with Sansão Muthemba and turn left at the junction into Av. Julius Nyerere, on which the Hotel Polana is situated. It is now a 2km (11/4-mile) walk back to your starting point, along a leafy avenue lined with stately homes, interesting shops and many and various restaurants. Pause for an ice cream, stop off for lunch, watch the passing show over a cup of espresso, and support the curio sellers who offer their art and craft underneath the trees opposite the parking area of the Hotel Polana.