The World Around Us

Catembe’s splendor

Country: Mozambique by Lisette


If you want a quick fix and get out of Maputo, you go to Catembe. It’s a walk down to the pier, a 20-minute ferry ride that costs 5MZN (17 cents) and voila, you have left the hustling and bustling of the city.

The ferry ride is a ride to remember, it doesn’t leave until its really full. If you’re lucky you get on last minute and stand claustrophobically close to others, leaning on one of the many cars they were able to get on.  Always be aware of pickpockets.

Once you have reached Catembe, everyone wants to get off the ferry as soon as humanly possible. The first sight is worth a pot of gold if I’d have it. Bobbing in the water are a couple of small, not-so-well-maintained, fishermen’s boat that make you belief the ferry acts as a time machine and you are teleported back a century or so.

Sandy and Meghna, fellow volunteers.

Stay on the beach and walk for at least a good fifteen minutes to leave the noise, the people, and the dirt behind. The view of Maputo city is lovely, and the breeze makes you feel as light as a feather. I always take my shoes off to feel the sand and the refreshing water.

It has always done the trick for me. Being close to a body of water translates into me feeling instantly better. I’m not sure why but guess it has to do with growing up around so much water, that I have the urge to be close to it once in a while. Sadly, the water is not inviting enough here to swim. The brown water is cluttered with plastic things people have carelessly thrown out. Plus, quite important, Maputo’s sewage is dumped in the ocean.

We mostly walk a bit further until we hit The Gallery Hotel where we have a delicious cold beer at the café with its thatched roof. Lunch however, we choose to have somewhere else (as volunteers we tend to go to places that cater for Africans and are much cheaper than fancy hotels). And so we have to walk all the way back to the pier and a bit further until we hit our favorite spot Esplanada Catembe.

As you usually have to wait about one hour to 90 minutes for a meal, its garden invites you to relax and enjoy the shade under the pine trees. I have grown grumpy here as I waited hungrily, so aim to come here on time! But ah.. the food. The food! They barbeque the fish to perfection and then serve it with a dollop of butter on top of it. There’s no doubt about it, this is the place to be for the best food of Maputo Province.