A Comprehensive Guide about Living in Maputo

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  • Mathias Döringer

    Thanks to InterNations, I have now made some new friends, who taught me a lot about the expat experience in Maputo.

Life in Maputo

Culture and Leisure

Maputo has a number of sightseeing options. The city is blessed with many beautiful architectural achievements. They include the large-domed central railway station, which was reportedly designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. The mint green exterior and the intricate wrought iron decorations make it one of the most beautiful train stations in Africa; it was even used for the filming of a scene in the Leonardo Di Caprio movie Blood Diamond.

Many visitors also enjoy spending time at the Praça dos Heróis Moçambicanos, a monument celebrating the country’s revolution. The remains of Mozambique’s major revolutionary leaders are resting within its marble structure. However, you have to wait until 3 February if you want to take a look as this is the only day of the year that the public is permitted to visit.

Maputo has some shopping center options including Maputo Shopping Center and Polana Shopping Center. Markets include Mercado do Pau which is famed for its hand-painted masks, although it is very popular with locals and can get very busy. Mercado Municipal is a very busy morning market and is a good place to shop for local crafts. Artedif is a shopping cooperative which sells local crafts of a higher quality than in other markets. This is reflected in the prices.

There are a variety of expat-based leisure options. The city hosts an expat running club called the Maputo Hash House Harriers. The Brazilian Center also hosts a Sahaja yoga meditation class on Tuesdays. There is a Sunday touch frisbee expat group as well. Gym options are limited in Maputo but many of the hotels have gyms. Pro Gym also has two gyms in the city: one in Matola and one in Mares.

Education in Maputo

The education standards at Maputo’s public schools are not comparable with Western standards. Although literacy rates are improving, it still amounts to just half of the population. Female absenteeism remains a serious problem, with male students outnumbering female students by two to one.

Portuguese is the language of instruction. English is only spoken within the context of English language classes, which are compulsory from secondary school.

There are a number of International school options for expats in Maputo. Most follow an American or British curriculum model and the language of instruction tends to be English. However, the demand for places at Maputo’s international schools is fierce and getting ever more intense thanks to the swelling expat population. The majority of the schools function on a day school basis.

The American International School of Mozambique (AISM) is an IB World School. It is mixed and the language of instruction is English. There is a kindergarten, primary middle and high school. The courses are US college prep focused but the main qualification that the institution offers is the International Baccalaureate. The US State Department Office of Overseas Schools recognizes this institution.

Maputo International School (MIS) offers education to expatriates and Mozambican children from elementary to high school level and follows the British National Curriculum. The students sit exams prepared by the Cambridge International Examinations Board.

Willow International School teaches children from kindergarten to high school level. The curriculum is Mozambican but incorporates parts of the Cambridge system as well. Instruction is in English, although some supplementary classes are also taught in Portuguese.

Healthcare in Maputo

Although Maputo’s health care sector has made massive strides recently, there is a severe strain on resources and the system simply cannot cope with demand. Maputo has just one central public hospital, which is supplemented by several small health centers.

Ultimately, the Mozambican health care system is not sufficiently modernized, and diseases like HIV have put a severe strain on the infrastructure. Many severe illness cases and emergencies are transferred to South Africa because the expertise and resources to deal with these cases is not available in Maputo or elsewhere in Mozambique.

It is highly recommended that expats get private health insurance. Cash payment for treatment is normal in Maputo and often has to be paid before treatment. It is also difficult to source prescription medication so if you have a prescription then it is worth making sure that you have enough to last you as long as your doctor will allow.

There are a number of health insurance options, including Cigna Global Health, which has expertise in expat health care.

Private hospitals in Maputo include Maputo Private Hospital, which provides a range of services from maternity and surgery to orthopedic. Clinicare is a new private clinic, opened in 2008, and is currently Maputo’s only private clinic.

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  • Mathias Döringer

    Thanks to InterNations, I have now made some new friends, who taught me a lot about the expat experience in Maputo.

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