The history of the Xipamanine market goes back to the days of Lourenço Marques and before, when black traders throughout Mozambique were restricted to the outskirts of cities. Tourists did, however, patronize Xipamanine, which had (and still has) the reputation of selling anything from live leopards to human body parts.
Not much has changed, but today you won’t find living, wild creatures apart from the odd pet baboon. To get to Xipamanine, either take a chapa (minibus taxi) or, if driving, from Av. Julius Nyerere turn into Av. Eduardo Mondlane and, after 3km (1.8 miles), at the ninth major intersection turn right into Av. de Zâmbia up to Praça 21 de Outubro, and then immediately left into Rua dos Irmãos Roby. Carry on till you arrive at the hectic, mostly open-air marketplace. Ensure that you leave someone to look after your car, or at least don’t leave anything of value inside. Guard against pickpockets and bag-snatchers, and be sure to visit the section selling traditional medicines and talismans, where you may gain an insight into the hidden spiritual world of the Shangaan and Ronga tribes.
Xefina Grande Island
At the end of the Marginal, a short distance out to sea, lie the larger of the two islands which guard the mouth of the Incomáti River. Although a few traditional fishermen inhabit Xefina Grande, the lack of fresh water has prevented extensive settlement,but there are now plans afoot to build a bridge linking the island to the mainland. Arrange a cruise to the island through Dana Tours, on Avenida Mao Tse Tung. The island’s beaches and snorkelling offshore are excellent. Alternatively you could explore the tumbledown ruins of the mid-16th-century Portuguese fort and a World War II bunker.
Av. da Marginal
Maputo’s Marginal (beach promenade) extends for 10km (6 miles) from the end of Av. 25 de Setembro to the fishing village a short distance past Restaurante Costa do Sol.
Identification firmly in pocket, it is best to begin your promenade at the ferry jetty on Av. 10 de Novembro. Walk towards the bay mouth, passing the Escola Nautica (Naval School), after which you will join the Marginal, and the city’s Zona Verde (green belt – note muggings do occur here), at the large traffic circle. Continue under the flyover and on around the bend to the Clube Naval (yacht club), which was built in 1913. The club’s pub, restaurant and swimming pool are open to visitors on payment of a temporary membership fee. Next is Artedif, a workshop for disabled artisans, in thatched rondavels in the centre of the Marginal. Here a range of curios and leatherwork is on sale and repairs to shoes and bags are also undertaken.
You will pass the Holiday Inn and then find reed furniture, wood carvings and colourful pottery on sale under flamboyant trees. After this the new International Conference Centreextends for about 1km (1/2 mile). Pubs, clubs, quiosques and youngsters selling ice-cold beverages from polystyrene boxes line the road all the way to Restaurante Costa do Sol. Have lunch at the Bazar do Peixe next to a huge construction site where a new hotel is being built and catch a ‘chapa’ taxi back to your hotel.