This was my first visit to Mozambique. And it was slightly different from my previous travels - this time, technology was to be my companion as Google South Africa wanted everyone to enjoy an immersive experience with its travel-related apps: Google Maps, Google Translate, Google Photos and Google Trip, to highlight the more prominent options.
The view on the drive to the hotel took us past outmoded buildings juxtaposed with beautiful homes. Every now and again, you would catch sight of numerous derelict building structures that had been abandoned.
Dinner on our first night was at the crème de la crème of fine-dining establishments in the city - Zambi.
Everything from the freshly baked garlic bread, which was so moreish you couldn’t stop eating it, to the generous seafood mains and dessert, was tantalising. The bowls of chilli that was passed around proved to be hugely popular with everyone.
There is a rich political history to the city. And the cloud of poverty continues to hover over most of the people, who peddle whatever they can to eke out a living.
We stopped outside The Church of Saint Anthony of Polana, which is, literally, shaped like a lemon squeezer - it’s currently being renovated.
Google Maps was our default app for most of the day as we hopped from place to place.
FEIMA - Feira de Artesanato, Flores e Gastronomica is a popular tourist attraction. This craft market is where painters, wood carvers, and bag makers sell their goods. You can also find traditional jewellery and clothing. The key is to first shop around before bargaining, which is easier said than done as you are affronted by tenacious stall owners are every turn.
Other pit stops included the Museu de Historia Natural, the bustling railway station, which homes a small art gallery containing the paintings of legendary artists.
Tourists are cautioned against taking pictures or videos of government and military buildings as well as homes of prominent figures.
Maputo is a city of contrasts. The beauty may not be enough to disguise the hardships suffered by most. But the smiles of the people offer some comfort when you leave.
With so many wonderful spots to dine at, culture and history to soak up, Mozambique beckons another visit.
In the meantime, the experience, well-documented on my Google apps, will have to suffice.