Marianne is co-founder and CEO of Bébé Voyage which she started while living in Mozambique. In 2017, she moved with her family to Buenos Aires, Argentina where they’ve continued to travel and explore. For insights into her life in Argentina, read her article, The Surprising Reason You Should Travel To Argentina With Kids.
I live in Maputo, Mozambique with my 3.5 year old son and husband Andreas. We moved to Maputo from Sweden when Simon was 7 weeks old for my husband’s job. For those of you who need a little geography refresher, Mozambique is in southern Africa, on the eastern coast just opposite from Madagascar. Maputo, the capital, is a 2-hour drive from the South African border and Kruger Park and an 8-hour drive from Johannesburg. Despite its proximity to one of the wealthiest and most developed countries on the African continent, Mozambique is one of the poorest, ranking only slightly higher on most indices than countries in the midst of violent active conflict.
Believe it or not, Maputo was one of our top choices for postings because we had heard that it was very family friendly and because we both speak Portuguese (I was born in Brazil and my husband learned it). Mozambique has not disappointed. The weather is always between 22 and 29 degrees Celsius (70 and 85 degrees F), the people are friendly, we have an ocean view, amazing beaches and safari parks within a few hours.
We travel A LOT (that’s why I started Bébé Voyage!), so when we’re in Maputo, we generally try to keep it pretty low key. Here’s what a typical Sunday looks like for us…
7:00 AM – WAKE UP
If we’re lucky, Simon will sleep until 7 before coming into our room and asking for breakfast. In our house, we alternate who gets to sleep in on the weekends, so one of us gets to sleep in until 9. The awoken parent gets breakfast going and keeps Simon entertained for a couple hours. Sometimes this involves taking a walk down the street to La Tartine, our local French bakery, for some fresh croissants and pain au chocolat.
9:00 AM – SECOND WAKE UP
If the second parent hasn’t emerged by 9am, s/he is sure to get an enthusiastic nudge at 9am. After a quick breakfast (or second breakfast for some), we all do our weekend workout. My husband and I do interval training, and if we’re lucky, Simon will go take a nap (usually out of boredom). Lately though, Simon has been wanting to do a kid’s yoga video on the other side of the living room.
10:30 AM – POOL
Most of the year, we end up quite hot and sweaty after our workout and love going down to our building’s pool for a dip. There are always neighbors hanging out there, especially the ones with energetic kids who need to get out of the apartment.
11:30 AM – GET READY
As we get ourselves showered and dressed, usually we’re each listening to podcasts. Andreas listens to Swedish Radio’s God Morgon Världen while I listen to NPR’s Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and On the Media.
1:00 PM – LUNCH
Sunday lunch is when everyone goes out with their family for lunch in Maputo, so usually we try to meet up with some friends. If we’re not trying out a new place, we like to go to one of a handful of places that we find has reliably good food and good service.
- Campo di Mare at Club Maritimo – a great Italian seafood restaurant housed in one of the yacht clubs, right on the water. I like the tuna tartar, Andreas the seafood pasta and Simon impressed the chef so much by asking for gnocchi with gorgonzola, that we think they’re adding it to the menu. Bonus: they have high chairs.
- Mar na Brasa – across the street from Club Maritimo, this is a great seafood restaurant. Their shellfish platters are impressive and they have nice takes on the standard grilled fish. While they don’t have a kids menu, their shrimp cocktail appetizer is just the right size for Simon (with a little help from the parents!)
- Campo Fiori – with the same owners as Campo di Mare, but located in Sommerschield Park which makes it a great option when you have a bunch of kids that need to run around. Kids often bike around the park while parents wait for the food. Their menu includes an extensive pizza and pasta selection.
All three places make fresh squeezed juice with seasonal fruit (orange, pineapple, mango, apple, watermelon, carrot, passion fruit…), their own desserts, and, like all places in Maputo, have a strong espresso.
3:00 PM – PLAYGROUND
If we’re at Campo Fiori, we usually just migrate from the tables to the playground area after lunch and hang out for a while. If we’re at Club Maritimo or Mar na Brasa, we head up the street to the American School which has the best playground in Maputo. If you’re not a member of the school community, you can sign in with the guards and they will let you in (on the weekends and holidays). In the main courtyard, there’s a big, newly built playground for older kids, but tucked away to the left (as you head towards the pool), there’s a playground for smaller kids. Unlike many of the playgrounds in Maputo, these ones are well maintained, are clean and have a higher safety standard.
5:30 PM – SEARCHING FOR FRUIT
As we head home, we usually start fancying a cocktail that requires a specific fruit that we don’t have in the house (passion fruit, mango, watermelon, limes…) and so have to go on a hunt. During the week, there are fruit sellers every few hundred meters, but they are harder to come by on Sunday evenings. If we’re lucky, we catch the fruit stand a few blocks away from us while they are still open.
6:00 PM – SKYPE WITH THE GRANDPARENTS
Every weekend evening, we skype with my parents. Really, it’s them going gaga over whatever Simon is doing and him lapping up all the attention. I’m just there for technical support and occasionally to interpret.
6:45 PM – SHOWER AND DINNER PREP
While Andreas showers Simon and gets him in his pajamas, I get dinner ready. Basically it means that I reheat whatever leftovers we have from the meals our amazing housekeeper made for us during the week. Once Simon is ready, Andreas makes a cocktail, hopefully with the elusive fruit.
7:00 PM – DINNER
We all sit down for dinner together. It’s getting to be more fun now that Simon has more things to say. Often he is talking about a trip he’s already taken (trams in New Orleans has been a recent favorite) or one that he knows we’re planning (seeing lemurs in Madagascar).
**If your child has trouble getting to bed, stop reading now.**
7:30 PM – BEDTIME
Once Simon has had enough to eat–usually when Andreas and I are eating our salad and sipping the ends of our cocktails–Simon declares that he’s tired and wants to go to bed. We get through the whole bedtime routine (diaper, toothbrushing etc.) in about 5 minutes with no fuss. (And yes, he then sleeps the whole night through and yes, he’s always been like that…) By 7:35, we’re back to sipping our cocktails and finishing our dinner.
8:00 PM – THE NEWS
Andreas likes to watch the Sunday night news followed by a Mozambican political commentary show. While he’s doing that, I’m usually finishing up my podcasts or catching up on things I haven’t had a chance to do during the week (like writing this up).
10:00 PM – LIGHTS OUT
By this time, we’re quite tired and looking forward to a good night’s sleep… hopefully without the stray mosquito which has lately been sneaking into our room!
Hello. Do you have any resources for giving birth in Mozambique?
Most people who have the ability to do so, prefer to give birth in South Africa. It’s only a couple hours drive from Maputo to the border, a 4-hour drive to Nelspruit and an 8-hour drive to Johannesburg. I looked into some very lovely clinics in Joburg although didn’t end up being pregnant then!