Cape Town - Limited competition on the Johannesburg-Maputo air route has meant that it costs travellers almost three times as much per km to travel to the capital of Mozambique than it does to Durban, which is almost the same distance.
This looks set to come to an end as Maputo stakeholders welcome the recent announcement by regional low-cost carrier, fastjet, that it would launch flights between Johannesburg and Maputo, a route that until now has been dominated by South African Airways (SAA) and Linhas Aérias Moçambicanas (LAM).
fastjet recently announced it has established brand licence agreements with Federal Airlines and Solenta Aviation Mozambique to gain the correct permissions to launch fastjet Mozambique.
The low-cost carrier also recently said it intends to grow its network over time to enable affordable inbound and domestic travel, and welcomed a move to Zimbabwe Open Skies.
SEE: #AfriTravel: Fastjet welcomes move to Zimbabwe Open Skies
The airline, which plans to launch its new service in the next few months, now operates in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Zambia and has as the goal to become the leading pan-African low cost airline.
“For South Africans this is fantastic news,” says Maputo-based Dana Tours Director Natalie Tenzer-Silva, who is a South African expat and has lived in Maputo for over a decade.
“Particularly for South Africans who remember the nostalgia of the Maputo’s heyday, a visit to Mozambique provides a beautiful beach and cultural getaway that’s close to home and doesn’t require a visa.”
ALSO SEE: #AfriTravel: fastjet adds more flights between Jozi and Zim
Tenzer-Silva says “We are already working with accommodation providers like Southern Sun Maputo to offer affordable weekend packages for South Africans wishing to experience the Mozambican capital.”
She adds that the next step must be to open domestic and regional routes so that the south and north of the country can be connected. “This would mean travellers could fly from the beaches of Bazaruto to the Gorongosa bush, or even to Ilha de Moçambique, for example, without having to detour via Maputo.”
Kevin Record, owner of Ibo Island Lodge in northern Mozambique, has also described the news as “incredibly positive” adding that it adds a “whole new dimension for easier access and more competitive pricing” of airfares to Mozambique – a route that has been constrained with extremely high airfares making it expensive for air travellers to visit up until now.
ALSO SEE: #FindYourEscape: 25 new flight routes and expansions SA travellers can take advantage of
Fastjet is connecting South Africans to leisure destinations like Victoria Falls and Zanzibar, with tour operators highlighting the latter as one of their top honeymoon destinations for 2018.
“It takes less than an hour to fly to Maputo. So, for a tropical beach break with exotic Portuguese and African flavours that’s closer to Johannesburg than Durban, Maputo becomes that much more accessible for South Africans with this new flight,” concludes Tenzer-Silva.
SEE: fastjet eyes new direct flights between Vic Falls and Cape Town
What to do in Maputo over a weekend
Visit the Fish Market
Indulge in delectable seafood flavours freshly caught and cooked at one of the barracas at the Fish Market near the Marginal. Simply select your catch and ask one of the local chefs to cook it in their make-shift kitchens alongside the market. This is best enjoyed in the open sunshine with a bottle or two of 2M beer.
Admire the arts and crafts at Feima
For beautiful batik art and wooden sculptures, look no further than Feima on the Avenida dos Mártires de Machava.
Set sail for Inhaca
Visit Inhaca Island and Portuguese Island across Maputo Bay and spend the day snorkeling and indulging in delicious seafood.
Visit Macaneta, just 30km north of Maputo, for a relaxing beach break and dip your toes in the Indian Ocean.
Jazz it up
Maputo is renowned for its jazz scene and you can experience it during a city tour at night, which will take you to such renowned clubs as Coconuts Live, Sinatra’s and Africa Bar.
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