Review: MozGuest Residence in Maputo, Mozambique

hen researching lodging options in Maputo — which is the capital city of Mozambique — many of the room rates seemed to range from expensive to ridiculously outrageous.

The Radisson Blu Hotel Maputo wanted at least $228.00 per night; although it could easily exceed $300.00 per night on other dates. Other lodging options ranged from $82.00 — very few were less than $100.00 per night — to as high as $355.00 per night…

…but one option stood out to me at $62.63 for the night, which included all taxes and fees; so I settled in on MozGuest Residence, which purports itself to be a bed and breakfast lodging option in Maputo — primarily because the room rate was significantly less expensive than many other lodging options in Maputo. It looked decent from the photographs posted at Expedia.com.

I had crossed the border from Swaziland earlier that day — here is detailed information on obtaining a visa to enter Mozambique if you are from the United States — and after dealing with a couple of hassles at the border crossing, I immediately drove into the town of Namaacha. Tijuana is a high-end resort city when compared to this place. People were all over the place, living in slum-like conditions. The road was practically a dirt road; and the entire town was filthy with garbage. Namaacha is not something the Mozambique Chamber of Commerce — if there is one — would be proud of showing visitors to their country, as it leaves a very negative first impression. I drove through as quickly as possible without exceeding the low speed limit — or hitting anyone.

Having to be careful — because of a combination of police patrolling the road; drivers who do not believe there are any laws which govern them; and people haphazardly crossing the street and walking in the road in both populated and desolate areas — as I drove in from the long drive on highways EN5 and EN2 through rather boring scenery since I left Swaziland and Namaacha, I finally arrived on the outskirts of Maputo after following behind a slow large truck for many kilometers…

…only to arrive at a toll booth to pay a toll and then be greeted by bumper-to-bumper traffic which seemed to have no rhyme or reason. The toll was not worth it, as highway EN2 had more heavy traffic, traffic lights, pedestrians, and pavement which could use repairs.

Combined with bad directions, I had to use my sixth sense to find my way to MozGuest Residence as I drove deeper into town, seeing flooded roads, drivers creating their own rules, and more people wandering the streets. As I attempted to drive through and around the streets which were gridlocked with traffic, people were coming out of the woodwork to direct me to park, attempting to make some money. Maputo felt like a lawless madhouse. I was at the point where I was tired from fighting all the traffic and pedestrians and other impediments.

MozGuest Residence

I was happy to have finally eventually arrived…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…or was I?

I parked on the island in the middle of the street, as there were other cars parked there as well — and that was the only spot which was available. I saw no “parking hawkers” around, so — after hesitating for a moment — I brought my belongings inside.

Photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The photograph on the right was exposed too bright; so another photograph emulating the darkness at the top of the stairs is included below. Photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I wandered up the steps and to a door with a paper sign which marked the entrance. The door was locked…

Photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…so I had to press the button to ring the bell to enter. I looked downstairs while I waited that brief moment.

Photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The darkness in the photograph on the right better emulates the lighting at the entrance. Photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I felt like I was in a tenement slum. The door itself looked nice, though.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

A person opened the door and warmly greeted me. This is what I saw when I first entered MozGuest Residence:

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The office — there was no front desk — was immediately to the right; and ahead was the common area where breakfast was served in the morning. The door in the hallway which you partially see on the left turned out to be the door to my room.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

It was immediately obvious to me that their official color was a bright fluorescent lime-ish green. That was the only part of the place which was bright. I was immediately given the key to the room which was assigned to me…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…and the employee opened the door, as it was difficult to open and lock — although I eventually got the hang of it: lift the door handle first before locking and unlocking the door.

The Room

Here is what I saw when I first entered the room:

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

There was a bar of soap and two towels awaiting me on the bed.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The bottle of water was a nice touch; and the air conditioning was quite powerful — perhaps because the room was so small.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

A luxury hotel this was not.

Photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The “closet” — really an open area — had exactly one hanger on the rod. I decided to open the blinds and check the view out of the window in the room before quickly closing the blinds and entering the bathroom…

Photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The bathroom was rather small as well.

Photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Well, this was my “home” for the night; so I got settled in. The bed was fairly comfortable and I slept well; but there was noise both from outside on the street and from the hallway outside the door of my room as it was so close to the entrance. I was so tired that I actually slept through most of it.

Breakfast: The Next Day

I woke up the next morning to check out the offerings for breakfast — available between 6:30 and 9:30 in the morning — which is included in the room rate.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

There was not much being offered: some no-name brand of yogurt; one type of mystery cheese; one type of mystery deli meat; bread which had seen better days; grapes and a plum which were not particularly fresh; dry cereal; coffee and some mystery beverage; and water.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I took a bottle of water. That was my breakfast for the day. Fortunately, I had some snacks with me.

The dining area was stylish, I suppose — looking on the bright side.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I went back into the room instead of stayed out in the common area.

Members of the staff were friendly, accommodating and helpful, though. They added value to what would otherwise have been a forgettable stay. One person — he seemed like he was anywhere between 25 and 32 years old and managed the place — said to me how there is a huge underserved market that MozGuest is starting to fulfill, as other lodging options are very expensive.

He certainly was correct about that.

Wi-Fi access to the Internet was also included in the room rate; and it was available at a reasonable yet reliable speed. I have accessed the Internet faster at other places; but I was satisfied with the speed available to me.

Summary

MozGuest Residence should only be considered if all you care about is a place to sleep. It was clean on the inside; the staff was friendly and helpful; and a bottle of water, Wi-Fi access to the Internet and breakfast are included in the room rate — which was the least expensive I could find for the night I stayed in Maputo. However, it seemed as though it was barely one step above a hostel.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The car I rented is the small blue one in the center of the photograph, showing where I parked overnight near the MozGuest Residence. Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Be aware of two things: first, the mirror on the driver’s side of the car I rented was stolen, as there was no trace of it anywhere on the ground…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…I was thankful that the other mirror was not taken — as well as no other damage was inflicted upon the car — but it was still inconvenient driving all the way back to South Africa without that mirror…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…and parking is not free, as one of the “hawkers” waited until I entered my car before demanding 40 metical, which was less than $1.20 — despite my obvious displeasure and frustration pertaining to the mirror on the driver’s side of the car being stolen. She did not care, though — all she wanted was her 40 metical. I finally reluctantly gave it to her just to get her off of my back, so to speak. I grumbled and drove away.

I did not report the incident to the police, as I understand that that could potentially cause more problems than resolve them; and I also did not bother to tell the staff of MozGuest Residence. What could they have done, anyway?!?

If you want more than simply a place to sleep — as well as a safer place to park your car — look elsewhere; but be prepared to pay dearly for it…

…and I understand that the more expensive room rates charged by those other lodging options are not worth it.

MozGuest Residence

617 Avenida Karl Marx, Maputo, Mozambique
Telephone +258 84 391 4388

All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

7 thoughts on “Review: MozGuest Residence in Maputo, Mozambique”

  1. Mike says:

    I wanted to take the time and compliment you on your writing style. I really enjoy reading your hotel reviews, as they are far different than most bloggers. I also enjoy reading about places like Mozambique, since no one seems to ever review it. Please keep writing these authentic reviews of unique properties in unique countries.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I truly appreciate you taking the time to essentially make my day, Mike. Thank you so much!

      I am so backed up on trip reports; but I do intend to get to them — and being on yet another trip right now is only going to add to that backlog…

  2. JetAway says:

    It appears that you did little research about Mozambique other than to check out hotels. I’ve worked in Southern Africa many years–off and on–and would never drive myself into or around that country. Just too many things can go “wrong.” It’s true “Third World” and not developed/semi-developed like South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. As for hotels, considering the scarcity of clean, safe and comfortable hotels, the prices you quoted for the Radisson Blu seem quite reasonable.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I did not even realize that I would even be able to enter Mozambique until I was literally at its border with Swaziland, JetAway — so no, I did not put as much effort in researching Mozambique for my trip as I did for Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa.

      I do appreciate your point of view based on your experience. Thank you.

  3. Joey says:

    That sucks about the car’s mirror getting stolen though I’m not surprised. When I travelled to Maputo back in 2010, I stayed at the Pestana Rovuma. It’s in the city center and I used hotels.com or expedia.com (I forget which one) to book my room so I can pay using my US-based credit card without worrying about my CC info getting stolen or what not. Back then it was $110 for the room but obviously the rate depends on the weekday/weekend and what not.
    That’s also the hotel where TAP portugal crew stays at so I felt ‘safe’ there. Though I got the basic room, they gave me a room on the top floor with an amazing view of Maputo.
    If I were to go back to Maputo, I’d stay here again — though if I ever strike it rich, I’d stay at the Serena hotel. One thing I find on BA is the lack of hotel reviews on the Serena chain, which is mostly Africa-based.
    I hope you at least enjoyed your stay in Mozambique. I loved the food there and it was quite exotic to hear Portuguese spoken everywhere there! 🙂

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I have both a review of a lunch I had in Maputo as well as a stay in a hotel property which is part of the Cresta chain which I have yet to post, Joey — and I used Expedia.com to book that stay for similar reasons.

      Thank you for your thoughts as well as the lodging recommendation.

      1. Joey says:

        Looking forward to reading them! There are different kinds of travelers but I feel BA bloggers tend to be very similar (always staying in Hyatt or Club Carlson hotel and flying J or F on a non-american airline.) I appreciate your writing style and exploring more off the beaten path countries.

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