Natural History Museum

Maputo offers a variety of astounding architecture left from the Portuguese era and a diverse cultural scene that illustrates its past and the local nature. Apart from enjoying the beautiful coast of the Indian Ocean, one of the main attractions that you must see in the city is the museum of natural history. Explore unique wildlife displays, view ancient pottery, and marvel at the fetuses of elephants.

The building

The National History Museum of Maputo is an interesting building to admire primarily for its architecture. It reflects a Portuguese neo-Gothic style, echoing the colonial era. The structure was built in 1911. In its first years, it was a school. Later in 1933, it was transformed into the museum you will see today. With some restorations throughout the years, it still resembles the original. In the garden, you will notice a mural by Mozambican painter and poet, Malangatana Valente Ngwenya. It was painted to commemorate the triumph after Mozambique gained independence from the Portuguese.

What's inside?

The museum keeps a stunning variety of animals. The largest and most important display is the one that portrays African wildlife through the taxidermy of animals. Some of them are showcased inhabiting their natural setting, others in a battle or feeding position or gathered around a water area. On the ground floor, find an incredible display of the elephant cycle from conception to birth. You can witness elephant fetuses placed in glass cases. These were cultivated during the times of the colonial government when the forests of the south of Maputo were cleared and about 2000 elephants were slaughtered. One of the highlights of the collection of animals is the well-preserved honey badger, which is digging a hole in one of the glass cases. The honey badger is one of Africa's most ferocious animals. A curious fact about the museum is that the original skins of the rhinos that were part of the collection were stolen. The ones replacing the originals are made of paper-mâché. Take your time to read the information on the displays, as there are good stories about the animals and important facts about each species. The history of animal migration is also very detailed. Elsewhere, discover fossils, pottery, insect models, a small ethnography exhibit, and the snake section.

Getting to the museum

The museum is located at the intersection of Rua dos Lusiadas and Avenida Patrice Lumumba. It's hard to miss!