An hour’s flight from the urban hustle of Joburg and you might as well be in another world — stepping into the pages of one of Hemingway’s novels. And yet, there we are, sitting on cane bar stools, fans swirling overhead, sipping long, icy drinks in an attempt to beat the heat and humidity outside. Such is a weekend escape to Maputo. The Mozambican capital city is a little bit shabby, a lot tropical and undeniably sexy. It sports a colonial-meets-communist legacy that makes it seem like it’s Southern Africa’s very own "Havana lite" (sans hurricanes, of course). We’re staying at the newly revamped Southern Sun for the weekend. The hotel is adorned with palm trees, right on the beach and comes complete with all the trappings of a seaside spot from another time. There are polished verandahs, Spanish-style red roofs and air-conditioned lounges with linen couches where the who’s who of the city take shelter for whispered conversations and gin and tonics in the late afternoon. You underst...

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