Marta reports back from Mozambique: June 2009

June 2009

Getting There
We departed Johannesburg on the services of Lam Airlines at 08H40. The service was excellent on board and in just an hour we landed in Maputo. We got through customs fairly quickly and were met by a friendly representative of the Polana Serena Hotel and transferred to our hotel.

Maputo: Polana Serena Hotel

The setting of the hotel is in a colourful spectacular garden setting with the ocean in the background. The main hotel which was constructed in 1922 is currently under construction and closed until around the 1st of June 2010. We stayed in adjoining property at the Polana Mar. Our room had an ocean view and was spacious and comfortable. We decided to go exploring almost immediately and hired a tuc tuc outside the hotel. The smiling driver took us down to the beach front where we had lunch at a local restaurant called Sagres over looking the sea. I had clams with pao which is, homemade Portuguese bread and Ash had a plate of delicious calamari. We had a fun ride back to the hotel and strolled around the tropical gardens and had a cocktail overlooking the ocean. That evening we had arranged to have dinner at the Polana in the white colonial style indoor/outdoor restaurant. The buffet consisted of a mixture of local dishes, cabbage and coconut vegetables, chicken curry as well as an assortment of fish and meat. The colourful dessert section was divine with the best being the crème caramel.

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The waiters were polite and extremely well dressed in starched white attire. Overall the experience at the Polana Mar was great and I would like to return especially once the renovations of the Grand Old Lady of Maputo are complete.

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Inhambane: Jeff's Palm Resort

The following morning we transferred to the airport for our flight to Inhambane.We boarded Lam Mozambique Airlines and after a short stop at Vilancoulos we arrived at Inhambane airport. We were met by two smiling faces from Jeff’s Palm Resort.

We were transferred through Inhambane town and were shown around the characterful town. We passed an ancient mosque that was built in the 1800’s, the local market and some lovely old colonial style homes reminiscent of days gone by. After around a one hour drive through the Mozambiquan countryside we could smell and see the ocean. We had arrived at Jeff’s Palm Resort which is located at Praia De Jangamo 500 km north of Maputo. The road to the resort is tarred except for the last 20 km, which is sand through the evergreen coconut and cashew nut plantations. Four wheel drives are preferable. Colin Jefferies and his wife Hantie own and manage the resort. Colin was there to meet us on arrival and made us feel most welcome. The couple offer personalized attention to all their guests. The resort is nestled among the palm trees, overlooking the azure ocean. There are 19 rustic spacious units which are more like individual houses and are all built of local materials. They accommodate from 4 to 8 people per unit and have fully equipped self catering amenities. There are two rows of houses which are sea facing, the view being slightly interrupted by the occasional palm tree. The dunes and beaches in the area are spectacular. We were on a half board package which meant that breakfasts and dinners were included. We ate each day at the famous Rosa’s restaurant at the beach, known for serving the best seafood in the area.

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We pretty much sampled most dishes on the menu and found all equally fresh and well prepared with a true Mozambiquan flavour. There is a variety of seafood and meat dishes to choose from One of my favourites was prawn rissoles and crab starters.The prawns were delicious, fresh and succulent with aromatic flavours. We sampled the calamari and steaks which we thought were equally divine.

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Recreational activities

The resort is known for it spectacular diving, offering scuba divers to see manta rays up close. There is excellent snorkelling, superb game fishing, swimming with dolphins up close and also regular whale sightings in season. We had arranged to do scuba diving as well as spear fishing. The 5* Padi dive centre is neat and spacious with top quality scuba pro gear. On arrival we were given a through brief by the instructor with a detailed plan of what we could expect to see under the water. We were driven down to the beach and had great fun pushing the enormous super duck into the sea. The water temperature was 24 degrees not too bad for winter, as we did a backward roll onto a reef called Pao. We were shown at least six different species of nudi branches, a huge moray eel, pipe fish and crocodile fish. The following day we did a dive to the famous Manta Reef where we were promised that we would see Mantas. We encountered no less than six enormous mantas some with wing spans of up to 6 meters. This was followed by a sighting of an enormous sleeping turtle, my favourite sea creature. Our last scuba dive was at Black Rock where we encountered numerous species of juvenile fish all going about their way in the ocean.We encountered dolphins on the way, this was a very special experience.

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On one of the days we took the boat out for a spear fishing trip. Asher and his buddy were fully equipped as they drifted over Paindane Express. The conditions were calm with a north-south current and15m-plus visibility. All in all they did 3 drifts and saw 4 large couta all at about 20m, with a few Job fish closer to the reef. Asher also saw a large manta drifting silently at about 5m. A great spot for spear fishing , but he had to leave due to the attention they were getting from the Zambizie sharks.

They then headed north to a deep reef called Disneyland where they found 25m visibility and not much current. At about 20m there was a huge shoal of big-eye kingfish on the pinnacle, and they stayed with the shoal, diving into it and hoping to see something big underneath it.

Asher saw a monster great barracuda, but not much else. This was mainly due to the bad weather that had begin to come in. The days were punctuated with leisurely strolls along the endless pristine beach ,sipping cocktails next to the ocean and lazing at the pool. We felt completely relaxed in the short week that we spent there.

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In Conclusion
Mozambique is a wonderful and welcoming destination, with a huge variety of accommodation and activity options available – quad biking, kite surfing and a variety of watersports, including deep sea fishing, spear fishing, scuba diving and snorkelling . Family holiday and honeymoon packages can be tailored to suit. Activities can be arranged to satisfy your heart’s every desire.

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With Special Thanks

This trip was made possible by the assistance of the following:

  • A special thanks to LAM Mozambique Airlines for the assistance with the tickets.
  • A special thanks to Polana Serena Hotel for the accommodation, breakfast and transfers in Maputo.
  • A special thanks to Colin and Hantie - owners of Jeff’s Palm Resort - for the complimentary accommodation, meals, scuba diving and the boat provided for the spear fishing.