Marta reports back from Mozambique
We departed Johannesburg on the services of Mozambique Airlines also known as Lam at 08H50 in August.The check in staff were friendly and we were most exited for our trip to Mozambique. The flight surprisingly only took around 45 minutes and we had landed at Maputo. We went through passport control and were issued a visa free of charge on arrival as we are South African passport holders. We were met by a representative of Southern Sun Maputo and driven to the hotel through the characterful streets. Maputo thanks to its Portuguese colonial past, evokes an intoxicating Euro-Afro vibe.
Southern Sun, Maputo
We arrived at the hotel which is located in a prime spot on the beach. The hotel has been recently refurbished and is a comfortable business and holiday hotel. No sooner than we had arrived we decided it was time for lunch.
We strolled down the road to find a typical Portuguese restaurant called Sagres. We ordered Laurentia local beers for around R 15-00 a bottle and sat outside overlooking the sea. The local sellers surround you offering their wares in the hope that you will buy a wooden artefact or sarong. Lunch was an enormous bowl of clams served with Pao the local homemade bread. A bottle of Lagoste Portuguese wine sets you back R 130-00 not bad at all and for a beer you can expect to pay R 18-00. The following morning we took a great breakfast at the buffet in the hotel. The food was fresh and tea very good. The rest of the day was spent wandering up and down the beach and popping into the many little restaurants to listen to music and enjoy the vibe of Maputo. We found the seafood really reasonably priced and it was always so fresh. After spending two nights spent at Maputo I was flying on to Inhambane to have a look at the two stunning properties we market, mainly Flamingo Bay and Barra Lodge.
Flamingo Bay, Inhambane
I flew to from Maputo to Inhambane. The flight was short and in no time we had landed in Inhambane. On arrival we were immediately welcomed by the driver from Flamingo Bay. The drive to the resort is no more than 20 minutes through a scenic typical African countryside. Flamingo Bay is situated in the pristine tidal bay of Inhambane. The lodge is situated on stilts surrounded by mangroves in the crystal clear warm waters of the Indian Ocean. This eco paradise is home to flocks of flamingos, a variety of tropical fish and the rare dugong. The chalets and walkways are connected by wooden walkways where golf carts are available to ferry guests within the resort.
We were warmly welcomed by Charles and Jose of Flamingo Bay. After an efficient check in we were transferred to our villa by a golf cart. The setting is breathtaking and the feeling of the villa on water offers a tranquil and very romantic feeling. The 21 villas are spacious and have an enormous double bed which is swathed in luxurious netting . The bathroom has a shower and basin and the sea can be seen below the decking. The chalets are all air conditioned with a mini bar and hairdryer in each room. The terrace is gorgeous and has steps down into the water where one can take an early or evening swim and snorkel depending on the tide. I found the sunset to be the most spectacular I have experienced in a long while, the colours were so dynamic and one really felt ‘This is Africa’.
The lunches and the dinners are taken in the main dining area which overlooks the pool, you can elect to eat either outside or inside. If you are honeymoon couple you can request a private dinner set up exclusively for just the two of you The food is truly outstanding with a choice of three menus. The speciality is Mozambiquan style of cuisine, much of which is a variety of freshly caught sea food. An example of a dinner was a pre starter of small barracuda in a light dressing served with sweet plaited breads, followed by cream of carrot soup and garlic croutons. The main dish was king prawns, my partner ordered grilled rare beef in a creamed peppercorn and brandy sauce. The desert selection was spectacular and included cheese cake and biscuit mousse. The a la carte dinner menu offers a choice of three dishes for each course, and you can make your choice. On our last night Charles had organized a honeymoon set up for us. The table was beautifully decorated with flower petals and decorative arrangements made by one of the staff especially for us. Flamingo Bay is really perfect for an unforgettable honeymoon or special occasion. There is light entertainment on some of the evenings, a jazz pianist or you can enjoy traditional Mozambiquan dancing. The breakfasts were buffet style and most delightful with freshly baked Portuguese bread and juices together with a choice of fresh fruits and eggs made to order.
There are a number of activities that can be booked and enjoyed from Barra Lodge which is a five minute shuttle from the lodge. Barra Lodge has an excellent Padi dive centre headed by Lisa. We had booked a number of dives as the area is known for its spectacular underwater life.The briefing was very professional and informative. I had a look at the gear and found it to be in excellent condition. The boats are all large rubber ducks, once again in superb condition, together with highly trained excellent skippers.
The highlight of the diving was a dive at Manta Reef. This is a long range dive with an average depth of 21metres. Not only is the topography of the actual reef absolutely stunning but also close encounters with Manta rays are practically guaranteed at the three cleaning stations, making this a phenomenal dive site. We were able to dive a number of sites one being the office which afforded a great variety of coral and numerous colourful fish. On all the boat rides out to the dive sites, we encountered schools of dolphins and so many hump back whales. This was a sight I have not ever experienced any where in the world and I truly felt blessed to have been able to see all of this in one short trip.
Barra Lodge Beach Resort, Inhambane
We transferred for the following two nights to Barra Lodge, which is set in one of the most picturesque areas in Mozambique, with all round spectacular views of pristine beaches and the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. The lodge caters for families and couples alike and is geared towards fun and activities for all. We stayed in one of the traditional casitas which are sea facing. They all have two beds with an en suite and a small outdoor patio. The meals were great, with an abundance of fresh seafood including gorgeous prawns, calamari and line fish served daily. The staff were very welcoming and we found our favourite spot to be the beach bar in the early evenings. Here you can sit at tables set on the sand or on the deck overlooking the ocean, whist sipping your favourite drink. The beach bar serves the greatest pizzas and prego rolls which are just fabulous for lazy lunches. Barra offers the active traveller a host of activities to include, quad bike trails, kayaking in the saltwater mangroves, surf and boogie boarding, fishing where a catch and release is promoted, fly fishing, horse riding, snorkelling, scuba diving as well as an unforgettable day trip on board the 33 foot catamaran.
Mozambique is a stunningly beautiful destination, with a tropical climate ranging from temperatures between 22 degrees in winter of up to 35 degrees in summer. The water temperature does not drop below 22 degrees and can be as warm as 30 degrees in summer. Mozambique is reknowned for its beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters. There are numerous water sport activities as well as land based to suit everyone
There is a variety of accommodation to suit differing budgets and styles. What is also great is that it really is on our door step and that visas are not required for South African passport holders.
With Special Thanks
This trip was made possible by the assistance of the following:
- A special thanks to Tony of Barra Resorts for organising the trip.
- A special thanks to Mozambique Airlines for the assistance with the tickets.
- A special thanks to Lise at Barra Lodge Dive centre for the complimentary dives.