Mozambique trip December 2012 Durban to Vilanculos
KM's Travelled: 4418
Diesel Used: R4500
Vehicles: 1 x Defender 110
Sunday, 16 December
After the wedding of my brother Cobus and his lovely wife Yvette, on the beach at South Port...we get up and pack to take the road to St. Lucia. We meet Orries and Ami at Cape Vidal. After a long day, lots of wine, good company and a bit of rain, Orries and Ami invites us to stay over - 35 Sugarloaf campsite never saw us.
The road through Cape Vidal to St. Lucia is beautiful...lots of animals to see, but the highlight for me was the Rhinos - four in one stop to be precise!!!
Monday, 17 December
The first coffee for the morning...well if you forget the plunger at home, you have to improvise in order to get your caffeine fix?!
Driving through the beautiful St. Lucia Wetland Park surrounded by endless green canopies and butterflies, we almost drive into Yengweni pan…there is a VERY overgrown road (as in photo below) but we follow the GPS…eventually we decide to turn around and avoid getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.
We are welcomed at the gates of Lake Sibaya with dancing and singing children...this is where the cookies that I got as a Christmas present comes in handy as gifts for the children. We drive through the picture perfect Manzengwenya Coastal Forest, but first we have to wait for the lady to finish her lunch hour in order to enter - only a certain amount of people are allowed to enter the park daily and you need a permit.
We enter Mozambique through Kosi Bay and driving through the thick sand you are bound to have some people getting stuck...so we offered some help to the Pajero! This is the 1st of 2 Pajeros we had to help.
The first stop you HAVE to make in Ponta d’ Ouro is Fernandos and have an ice cold R&R…and that is exactly what we did!!! Cheers!!! So much have changed since the last time we had visited, some building improvements and plants have grown a wall on the one side...but still the same old friendly faces at the cosy little bar.
Phambuka campsite is our next stop. We set up camp...you can see that the campsites had some thought put into them as it is very clean, has its own bathroom and space to wash dishes. Our first actual camping...and that is exactly when you realise what you have forgotten at home and how over packed the car is.
Tuesday, 18 December
A early cup of coffee in bed for me, thanks to hubby who can't sleep late...but not to bad waking up early on a holiday as the views are beautiful and you can't waist time and miss out on the road to Santa Maria.
On the way to Ponta Chemucane, we stop and have some breakfast at Xingute Dam...first class egg and bacon Pao!!
Only surrounded by sand, grass and the wind...
We enter Maputo Elephant Reserve with its thick sandy roads (4x4 only), endless green fields and interesting bird life, you will be very lucky if you see some Elephants - although according to wikipedia there are 350 Elephants in the reserve.
Near Ponta Chemucane, Lake Maunde's crystal clear water invites you in and you are not able to resist the cool waters sparkling from the side of the road.
We were under the impression that Ponta Chemucane was still one of the existing campsites in the Reserve, but what the security at the gate did not tell us is that the only campsites in the Reserve that are still being used was Ponta Millibangalala which we would be staying at the following night.
To our surprise we found some tracks on the beach... this is where we met Paul Bell who is currently building a lodge at Ponta Chemucane. He was so kind to invite us to stay at the site where they were building and use their facilities.
We were invited to dinner, a great chance for his staff to have some practice...sushi for starters and the most delicious Crab Curry were prepared in their 5 star kitchen on the beach.
After an awesome dinner with our hosts, we take the road back in the dark.
Wednesday, 19 December
Another day in the amazing Elephant Reserve, how are you not able to stop at the crystal clear waters of the Lake Maunde on the way back driving to the next campsite Ponta Millibangalala?!
It's not a long drive and that gives us a reason to enjoy the views, bird life and some sandy beaches.
At Ponta Millibangalala there are a few campsites deeply nestled in the bushes...no bathroom facilities are available for the public and campers have to come prepared.
We find a nice spot and set up camp...a short walk through the bushes and the site of the ocean breaks through the leaves of the trees. You are welcomed by a quiet beach filled with crabs playing in the waves.
For dinner, some pork chops and "braai broodjies" - yum!!
Thursday, 20 December
Today is the day to take the Catembe Ferry to Maputo, a short cut, but unfortunately you have to leave the peace and quiet of nature and enter the CRAZY hussle and bussle of the city.
The Ferry ride goes well, although it takes a while to manage everyone and every vehicle onto the boat...people standing around and waiting as you slowly move closer to the shores.
We don't stop to buy anything as the necessary groceries are easily found at food stalls on the side of the roads. We only make a quick stop for the ATM and some refueling and get out of Maputo.
Driving along the cost to the Umkumati Ferry, we took a bit of a detour, but we avoided the traffic jams on the roads in Maputo.
At the ferry we waited for an hour and a half to cross over to Macaneto, this is a chance for some small children to come to the car and beg for some bread and money.
Driving through Macaneto you realise that everywhere in this small part of Mozambique the locals hang fish on lines next to their houses...a nice decoration to the dull houses.
We get to Jays Beach Lodge were we settle for the night...not one of the nicest campsites during our trip and a dirty beach at that, but we find ourselves pleased for only booking one night.
Friday, 21 December
On our way back to the Umkumati Ferry we meet some friends, but my heart breakes at the thought that the three little chicks have lost their mom...all we can do is get them out of the road and hope for the best :(
We take the ferry back over the river after another two and a half hour wait to take on 236km to Paradise Magoo just past Xai-Xai, but we find ourselves driving back to Marracuene were someone helps us with replacing a tyre.
Paradise Magoo welcomes us with friendly people and ice cold R&R at the bar with its beautiful view of the perfect beach.
Saturday, 22 December
The perfect way to start a day is to enjoy breakfast on the beach, a beach filled with millions of Seagulls roaming the shores.
My first attempt to a fried egg on the "Skottel skar"...
Driving around in the markets and small towns we found a wedding party...then you realise the ultimate vehicle for a wedding...
At Zavora Lodge were we find ourselves without any shade at the campsite, atleast we have some R&R and G&T's to cool us down and so we spend the day on the beach.
Sunday, 23 December
Early morning and the sun started cooking us out of the tent, Danie suggests a breakfast at the restaurant of Zavora Lodge before he goes diving...a bit more expensive than expected but a good choice to spend the morning as I had some time to relax on the beach and read a book.
The rest of the day we drive and explore the area finding water as bright and beautiful as usually only seen on travel magazines.
The Palm trees in Mozambique are seen as an asset and everywhere you go you will find steps carved into the tree in order to climb up and collect coconuts.
Monday, 24 December & Tuesday, 25 December
We find ourselves in Guinjata were Zelda and Lynn are so kind as to take us in for two days over Christmas, although they work very hard, they still have some time for a "kuiertjie". Here Danie really uses the opportunity to dive - diving at Pandane Express, Green Tree and Caves.
Now this is what you call a Christmas lunch...
Wednesday, 26 December
On our way to Barra Lighthouse Camping we found ourselves at Tartaruga Beach were you have the option of taking the "Brave" of the "Save" road, guess who could not resist?!
Barra Lighthouse is not especially "grand" with the camping but the company made it worths it. We made some friends with the neighbours and enjoyed a evening of "braai vleis", laughter and stories over a camp fire.
Thursday, 27 December
We find ourselves in Inhambane were we do some shopping, stocking up on fruits and treats on our way to Vilanculos.
Local taxi's, although this one is not as full as usual?!
We camp at Boabab Beach in Vilanculos, the camping is acceptable but what makes this place a nice place is the bar with its awesome chilled out music playing till late at night and views over the ocean and not to mention the coconut cocktails (being a hollowed out coconut with a shot of Malibu).
The first night to "braai" some fish on the fire...the only negative thing about this process is the cleaning up of fish smell afterwords, otherwise perfect!!!
Friday, 28 December
The second day in Vilanculos and we decide to take a trip to Magaruque Island, being a boat trip of about 45 minutes.
We did some snorkelling on the reef and had a seafood lunch...the perfect way to spend a hot day was to stay in the crystal clear water.
Saturday, 29 December
Taking the scenic route through the villages to Macachula Beach, the Landy's bonnet gets invaded by ants...eeeeeeek!!!!!
The views and sites are spectacular and we suggest this area to anyone!!! It is across the river mounth of Pomene.
Sunday, 30 December & Monday, 31 December
Taking the road back to Paradise Magoo for the next two days where we will spend our last days of 2012 and celebrate the beginning of 2013.
The friendly owners of Paradise Magoo.
Tuesday, 01 January
Danie had a friend whilst packing up to go to Limpopo National Park. We decided to skip the planned booking at Zongoene Lodge and go straight to Limpopo National Park as we were tired of sand and sea at this stage.
The campsite at Aguia Pesqueira (Fish Eagle Camp) in the Park was a treat with the view, wind and bit of rain to cool us off.
Wednesday, 02 January & Thursday, 03 January
On our way back to South Africa through the Giriyondo Border Post...we take the time to enjoy a bit of the Kruger National Park.
To avoid a whole rushed day on the road, we stay over at Makgokolo Game Ranch (Thanks to Sanet and Nigel) - a perfect way to end off a perfect holiday!!