Mozambique; land of endless tropical beaches along the clear warm waters of the Indian Ocean and very friendly and helpful people! That’s how everyone described this country to me, this is exactly how it is.
Jacques best friend Wessel lives together with his German wife Christa on a remote peninsula called Machangulo. That was my first destination in Mozambique, let’s see what happens there. Passing through ‘Maputo Special Reserve’, which holds pitch black elephants, one drives further north on very sandy 4×4 tracks. That sounds like my kinda adventure. But first things first.
One of the first things I noticed, driving along the N4 towards Maputo, was that there was almost no rubbish lying along this busy highway connecting Mozambique with South Africa. Crossing the border was as hectic as expected, hundreds of people flocking through gates in each direction, the queue of trucks seemed endless too.
I instantly felt and saw similarities to my visit to Madagascar last year. Literally, Madagascar is just across the Mozambique Channel, flowing the warm current from the Indian Ocean. Markets with little stalls everywhere, locals busy buying and selling with friendly chats. The vibe from the locals wasn’t aggressive at all. People were always friendly when I stopped, smiling, laughing whilst interacting with each other.
I arrived too late at the gate to the Reserve, it was passed 5 pm already, the last sun rays were fading. I didn’t stay long wondering what to do, as a friendly Park Ranger named Alamo came along. After a short introduction and explanation what happened, he offered me to follow him to the ranger/army/police camp not far. How cool was that. He pointed out an area for me to set up camp and with the words ‘I am happy to help’, he disappeared into the darkness.
It was still a bit chilly and wet next morning, which is better to drive on soft sand. I heard a flapping sound coming from under Zimba’s bonnet whilst driving to the camp last night. Under closer inspection, I realized that one of my fan belts had ripped and shredded around the disc, good thing Toyota backs up. Eduardo, another friendly Park Ranger, saw the trouble and called for back up from the mechanics. In no time, the V-belt was replaced and I was on my way through ‘Maputo Special Reserve’.
I followed the 4×4 sand tracks along lakes and savanna north. Due to previous unseasonable rain, it was fun driving along and no hassle at all for Zimba’s abilities.
Unfortunately, no black elephants were to be seen. A giraffe and a few zebras were the only animals I was able to capture.
I passed a few local communities, which all were surprised to see a zebra driving along, waving happily. With the help of a friendly local, we navigated to Wessel’s and Christa’s stronghold, the maintenance and administration area to look after about 15 private holiday housing in this very remote part of the peninsula.
I was welcomed with open arms by Christa and Vessel and invited to stay in a guest cottage, not far from the main house. We had lots to chat about later on with a nice cuppa coffee.
I drove through the maze of tracks to ‘Spot’ 35 on the beach with the guidance of Eduardo. I parked Zimba by the beach and walked along this pristine beach.
This all being private property, beach included, most owners don’t like the idea of strangers strolling around. One can see why.
Endless beaches along towering sand dunes along the warm Indian Ocean current.
Red sand, crystal clear waters in rock pools.
Or on low tide they become puddles.
Red towering sand dunes,
and the sun appearing and disappearing,
behind a dramatic and ever-changing cloud formation kept me and my OM-D busy.
There was no one around for miles, only Zimba was seen in the very distance.
There would be great fishing here too, I would think.
On the very Northern tip of the peninsula, safely sheltered from rough seas, lies the little community of Santa Maria.
Fishing is a major food and income source in this region, so-called ‘dhows’ were lining along the long jetty and around the bay.
A weekend fishing tournament was in full swing at the nearby beach resort.
Spanish Mackerel, Yellow Fin Tuna, and Mahi Mahi were some of the catch I spotted. I wish I brought my kayak. A rather busy gathering, which I didn’t expect to see in this remoteness. We had dinner at the newly opened ‘Begomis Restaurant’, decorated in beach house style. It was well worth waiting for fish and prawns to be served.
What an introduction to Mozambique. I love it already.