Machangulo Peninsula, Mozambique

Endless beaches along Machangulo peninsula

Endless beaches along Machangulo peninsula

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.

Mozambique, Gusto Mais, Machangulo Peninsula

Mozambique, Gusto Mais, Machangulo Peninsula

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.

A muddy Zimba along tranquil lakes at Maputo Special Reserve

A muddy Zimba along tranquil lakes at Maputo Special Reserve

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’.

Storm clouds over the horizon at Maputo Special Reserve, Machangulo Peninsula

Storm clouds over the horizon at Maputo Special Reserve, Machangulo Peninsula

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.

Sand 4x4 tracks, enjoyed by both of us, Machangulo Peninsula

Sand 4×4 tracks, enjoyed by both of us, Machangulo Peninsula

Unfortunately, no black elephants were to be seen. A giraffe and a few zebras were the only animals I was able to capture.

A lonely giraffe is making sand tracks, Maputo Special Reserve, Machangulo Peninsula

A lonely giraffe is making sand tracks, Maputo Special Reserve, Machangulo Peninsula

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.

Christa and Wessel checkin up, Machangulo Peninsula

Christa and Wessel checking up, Machangulo 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.

Rustic from the outside, cosy from the inside. Christa and Wessel’s holiday cottage, available to rent. Machangulo Peninsula

Rustic from the outside, cozy from the inside. Christa and Wessel’s holiday cottage, available to rent. Machangulo Peninsula

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. 

Warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Machangulo Peninsula

Warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Machangulo Peninsula

This all being private property, beach included, most owners don’t like the idea of strangers strolling around. One can see why.

Wave action on slow shutter, Machangulo Peninsula

Wave action on a slow shutter, Machangulo Peninsula

Endless beaches along towering sand dunes along the warm Indian Ocean current.

Endless beach in sepia, Machangulo Peninsula

An endless beach in sepia, Machangulo Peninsula

Red sand, crystal clear waters in rock pools.

Clear water Rockpools, Machangulo Peninsula

Clear water Rockpools, Machangulo Peninsula

Or on low tide they become puddles.

Low tide exposure, Machangulo Peninsula

Low tide exposure, Machangulo Peninsula

Red towering sand dunes,

Towering red sand dunes, Machangulo Peninsula

Towering red sand dunes, Machangulo Peninsula

and the sun appearing and disappearing,

Towering red sand dunes, Machangulo Peninsula

Sun reflections on a slow shutter, Machangulo Peninsula

behind a dramatic and ever-changing cloud formation kept me and my OM-D busy.

Dramatic all around, Machangulo Peninsula

Dramatic all around, Machangulo Peninsula

There was no one around for miles, only Zimba was seen in the very distance.

Wave cloud reflections, Machangulo Peninsula

Wave cloud reflections, Machangulo Peninsula

There would be great fishing here too, I would think.

Dhow Harbour, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Dhow Harbour, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

On the very Northern tip of the peninsula, safely sheltered from rough seas, lies the little community of Santa Maria.

A great spot to see the sunset, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

A great spot to see the sunset, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Fishing is a major food and income source in this region, so-called ‘dhows’ were lining along the long jetty and around the bay.

Santa Maria Bay, Machangulo Peninsula

Santa Maria Bay, Machangulo Peninsula

A weekend fishing tournament was in full swing at the nearby beach resort.

Mangrove sunset, Machangulo Peninsula

Mangrove sunset, Machangulo Peninsula

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.

Mozambique, loving it. Machangulo Peninsula

Mozambique, loving it. Machangulo Peninsula

What an introduction to Mozambique. I love it already.

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