11 Need to know things about Southern Mozambique

Interesting facts and useful information about Mozambique

Africa

Self-drive Road Trip

 

Bazaruto Island - huge sand dunes

Bazaruto Island - huge sand dunes

 

In 2005 we took a self-drive road trip along the coast of Southern Mozambique. We had many adventures, loads of fun including some hairy moments with loose axles and landmines. The trip was well worth while and we don’t regret it for one moment. I’d like to share some information that you may find beneficial if you ever embark on a similar journey.  

 

Road trip sights - North of the Tropic of Capricorn in Mozambique you may find baobabs

Road trip sights - North of the Tropic of Capricorn in Mozambique you may find baobabs

Bazaruto Island in Mozambique

Bazaruto Island in Mozambique

 

1.       Every resort in Mozambique has its dog and sometimes cat too. I suspect they loved our company not just for the affection, but because they were hoping for the odd tidbit or two.

 

Steep sandy decline - road to the beach at Paindane - a common sight to see in Mozambique

Steep sandy decline - road to the beach at Paindane - a common sight to see in Mozambique

Waves just covering the reef at Paindane

Waves just covering the reef at Paindane

2.       We travelled through the southern part of Mozambique out of season. As a result, not all the restaurants at the resorts were open. It simply wasn’t worth their while as there were too few patrons. 

 

Restaurant at Bilene with a view over the lagoon

Restaurant at Bilene with a view over the lagoon

Restaurant at Blue Water Bay, Vilanculos

Restaurant at Blue Water Bay, Vilanculos

3.       At the end of our two weeks of camping, we had a great system for erecting the tent and unpacking. We timed ourselves and it averaged 15 minutes from parking the trailer to erecting the tent and unpacking. It took us about the same time when we did it in reverse. We camped simply but comfortably.

 

Blue Water Bay at Vilanculos - campsite and chalets or bungalows

Blue Water Bay at Vilanculos - campsite and chalets or bungalows

Paindane reef covered by waves and fisherman’s hut

Paindane reef covered by waves and fisherman’s hut

4.       This was one of our best trips (not that any of them are bad – in fact we love them all). We enjoyed not having to stick to a schedule and decide on a whim to stay an extra night. This of course was only possible because the campsites weren’t fully booked. When it is South African school holidays, it is an entirely different matter, as many South Africans venture across the border to explore Mozambique. We try to avoid going during those busy seasons.

 

Paindane camp sites and chalet

Paindane camp sites and chalet

Chalets and bungalows at Paindane

Chalets and bungalows at Paindane

5.       Ablution facilities overall were basic but satisfactory and much better than expected. I am sure facilities have improved drastically since 2005.

 

Zavora campsites with barracas

Zavora campsites with barracas

Lighthouse at Zavora

Lighthouse at Zavora

6.       Most of the driving was done on tar (or through potholes). By now most main highways should have been rebuilt, although the last section is often on a red gravel road or soft sand and therefore a 4x4 is generally a good idea.

 

Red road or gravel road Morrungulo leading to a bakery that bakes pao, a traditional bread found in Mozambique

Red road or gravel road Morrungulo leading to a bakery that bakes pao, a traditional bread found in Mozambique

Private house at Bilene

Private house at Bilene

7.       Mozambique is...well... like the rest of Africa. Loveable with its own unique charm, chaos and catastrophes. It is a must do adventure. However, like traveling through the rest of Africa, do it with good planning and updated information. As with many countries there is often rising tension, so do your homework when you’re traveling. We have been so fortunate with all our travels and most of the time travel on our own, but often it is better to travel in convoy.

 

Dhow sailing across the bay at Vilanculos

Dhow sailing across the bay at Vilanculos

Beach at Vilanculos with pirogue and fishing nets

Beach at Vilanculos with pirogue and fishing nets

8.       Like the rest of Africa, travelling takes time in Mozambique. Although some of the roads have been upgraded, there are still areas you need to slow down such as while travelling through villages or on sand roads. Allow extra time and if you get to your destination ahead of schedule, so much the better. I would advise against traveling in the dark.

 

Most resorts have a soft sand road where 4x4 is required

Most resorts have a soft sand road where 4x4 is required

Pipefish found washed up at Bilene lagoon

Pipefish found washed up at Bilene lagoon

9.       Resorts often change owners and names over the years in Mozambique. As a result some years you may have poor service and a few years later have excellent service. Do your homework and rely on up to date information.

 

Curio shop at Complexo Palmeiras near Bilene

Curio shop at Complexo Palmeiras near Bilene

Shell midden at Vilanculos

Shell midden at Vilanculos

10.   Did you know that Vilanculos used to be a popular holiday destination for people in Zimbabwe to travel to?

 

A resort or private house near Vilanculos

A resort or private house near Vilanculos

11.   Do take malaria prophylaxis. Your chances of finding mosquitoes (or them finding you) are hugely possible. It is not worth taking the chance. Speak to your doctor or travel clinic about the choices and do mention if you are diving.

 

Shark and barracuda teeth

Shark and barracuda teeth

Pao, a traditional Mozambican bread

Pao, a traditional Mozambican bread

Apologies for dates on some of the photos. At that stage I didn’t realise the error and it was before I ever thought I would be blogging. Apologies for some of the quality as well, but it should give you an idea what we experienced in Mozambique.

 

The rooster that woke us before the crack of dawn at Zavora

The rooster that woke us before the crack of dawn at Zavora

A goat next to the fence

A goat next to the fence

More goats roaming around

More goats roaming around

 

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