Mozambique Escape: From bush to coral coast

2018-08-02 13:30 - In Partnership with Bhejane Adventures
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Boat on the water with a sunset behind it

Tackle Mozambique coastline from bush to coral with Bhejane 4x4 Adventures. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

  • Where: Kruger to the lowlands of Mozambique
  • What: Camp 1: 16 - 25 August 2018 | - Camp 2: 16 -  25 September 2018 - - Camp 3: 28 September - 7 October 2018 
  • Cost: R12 860 (excluding VAT) per person sharing for chalet and tented accommodation (children under is 50% of the full price) 
  • When: 27th October to 3rd November 2018 or 4th November to 11th November 2018 
  • Contact: Tel/Fax: 044 535 9033 or bookings@bhejane.com  

This spectacular palm covered coastline that was off limits to us South Africans for such a long time is now once again available for us to explore and enjoy. Warm crystal clear oceans, coral reefs, palm groves and some very interesting sand driving await us.

Starting in the magnificent Kruger Park, we travel east into the lush lowlands of Mozambique, we cross the mighty Limpopo and on to the coastal floodplains. As we travel overland, the land changes abruptly from broad belts of savannah and woodlands to a narrow, palm-studded strip of beach along the coast at Inhassoro, a small sleepy fishing village, which is directly opposite the northern tip of the Bazaruto Archipelago.

Despite the brutal civil war and the floods which have ravaged this poor country, Mozambique's sandy palm-fringed beaches and the coral reefs of the Bazaruto Archipelago still qualify as one of the most beautiful places in Africa.

After almost a decade of peace, Mozambique is returning to its rightful place as one of the jewels of the continent.

Declared a National Park in 1971, the whole area between the mainland and the 150-fathom mark is a protected world-class conservation area.

PICS: Zululand Conservation Miracle - A unique South African adventure

Two 4x4 vehicles driving through a muddy river

(Photo: Bhejane 4x4 Adventures)

The Archipelago boasts 180 species of birds, various endemic butterflies, freshwater crocodiles, Samango monkeys and the Suni antelope. Around 2 000 fish species also occur here. The waters surrounding the islands are home to more than 80% of all marine fish families of the Indo-Pacific - around 2 000 species including the largest fish in the world - the whale shark. The protected reefs also support dolphin, the endangered dugong, game fish, marine turtles and giant lobster. The bird life includes the Madagascar Squacco heron, Narina Trogon, Nyasa Seedcracker and Green Coucal while Lesser Flamingos visit the islands as well.

We will enjoy the tranquillity of the beautiful beaches and go snorkelling in the crystal clear water and a day island cruise will be the ideal way to explore the stunning ocean off the islands of the Archipelago.

QUICK GUIDE: Visa-free travel to Mozambique

WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE?

  • All camp fees
  • All park entrance fees
  • All advertised activities
  • Three meals per day
  • Bhejane Adventures provides all the tents, cutlery and crockery
  • Coffee & Tea – all day every day whilst in camp

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO BRING/PROVIDE?

  • Your vehicle & fuel
  • Your own mattresses and/or stretcher and sleeping bags and pillows
  • Your own fold-up chairs
  • Your own drinks and in-between snacks
  • Your own out of country / medical emergency and evacuation insurance cover
  • Your own border crossing fees and road taxes

The Team

Your tour leader is an experienced nature conservationist and adventure guide. He will be in radio contact with you at all times and impart a wealth of biological, cultural, historic and four-wheel drive knowledge.

Three meals a day will be prepared by our experienced bush chef in his mobile kitchen, with fresh salads, potjiekos, braais and many other surprises appearing on the menu.  The good old “koffie pot” will be on the fire from six till late.

Our logistics crew will pitch and take down the camps at the four tented overnight stops we visit. Tents and tables are provided by Bhejane Adventures.

This is not a very “technical” 4x4 trip, but should you experience any difficulty, the Bhejane crew do have the “know how” and recovery equipment to assist with off-road problems.

Though our bush-camps may be rustic, you will at all times be safe, the crew will spare no effort to make you comfortable, provide you with good wholesome food and, most importantly, see that you have a good time.

pod of dolphins jumping out of the water

(Photo: Bhejane 4x4 Adventures)

Adventure Itinerary

Day 1: Punda Maria Camp (Tented)

We meet at Punda Maria Camp in Northern Kruger National Park, where we will spend our first night camping in tents. We will have paid the camp fees and you will receive your reservation number from us in good time.

For those of you who arrive early, you are welcome to spend the extra time “game viewing” in the park until we meet in the late afternoon.

In the evening, whilst sitting around the campfire, and before being spoilt with the first of many wholesome meals, your tour leader will elaborate extensively on what to expect over the next nine days.

We will also give all the vehicles a hand-held two-way radio for the duration of the trip, to enable your guide to pass on snippets of biological, historical and cultural information.

Group of campers sitting outside their tents

(Photo: Bhejane 4x4 Adventures)

Day 2: Shefu River Camping - Tented

After a good night’s rest and an even better breakfast we pack up and we make our way to the Pafuri Gate, where we cross the border and enter Mozambique.

We would have refuelled the vehicles on our way in on the day before and extra fuel should not be needed. On reaching the border post at Pafuri, it is a quick and easy formality to enter Mozambique.

Travelling through the huge fever tree forests in the Limpopo valley, along a two-spoor sandy track for about 80 kilometres, we reach the village of Mapai, where we cross the Limpopo. (Should the Limpopo be in flood – an alternate route will be considered).

Our route then takes us eastwards to the village of St. Jorge de Limpopo, and onward in the direction of Machaila. We have a light picnic lunch along the way and on reaching the banks of the Shefu River we set up camp for the night.

The camping will be “wild” but the crew will set up portable toilets, and the grub will be as good as ever.

Day 3: Inhassoro – Chalets, Estrella de Mananisse

Early to rise and after a hearty breakfast, we break up camp and continue on to Machaila. Still on a sandy two-spoor road, with some very interesting old steel bridges dating back to the old colonial logging industry, we continue eastwards to the town of Mabote, where we encounter our first signs of civilisation.

Now on a gravel road we continue eastwards till we reach the main Maputu-Beira “highway” and turn north to Vilanculos and then on to our destination at Inhassoro.

At Inhassoro we will be accommodated in chalets almost on the beach with a view of Bazaruto Bay, and there will be a communal cooking area where our chef will be practising his culinary skills and where we will enjoy our evenings together.

Day 4: Inhassoro – Chalets, Estrella de Mananisse

We do not go near our vehicles today – we visit the beautiful Paradise Island in the bay by boat. The boat trip takes about 45 minutes and hopefully we will get to see dolphins and turtles in the crystal clear water of the Bazaruto Sanctuary, with its bounty of marine life.

group of tourists on a rubber duck boat on the bea

(Photo: Bhejane 4x4 Adventures)

We spend the day exploring the island, relaxing on unspoiled beaches and snorkelling on beautiful coral gardens and a tasty brunch will be prepared on the beach. The snorkelling is safe for young and old and the wonders of this undersea paradise can be experienced by simply wading into the shallow water.

In the late afternoon we return to our camp as the sun sets over the palm-lined beaches of the mainland.

Blue puffer fish

(Photo: Bhejane 4x4 Adventures)

Day 5: Inhassoro – Chalets, Estrella de Mananisse

Today we take to the road and head north onto the Inhassoro peninsula. We drive along the top of the dunes, with the sea on our right and the lagoon to our left until we reach the famous mangrove forests, where we must all be on the “lookout’ for the rare Mangrove Kingfisher.

A picnic lunch will be served at the northern tip of this spit of land at BD, where it is said that Diaz came ashore in search of fresh water. Here again we can explore the coastline, snorkel and swim.

Line of 4x4 vehicles driving on a sandy beach

(Photo: Bhejane 4x4 Adventures)

With the necessary permits, we return to camp, legally driving along the palm-lined beach below the high water mark and practising “good conservation” driving techniques at all times.

Back in camp, we can all relax. We can visit “Johnson’s Bar” which is situated right on the beach just down the coast. “Johnson's Bar” welcomes South Africans with “lekker boeremusiek” and his hospitality knows no bounds.

In the evening we are all treated to a magnificent seafood dinner.

Mozambican bartender standing in front of alcoholi

(Photo: Bhejane 4x4 Adventures)

Day 6: Inhassoro – Chalets, Estrella de Mananisse

We have the whole day to relax. As our beach driving permits are still valid, those of you who want to head up the beach will be more than welcome to do so. For those of you who want to go shopping in Vilanculos, it can be a very interesting excursion. There is also time to explore the greater Inhassoro area.

Days 7 & 8: Sunset Beach, tented accommodation

We have a long drive on the new, good tar road, down to our campsite, just north of the town of Xai Xai. This beautiful campsite is nestled in the dune forest only 200 meters from the sea. After the long drive, we spend two nights camping there and have a day to relax and enjoy the magnificent coast. The campsite also has a lovely restaurant and bar with a commanding view of the Indian Ocean.

people walking next to rock pools by the beach

(Photo: Bhejane 4x4 Adventures)

Day 9: Fish Eagle Camp, Transfrontier Park (Tented)

From Xai Xai, we head inland towards Masingir and enter the new Limpopo Transfrontier Park at its southern gate. We spend about 2 hours driving through the park and camp at a magnificent campsite overlooking Masingir Dam with fish eagles constantly serenading us.

We spend our last night around the campfire enjoying the unique bond of friendship that can only be made by fellow travellers who, together, have experienced the magic of the African Bush. The campsite has basic flush toilets and cold water showers, but the magnificent view makes up for this.

Day 10:

After breakfast we sadly say our goodbyes and you make your way back into the Kruger National Park via the nearby Giriyondo border post, just north of Letaba.

close-up shot of buffalo's face

(Photo: Bhejane 4x4 Adventures)

  • Where: Kruger to the lowlands of Mozambique
  • What: Camp 1: 16 - 25 August 2018 | - Camp 2: 16 -  25 September 2018 - - Camp 3: 28 September - 7 October 2018 
  • Cost: R12 860 (excluding VAT) per person sharing for chalet and tented accommodation (children under is 50% of the full price) 
  • When: 27th October to 3rd November 2018 or 4th November to 11th November 2018 
  • Contact: Tel/Fax: 044 535 9033 or bookings@bhejane.com 

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