Mozambique Travel Guides for Backpackers

Mozambique, the country of good people and paradise beaches

Choosing our next destination to travel is not so easy as one can consider at first sight. We usually want a place to relax, with beautiful nature, delicious gastronomy so we can enjoy with new and exotic tastes,  smiling people, a little bit of adventure and not really crowded … too much to ask? do these places still exist nowadays? Yes, they do. Try southeast Africa, try Mozambique. Why Mozambique is a good place to visit Recently, I decided to change my life into a more inspired, vocational and human approach. After many years working as a businesswoman, I left behind the automatic cruise control and put my hands on the wheel. A transition needed to be made and, in my case, this meant a long trip. Mozambique was my first step on a one-year solo trip around the world. The discovery was astonishing. Mozambique is an undiscovered paradise Few places in the world are as pure and untouched as Mozambique. Mass tourism is nowadays present in every corner of the globe. It means it can be difficult to perceive how the local reality is made of or how their oldest traditions are present today in their daily life. In many touristic countries, their real soul is far from being discovered by a tourist. Mozambique shows its soul to you from the moment you land. It is a soul full of joy, smiles and good hearts. O país da boa gente (The country of good people) Being a solo traveler and a woman, I am very aware of the risks and dangers when traveling. That being said, in Mozambique I never ever felt unsafe. On the contrary, I always had a feeling of care and community around me. They adopted me from the very beginning, like their sister, child or friend. In Mozambique, the community is very important. It is not a coincidence that this country is known as the country of good people. You will find yourself surrounded by clean and honest looks in wide smiley faces. In case of need, they will help you before you even ask for it. This is Mozambican style. A good proof of it, the many different religions sharing the same land in a peaceful and respectful way. In Mozambique, there are Muslims, Christians, Protestants, ethnic religions, all of them equally respected. Ready for some beach? Imagine a wild, clean, white-sanded beautiful beach with the Indian ocean roaring next to you. It is a semi-deserted beach, some kids playing on the shore, some guys selling fresh oysters. Do you like the idea? Mozambique has 3000 km of coast with some of the most amazing beaches I have ever seen. In many of them, you can easily have a plate of good shrimps or a tasty chicken (part of their best dishes) in a nice restaurant by the beach for less than 10 USD. And always with a smiley face. My recommendations about how and when to get there Yes, a visa is required and not such a thing as […]

Ocean Exploration in Sleepy Ponta Do Ouro

Ponta do Ouro is an idyllic, coastal fishing village on the southern tip of Mozambique. It’s a perfect, rustic coastal resort featuring pristine white beaches that stretch for miles in either direction. Although not technically a border town, it is essentially on the border with South Africa, only a few kilometers from the Kosi Bay border post. The town is a popular scuba diving, deep sea fishing and ocean sports destination for Mozambiquans and South Africans, resulting in the South African Rand being commonly accepted currency and English being widely-spoken. Local Mozambiquens largely speak Portuguese amongst themselves but are also fluent in English. The local currency is the Metical and the U.S dollar is also widely accepted. Prices are generally very affordable, with accommodation available from as little as ZAR 100 ($7) a night. A local beer in a bar will cost around ZAR 20 ($1.25) and meals range from ZAR 50 – 200 ($3 – 13). Due to its growing popularity as a tourist destination, construction has recently begun on a tar road into Ponta do Ouro. Currently, it is still only accessible by 4×4 vehicle, which has helped to maintain its rural feel and avoid over-tourism. Local businesses run 4×4 transfer services to the South African border where visiting tourists can leave their cars parked.   Cycling into Ponto Do Ouro Facilities While the town center itself is very small and facilities are limited, the beachfront boasts a number of comfortable bars and restaurants. These are largely based around the central diving center, with a few stretching further down the beach. The town only has one bank with two ATM machines which often get very busy so it’s a good idea to bring sufficient cash. Not all shops and restaurants in the town accept credit or debit cards. A few kilometers north of Ponta do Ouro is the even more rustic village of Ponta Malongane, accessible only by 4×4 along a very sandy beach road. While Malongane is even more basic then Ponta, it has an excellent beachfront campsite that serves Ponta Malongane Dive Camp, a popular diving, and watersports center. Ponta Malongane I cycled to Ponta do Ouro from the South African border post at Komatipoort, stopping in Maputo for lunch and then spending a night in the small southern town of Bella Vista. The new road connecting Maputo to the South Africa border near Ponta Do Oura is almost been entirely completed, making it a very pleasant ride. I only had to push my bicycle through sand for the last few kilometers into Ponta do Ouro, where I stopped for a well-deserved beer with some locals at a small roadside stall. I spent my first four days in Ponta Molongane at the beautiful beachfront campsite and dive center, where I spent my time snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and having sundowners on the deck. While the local campsite has a decent enough restaurant, no trip to Malongane is complete without a visit to Paulo’s tavern. This tiny […]

All you need to know about Tofo, Mozambique

Tofo.. Awww Tofo! I feel so much joy just thinking about it! It’s THE place we used to go most of the long weekends when I lived in Maputo. If you enjoy the beach, water sports, beautiful landscapes, music and food, you’ll love going there and even getting there. Tofo is a small coastal village in Inhambane Province, located about 500km from the capital of Mozambique, Maputo. Tofo itself is small, the road isn’t paved, and besides the local market, there is only a small supermarket. BUT, Tofo has is a great vibe, beautiful beaches for surf, SUP, swim and snorkel and an increasing number of nice places to eat. If that wasn’t exciting enough, has 3 PADI certified diving centers. It is ranked one of the top places in the world for diving. Furthermore, one can even take the master divers course there. How awesome is that? Getting there Flying The easiest and fastest way to get to Tofo is catching a flight to Inhambane and from there a taxi or ride to Tofo which is around 20km away. But that’s also the most expensive way. And there’s always the chance that a day before your flight you get an email from the national airline company saying it was canceled or postponed. It’s a slight gamble. Bus The most affordable way to get there is taking public transport like a Maxibombo. However, it’s hard enough to get to the station, understand schedules, the buses can get really crowded and it will be packed. That’s basically the local way to get there. However, Fatima’s backpackers in Maputo have daily transfers  that are still a bit long trips but will get you there more comfortably. Driving What we usually do is drive ourselves. The national road N1 crosses the whole country and you just need to stick to it until the right turn to Jangamo, which gets you to the other side of Inhambane Bay. Google Maps is a useful tool, I’d advise anyone to get a local SIM card because it is really inexpensive and mobile data works very well in most places. Driving there will take around 7 hours taking it easy. There are regular police checks with speed radars on the way, especially at the entrance or end of villages. The speed limit inside villages is 60km/m however outside supposedly is 100km/h but you can go faster easily. It’s advisable to carry an international driver’s license and the driving is on the left-hand side of the road. Also, the trip should be done during daytime – the main road has no lights and with plenty of people, animals, and cars without lights passing, so driving at night is not advisable. Pit stops when self-driving There are several pit stops one can make on the way to Tofo, to lighten up the trip. At the end of Palmeira (around 100km from Maputo) on the left side of the road, there is a little shop where you can buy nice fresh white cheese […]

Vilankulo, one step before paradise

Living in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, you simply have no means to imagine that you ended up in one of the most unknown gems of southern Africa. With just one road connecting north to south and just one air company, Mozambique it’s clearly not prepared to welcome tourism, but with its paradise untouched beaches and atemporal villages, it is slowly awakening and becoming aware of its own potential. You really realize where you are when, after only one hour by plane and a ten minutes drive, you get into a sleepy and sandy village, with a crystal-blue background. Vilankulo is a tiny and slow-paced village laying on The Indian Ocean. Time flows following the quite rhythm of fishermen’s life, and looking at it from the window of the central café you can barely realize that you are in one of the most touristic spots of the country. This village is known for its beautiful beaches and the impressive color of its waters during the low tide. Moreover, this fishermen’s small town is the continental door to reach the Bazaruto Archipelago, but to know something more about this you’ll have to read the next article 😉 . The centre is carved up between the two main streets, and is composed by some local restaurants, a cute little church from the colonial period, a bank, an hospital and a bakery, which entry is always plugged by a long queue as it supplies the whole village. But the real heart of Vilankulo is its central market, crowded of sellers from the very early morning, where you can find all kind of seasonal fruit and vegetables and buy the most fresh fish, still dripping with ocean water. Crystal waters Turning left from the main street, a sandy road goes down between small groups of traditional houses, and is at this point that Vilankulo really gets you with a paradisiacal view. Protected from the open ocean by the islands of the Archipelago and thanks to a very low and sandy ocean floor Vilankulo has the most crystalline and intense light blue waters you might ever see. Following the sinuous path of the shore, lined with tall coconut trees you can enjoy the almost desert and untouched beaches. Apart from South African holidays, when Vilankulo is surrounded by big 4×4 pickups, there are no tourists breaking the quite rolling of local life. In the early morning and in the late afternoon the dhows, traditional fishing boats, come back with the catch of the day, and the beach comes alive again: dozens of people reach the small crafts and drag them to shore, before selecting and bargain the fish on the sand. Local food, local people, local projects Arriving by car from the airport following the recently renewed street to the centre, the first thing that crosses you mind is that you must be the only tourist in this piece of Earth, and walking along the streets this becomes a certainty. Mamas selling fruits on the […]
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