At the end of our Kosi Bay stop, Bevan and I found ourselves tantalizingly close to Mozambique.
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Stray along the border
Kosi Bay is in fact only a few kilometres from the Farazela Border Post between South Africa and Mozambique, and the dunes at the Kosi Bay mouth are clearly visible from the border town of Ponta do Ouro. Forget that we had just spent the last week exploring spectacular beaches along the Coastal Forest section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Never mind that we had snorkelled the clear, sheltered waters of so many rocky points, or 4x4ed to our hearts’ content along the sand tracks in the coastal reserve. Mozambique was calling, and it was as if we instantly forgot all of that. We were dry, dusty bodies that needed to refresh ourselves in the exotic, azure waters of southern Mozambique’s beaches.
Exploring enticing southern Mozambique
For those who have not been before, the far southern section of Mozambique’s coastline is very similar to that of far northern KwaZulu-Natal. Not surprising, given that borders are often just lines on a map that don’t take into consideration ecology or biological borders. The high forested dunes lining wide sandy beaches and rocky points, backed by rolling grasslands dotted with lala palms is reminiscent of the landscape south of the border. There is something exciting about experiencing it on the Mozambique side though. The colourful bustling markets selling coconuts and brightly-printed material swatches. Those rows of home-made chilli sauce baking in the sun. The typical reed and concrete buildings, some of them with hopeful hand-painted signs for bars displayed outside. And over all, a happiness, friendliness and contentment that draws you as a visitor in.
Mozambique is also an adventure. From its “choose your own pathway” network of sandy roads, to finding home bakeries selling hot pão (bread) tucked away up a little grassy path, every day here has the promise of something new and exciting. Although the beaches in northern KwaZulu-Natal are just as beautiful, the difference across the border is that to access them one has to simply step off the verandah of your holiday accommodation and down a short path onto the sand.
Some time on the beach at Ponta Madejanine
Bevan and I have been to this region enough times to have developed a list of our favourite spots. That doesn’t stop us from wanting to explore further however. This trip, we decided to snorkel a point called Ponta Madejanine, just north of Ponta Malongane and south of Ponta Mamoli. ‘Ponta’ is Portuguese for ‘Point’. From a vantage point on a dune just above the beach, we had spotted the promising sight of dark patches of reef just below the blue waters of backline. Unfortunately in some areas along this coastline, beach access is only via private properties and beachgoers need to acquire permission or pay a small fee to the landowner before being able to get down onto the beach. In the case of Ponta Madejanine, access is via one of two different accommodation complexes; Baleia Azul or Fredericos’. The reef we snorkelled here was quite high profile, meaning that there were plenty of gullies and overhangs for fish to hide between. We saw some lovely specimens, and an abundance of dark spiky urchins. If not for the cold we could have enjoyed those clean blue waters for a much longer time still.
A taste of luxury at the White Pearl Resort
We were in for a treat on this trip too, because we had been invited to stay at the White Pearl Resort in Ponta Mamoli. Not surprisingly, we didn’t hesitate to ditch the tent and accept this invitation! To put it simply, the White Pearl is a piece of understated luxury right on the beach of the beautiful point of Mamoli. After our private butler settled us into our seafront villa complete with private swimming pool, we were all set to relax and enjoy our surroundings. If you are looking for the perfect destination for a special holiday or honeymoon, we have found it!
We were impressed by the attention to detail and care with which the resort had been designed. Even though there were people all around us, the sense of privacy at the villa and even within the public spaces like the restaurant and communal lounge was amazing. There were plenty of spaces to tuck yourself away in, which in the overcast and somewhat windy weather we experienced during our stay there we put to good use.
In good weather, there are plenty of outdoor activities including horse riding and diving, or just relaxing on the beach to keep you busy. Our time at the White Pearl was all too short but, well-fed and completely relaxed, we packed up ready to head back to South Africa and inland to the game reserves of northern KwaZulu-Natal.
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See you on the road.