16Apr/13

Testimonial from our Managing Director – Magical Mozambique!

I recently celebrated my 40th birthday. For a while we were torn between a big family party or taking the somewhat selfish route of a quiet, intimate getaway for two! Thankfully we chose the latter. We’re forever grateful to my brother and his wife for taking on our three children to add to their  existing brood of four! Seven young kids under one roof deserves some sort of Nobel prize of courage or something. Like I said, we’re deeply indebted. We chose Barra Lodge in Inhambane, Mozambique, because I had spent three years in this amazing country with my previous job, and having explored the stunning coastline on many weekend excursions (from my base in Maputo), I felt it an opportune time to introduce my beautiful wife to a place that got deeply under my skin. Taking the early 6am flight from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg, and then after a short wait over we soon arrived in Inhambane at around 2pm. Inhambane means the ‘’land of the friendly people’’, and this reputation lived up to its name with every person we came into contact with. People are so kind and giving, always looking for a way to please and serve you. This leaves any visitor with a happy and lasting impression.

Barra lodge itself is about a 30 minute drive from the small airstrip. One travels through coconut plantations and small rural hamlets, first a narrow tar road followed by a sand road that got sandier the closer we got to the actual coastline. The temperature drops ever so slightly as a fresh sea breeze welcomes the weary traveller. On arrival and efficient check in we are shown to our beach bungalow which has an unobstructed sea view and direct access onto the gorgeous Indian Ocean. There is a choice of accommodation between the beach bungalows and the casitas, the latter being a little more basic and set back within the coconut grove, but still rustic. For us the biggest plus was the air-conditioning, as the casitas only have electric fan. In mid-summer, this can make a vital difference and for a few extra hundred Rand per night, definitely worthwhile, not to mention the stunning view and access to the beach which the casitas don not have.

The lodge itself is situated on a Cape or small peninsula, facing almost directly west, and commands the most fantastic sunsets imaginable. The Barra reef runs along the entire peninsula and is the home of arguably one of the best scuba diving destinations money can buy! This may be a relatively unknown secret but for those in the know can vouch for the spectacular beauty of the underwater diving experience. Not only is the reef pristine and colourful, but so too are the sea creatures big and wild. From graceful manta ray, giant sea turtles and whale sharks, to barracuda, moray eel and sea horses….the underwater action is simply unforgettable. A couple of dives in the sparkling thirty-plus meter visibility water, is bound to get any novice diver hooked for life. The dive centre is superbly kitted out with the best rental equipment and gear, the facility and div school is well maintained, and the instructors and guides are friendly and experienced. In fact, this is where yours truly did his Open Water and Advanced divers certification ten years ago! Only the infrastructure has made some good advanced since then.

The lodge itself is a modest three star with all the amenities and basic requirements to host a very comfortable stay. But what makes it special is the seamless balance between pure relaxation and beach adventure. Besides, the diving, there is incredible fishing to be had off these waters, where a four hour fishing expedition will get your heart racing with a potential fight with a marlin or bluefin tuna. Other activities include, snorkelling, sailing, sunset cruising, quad biking, horse riding, to name a few. This is a great place for the family, something for everyone, for all ages. My wife and I chose to concentrate on the scuba diving whilst having more than enough time to enjoy all meals at our leisure, and to take long romantic walks on the white sandy beaches. The beach bar literally looks over the turquoise sea, and an ice cold Laurentina (a local beer) or G&T is perfect just about any time after 11am!

Our final evening was enjoyed with a delicious seafood buffet, offering the juiciest and freshest ‘frutos do mar’’. The food in general is excellent and once again I have to add that the service of the staff at Barra Lodge is personal and attentive. Our four days and three nights passed far too quickly and we had to re-adjust to the idea of lift clubs, nappies, and a noisy house! But the excitement to get back and tell our three boys about mom and dad’s awesome Indian Ocean safari was a highlight in its own. We have found the perfect getaway for our young family, a place so lovely, so alive and natural, so , and understated, that anyone will leave with the most special memories. They say the best time to visit Inhambane is between February to May and between August and October. The windy seaon is around June, July, although you could bet that you would stand a good chance to enjoy very acceptable weather conditions all year round. Take the usual anti-mosquito precautions (lotions etc) and lots of sunscreen!

Catching our flight and leaving the stunning greens and blues behind us, I was met with a quiet nostalgia that reminded me of a special time in my past, when this special land made its introduction and home in my heart. I acknowledge our God for the beauty he has created, and for this experience that we have experienced together as a couple. And of course to Mozambique, ‘obrigado para uma experienca maravilhosa!’.



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