We are off to Mozambique! – the ultimate dream of Azure warm waters and the romance of a bygone era of coastal trading beckons us.
First of all we are heading to Gorongosa National Park – known in the 1960’s as the place where “Noah left his Ark” because of the vast herds of game. Unfortunately however the park was ravaged by the civil war in Mozambique. While the dramatic landscape remained largely untouched, the animal life was all but obliterated. Then in 2008 The Carr Foundation, a U.S. not-for-profit organization, teamed with the Government of Mozambique to protect and regenerate the ecosystem of Gorongosa National Park and to develop an ecotourism industry to benefit local communities for the next 20 years. Today this forms the backnone of a drive to restore the Park to its former wildife glory. Animal relocations from the Kruger National Park, including elephant and lion, have been successful and plains game numbers have increased incrementally. It isn’t the Masai Mara yet, but it is a remarkable wilderness area, with 54 different biomes, and ever changing landscapes. The plains recall images of Busanga Plains in Zambia, the Sand Forests northern KwaZulu Natal, while the Gorongosa Mountains and Lake Urema are evocative images in this 400 000 hectare park. Explore Gorongosa is the first, and currently only, concession in this wilderness, offering comfortable tented accommodation with bucket showers and eco-loos, and unparalleled day and night access to activities in the Park. Expect plentiful birdlife, plains game, lion sightings and a sense of being in a remote and exotic part of Africa. After a few days here we would suggest you head to a simple yet stunning lodge on the beach.
Benguerra Island Lodge captures the essence of Mozambique beautifully. With squeaky white sand, a protected bay and a catamaran that sails into the sunset with freshly caught fish barbecuing on an open fire, it ticks all the boxes of an island getaway. Yet it is aspects like a weathered dhow that serves as beach bar, a beach bonfire at pre dinner drinks and staff in flowing white Arab robes that make it more than this and give it an evocative edge. Ironically, the cyclone which destroyed the lodge nearly two years ago now has had a hugely positive influence in the rebuilt and re-designed casas, vast suites directly on the beach with private pools, giant copper baths and an intriguing blend of African and Arabian influences.
For a slightly more eco-rustic beach stay we would suggest Guludo Island Lodge is an innovative lodge built out of a desire to provide a sustainable lodge within the tourism sector to help the NEMA foundation (an organisation which fights child poverty in Africa). The foundation currently supports 12 villages in all aspects of life, and as an interesting twist to a stay here, guests can choose to become involved in one of the projects – or indeed just enjoy the beauty that this part of Mozambique has to offer. In keeping with the organic element, every aspect of the lodge has been designed with ingenuity at its best, from the showers – a creative version of the bucket shower, to the eco- toilet system, to the locally crafted furniture and interiors in the rooms. This Robinson Crusoe element adds to the romance of a wide sweep of beach, and unobstructed views of the ocean from each room, capturing the Mozambique spirit perfectly.
Mozambique is a breath taking unforgettable beach destination just waiting to be explored.