Alisons Taste Of Mozambique

Ethos Marketing went out on the road last week with Tish from Rani Resorts.  The week culminated with a number of events; a press lunch, a consumer event with Symphony World Travel and a trade event at the Mozambique High Commission.

The theme of the evening was a ‘Taste of Mozambique’ and to add to the flavour we served some local food, prepared by Maria Preciosa Machava.

The aim was to inspire the travel industry and to educate them in order to build their confidence in selling Mozambique as a holiday destination.

About 30 people packed into the balloon bedecked room, where they were given a great overview of Mozambique and more specifically Rani Resorts and The Polana Serena Hotel in Maputo.

Mozambique is a country that was known for its turbulent past, poverty and floods.  In recent years, with international investment, the image has changed as more and more people become of aware of this incredibly diverse country.

With over 2500 kms of coastline, and some of the world’s most beautiful and unspoilt beaches, world class diving, snorkelling, deep sea fishing, stunning scenery and some fascinating history, Mozambique is waiting to be discovered by travellers from around the world.

I grew up hearing about Lourenco Marques, and sampled the famous LM prawns when I lived in Johannesburg.  I knew about the deep sea fishing, because the Bazaruto Archipelago (and more specifically Paradise Island) was popular with South African fishermen, before the civil war.

One of my earliest visits to Mozambique was to Maputo and included a stay at the Grand Dame of Africa – The Polana.  Mozambique was only just emerging after a long civil war, and I found Maputo fascinating.  Only a short hop from South Africa and yet so different, mainly due to the Portuguese influence, but also due to the many years of hardship experienced during the war, by these incredibly friendly people.

The Polana was built in 1922 and at the time was considered to be one of the grandest hotels in Africa, and equal to some of the best in Europe.

Mozambique being a Portuguese colony, was neutral during the Second World War, and I found the stories of spies (from both sides) staying at The Polana intriguing.  We visited a small island in Maputo Bay and saw evidence of how Portugal had tried to protect the city from invasion, the big guns now toppled over into the sand.  The highlight that day was a short boat ride to the most extraordinary riverside café, with concrete table and chairs for the most memorable Piri Piri Prawns.

Today the hotel is owned by East Africa’s leading hotel group and known as The Polana Serena Hotel.  It has been restored to its former glory and continues its proud heritage.

I have been back to Mozambique a few times since then and have gone further up the coast, where the sea is the most unbelievable blue.  The waves non-existent because of the coral reefs and the sand blindingly white.

My first visit to Indigo Bay was in 2001 and I fell in love with this idyllic island resort.   The property has come a long way since then, upgraded and improved and special English language classes have been introduced so that the staff can communicate better with the guests.

Snorkelling off Paradise Island must be one of the most amazing experiences – not many places in the world are so unspoilt, so remote and exclusive.  How many people can say that they had an entire island to themselves to enjoy the sun, sea and sand – and the some of the best snorkelling in the world?

Further north The Quirimbas Archipelago offers even more exclusivity (if that is possible).  Matemo and Medjume are two very special islands in a pristine world.  Only a short boat ride from Matemo is Ibo Island, with a fascinating history dating back to Arab slave traders and later the Portuguese.

I could go on and on, but maybe I will leave you to delve more yourself.

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