Feeling rested and ready for a bit of activity, we met for breakfast before being shown around the rest of Machangulo Beach Lodge by Christiaan, our incredibly passionate and enthusiastic host. This show round enabled us to fully appreciate and understand the dynamics of the lodge. If you wanted to gaze across the top of the treetops at the incredible sea views or would rather be in and amongst the forest, there would be the perfect room for you. Picking the perfect spot to dine, sip a cocktail (or two) or hideaway with a good book would be the most challenging decision to make – there are so many special spots.
For me the most exciting thing was to literally come across sand that had not a single footprint in it. Totally virgin sand atop the sand dunes. How often would you come across this? It made our walk across the sand dunes and along the deserted beach very worthwhile. We had found somewhere that summed up the expression “restful, remote and rustic.”
Having worked up an appetite it was now time to hop aboard the boat for the 5 minute ride across to Inahca Island for our beach picnic of steak sandwiches and ice cold beers. Ok, I had a coke but why spoil the image?! Our afternoon would be spent in and out of the sea. We would try kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling on the reef. What was there not to like? I found paddle boarding much easier without my children trying to clamber aboard and kayaking quite invigorating. Snorkelling enabled us to explore an underwater world that is hidden so well. Sea cucumbers, lion fish, beautiful coral and brightly coloured fish to name but a few of the things we spotted in this little hidden paradise.
The following day we would continue to explore the delights that Machangulo had to offer. Here though we would get a greater insight into life for the locals. We went by boat to the closest village, jumped off of the boat and waded through squelchy mud to the village square. Here we found the local market where the ladies were selling the fish caught that morning by the fisherman. We would be enjoying some of this for dinner tonight. We went to view the growing dhow making industry and then finally we went to Benjim’s Place.
Now Benjim had been our skipper, our activity guide and one of our very genial hosts at Machangulo. He was local and a real entrepreneur. Benjim had built a camp site with full facilities including 2 self catering units on stilts. This was for the more self drive adventurous overland guests. We enjoyed his hospitality, sipping cold drinks in the shade whilst marvelling at what he had achieved. A real success story.
Kayaking through the mangroves would be our final active activity for the day but not our final activity. I was off to the spa to enjoy a well earned massage that Eve, the masseuse, had persuaded me to have. To be honest there was very little arm twisting required! Who wouldn’t want a massage whilst listening to the birds chirping and the waves crashing. The perfect cliche, but very apt.
Josepha (or Jo as he came to be known) needs a special mention, as he was our very attentive waiter throughout. Before retiring to my room to get ready for our farewell dinner, Jo ensured that I had a perfectly mixed vodka and lemonade, which I enjoyed on the terrace. This was just a small example of his attentive but not intrusive service.
Our final evening would start with cocktails at sundown and lead beautifully into dinner in the main lodge. The famed Mozambican Piri Piri Prawns had been saved until the end and boy they did not disappoint. We all agreed that the food throughout was wonderful and a real highlight of the trip.
We would be off after breakfast for the journey back to Maputo for the second half of our trip to Mozambique. Would Maputo be able to enchant us as much as Machangulo Beach Lodge had?