The Mozambique Experience

As you slowly come to consciousness laying under your mozzie net, you hear nothing but crashing waves and palm tree leaves dancing in the warm breeze. Without even opening your eyes, you come to the realization that It wasn’t a dream.

This happened to me nearly every morning. I would wake up with a smile on my face before my feet even hit the floor.  As I lay here, I can’t help but reflect on the things I’ve done; the things that have lead me to this very moment. How could something I’ve dreamed about as a kid, be happening?

Chatting to one person at a bar one night in the Caribbean about Africa, later turned into meeting this person again for the second time, months later, to road trip up the African coastline for two whole weeks. Sometimes it’s all about the risk you’re willing to take to experience something out of the ordinary. “Sometimes you have to get lost to find a place that normally cannot be found”. And he’s kindly proved this theory to be true. Lets start from when I left cape town, my current “home base”…

Take off: 6:45am. Cape Town, South Africa. 

Touchdown: 9am. King Shaka Inernational Airport (Durban).

Seeing a face I’ve only seen once before was oddly comforting, as most of my previous adventures involved completely new ones. Spearguns and Surfboards in the back, we begin our journey 5 hours up the eastern coastline of Africa straight for the small town of Sodwana Bay.

Sodwana Bay is commonly referred to as a “small drinking town with a diving problem”. Considered one of the best Scuba Diving places on the African coastline, there is no question to its beauty. I was lucky enough to be invited by Amoray Scuba Charter to ride along for free on their dive boats to freedive out at the scuba dive sites. I guess this gives a whole new meaning to “free” diving! The Indian Ocean, what an unreal deep-blue beauty. Diving down alongside the scuba divers was another strange but awesome experience. Free diving our way down through their bubbles, gave us this feeling like we were falling. Passing by schools of fish, jellyfish, and even seeing some sharks. Here its common to find ragged toothed sharks, bull sharks, whale sharks and even the occasional Great White. What a thrill to swim with such amazing animals. But we are always, always, respecting the ocean, as we understand we become animals of prey every time we enter the water.

Camping out in a caravan for a week, living with practically no cell phone service, no TV or internet, some days having nothing but a book to read, having braai’s nearly every night with nothing but the company and stories of others. I have to say, this place taught me a lot about patience, the ability to appreciate the present moment, and the value of a shared story.

Tuesday February 9th: Road trip further up the East Coast to cross the boarder of Mozambique.

That two hour drive from Sodwana Bay towards the Mozambique border was… interesting. Three of us squeezed into a bukkie (pick up), surfboards and spearguns in the back and the three of us in the front. There’s something about road trips with people you hardly know that make the experience that much more memorable because of how wild it feels.

The moment we arrived at the Mozambique border, the printer at immigration stopped working to print our visas. Portuguese is the main language so I’m having trouble communicating to them across the counter about the issue. Now, I’m not saying I’m a know-it-all or anything but I’ve had my fair share of crappy printers in my day. After about 30 minutes of watching confusion I politely work my way into their struggle and eventually end up fixing the printer and computer connection problem myself. I don’t think many can say they were behind the desk at an immigration border as they tried getting through, but needless to say I was quickly let into the country!

Immediately, paved roads turn to sandy dirt and we set out for the town of Ponta Do Ouro. Let me just start with saying getting around is practically impossible without a 4×4. These “roads” are no joke.
Ponta De Ouro is beautiful. Simply put, It’s a fishing/surfer town in Africa. The air smells of dry heat, salt water, and fire. Every local is waving and welcoming you into the area as you pass by. People living off of the bare necessities. Grocery stores and common shops don’t exist. You go to someone’s hut to buy food/drinks/etc. The only things they live off of are the things they can grow and access locally. Most live in huts made of concrete blocks and straw. And yet everyone is happy, smiling, sharing. Not once did I feel unwelcome, not once did I feel different.

We made our way over to our accommodation at the coziest, coolest little surf cottage right on the beach called Cassa Concha. The views are absolutely incredible. Welcomed would be an understatement, we were practically taken in as family.

The day’s started early, 6:30am some days. Throw on a bathing suit, walk 30 meters and you’re on the beach. Surfing, spearfishing and beautiful beach walks to rock pools were just a few of the things we did the days we were there. Palm trees, crystal clear beaches and warm breezes gives you the African version of the Caribbean. Breakfasts were a must, Sara and Sasha, the owners of the property were always making the freshest fruit smoothies and wonderful coffee, always accompanied by awesome stories and laughs. I know we were extremely fortunate to stay in such an awesome place in the middle of Mozambique. Take a walk up to the roof at sunrise or sunset where you have a panoramic view of all the rooftops, with the ocean and palm trees on the other

One trip we made was out to Alex’s Pizza Place, where we met a local from Italy who made the greatest Mozambiquan (real italian) pizzas! It was here I met the sweetest locals, children coming up to greet us, adults including us in musical performances. What a feeling this was! Playing a drum as they dance, sing, and play along. Now I understand where our rhythm originates from. Thankfully I had just enough! Another thing that really got to me was seeing a child’s reaction when he picked up my iPhone and it was turned to take a photo. The amazement that he could press a button and have a photo of us instantly lit him up. And in turn, it lit me up just as much if not more. What a thing that was. I love these people. So grateful for the little things.

It saddens me to know I have to leave this place, however it makes me happy to know I have a place like this to miss. I will be back to Ponta Do Ouro, and if and when I am, I will wake up under the same mozzie net in the same surfer cottage at Cassa Concha. What beautiful people I have found here in Mozambique.

I don’t know where I’ll go next, or what kind of people I will meet that will further change my outlook on life, but one thing is for certain, Mozambique was a great one.

Grateful. Thank you Mozam.

Obrigado

___________________________
If you’d like a similar, incredibly hospitable, real, local experience of Mozambique. I HIGHLY recommend staying with Cassa Concha:

pontakiteandsurf@gmail.com

(00258) 84 615 9887

Ponta Do Ouro, Mozambique.

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