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Trip Report Mozambique - Morrumbene by rubber duck!

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Morrumbene Beach Resort - Mozambique
30 May to 5 June 2009

Getting there

After a leasurely drive from Johannesburg we made an overnight stop at Komatipoort about 3 kilometers from the Lebombo border post. My brother-in-law and his wife had reservations at Palm Grove Lodge at Praia de Barra not far from Inhambane. We were to travel together and stay with them for a day or so and then move on towards our final destination, Morrumbene Beach resort which was further North.
The border post opens at 6 am but we were advised to be there at 7 am when most of the waiting vehicles would hopefully have passed through the border.
We had already bought our compulsory Hollard third party insurance at a filling station in Komatipoort. Cost of the insurance was R150 per vehicle plus R50 for completing the necessary customs documentation for us. We also exchanged some of our SA Rands for Meticals at a rate of R1 for MT 3.3 with one of the ladies recommended by the Hollard staff. We calculated the amount of fuel we could possibly use and added an amount for incidental expenses and got Meticals for that. You can also pay with SA Rands in Mozambique, but we prefer Meticals.
Proceedings at the South African side went smooth and then we headed to the Mozambican side. The Hollard agent at Komatipoort arranged with his colleague at the Mozambican border post to be our “helper”. A “helper” takes your passports and documentation and for a fee of between R150 to R200 per car arranges everything for you while you wait at your vehicle. For us a worthwhile expense.
Proceedings at both border posts were completed within an hour and then we were on our way.
We were warned to obey speed limits as you are spot fined if caught. There were also stories about corrupt traffic cops and we were very careful to stick to the traffic rules and managed to avoid being caught and fined.
You have to pass through the outskirts of Maputo which can slow you down as the roads are narrow and packed with vehicles and locals.
The road up to Xai Xai is very good, a bit frustrating is the fact that you have to slow down to 60 km/h every time you pass through one of the many villages along the way. That is where the cops lie in wait for you so we obeyed the speed limits.
The first 100 kilometers North of Xai Xai is a bit of a challenge as you have to avoid potholes as well as other traffic also avoiding potholes! I was assured that road works were about to commence with immediate effect.
(Tip: Never drive at night in Mozambique-bad road markings, overloaded vehicles, people and animals on the roads)
The rest of the road to our destination was again very good.
The trip from the border to Palm Grove Lodge took us nine hours and we arrived at our destination just after 5 pm.

Morrumbene Beach Resort

We were getting more and more concerned about the fact that both the Morrumbene website as well as the reservation confirmation stated that one could only reach the resort by 4X4. We were also warned that if we got stuck it would cost MT1000 per hour to get us to the resort. We decided to play it safe and arranged with the Afriventures Dive Centre manager at Palm Grove Lodge to take us to the resort by rubber duck, we would arrive in style! Afriventures Mozambique is an activity and dive centre situated at Palm Grove Lodge.
So, at 7 am the next morning we were ferried off in the rubber duck and headed for Morrumbene Beach Resort. The rather bumpy trip took just short of an hour and we were dropped off on the beach in front of the resort. I guess we were the only visitors ever to arrive by rubber duck!
The manager of the resort, Hutch, was on hand to take us and our luggage to our chalet. It must have been a strange sight, seeing us sitting with our luggage on the beach!
Checking inventory when arriving at a timeshare resort is always a pain, but Sergio from reception and Lorraine, Hutch’s wife quickly assisted us in checking that everything was accounted for.
The resort boasts typical Mozambican style chalets giving a “situated in paradise” feeling. All have brick walls and thatch roofs. As we have come to expect from any QVC resort, the furnishings are tasteful and the interiors spotlessly clean. The chalets come comprehensively equipped for self catering. For the fishermen there is a large freezer in the kitchen which indicated the possibility of good catches in the area,. My wife was thrilled that the showers were tiled as spotless as the rest of the bathroom.
Electrical power is provided by generator, so power is only available between 6 am and 11 am and between 5 pm and 10 pm. The stove and geyser run on gas.
The resort has no restaurant, so one has to arrive fully self sufficient, charcoal is available at reception for MT25 a bag. The nearest supermarket is at Maxixe, about 1.5 hours drive away. The water is safe to drink.
Having arrived at the resort by boat I was unable to check first hand whether I could actually reach the lodge by road with my two wheel drive double cab. Hutch confirmed that if you are not an expert at sand driving, rather come with a 4X4.
So, now you have arrived in paradise, so what do you do here? Bring your fishing tackle, if you have a boat or jetski, bring that as well. Otherwise, just come and take long walks on the white beaches and look for shells.
I understand that the restaurant/beach bar is being refurbished but I couldn’t ascertain when it would be operational again.
Television is not available in the resort, some peoplethink it would be out of place in an idyllic setting like this. Who wants to know what’s happening back home anyway.
I can assure you that after a week at this resort you will return home as relaxed as you can be, just please drive carefully and obey the speed limits.
You will encounter two tollgates, one is MT95 and the other MT17.50, you can pay in Rand but will only get change in MT.

A few days later we were again sitting on the beach with our luggage, waiting for the duck from Palm Grove to come pick us up.

Some local fishermen were rather amused at the sight, and even more so when we pretended to hike! We enjoyed the last laugh when our transport arrived and whisked us off the beach.

GPS coordinates for the resort are: S 23’ 37” 325, E 035’ 25” 327

Cellular reception is stated as limited, but we had no problems phoning from our chalet.

Remember that this is a malaria area, so please take the necessary precautions.

As I am typing this, sitting on the deck of our chalet, savouring a cool sea breeze, looking between palm trees at a white beach and blue ocean, I very briefly think of the poor people stuck in traffic on Gauteng roads and I realise once again that life is good!

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