Ponta do Ouro and Ponta Malongane, Photo's, facts and figures
Ponta to Ponta ..... All you need to know.
Okay so you want to explore the Southern part of Mozambique but information is sketchy and you are petrified of landing up in some dodgey campsite with no hot water and flithy backed-up toilets. In my opinion there are 5 essential elements to a great holiday, eat well, sleep well, clean ablutions, good travel buddies and a reliable vehicle.
My family and friends have been exploring the Southern parts of Africa for the past 20 years and I'd like to think that I have some very useful information to share with fellow travellers. There is nothing worse than planning a beach holiday, thinking you'll be 100m from the waters edge only to arrive and find out that you have a 30 meter cliff face between you and the soft white sand. If you are a strapping young person into a bit of abseiling then great, but this could just be disaster for a family with toddlers. Wading through pages of text in pursuit of concrete usable facts is also a major pain, so without anymore preamble, here are the basics to enjoy Ponta Malongane and Ponta do Ouro.
PONTA DO OURO
Of the two Ponta's, my personal favourite is Ponta Malongane but having said that there is so much more activity in Ponta do Ouro. More shops, restaurants, markets, scuba diving operators, laundries and pubs. It is definitely the busier of the two, so this would be the place to stay if you want it lively.
Camping - stay away from the municipal campsite. The facilities are terrible. There are other places to camp in Ponta do Ouro but nothing within walking distance of the town, shops or beach.
Hotel - Motel do Mar offers 4 sleeper, beachfront cabanas. It is typically slightly run-down but with breakfast thrown in we found it to be real value for money. The inside was a bit shabby, but all clean and very functional. It has a small kitchenette so you can still buy your prawns from the market and cook up a feast in your own cabana. It is serviced daily.
Cost: R1070 per unit (low season), R1415 per unit (high season)
We did all our bookings through Mozambique Connection. You can also browse their website for additional places to stay.
Scuba Adventures Dive camp - offer tented accommodation within the municipal campsite which is a much better camping alternative if you don't mind being close to your neighbour.
Browse their website for prices on accommodation, scuba, snorkelling and ocean excursions
Motel do Mar, Ponta do Ouro
Scuba Adventures Dive Camp, Ponta do Ouro
There are plenty of restaurants and pubs to try out but our personal favourites in terms of food and location are Neptune's Pub and Grill and Florestinho's, both situated in the main town square. Neptune's offer a great view over the Motel do Mar and serve awesome peri peri chicken and pizzas. It also has Wi-Fi. For prawns and prawn cakes, my favourite is Florestinho's. It's situated right on the beach and has a raised deck overlooking the beach. A cool place to enjoy your R&R whilst waiting for your food, which takes a while to prepare.
THINGS TO DO
Scuba dive, snorkelling from a boat only as there is no reef, surfing is great and kite boarding is also very popular. I can honestly recommend booking a dolphin dive with the Dolphin Centre. Try to make your booking early as the wind tends to pick up later in the day and this affects the water conditions. The average cost of an Ocean Safari is R450 per person, excluding gear rental.
Visit all the markets, sample the R&R's at the well-known Fernando's pub in the market area, buy some chilli sauce to enjoy back home and definitely get a pair of the one-size-fits-all colourful pants.
Ponta Malongane is situated just 7km north of Ponta do Ouro. It takes about a half hour to get there through thick sandy roads. Travel carefully and keep to the left whenever you come across a fork in the road. Remember, all roads lead to Ponta!
Ponta Malongane is a quaint little version of Ponta do Ouro. You can pretty much get everything here from bread, alcohol, curios and clothing to fish and prawns. There are great little restaurants overlooking the lakes and the sunsets from here are to die for. Sip some of the traditional R&R's (Rum and Raspberry) or indulge in the free flowing Jaegermeisters whilst waiting for your delicious prawns or chicken peri-peri. Take your cameras or GoPros and do some awesome time-lapse sunset shots over the lake.
I can definitely recommend the Parque do Malongane resort. It has large, shady campsites set in the lush, tropical bush. It is also right on the beach so no need to ferry kids back and forth and within walking distance to the markets, restaurants and pubs. There is a variety of accommodation to choose from. Camping, 1 bedroom rondawels, 2 or 3 bedroom chalets, log huts in the dive camp or the tents on deck. Best value for money was the rondawels, which have their own access through the trees to the beach. They sleep 4, have 1 separate bedroom with two single beds in the open plan kitchen area and own bathroom. Chalets will be more comfortable if you require more privacy. The log huts are situated very close to the dive camp and sleep 2 but you have to walk to the communal kitchen and communal ablutions at the dive centre. The tents on deck sleep two and are set back slightly into the bush. They have their own ablutions but you also have to use the communal kitchen at the dive centre which is quite a walk away. You also can't get your vehicle close to these tents and have to schlep all your bags from the car park. All bookings were done very efficiently through Mozambique Connection. Make sure you choose the right accommodation upfront because you can't easily change it when you are there.
There is a restaurant within the resort grounds, the Loggerhead, but it was very quiet when we were there and so we opted for the more lively spots just outside the resort overlooking the Lake. Sunset Shack has an amazing vibe with reportedly the best seafood around. Come to See Tavern is a bit more protected from the wind and also has a more uninterrupted view over the lake which makes for great sunset shots. They also have local live music.
THINGS TO DO
Within the resort itself there is a dive centre. They offer scuba diving, ocean excursions for snorkelling or swimming with dolphins as well as scuba diving courses. All diving is booked at the resort and must be done the day before. They have a communal kitchen, ablution facilities, a tv lounge area and a pub on the deck overlooking the beach. There is a very small reef which offers the amateur snorkeler some shore-based activities. Ponta Malongane is also popular for kite surfing, surfing, fishing and you are also more than welcome to bring your own quad bike. Unfortunately no quads are allowed to ride around the resort itself but there are plenty of places to have fun in the sand in the surrounding areas.
IN A NUTSHELL
Border requirements: Passports, unabridged birth certificates for under 18's, Visas for foreign visitors. Original car Registration papers or affidavits from the bank or owner if other than the driver. Declare all goods for own consumption. 2 Emergency triangles and 1 reflective jacket. If you are pulling a trailer you need reflective tape on the trailer as well as the blue and yellow towing sticker.
Currency - Mozambique currency is Meticais but Rands are accepted all over.
Malaria - It is a malaria area, however in winter the risk is low. Refer to your doctor regarding anti-malarials.
Water - to be on the safe side, don't drink the water. There is plenty of water to buy in Mozambique.
Vehicle requirements - a 4x4 is necessary. None of the roads here are tarred and the sand is very thick in some places.
Directions - A GPS with Tracks4Africa maps is always very useful. The signage to Ponta from the border has improved quite a bit though. Due to people getting stuck there is a huge amount of track pollution on the road to Ponta do Ouro from the border, just remember the basic rule that "All roads lead to Ponta". www.tracks4africa.co.za
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