Saying Massinga Beach is a stretch of paradise, is not exaggerating at all. While there are many fantastic tourist destination in Mozambique, few offer the peace and tranquility that you will find at a place like Massinga Beach.
This destination is great for anybody who is looking for a decent break from modern day living. It must also be one of the most romantic spots in Africa and it is easy to understand why it is a favourite for honeymooners.
To get to Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique we had to fly from Johannesburg, South Africa to Inhambane. Some travelers had to take a connection flight in Maputo, but we were fortunate to get a direct flight which only took about 90 minutes.
Flying in a twin prop is different if you are used to a Boeing or Airbus, and we were glad when we landed at the airport.
The first thing that you notice when you disembark from the plane is the heat and the humidity. The next thing you notice is how small and primitive the airport is. This became especially evident when we noticed how our bags were dropped from the plane and then brought to an assembly point where each one had to collect his own luggage from the pile.
We went through passport control and then back outside to collect our suitcases. Finally we were able to meet with our taxi driver from Massinga Beach Lodge, who was patiently waiting for us outside.
From Inhambane airport we took a short taxi drive to the harbor. From the harbor we took a 45 minute ferry ride to get to the other side of the bay to Maxixe (pronounced ‘Ma-shi-shi’). The quality of the ferry was not quite what we had in mind when we planned the trip, but it turned out to be a fun cultural experience.
When we reached the shore on Maxixe’s side, another taxi was waiting patiently for us as well. We disembarked from the ferry and were greeted by a sight that seemed to summarise what living in Mozambique must be like for the locals. In this picture you can see an abandoned building, an abandoned ship, a local lady trying to earn her wages and wind-bent palm trees that testify of the occasional tropical storm.
From Maxixe we drove another hour north to get to Massinga Beach Lodge. Typical African style: the aircon of our taxi was not working and we had to endure the heat and humidity a bit longer. Luckily (or maybe it was planned all along) the taxi driver had some Manica (a local beer) on ice. We had to pay additional for the beer, of course.
While travelling to Massinga Beach Lodge is a true 3rd world country experience, the destination makes it all worthwhile. From the main road the taxi turned onto a side road that took us into an area consisting of what felt like an endless supply of coconut trees. When we finally reached the coastline we were greeted by this sight.
As we walked into the main reception area, we were handed face towels which provided instant relief from the humidity. We were also handed fresh coconuts with a straw, for a truly refreshing drink after a long journey.
The rooms at Massinga Beach (and other similar resorts) are just fantastic. We had the most comfortable and spacious unit with the best view. Each unit is fitted with its own aircon, a must-have in the humidity and heat. The private pool was the cherry on top.
Because you are on the east coast of Africa, you are presented in the mornings with the most beautiful sun rises. This was the view from the bedroom at 04:30am.
Wine And Dine In Style
Places like Massinga Beach ensure that you are well looked after, and it is hard not to pick up a few extra pounds.
We were treated with full breakfast buffet, proper lunch and a four course dinner. Breakfast included everything from cereals to cold meat, and from eggs to more exotic fruit like Baobab. Dinner always had a soup of the day as well as a catch of the day. If you don’t like seafood, there is always an alternative available.
Dessert was always a highlight. If you have read some of our other posts, you will know that we really like ice cream. Here we had real homemade ice cream, which was probably the best ice cream to date!
Oh, and don’t forget about the afternoon tea / coffee and cake!
Places like Massinga Beach cater for all kinds of activities, and you are sure to be able to make the most of your trip. Here are a few things we thoroughly enjoyed during our stay.
In addition to our own private pool at our bungalow, we could also relax at the infinity pool of the main deck at reception. You can either have a swim, relax with a book, bath in the sun or watch the only small boat out at sea (fishing for tonight’s dinner) through the telescope on the deck.
Lunch is served at the beach bar, which is about 800 meters from the main reception. At the beach bar there is another infinity pool where everybody hangs out during the day.
There are also table tennis, pool, volleyball and other games that you can play.
Don’t worry, they do have a jeep for those who don’t feel like walking off the accumulated calories.
If you feel more adventurous and want to take on the waves, you have the option of kayaking. Perfect in the early mornings or late afternoons, depending on the tide of course.
Snorkling / Bike Ride
The nearest reef is about 2km from Massinga Beach Lodge, and is a nice spot for snorkeling. While you have the option of walking the distance, the lodge also has bicycles you can use to ride the distance.
The bikes were not proper Fatbikes, but they did the job nonetheless. When we visited Massinga Beach, we literally rode for kilometers without anybody else in sight.
When we got to the reef there was still no one in sight. We “parked” the bikes, put on our snorkeling gear and explored the reef. By the time we were finished, some of the locals must have noticed us and came down to where we were, hoping we would buy something from them. They were friendly and we didn’t feel threatened at all.
Apart from having a great time at the lodge, you also have the opportunity to experience some of the Mozambican culture up close and personal. The lodge has an optional cultural day out, where they take you to the local nearby village and market. If you have never been to parts of Africa before, this is a real eye opener to see what living in Mozambique is like for the locals.
Another great cultural experience at the lodge was to see how one of the locals climbed a coconut tree to harvest some coconuts. The level of skill demonstrated was astonishing.
After collecting a few coconuts, he effortlessly prepared the coconuts for us to drink.
After a truly amazing week we started the journey back home via Johannesburg in South Africa. We arrived early at Inhambane airport and had to wait for our flight. To pass time we ordered pancake from the small restaurant which was really nice.
The plane arrived and we were able to board. After takeoff we headed south, but first to Maputo. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a direct flight to Johannesburg and had to catch a connection flight instead.
The harder than usual landing at Maputo caused one of the overhead panels to fall out, which hit one of the passengers on the head. Fortunately it didn’t look like there was any injury, and everybody was able to laugh at the incident.
While at Maputo Airport, we had one final reminder that we were still in Africa. As we were looking for the status of our next flight, the screen had a Microsoft Windows message displaying an “Out Of Memory” error.
In spite of all the things that could scare your average tourist away, we had a great time and would go again in a heartbeat.
Mozambique is amazing, and Massinga Beach is surreal. If you still have any doubt in your mind as to whether you should go, allow us to be your conscience and to tell you… “Go!”