Whether you want to swim in a warm sea, tan on a spectacular beach, view dolphins, go deep-sea fishing or offshore diving, Ponta do Ouro in Mozambique has got it all for you.
The town is about 130km south from Maputo and lies just north of the South African east-coast border.
We happened to be in South Africa during the summer months, and a few of our South African friends suggested we go to Mozambique for a long weekend in March. For years Mozambique had been on our to-do list and since everything was falling in place we couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
With only a few days to visit Mozambique it made sense to go to Ponta Do Ouro. Mozambique is a huge country and unless you fly to your destination, the most southern area is your best option for a visit.
From the South African border the town is only accessible by 4×4, and our steed for the trip was a Ford Amarok. However, driving to Mozambique in a Ford Amarok would be incomplete without an additional accessory for extra fun…
The Long Drive
The best way to get to Ponta do Ouro by car is through the Kosi Bay border. The 634km drive from Johannesburg took about 8 to 9 hours. Since the border is only open between 8am and 5pm, it made sense for us to spend a night at the Dive Inn Guesthouse in Pongola. The guesthouse is not far from the border and we could reach the border early in the morning. The guesthouse also had everything we needed, including a good breakfast and much needed parking for the trailers.
The road from the border to Ponta do Ouro isn’t long but it is a difficult road to drive, and it is therefore advisable to rather get through the border post in the morning and drive with ample daylight in case something goes wrong.
The next morning we arrived at the Kosi Bay border post without any hassles, and fortunately there wasn’t a long queue of cars either.
After we had our passports stamped and all the necessary papers checked (there are a lot), we deflated our tires for the sandy road where the 4×4 journey started.
The sand road isn’t very far from Ponta do Ouro, and we got to the village in about 40 minutes.
Where We Stayed
Our accommodation was booked at Vista Alta Lodge, 20 minutes (5kms) from the main town. Accommodation further out is usually cheaper, but great none the less.
As you can see from the photos, the rooms and bathroom are not bad, and the view from the porch is excellent!
Even though we were a bit further out, we really enjoyed staying there because we could ride to town with the quad-bikes!
Most people would prefer to stay at one of the many nice places in Ponta do Ouro, and you can check out this page for available options.
One of the primary reasons why people love to visit Ponta do Ouro is because of the stunning beach. Here we spent hours in the sun either tanning, swimming or snorkeling.
You can also just walk for miles and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the constant crashing of waves. Going for a walk in the early mornings or late afternoons is the most rewarding as you will be awarded with beautiful skylines. It was also here where we were greeted by early morning sand crabs!
Ponto de Ouro has many restaurants from where you can order a variety of meals – they were all really good.
For example, Hank ordered pizza at one of the restaurants, and the chef got fresh Basil leaves from the rooftop garden.
The presentation was great and the taste was excellent. What more could one hope for?
Mozambique is famous for their R&R (Rum and Raspberry) drinks and is something you have to try. You can make your own at home, but these guys really know how to pour this mix!
While the standard R&R is great, at some of the restaurants you can even order a Rum and Raspberry milkshake. Not for the kids though!
Exploring The Area
Mozambique has a long history of civil wars, combined with an ongoing struggle with poverty. This is evident by the lack of infrastructure and abandoned building projects.
As we were exploring the area we came across numerous sites where a seemingly promising project had been abandoned or placed on hold. While the situation looks bleak for the locals, it allows for beautiful photos.
Late Night Adventures
Small tourist towns like Ponta de Ouro is well known for their night life. After having dinner at one of the pubs we all got into our 4×4’s to head back to our lodge. Hank, however, had this bright idea of jogging back along the beach. While this sounded like a manly thing to do, 6km along a beach in Mozambique on a dark night is not necessarily the smartest thing to do.
The lights from the restaurants at the main beach quickly faded, and Hank found himself in almost pitch blackness with literally only about 1 meter of visibility.
For all practical reasons, Hank was running blind and had to rely on his hearing for the most part – and prayer! Then another reality kicked in… how was he supposed to know when he had reached the bungalow? All of the entrances from the beach were semi-concealed with staircases behind shrubs and pretty much looked the same from the shoreline. What’s more, Hank was unable to use Google Maps since we had crossed borders without roaming enabled. This was before we knew about offline maps.
At this point he got the idea of switching on his running app and to set it to ‘Distance Run’, with a goal of 6km. This way he could run until the app would alert him of the distance covered. While he couldn’t use Google Maps, at least the GPS on the app was still good to track the progress. Even so, this was not an exact science but would get him within close proximity.
Next Hank had to fight the fears of running into possible thieves or muggers. This is not something you would worry about in general, but being out by yourself at night is never advisable in Africa. However, the thought of having an encounter with a robber quickly vanished and got replaced by the fear of stepping on a Mozambique Spitting Cobra (one of the most venomous snakes in the world who love to come out to the beach at night). The thought of running into a snake was far worse than the idea of stepping on a crab!
With great relief the alarm on the app notified Hank when he reached his target distance. Prayers were answered, and he didn’t stop too far from where the entrance to Vista Alta was.
He took a screen shot from his phone as a reminder of an adventurous night that could have easily turned out for the worse.
We loved Ponta do Ouro so much, and we will definitely want to return one day. Even so, if we have the choice we will visit Massinga Beach again instead.