Research suggests that there may be more happiness involved in planning your holiday than actually experiencing it. I’m chuffed to be the exception in this case. While it was exciting to plan my first trip to Mozambique, getting there, soaking up the sun and enjoying every moment made me far happier than anticipating it.
A warm breeze and clear waters greeted us as we got out of the vehicle, marking the end of our bumpy road trip. We laid our eyes on the San Martinho Beach Club apartments and it was exactly like the images on their website. With a sudden jolt of excitement, I was ready to explore in the last few minutes before sunset. Apart from the enticing view, there were enough activities at the resort to keep us entertained and enjoy a relaxing break away from city life.
Lake San Martinho in Praia de Bilene, our destination, was exotic. We were told to expect a Mauritius look and feel, with still, clear waters and white sandy beaches. Our apartment was on the lagoon – a mere few metres away from the shores of the lake. It was sensational. And only a short drive from the apartments was a convenience shop, along with a restaurant and camping site nearby.
Because we were staying on the lagoon, the quickest way to visit the beach was via a boat. The cool wind against our faces from the boat ride was a stark contrast to the hot and still weather on land. We got off on the other end of the lagoon shore and walked up a small sandy bank to arrive at a beach that was deserted for as far as our eyes could see. I dipped my feet in the beach waters and I was hooked.
After a few hours of enjoying the waves, snorkelling and drying ourselves out in the sun, we headed back to the beach club where we spent the rest of the afternoon in the lagoon. It was still hot, the sky was clear, the water was pleasantly warm and remarkably shallow for at least another 70-80 metres in. It felt like a huge heated pool.
The resort we stayed at is private, which means that only individuals holidaying at San Martinho Beach Club were allowed in. The other perk was that we could hitch a ride on the boat from the lagoon to the next nearest private resort to use their facilities and relax. So we landed on the shores of the Nghunghwa Lodge where I had my first kayaking experience. I was pretty good, if I may say so myself! 🙂 The restaurant at the lodge served lovely dishes and was inexpensive.
We also had the chance to purchase prawns just down the road from our accommodation. For 2 kg prawns (a mix of small, medium and large sized), freshly caught and cleaned, we only paid around R245! My sisters cooked the prawns, trying to follow a recipe we didn’t have all the ingredients to (so they just winged it for the most part) – and it turned out to be one of the best prawns we’ve ever had! Spicy, soft, fresh and simply delicious.
The Mozambicans speak Portuguese but a lot of them also know some English so it isn’t difficult to communicate. They’re humble and friendly – it was a pleasant experience interacting with them. Mozambique is quite underdeveloped and is one of the poorest countries in the world, but with the helpful hearts of its citizens, beautiful beaches and palatable prawns, it’s hard to call them poor.