Mozambique, Ponta Mamoli, Ariel's Hideaway
By Amilda Boshoff
Nestled along a vegetated sand dune amongst a forest of Cassarina trees lies a quiet but luxurious lodge. At the appropriately named Ariel’s Hideaway your nerves will be soothed and you will be lulled to sleep at night by the gentle rolling sound of the waves teasing the long golden beach.
Photos by Johan Boshoff
Ponta Mamoli is situated 25 kilometres from the Kosi Bay border post and 100 kilometres south of Maputo. The lodge is easily accessible with appropriately deflated tyres if you are driving yourself (there are clearly marked roads and turn-offs from the border post to the lodge). And for those not in possession of a suitable vehicle, resort transfers from the border post and back are available.
The south coast of Mozambique is renowned for the quaint, secluded bays that are protected by vegetated sand dunes and the small rolling waves foaming at the edge of the beach. Well this is one such place, but what makes it different is the fact that only the lodge residents get to use the facilities. Naturally the diving is also predominately done by lodge residents which means that there is only one boat on the water at any given time and no other dive groups to spoil the serenity of the reefs. If that isn’t enough to draw you out of your office chair and into the blue waters at Ponta Mamoli then I can’t help you…
The lodge has 15 comfortable timber chalets (incorporating three family units), carefully positioned on the primary dune with a beautiful sea view from under the Cassarina trees. The chalets are all connected to the main lodge area via raised wooden walkways to protect the sensitive vegetation. It is so close to that ocean that at high tide one can smell the sea spray in the light breeze. Chalets are all equipped with ceiling fans for the hot tropical nights and mosquito nets as the lodge is situated in a Malaria area.
The chalets all have covered verandas with comfortable chairs where you can enjoy your morning coffee. There is running hot water in the en-suite bathrooms and a digital safe to lock away your valuables is provided. Daily room service takes care of the rest of your needs while you drink in the breathtaking view from the open-air restaurant. The full board accommodation includes breakfast and dinner, and if you feel that diving and relaxing too much catches up with you around lunchtime, then there is an a la carte menu to soothe the hunger pangs. I must admit that the food here is fresh, outstanding and always interesting. The lodge has its own vegetable and herb garden so you’ll always get salad that is crisp with freshness.
Your day is brought to a stunning conclusion at the bar deck with the stunning view of Mozambican sunsets whilst sipping exotic cocktails. On balmy days there is also the crystal blue pool to cool down in and relax after a long day diving in the Mozambican sun.
The lodge also has 24-hour security and safe, shaded parking bays for your vehicle to have a good rest, as you won’t need it for the length of your stay!
Scuba divingScuba diving at Ponta Mamoli is calm, relaxed and really exclusive with no other groups, boats or a multitude of divers swarming around the same reef as you. The quietness of the surroundings set the pace for utmost relaxation and enjoyment.
The variety of dive spots at Ponta Mamoli has something for everyone, from exhilarating shark sightings to multitudes of fish and colourful corals. There are numerous fascinating marine creatures and the area is excellent for the avid underwater photographer – it is macro heaven! There are dives for all levels of divers, from an 8m openwater dive to deep blue 40m dives for the experienced, advanced divers.
Thrilling sightings of big schools of Hammerhead and Zambezi sharks are common during the summer months, together with pelagics on the deep dives and Whale sharks sightings from October to February on the way to the dive spots. Tropical reef fish and an array of Nudibranchs are always in the vicinity but do keep an eye out for Loggerhead and even Leatherback turtles that make use of the deserted beaches to lay their eggs. It is an amazing experience to come across these almost prehistoric animals.
The facilities at the dive centre are comfortable and it has everything that you might need when kitting up for a dive. There are hot showers and toilets on the premises and it is great to kit up without getting your wetsuit and DV full of sand! It is a PADI Resort facility and the professional team of highly experienced staff has an emphasis on safety and making your dives truly memorable. A maximum of 12 divers are allowed on the boat (which is not a small one) and the skipper and instructors are all well trained – oxygen is always kept on the boat. Scuba training is also done here as well as speciality courses for those not only on holiday but wanting to get more out of the trip.
At the end of an exhilarating day, one can relax and enjoy an aperitif at the bar followed by a hearty meal. Board games are popular after supper or you can just sit and admire the full moon over the beautiful Indian Ocean and perhaps catch a glimpse of the little mermaid Ariel on a moonlit night…
Ponta Mamoli is not just a place to escape too; it is a place where you can explore the beauty of nature and experience true Mozambican cuisine and hospitality.
ActivitiesFor those not into scuba diving, dolphin sea adventures, snorkel trips and whale spotting can keep them entertained. Horse riding is one of the other activities that is very popular as there is a wide range of rides and sights to see. Alternatively, deep-sea fishing, surf fishing and saltwater fly-fishing will keep the fishermen in the party occupied.
Border infoThe border hours are from 8am-5pm. Holders of a South African passport do not require a visa for entry into Mozambique. All other passport holders require a visa to enter Mozambique.
These can be obtained at the border or at a Mozambique Embassy.
A border tax of R12 is payable to Mozambique Immigration as a border tax.
FuelPetrol and diesel are both available at Ponta do Ouro, however, unleaded fuel is not available there. Manguzi (in South Africa) is the last point at which unleaded fuel is available, so rather fill up at the Total Kosi Bay to be safe.
CustomsVisitors are exempt from paying import duty on personal effects and sporting and recreational equipment. Other goods (including food) with a total value not exceeding US$50 and the following consumables are also exempt: 5 litres wine, 1 litres spirits, 400 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars, 250ml toilet water, 50ml perfume.
Border post formalitiesOn arrival at the Ponta do Ouro border post you will be required to take out third party insurance on your vehicle and trailer (if applicable) and complete an entry form. You may need to show the original registration papers of your vehicle at the border post so it is best to take them as well as certified copies with you. Policies are based on value (normally approximately R100) and are valid for 30 days. After completing immigration formalities you have to complete a re-importation of goods form (Form DA 65) for your vehicle, trailer and all material identifiable items. A copy of this documentation is required to be returned to the customs officials on exiting Mozambique.
RememberThere are no doctors or pharmacies in southern Mozambique. Please ensure that you take sufficient chronic medication and basic first aid items for your stay. Also pack beach towels, torches, sun block and mosquito repellent i.e. Tabard or Peaceful Sleep. Please note that there is strictly no driving on the beach, no quad bikes are allowed in the chalet area and no spear fishing is permitted.
South African Booking Office4 Martha Street, Marlboro North, Sandton
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