After arriving in Maputo and working for the week, I have decided to explore the off-beaten tracks that can be reached by car in one day. Ponta Mamoli, the private beach of the White Pearl Resort, is truly a hidden gem for a relaxing and luxurious day in the sun.
The untouched and almost deserted beach, along with its warm sea water, make the trip worthy on its own, especially considering that bathing on public beaches is restricted due to COVID. But there are a few disappointing and unnecessary aspects that could easily be improved.
I arrived at Ponta Mamoli by 11 am and have been welcomed with a guided visit through the facilities that can be accessed by guests spending the day. A wooden walkway through the trees with a sea view leads to an infinite pool with king-size beach beds that shout for lying in the hot sun. The restaurant, open for lunch, is right in front of the beach; the food is tasty and the price is reasonable. Do not skip the chance of trying the flame-grilled king prawns, an exquisite local delicacy of the highest freshness and quality.
How to get there
Unless you want to be stuck in the sand in the middle of nowhere, you must get a 4X4. It takes 2 hours and a half to get to Ponta Mamoli from Maputo city center, but I have quickly adapted to the local’s circadian rhythm and got out of bed to catch the sunrise.
Sky transfers are also available (yes, they actually can pick you up with a helicopter) on request, shortening the trip to 30 minutes and allowing you to enjoy a scenic flight.
On the way
I was lucky enough to spot some zebras and gazelles on the way, right on the road. But watch out for elephants and giraffes as you will be crossing, for 20 minutes, a small stretch of the Maputo Special Reserve on the way. Slow down and try to spot the Mozambican wildlife on the vast and typical African golden and green plains.
You can expect to see many welcoming locals (mostly kids) waving and smiling at you every time.
The view of Maputo-Katembe beach is also worthy, especially if you have never had the chance to cross the bridge.
What to do
Apart from lying in the sun, bathing, and walking on the beach, the Resort provides several activities.
You can spend your day watching turtles and humpback whales, scuba diving, biking, fishing, horse riding, or picnicking on the beach. But if you are like me, you will not resist the temptation of simply sitting back and relaxing on the beach beds.
I am glad a friend told me to call in advance to book my day in the resort to ensure that they will let you spend the day. It won’t cost you any and will guarantee that you do not do the trip in vain.
Make sure to come back before the sunset. Driving half of the way on unpaved roads without daylight may be challenging if you are not an experienced driver.
You can either rent a 4X4 at a rent-a-car and go there yourself, which will cost you USD 120 a day, or you can hire a transfer from the resort or a travel agency (which may set you back up to USD 190 per person). Sky transfer quotes are available on request.
Spending the day in the Resort will cost you USD 50 per person, deductible in consumables.