Up at 3:15 and Peter Pan & I are ready to embark on another spontaneous adventure for a night to Anvil Bay. It’s tucked away in one of the most remote corners of the Maputo Elephant Reserve right on the Southern coastline of Mozambique in the Chemucane area. We had both had a lot of work stress and it was the perfect place to completely unload all mental baggage and stress. It’s a 7 hour drive from Mtunzini and I decide to catch up on some sleep to make the hours pass by a little quicker.
Once we’re over the Kosi Bay border it’s straight onto a thick, sandy beach road that meanders through the vast, open landscape into what seems to be the middle of nowhere but also the road that leads to a paradise unknown to many on this planet.
We go through the reserve gate and make our way through patches of open, flat landscapes as well as impenetrable sand and dune forests. It’s a little daunting being on a single track road and knowing that if one had to bump into one of the herds of elephants that live here, you would have a 50/50 chance of getting past them. Due to the many years of being harassed, poached and being injured by land mines during the war, these elephants are not particularly fond of humans and make that fact quite well known when you see them.
Travelling with Trevor Rosewall and Dr. Lance Giles
TEventually we get to the camp at Ponta Chemucane. It’s still under construction at the moment, so there are ‘make shift’ Bedouin type tents set up on the beach which are the current kitchen and relaxation area. No one wears shoes here… It is the ultimate barefoot experience. You immerse your toes in the soft, white sand and in the warm Indian Ocean all day long. The beach stretches as far as the eye can see in both directions and there is just nothing and no one else around you. Bliss!
Long stretches of ‘nothingness’ in either direction
Sometimes your footprints are the only ones on this beach…
Thousands of crabs were all over the beach having an afternoon dip
Anvil Bay camp in the far distance
Some of the walls of the buildings are made with reeds that are tied together and cut to size as they go.
The toilets that have recently been built. Very Mozambique!
The start of the rooms being built
It was overcast and rainy when we arrived but that didn’t dampen our spirits. As the afternoon rolled into the evening and the rain blew away for a while we lit a roaring bonfire under a blanket of stars, had gourmet sushi prepared by the camp staff for us, drank merlot, ate a meal fit for a king and braaied bananas with melted chocolate for dessert. YUM!
Sushi being prepared for us by the camp staff! Man they are good at it too!!!
Check out the stars in this place! No light pollution
I took photos of the people around the fire and of the stars using a makeshift tripod on an old plastic table and a block of wood to prop up the lens while “Dr.Lance” ‘painted’ the beach sand with a torch light.
Eventually we fell into bed. When the rain returned it softly pattered on the tent lulling me into a deep sleep.
I was up to an early morning start due to needing a quick wee break and afterwards peeped my head through the trees to find this enormous orange ball rising from the ocean. I ran to get my camera to capture it and stood for a few moments in absolute awe before running to wake Peter Pan and dragging him from bed to come and walk with me on the beach.
Peter Pan with his Amarula coffee
We made some Amarula coffee and set off down the beach. We walked for about 2km or so before turning back, but only because we would have walked forever if given half a chance. While lazily walking around the camp I all of a sudden came across a Golden Banded Forrester butterfly! Oh Em Gee!!! Get the camera, switch on, change settings, don’t scare it away, ok sneeeeeeak closer, TAKE THE PHOTO, TAKE THE PHOTO!!!! Do you know how many years I have been looking for one of those butterflies?
By now the sea was begging me to come and revel in its aqua, “blueness” and so it was on with my cozzie and in for a swim… I’d didn’t see too much due to only floating on the sand bank but seeing one or two fish was enough to make my day. The sea was warm, the visibility a good 30m and the salt water a good temporary remedy to my runny nose.
Peter Pan decided that the sea was too cold for his liking (and his knee was sore too), so he got his paragliding wing out and him and Lance were running around the beach like kids with a homemade kites trying to get it into the air but the wind was unfortunately not in the mood to play the game.
I don’t want to leave, but at the same time I’m happy to know that home is also paradise. I’m sure we live in the most awesome town in the whole of South Africa? Hmmmmmmm? Yes we actually do!
As I sit here writing and looking over the aqua blue ocean and sipping on an ice cold glass of fresh mango juice and nibbling on pomegranates and I realise how blessed we are to live in Africa. This land is filled with such beauty, such adventure, such spirit! If the passion to explore this great continent runs through your blood there is absolutely no cure for it! In fact it cannot be cured and the nice thing is that you actually never want to be…
Travelling to places like this in Africa becomes addictive. These places refill your soul. They top up your ‘fuel tank’. People need it so much, but get so caught up in life and its routines that they don’t make the time to refresh their souls. It doesn’t have to cost you the earth, you don’t need to plan for a months on end. We came here for a single night and made memories that last forever.