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Ponta do Ouro

 
 

Located in the extreme south of Mozambique, there is a little known solitude place called Ponta do Ouro. By little known, it does not mean that the town is not popular, it is just a little less discussed compared to other tourist destinations in the country or even in Africa in general. This is not a national park or historical town; Ponta do Ouro is a beach resort where you can relax and enjoy a distinct type of tourism in Africa. You will not find lions or elephants here, but a beautiful beach with a lot of diving sites and abundance of marine life to see.

In almost all popular tourist destinations in Africa, the natural order of things is that you take comfortable accommodations, arrive at the spots, and start your adventures. Ponta do Ouro has a slightly different way, because your adventures start before you get to the place and continue after you land your feet on it.

Ponta do Ouro is about 130 km south of Maputo or about 15 km away from South African border. The easiest route to get to Ponta do Ouro is from Maputo. There is, however, a small issue to consider: the route barely has any tar roads. It means the only way to get to reach the destination is to drive a 4x4 vehicle for about 4 hours (if not more). If you combine that with a great number of parallel paths made of soft sand tracks and the lack of road signs, the route is good recipe for getting lost in the middle of nowhere. Having a professional guide teamed up with an experienced driver is the best way to go. You can save time by taking ferry from Maputo Bay, but remember that such service is limited and the ferry itself is quite old.

Currently there is an on-going project to build Maputo – Catembe Bridge scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017. It is an ambitious project that takes approximately $725 to construct a 3km long bridge which connects Maputo and Catembe across the Maputo Bay. When completed, it would considerably reduce the traveling distance to Ponta do Ouro. If all plans run as scheduled and you are willing to wait, then maybe you don’t have to wander across terrible road conditions to reach this Mozambique’s secluded beach resort. Let us not forget that the adventure and all the difficulties to get to the finish line are always parts of the excitement. For an adventurous person, the bridge may not even be too attractive.

When to Visit

Mozambique has tropical climate. While Ponta do Ouro is best for all-year round visit, you may want to consider taking a trip there when the weather is at its driest between June and September. There are two reasons for this:

  • Ponta do Ouro is beach resort, and you don’t want to lie down on the beach when it is cloudy or even rainy. Best activities in the resort are only possible when the weather is clear as well.

  • Routes to the site are made of soft sand roads. Imagine having to drive across wet sands. Even if you use a 4WD car, you would want a dry road condition to minimize difficulties.

Dry season is also peak tourist season, but it does not matter much in Ponta do Ouro as it has plenty of beaches and attractions to go around.

Travel Tips

In 2016, Ponta do Ouro had major electricity problems. It was a widespread issue and the government has been trying to rectify the situation. Just in case, pack your torches, gas burners, or even portable fridges to sustain your needs for cool drinks. Local currency is called Metical, yet UD Dollar and South African Rand are acceptable. Despite the slightly off-the-grid position, Ponta do Ouro offers several modern resorts and facilities such as petrol station, pharmacy, bank, hardware stores, and small shops. Many sorts are quite primitive and they offer only limited facilities. To save money, going for the outdated resorts is a sensible decision. They are not overly primitive, just a little outdated.
Activities

Ponta do Ouro offers all kinds of activities you can expect when you are at beach resorts. Excluding fancy shopping centers, the beach spoils you with sense of natural adventures.

  • Swimming with Dolphins: while there are plenty of other places in the world where you can swim with dolphins, Ponta do Ouro stands out in the crowd because the locals are well aware of conservation. The Dolphin Beach Camp Ponta do Ouro (main campsite on the beach) has been in conservation efforts for more than a decade. You are allowed to come into contact with resident dolphin, on their terms. A boat trip is also available; at the right time in the right place, you may even see some whales just few meters from the boat.

  • Diving: if diving is your idea of pleasure time, you get to enjoy warm water along the coast of Ponta do Ouro. It is quite deep at about 50 meters, which also means you can see a variety of marine life through crystal clear water. Plenty of dive centers in the beach help to keep the coast clean.

  • A Walk in the Beach: for more casual time, taking a walk in the beach keeps the mid fresh and healthy. You come to Ponta do Ouro to enjoy the beach anyway. Water is blue, sand is white, and there are some dolphins and whales swimming if you are lucky enough to spot them.

Ponta do Ouro is a remnant of colonial era. It is climbing its way up in tourism world, although it has not really had a chance to break through the competition yet. It does not always mean a bad thing because less popular resort can give you more personal intimate memorable adventures with a sense of solitary at the same time. The combination of beaches, dolphins, whales, and diving sites makes Ponta do Ouro a unique tourist destination in Africa you should not miss.

 

 

 
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