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Dis Moz nou lekker!

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VIEWS

The novelist Douglas Adams famously said: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of missing a deadline… I know our readers are anxiously awaiting each new edition of Caravan & Outdoor Life.

But when Isuzu invites you on a Mozambique Adventure with the new mu-X, you have to throw caution into the wind and just go for it!

Even though we wouldn’t be towing, with the chance to cross the border, stay in a five-star resort, and go exploring the surrounds (including some sand track driving in the Maputo Special Reserve), I packed my bags, grabbed my wife, and off we went…

We flew from Cape Town to King Shaka Airport in Durban, were we were met by the Isuzu and Driving-Dynamics team for a quick briefing, before hopping into our mu-X and heading out to Kosi Bay Lodge for lunch.

Regular readers will know that our journalist Richard van Ryneveld also visited this resort a while ago and brought us the first images of the new camping site that is under construction at the lodge. I was excited to see the progress, but the owners informed me that since Richard’s visit, not much more has been done as the weather had been a problem.

The campsite is currently scheduled to open in October… I guess I’ll just have to go back again later this year!

From Kosi Bay Lodge we headed the 15-odd kilometres north to the border. Getting into Moz was a breeze, thanks to the Isuzu team who had all the vehicle and insurance paperwork ready and on hand. All we had to do was get our passports stamped.

From border control it was an easy hour-long drive to our base for the adventure: White Pearl Resorts.

The road from the border post has in recent years been tarred through to Maputo. We turned off the tar after about 13 kilometres to take the gravel road to the resort. This road is in bad condition, heavily potholed, sandy and muddy in places.

The mu-X handled it all with ease, and I was immediately impressed with how comfortable the drive is in these conditions.

The road from the border post has in recent years been tarred through to Maputo. We turned off the tar after about 13 kilometres to take the gravel road to the resort. This road is in bad condition, heavily potholed, sandy and muddy in places.

The mu-X handled it all with ease, and I was immediately impressed with how comfortable the drive is in these conditions. The 3-litre turbodiesel might not be a rocket on the open road, but it handles the rough nicely, has some power and as with all Isuzu’s engines it will reliably last you hundreds of thousands of kilometres.

During our four-day adventure, on the highway, gravel, sand, mud, water-crossings up to bonnet level, in 2H and 4H, we did not have a single problem!

White Pearl truly is five-star accommodation right on the beach – excellent service, superb food, luxurious rooms each with their own little swimming pool, incredible views, your own butler, etc.

Thank goodness Mozambique also has great camping spots, because White Pearl is not cheap. One night’s stay (prices are quoted in dollars, and start in the high four digits) will cost you about the same as all the fuel you’d need for a round trip from Cape Town to Ponto du Ouro, with money to spare.

OUTDOOR ADVENTURE

After a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast, we were scheduled for some snorkelling. There is a dive centre at White Pearl Resorts.

The ocean adventure starts right on the beach in front of the resort, where you get into a wet boat and go cruising up and down the coast looking for dolphins. If you are lucky enough to spot the pod, you can get in the warm ocean water and swim with them. Unfortunately, we did not see any of these sea mammals.

We did head to the nearby small reef, where we jumped in and floated around looking at the sea-life.

PONTA MALONGANE & PONTA DO OURO

Our dinner was scheduled in Ponta do Ouro, about an hour’s drive if you don’t head back to the tar roads, and which will also take you through Ponta Malongane.

Ponta Malongane is a small town with loads of roadside shops selling carvings and curios, and anyone who’s ever visit will know there are also many restaurants and bars,  including the famous Drunken Clam, Amigo’s, Sunset Shack and the Babalaza Bar, and the lost goes on.

On offer at most of these establishments is a range of seafood, and of course some R&R (watch out, these Rum and Rasberry drinks have a serious kick).

After meandering past the stalls, waving and smiling at the friendly locals, we hit the road to Ponta do Ouro.

We were a bit early for our reservation at Love Café, so my wife and I took a stroll through town, down to the beach. One access point to the ocean is through the local caravan park – of “campside” as the signs read.

There wasn’t a soul in sight, so I can only assume this is a municipal campsite with only a few sites for camping, and will probably be filled with young travellers over the holiday seasons.

After a lovely dinner at the Love Café – during which we had our meal interuppted by a quick sub-tropical downpoar – it was back to White Pearl. A night-time drive on the back roads of southern Mozambique us really enjoyable. Just make sure you know where you are going, as getting lost in the dark won’t be fun.

MAPUTO SPECIAL RESERVE

We spent the whole of our third day in Moz in the Maputo Special Reserve, driving along the narrow sand tracks that cross this 77 400 hectare area.

Maputo Special Reserve

The Maputo Special Reserve is a 77 400 hectare area in which you’ll find hippos, crocodiles, giraffe, a wide variety of birdlife, zebra, antelope, buck, and if you are lucky you’ll spot the elephants.

Maputo Special Reserve was proclaimed a protected area in 1932 with the primary aim of safeguarding coastal elephants. Several years of civil war and severe droughts nearly eradicated all wildlife here, the combined efforts of the governments of Mozambique, The Kingdom of eSwatini and South Africa, as well as conservation agency Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Peace Parks Foundation and the World Bank, have seen the reserve’s animal populations revitalised.

Species reintroduced over the past eight years include warthog, kudu, nyala and giraffe, as well as a variety of plains game such as impala, waterbuck, blue wildebeest and zebra, each having their own role to play in restoring the Maputo Special Reserve ecosystem.

Since 2013, more than 4 200 animals have been translocated to the reserve.

Finally we were getting to experience a bit of the ability of the mu-X. We drove your many hours on the sand, and as I already said, did not have any problems. Even my wife, who has never driven off-road or in sand, took the wheel for a section, and handled all terrains easily.

Sand driving is fun, and the mu-X handled the roads easily. The truth is that it’s a super comfortable drive! For an adventure-seeking family, this seven-seater is a good choice. Starting at R576 600 (for the 4×2 model), it’s also one of the more affordable options in this SUV segment.

The 3-litre engince provides power when needed (130 kW at 3 600 rpm; 380 Nm at 1 800 – 2 800 rpm), and with a 3 000 kg towing capacity, it should keep us caravanners happy!

Speaking of towing, Caravan & Outdoor Life is getting a mu-X and D-Max later this year for long term use, during which we’ll do some tow test, caravanning and camping. I can’t wait to take these Isuzu’s on some lekker local adventures as well!

SPECIAL MENTION

A special thanks to the Isuzu team – Gishma, Ami and Azima – and the guys from Driving Dynamics (Grant, Chris and “Boats”), and well as our paramedic, Fanie (who had no emergency to deal with).

By Francois Huysamen

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