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The official Mozambique Trip Guide 2010


Q

UICK FACT SHEET!

Just a quick reference before we leap in to the guide itself:

Pre-Trip Info Sessions dates:

February 18th and 25th, March 4th and 11th All at the VAC-Office in Waverley Business-Park, Cape Town - Observatory (see map below)

Trip Dates:

March-Trip: March 19th - 28th Easter-Trip: April 1st - 11th

Tripcost contains:

Transportation from and to JHB, All Swazi and Morrungulo Meals, All Accommodation Fees, Safari and Snake Park Tour in Swazi, 5 Dives with Full Gear Hire and all Snorkeling / Water Activities

Tripcosts:

R7500 for Diving-Option R6900 for Non-Diving-Option

Not includet:

Mozambique visa at R175 (we get these at the border). Meals on the road and at the fish market. Flights to Joburg – see in the guide for a list of low cost carriers! If you would like to learn to dive before the trip let us know: info@obzside.co.za We normally run a pre-trip course at a discounted rate.

Trip meets:

At February 18th at Keg and Aviator inside O.R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg

Contact:

Email: Call:

oliver@vacorps.com / sean@vacorps.com 0765886588 / 0823727797


Introduction: Paradise

Found in morrungulo

O

nce upon a time, a brave group of adventurers climbed into a VW Kombi with the intentions of traveling to rural Mozambique. Many beers and thousands of kilometers later, we have found one of the most pristine areas in Africa. Today we keep going back. Your first sunrise in Mozambique is an experience you will never forget. The early morning light reveals a landscape of tropical pastels and transparent waves gently breaking on the shore. Fishermen row their wooden boats out to sea in pursuit of the day's catch. As the sun climbs in the sky, the color of the Indian Ocean transitions from an opaque grey to a cerulean blue. A faint breeze blows. And with this scene of absolute tranquility begins your first day in paradise. Our Maiden voyage to Mozambique dates back to 2002, when it was unheard of to plan such a trip. Since then, we have organized 18 trips to Mozambique, subsequently introducing more than 600 students to our Mozambican Paradise. We have tried out several locations in Mozambique,

each time finding new and unexplored places to travel to. Morrungulo is our newest Mozambique destination and it has all the characteristics we value in a trip to unexplored Africa. The resort itself is one of the best equipped in Southern Mozambique the view from the bar on the hill is truly incredible and the restaurant provides the venue for delicious eating in the evenings. In the following guide, we highlight the reasons we continue organizing trips to Mozambique. These pages also help explain why people rave about Mozambique long after they are back in Cape Town -- and forever plot their return.

A Typical Day on a Mozambican Beach

M

orrungulo is the type of elusive paradise that many travelers spend a lifetime hoping to discover. It is completely uncrowded and unspoiled. A typical day spent in Morrungulo resembles the following: Rise and go for a quick morning swim, followed


by breakfast. Move down to the beach, lay out a towel and bask in the sun for an hour or so. Take a break from your tanning session to play in the waves and perfect your body surfing form. Read a few pages from your book. Respond to the growl in your stomach by making a move up the dune to the Morrungulo bar.

reef teeming with fish life. • Take a kayak from the dive centre and head out for some ocean kayaking and snorkelling of your own. You can also take a fishing rod with and have a go at catching lunch ! • Get a body board or simply go body surfing at sunset! The water is a jacuzzi-like 24-28 degrees! Give surfing a try if you are feeling more ambitious.

H

ave a lunch of barracuda steak complimented by a cold Laurentina. After lunch, walk over to the dive center and board the boat for an ocean safari. Snorkel on a pristine reef and get the chance to spot dolphins, whale sharks and humpback whales! Return to shore for a quick siesta on the beach followed by sundown drinks and a final body-surf at sunset. Any stress you've left behind in Cape Town is now but a distant memory.

• Take a walk down to the Sylvia Shoal lodge and enjoy a cold beer in their beach bar. • Play beach soccer with the locals. When it comes to soccer, Morrungulo locals take the game quite seriously because it is the national sport. Late afternoon beach games have been known to last for hours. Even those who have played soccer of a university caliber should prepare to receive a soccer education.

A List of Must-Do Activities • Bonfire on the beach – This is a great way to start the evening under the clear open sky with an incredible view of the milky way. • Take a snorkeling trip on the boat to Sylvia Shoal. Sylvia is a 14km long reef system and you will have the opportunity to see a pristine

• Party like a Rockstar! Friday and Sunday night are big party nights at the local Barracas – get to enjoy a genuine open air African party with the locals.


Oh, how we love the diving in morrungulo!

D

iving is one of the more amazing activities you can participate in during your trip. Have you ever seen a manta ray or a giant turtle on scuba? Mozambican diving is some of the most remote and unique in the world. Morrungulo itself is completely unspoiled and very much 'off the beaten track. This gives a diver the chance to dive reef systems that have been rarely dived in the past. Everything is still fresh and intact. The reef systems at Morrungulo are teeming with hundreds of different species of colorful reef fish, there are loads of really big turtles to dive with and there is the possibility of seeing manta rays and whale sharks. Because the reefs have not been extensively dived, the fish are very curious when they see you in the water. You my even get the chance to conduct some exploration diving while you are up there. The dive boat always has its sonar running on the way to and from dive sites in the hope that we might find a new and interesting reef to explore and name! Those of us who have dived in Cape Town will

have a real appreciation for the perfect conditions at Morungulo. 24 – 28 degree water, good visibility and relatively calm oceans make for blissful diving.

Our favorite dives New Years Reef Discovered one windless warm new year's morning, this is one of our favorites. It is only about 15

minutes boat ride from the launch site. The reef is about 3 kilometers long and comes up at about 10 meters at the top and drops off to around 22


meters deep on the sides. The reef is teeming with reef fish and offers many opportunities to see Spanish dancers! Be sure to look out for the massive crayfish that lurk in the reef. There are also several turtles living here as well as moray eels and stingrays. Sherwood's Bookshelf This is a deeper dive, ranging from about 28meters to 35 meters deep. It is about 1 kilometer further out to sea from New Year's reef, so it is also a short boat ride from our launch site. It is made up of a geological fault line which runs for well over 3 kilometers parallel to shore. The rock structure looks very much like a bookshelf and has abundant coral growth on it. There are countless big green coral trees on the site. It is a great dive to spot larger game fish. There are abundant reef fish and then further away from the reef are the predators swooping in every now and then looking to make a meal of an unsuspecting reef dweller.

Sylvia ranges from about 3 meters deep in sections down to about 18 meters deep. It is also where snorkeling trips run to. There have been Mantas, Whale Sharks, White tip Reef sharks and many many turtles seen on the site. Turtle's Throne Turtles throne is one of the best dives at Morungulo. It is aptly named due to a large coral formation that frequently has a massive turtle sitting quite comfortably in it! To give you an idea of size of the famous turtle in question, imagine a dining room table! This is another spectacular reef dive

Sylvia Shoal Sylvia is a very famous reef in the area and stretches for over 14km. Sylvia is a little further in the boat but the longer ride is well worth it!

with loads of reef fish and coral structure to see, it is a part of the Sylvia Shoal reef system and is a little further in the boat than New Years reef.


Surfing, Snorkeling, Body Boarding and Fishing options for beginners and pros

Surfing right on your doorstep The Morrungulo resort is built right on the beachfront and the surf break is right there – you won't have to walk more than 50 meters to get to the surf ! If you have always wanted to learn but never acted on this desire, you can easily pause your beer drinking for a few hours, grab a board and give it a try. Our trips always feature a mixture of surfers and learning surfers, so don't be shy about asking one of the surfers to borrow a board for a few hours. We were all beginners once. If you want to get in the water and try something a little easier and really fun, rent a body board from the dive center to play in the waves. This is really great fun and does not take much practice at all! Spend all day in the water! If you do have a passion for surfing, or the ocean, it's not hard to spend the entire day out on the waves in the 24 – 28 degree water. Leave your wetsuit back in Cape Town and prepare to prac-

tice those moves you have always dreamed of nailing. Many new surfers leave Morrungulo with a new found passion. Try your hand at fishing ! Have you ever experienced the thrill of reeling in a large game fish? Have you had the excitement of feeling that first bite, carefully striking and then being drawn into an exhilarating battle to land a glorious fish. There is a range of fishing options to try out at Morrungulo, from fishing in the surf in the mornings and evenings, to fishing from an ocean kayak during the day and for the fisherman determined to catch something really big, try deep sea trawling from the boat. Bruce the chef is a passionate fisherman and will show you the ropes if you like. The fishing at Morrungulo is fantastic and you are pretty sure to catch. The locals will gladly accept any fish that you do not want to have for lunch! Bruce has also recently acquired a taste or sushi and we can have a sushi evening to honor your catch!


Additional stops during our adventure In addition to paradise in Morrungulo, we will be exploring Maputo, the capital city of Mozambique!

M

aputo, the capital city of Mozambique, will be the first stop on our adventures and has been dubbed ‘The New African Culture City of Africa.’ We’ll be staying at Fatima’s famous backpackers, located a few minutes

from the city center, markets, shops, clubs, Internet cafes, banks, cambios and restaurants that feature some of the best seafood on the continent. We will be having one of our meals at the Maputo fish market, located in the northern part of the city a few 100 meters from the beach. The fish market experience is truly unique and a big part of the city’s culture. Every evening around dusk, local fishermen haul their catch into the market where discerning buyers purchase and take home their pickings. The area is adjoined by a large eating area with many different bars and restaurants who will cook your purchases with garlic butter for a small fee.


Trip planning A selection of suggestions to help you get the most out of your trip to Mozambique. safari? There are many very well equipped game parks and lodges near Johannesburg and they will collect you from the airport and drop you there again at the end of a day with the big five.

Flight Information A few suggestions to help you find the best deal. Our trip is originating in Johannesburg and you will need to find yourself a domestic flight from Cape Town to O.R. Tambo International Airport. Please keep in mind that when you are searching for and booking tickets, ensure you arrive in Johannesburg a while before the bus departs and that when you book your return flight, you leave enough safety margin after the bus arrives back in Johannesburg. (Just in case we have a delay on the road). If you have not visited Johannesburg before, you should consider flying up in the morning before the trip and take this opportunity to visit Nelson Mandela’s original home and Desmond Tutu’s home in Soweto. A truly unique experience is to take a cycle tour with Lebo from Lebo’s Soweto backpackers. Complete your day with a visit to the Apartheid Museum before returning to the airport to meet up with the group arriving from Cape Town. If you are looking for a day of fun, sun gambling and cocktails, you could fly up early and visit Sun City for the day? Sun City is about an hours drive from the airport. Another idea for a day’s activity might be to go on

There are several domestic airlines in South Africa, all of which offer cheap flights on this highly competitive route. It really pays to thoroughly research your flight options and we recommend trying all of the listed airlines for flights. It also pays to book your flight as early as possible. Many of our trips to Mozambique coincide with public holidays or other national holidays so the airlines get very full and you might pay a premium for last minute flights – you might be able to score a much better deal if you fly the day before and return the day after our scheduled trip. Backpackers in Johannesburg are very reasonable and will collect you free of charge from the airport.

• www.flightsite.co.za • www.kulula.com • www.flysaa.com • www.flymango.com • www.ba.com • www.1time.co.za


Pack light! In Morrungulo we will be living 50 meters from the ocean, so you won’t need too many articles of clothing (those passionate skinny-dippers among us will take this thought to the most reductive of levels)! Do, however, make sure to bring sandals or shoes because the sand can get hot-to-thetouch during the middle of the day. If you’ve had a few too many Tipo Tintos, it can be easy to get cuts on your feet if you are making the walk between the camp area and the restaurant on top of the hill. Bring a few band aids and some disinfectant or antibiotic cream in the event that you do get any small cuts. In the tropics, even the tiniest of cuts can become infected. It’s also a good idea to bring two towels – one for the beach and one for showering. An absolute expert will bring a zip-lock bag containing one pair of completely clean clothes to make use of at the very end of the trip when we arrive in Johannesburg. Nothing

beats getting on the plane in clean fresh clothes. In the middle of the year in Mozambique it can get slightly chilly in the evenings so remember to bring a long-sleeved top. You will need a sleeping bag or blanket and a pillow. In summer just a sheet will do fine. Ration your money before hand! It can be very challenging to draw cash in Mozambique, so remember to bring your money, or draw it from an ATM before we cross the border. The infrastructure in Mozambique improves every year but they still have a great deal of distance to cover before they get close to what we have here in

South Africa. Another very important question is what you should pay with in Mozambique – Mozambique uses the Meticais as its currency. The exchange rate varies but is normally in the region of 3 Mets to 1 Rand. It is very useful to have a mix

of both rands and Mets, just in case you get a better rate paying with one versus the other. When bargaining with the locals for example, they tend to prefer Mets. Rands are accepted almost everywhere in the country, it is the rate that varies – you will find that the further north, the worse the rate. Some places go as low as 2.6. The best place to change money is with the Mozambican money trading ladies who have setup their operation in Komatipoort near the KFC. We will stop there on the way through to exchange some of your rands into Mets should you want to. We would strongly caution you not to trade money with anyone other than these traders as there are many criminals at the border post who will quickly relieve you of your cash before you even know whats happening. We recommend you travel with about R1500 - R2000 spending money just in case while you are in Mozambique – remember you don’t have to spend all of it. Protect yourself from the sun!!! Bring sunglasses and sunblock with a factor of at least 20 - the sun is intense! Also remember that certain types of Malaria medication have the sideeffect of increasing your skin’s photo-sensitivity. Thwart the mosquitoes Remember the place we are visiting is a Malaria region. You will need to take malaria prophylaxis from a few days before we depart to a couple


of weeks after we return. There are a variety of Malaria meds available, the most common being Doxycycline and Malarone – Doxy is a much cheaper version of Malarone.

in Mozambique from which you can send texts and make calls cheaply. The reception at the resort is fine up on top of the hill, but at the base of the hill where we will be living, there is no reception. We do urge you to stay as far away from first world communications as possible and enjoy this rare opportunity to be somewhere truly remote and savor paradise. Bring toys for the beach Frisbees, volleyballs, rugby balls and soccer balls are perfect for the beach.

Medical insurance for mozambique As a diver – please be aware that Larium is not recommended as it is known to be barro-sensitive.

It is compulsory for you to have medical insurance on this trip!

One of the best ways to avoid Malaria is to not be bitten by mosquitoes in the first place – ensure at all times and especially in the late afternoon and evening, or if you have a nap in the middle of the day that you cover yourself up and use Tabbard or Peaceful Sleep to keep the mosquitoes away.

Communicating with home There are a few Internet cafes in Maputo, but after we leave Maputo you are going to be in the great outdoors until we return to Johannesburg – so make sure you setup an auto-reply on your email! There is cellphone reception in Mozambique and you will be able to use your South African phone to send sms’s and receive sms’s but you will not be able to make calls (be sure to enable roaming before you leave though – see your service providers website for how to do this). Another option is to purchase a Mozambican SIM card for about 30 mets and then you will get a prepaid number

During the days before the trip please be sure to locate the medical insurance details we will need in order to help you in the event of an emergency in Mozambique. The Mozambican health care infrastructure is very poor and we will need this to get you airlifted to South Africa in the event of an emergency. Divers would be wise to make use of DAN’s dive insurance while up there – it is very inexpensive and will cover all your expenses in the event of an accident while on this trip. We will need the name of your insurer, your policy number and the international number to call in the event of an emergency. You can email info@obzside.co.za for further information.


A final set of do’s and don’ts Read these ones carefully! • Don’t take photos of the Mozambican border post. • Don’t take photos of any government building or military structure. Don’t take photos of the police, their roadblocks or guns. They may accuse you of being a spy and will potentially arrest you and question you. You will likely lose your camera. Absolutely no photos of these subjects please. • Don’t change any money at all during the border crossing you will draw attention to us and you will very likely get ripped off.

• Don’t stray far from the bus at the border crossing stay in groups and be aware that you are not in a safe environment Don’t panic when you are without your passport for a long time at the border – this is normal and we have never had any passport woes at this post.

• Don’t leave the backpackers in Maputo without your passport – if the police catch you they will charge you a very hefty spot fine for this. If you are going to roam Maputo on your own please let the trip leaders know so that we can find you if you don’t return.

Do skinny dip! the amazing rum known as Tinto DoTiposample Do make many new friends Do learn a few words of Portuguese

D O H AV E A N A M A Z I N G T R I P !

The official MozambiqueTrip Guide 2010  

All you need to know about participating in the legendary trip to Morrungulo.

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