Mozambique to most American’s is a place of mystery. We had heard of the country and had a vague sense of its coastline, the history as a former Portuguese colony, and having just survived a long civil war. With what little information we had we set out to explore some of Mozambique’s 3,700km of coastline.
Information about Mozambique by no means came from the traditional sources we use when we prepare to travel. Our best sources were from other travelers once we had landed in South Africa, a few blog posts, friends, and even Facebook groups dedicated to spending a holiday in Mozambique.
Mozambique is the sort of place that scares most people away. The logistics may not always easy, but there are ways around that, and for the adventurous, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. We certainly found all of that on our first stop in Mozambique.
Our destination was the Maputo Elephant Reserve; however, getting there in our bakkie was half the battle. We headed deep into the Maputo Elephant Reserve to a remote lodge that had promises of beautiful secluded beaches.
After hours of driving through sandy roads, potholed roads, we came to a stop as night had fallen and we parked in thick coastal bush. We walked down a narrow path of low coastal trees with the slight sound of wind. Not until 30m out did we hear the waves.
Out on the beach we found the “camp,” so to speak. Several tents lined along the beach with a full bar, dining area, handmade canvas seats, a roaring fire, and kilometers and kilometers of unspoiled Mozambican coastline.
Anvil Bay, a Barefoot Paradise
Anvil Bay is a collection of casinhas, or little huts, nestled within the coastal forests of Mozambique. It is a secluded beach camp located along the Southern Mozambique coastline in the protected wilderness region of the Maputo Special Reserve.
Which is home to a collection of Africa’s last coastal elephants and various other wildlife as they are reintroduced to the reserve? The camp was built with the smallest footprint possible on the environment and is quite literally a camp.
However, it is unlike any beach camp we had visited before. For instance, that bit I mentioned about avoiding the travel woes of Mozambique, one can book a helicopter transfer right from Maputo to the resort providing mesmerizing views along the way.
Sustainable Tourism in Mozambique
The beauty of Anvil Bay is its goal of being low impact on the beautiful coast of Mozambique. We often write about ECO-friendly tourism on our blog, and true care for this was obviously on display. It was something we found elsewhere on the Mozambican coast, and clearly, the new model for building a lodge meant to highlight its environment.
Very few are coming to Mozambique because it is the new Miami Beach or Cannes or even The Seychelles. You come for the pristine and remote coastline, tranquil environment, exoticism, adventure, wildlife, and the beaches.
Our Room At Anvil Bay
Our casinha was room number one and tucked away in the canopy of the coastal forest. The room had canvas sides that opened up on all sides allowing you to truly take in the beauty of nature. Early morning sounds in our room were that of dozens of bird species, waves, and the ocean breeze.
The most notable feature of the room was the woodwork and native elements. Everything was built with local labor, and a skilled carpenter designed and built the unique furniture. Nighttime was under a vaulted thatched roof and our bathroom was replete with stained wood. We still haven’t stopped referencing Robinson Crusoe when referring to our stay at Anvil Bay.
A short walk down a pathway through the coastal forest led to our outdoor shower and onto the beach. Mornings were spent walking the beach to camp where we would have breakfast in the beautiful campsite.
The Food at Anvil Bay
Anyone that knows us knows that we are total foodies. So the delicious food here certainly did not disappoint and highlighted the environment we were in. We had tropical fruits grown in Mozambique and fresh-caught fish almost every day.
Our first evening in even started off with fresh sashimi from fish caught that day, much to Tasha’s delight. A full bar and a barman who made some wonderful cappuccinos kept us happy too (we like coffee). While here on the coast of Mozambique there was no going hungry and no bland food that the African continent can be so notorious for.
What To You Do With No One Around?
Long walks and long books. A secluded and quiet beach is perfect for tuning out. Forget about the morning newspaper or television (No TV’s at all) and relax in the fact that while in Anvil Bay that is the extent of your world. There’s little to no cell reception here and certainly no tourist to disturb your peace. We even ditched the internet for a few days (gasp!) Life here is relaxation at its best.
Just because you’re tuning out doesn’t mean you need to sit on the beach the whole time. There is no shortage of active things to do for those who don’t want to just take in the atmosphere. Hikes through the bush where you can spot numerous coastal birds and rare glimpses of returning wildlife were definitely an African treat. A fleet of sand bikes gave us wheels to explore the coastline and let us get our fitness on. No need to worry about anyone watching, we biked for kilometers along the beach with absolutely no one around.
A natural reef is located only 200m off the beach and taking one of the boats out to explore marine life is as simple as having to ask. They have all of the equipment needed and even wetsuits for the cold days. Want more water activities? Bodyboards, kayaks, and stand up paddleboards are also sure to entertain. Or you can try your hand at catching dinner with some of the staff, big game fish are located just offshore.
The Most Tranquil Place in the World
Seclusion. That’s the best way to describe our experience at Anvil Bay. The beaches here are empty, quiet, and untouched. Anvil Bay is marketed as a private barefoot wilderness experience and that is exactly what it is. The only footprints on the beach you’ll find here are your own.
If you’re looking to unwind after a tour through Africa or have an escapism vacation, relaxing here on the beaches of Mozambique will be sure to satisfy. We found great solace while at Anvil Bay. It was a special experience that we will certainly take with us where ever we go, and will likely go unrivaled.
Thank you to Anvil Bay for this experience! As always, all opinions remain our own
How To Book A Trip To Mozambique?
Traditionally if you wanted to book a safari you’d have to go to a travel agent and have them book your safari for you. They made suggestions for camps and lodges then presented you with a large bill. Most of the industry still operates in this fashion.
However, Timbuktu is a new platform that allows you to select the lodges you’d like and see the pricing per day that way you can select the best itinerary for yourself. They will then contact the lodges and help you through booking your safari. With experts on staff, they can also provide suggestions and arrange the little details much like a travel agent.
What to Pack for an African Safari
Tour in Kruger National Park
Traveling Africa on your own can be daunting to many travelers. However, there is no need to fear with overland tour companies who will show the ropes and a great time. You can check out some of them here to compare the different companies and possibly score a discount.
Travel Water Bottle
Plastic pollution is a problem in Africa so it’s best not to contribute to the problem buying plastic water bottles everywhere. The tap water in Tanzania is generally not safe to drink, but a water purifier, like the Grayl waterbottle, works well!
However, we also love filtered water bottles in areas we’re uncertain of the water supply. Read more about favorite water bottle for travel in our post.
Chances are you’ll want a camera for your trip to Africa. Our favorite pocket-sized point and shoot camera for quick trips are the Sony RX100V. It takes fantastic photos and video and is the size of your palm.
For more professional photographs we use our Fuji XT-3, and LOVE IT.
Lightweight pants that are made from synthetic material are tremendous to have in your pack. It’s what we wear most days when traveling around Africa as they’re comfortable, antibacterial, and protect our legs from mosquitos (malaria).
We recommend neutral colored pants as they’re great at hiding dirt and can match most shirt colors. What’s great is they’re useful beyond Africa as they are a travel staple and we pack a pair everywhere we travel.
I like two pairs, one pair is made by prAna and rolls into capris and the other are convertible pants. For men, prAna makes the Stretch Zion Pant, a tremendous pair of hiking pants for a reasonable price.
If you’re wondering what necessities to bring to Africa then sturdy shoes are perhaps the most important thing you will need before you get to Africa.
I cannot stress a good pair of shoes enough because if you land anywhere outside of South Africa a quality pair of hiking shoes will be hard to come by. If you plan to walk around a lot get thick rubber soled shoes as acacia thorns are prone to stab through thin shoes. Cameron learned the hard way one day when he pulled a thorn out of his foot that went straight through his thin rubber sandals.
I love my buff. I usually wear it for keeping my hair back, but it’s also served its purpose as a scarf and wet rag too. Buffs last for years and aren’t only helpful in Africa. I actually wear mine every day when I’m snowboarding in the mountains. It’s been one of my top travel accessory investments ever!
Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF when traveling around Africa. We recommend ordering some online before leaving the house as you will need it underneath the sun in the summer.
We highly recommend getting an eco friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals.
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses, but they do make a huge difference from the crappy $10 ones.
Most hotels will provide you with a towel, but they often aren’t suitable or allowed on the beaches. I like to travel with a microfiber towel because they are light and fold up small, and they also don’t cling on to sand our dirt. Here are a few of our favorite travel towels.
- Accommodation in South Africa: We like to use Hotelscombined to compare various booking engines and make sure we are getting the best possible deal. To feel more at home in South Africa we use Airbnb. Here is a coupon for your first stay! Here are the most popular destinations in South Africa: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Knysna, and Stellenbosch.
- Flights to South Africa: Compare airlines, dates, and prices all in one place with Skyscanner.
- Travel Insurance: We never travel without travel insurance with World Nomads. We ALWAYS travel with a travel insurance policy. Natasha is a bit of a worry wart and would rather stay safe than sorry. World Nomads offers incredible flexible and great plans!
- Water: We found the water in South Africa fine to drink, if you want extra assurance then we love traveling with our Lifestraw Go Waterbottle
- Guide Book: Sometimes it’s nice just to have a real book in your hands when traveling. We recommend picking up a Lonely Planet to get you through the wireless nights.
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