It’s not surprising South Africans flock to Ponta do Oura in hordes over weekends and holidays. It may officially be Mozambique, but as it’s only 15km from the border, South Africans tend to treat this seaside gem as an extension of KwaZulu Natal or Mpumalanga.
In Ponta life is simple and laid back – basic in fact. The ocean is warm, the marine life abundant. You’ll find basic infrastructure and beach resorts without the frills. It’s diving and snorkelling central, the fishing is good and of course it’s tops for swimming with pods of wild dolphins.
Sadly it can also be Party Central and noisy in peak holidays though, as hordes of visitors (mainly from a little due south) arrive with 4 x 4’s, quadbikes, jetskis, hectic sound systems, tons of meat to braai and disposable income in Rands and turn this tranquil haven upside down.
Luckily we visited at a quieter time of year when I could lap up the beauty and windswept beaches and contemplate the simple pleasures and unhurried pace of life.
Although most of the locals speak at least some English, the Portuguese influence is apparent in some of the architecture, particularly this quaint “Church of Our Lady of Fatima”. Someone has absently planted a zigzag handful of maize plants in the sandy grounds.
On our first day the power was down throughout the village and it was raining on and off. We set out in search of a cup of coffee to warm up and stopped at an empty stall to adjust our backpacks when a shy face appeared from behind a screen. Bashfully she told me her name is Isa (short for Isobel).
The drizzle, although not ideal, made the sand easier to walk on as we made our way to the local market – a cluster of stalls selling anything from fresh fruit and vegetables to slip slops made in China.
Reminders of Mozambique’s history are never far away.
Welcome to Fernando’s Bar, home of famous R&R – a drink made from local cheap Tipo Tinto Rum and fizzy raspberry coldrink. Don’t have too many – anything after two kicks like a cantankerous mule!
I’m told there’s very little crime in Ponta, but we did come across one nimble thief outside our chalet who stole part of our breakfast while while we weren’t looking. His fur was still wet from the downpours.
Without electricity we had to make do with a compromise breakfast from the market stalls – fresh pão, coconut, tomatoes and potato chips. We saved the R & R ingredients for much later 🙂
I expected to see a lot more wildlife, but we did at least see loads of black-eyed bulbuls and a gorgeous butterfly endemic to the coastal forests in this part of southern Mozambique.
Getting stuck in the sand is common.
Eateries abound and this Portuguese chicken bought at a newish restaurant (I forget the name) was well worth the 30 minute wait. We devoured every morsel it was that good.
Put Ponta do Ouro and everything the village offers right up there on your Bucket List!