Southern Africa’s Best-kept Vacation Secret

Food, Scuba Diving, Travel Inspiration, Travel Tips

Mozambique is known for its breathtakingly beautiful coastline. Along the 2,500km stretch of coast, are some well-known stunning destinations. Some of which you may already have heard of, such as Bazaruto, Vilanculos and Inhambane. 

However, these places are already teeming with tourists who’ve caught onto the incredible vacation opportunities this country brings. Let us rather introduce you to Southern Africa’s secret beach vacation spot… Machangulo Peninsula.

Best Places to Stay in Mozambique

We have already mentioned a couple of amazing Mozambican spots in the intro. They really are stunning, but ask yourself… what does the ideal vacation look like to you?

  • endless pristine beach
  • privacy and seclusion
  • luxurious suites
  • warm, blue ocean
  • massage treatments
  • crystal villa pool
  • beach and ocean activities
  • delicious, inclusive meals
  • luscious forest
  • dedicated villa team
  • supremely comfortable bedrooms

Ticking off a few of these boxes? You can tick each and every one of them off at Machangulo’s villas.

The Privacy & Seclusion of Mozambique’s Best Beaches

It’s without a doubt that we can say that Machangulo is high up on the list of Mozambique’s best beaches.

The country really is a beautiful place to escape to. And it’s been pegged as one of Travel & Leisure magazine and National Geographic’s top places to visit. Machangulo and its beaches fulfil even the greatest of wanderlust. 

Humpback whale cruises by Machangulo’s coast

The beach stretches a whopping 25kms and you can walk for several of those kilometres without bumping into another soul. If you love having the beach all to yourself, it doesn’t get much better than the never-ending pristine golden sands of Machangulo.

Islands Off the Coast of Africa – Inhaca Island

Something travellers truly relish is the islands off the coast of Africa. Another thing that Machangulo can boast… we have a stunningly beautiful island, just a stone’s throw away from the villas.

Stand-up Paddle Boarding off Inhaca Island

Inhaca Island has all the characteristics of a quintessential tropical island. Crystal clear blue waters, awe-inspiring tours of the forests and mangroves, an opportunity to get active with hiking and water activities, and a chance to truly relax on a gorgeous beach. 

Inhaca Island’s Wild Residents

A favourite activity of ours, and of our guests, is snorkelling. A snorkelling highlight is floating alongside Inhaca’s resident turtles that forage in the reefs off the island. Plenty of our guests also appreciate a hike through the mangroves to the famous lighthouse.

Loggerhead turtle swims in the reefs off Machangulo

For wildlife lovers, you’ll be thrilled to know that Inhaca Island is host to around 500 fish species and 300 bird species, with dozens of species of exquisite coral decorating the reefs.

It is just a short boat ride from Santa Maria to reach the island, and in our experience, the ride is smooth and comfortable, more often than not.

Island Culture & Cuisine 

The culture is certainly immersive on the island, which provides an authentic depiction of Mozambican life. There are local guides that will take you on a tour of the local village, where you’ll find a friendly and welcoming community, just a short walk from the beach. We quite enjoy the market, as it provides a unique retail experience, with local traders selling sarongs, hats, and more. 

If you love seafood, you’ll be very happy with the food offerings and you can expect fresh-from-the-ocean delights. Our mouth is watering just writing about it and especially at the thought of the island’s top-selling crab curry. Of course, Mozambique’s famous R&R (Rum & Raspberry) is on offer at all the restaurants for those with a sweet tooth when it comes to tipples. And there’s no shortage of ice-cold beers.

Beach braai off Inhaca’s beach

This hidden gem of an island is a must-visit whether you’re on a trip with friends, a honeymoon, or a vacation with the family in Machangulo. 

The Best of Bush and Beach

Imagine being able to experience African wildlife, incredible nature, and glorious beaches, all in one destination. Somewhere it’s actually possible for the largest marine animal to meet the largest terrestrial animal.

Mahangulo has all of that, and more. Our guests can choose to reach the coastal villas by car, driving through the Peace Parks Foundation’s Maputo National Park. Personally, we prefer this spectacular driving experience, although the boat from Maputo or private charter flight to Machangulo are far quicker options for travel.

Southern Mozambique’s Protected Terrestrial Wildlife

The vast Maputo National Park combines lakes, wetlands, swamp forests, grasslands and mangrove forests, proving a wonderful, protected area for a variety of biodiversity. 

An elephant herd roaming the luscious fields of Maputo National Reserve

The reserve was established in 1960 to protect the elephant population in the region, and at that time, it was known as the Special Elephant Reserve. However, the wildlife conservation efforts go far beyond elephants and the name was changed accordingly. 

The park has had lots of success with rewilding. They’ve moved wildlife from areas of overpopulation, to areas of decimation, and seen the ecosystems restored and the species thrive. Along with the elephant, rewilding success stories include the cheetah, eland and hyena. The park boasts 5 000 animals that have been translocated, including 11 species that had become locally extinct.  Other animals you may see on the drive are giraffes, buffalos, zebras and wildebeest. 

You’ll also drive through the inland section of Machangulo Nature Reserve, home to many iconic African animals and impressive bird life. You can expect to see giraffes, pink flamingos, hippos, African fish eagles, buffalos and lots more in the reserve. If just passing through on your way to one of the luxurious villas isn’t enough, we recommend letting us plan a day’s game drive through the reserve during your stay.

One of Machangulo Nature Reserve’s beautiful giraffes

Southern Mozambique’s Incredible Marine Wildlife

The southern coastline of Mozambique is home to an impressive array of dolphins and turtles, and is frequently visited by some of our favourite big blue wonders such as whales, manta rays, whale sharks and dugongs. Views over the ocean from each of the villas do not disappoint. Right now, we are watching the winter migration of humpback whales and their calves milling off the coast. 

From October to December, both leatherback and loggerhead turtles arrive on Machangulo to nest on the beaches. Their hatchlings emerge from December through to March, and sometimes as late as May. Witnessing the nesting and hatching is an absolutely astonishing experience, that cannot compare with any other wildlife encounter we’ve ever had. 

A large loggerhead turtle on Machangulo beach, returning to the ocean after nesting

As well as simply relaxing on the balcony or beach to watch these marine marvels, you can take part in ocean activities that bring you closer to them. Some of the villas have their own surfboards and snorkelling gear that you can use to spend time on or in the water. We can also organise kayaking, fishing and SCUBA diving excursions.

SCUBA Diving South of Maputo

Machangulo

For divers, the reefs of Machangulo and Inhaca Island offer a number of bucket list marine life encounters. Turtles are almost guaranteed, as are stunning species such as clown fish, and spectacular invertebrates that include harlequin shrimp and a variety of nudibranchs. Look out for chance encounters with mantas, stingrays, dolphins, sharks, barracuda, lionfish, scorpionfish and octopuses.

Abundant shoals of fish while diving Machangulo’s coasts

There are a few dive sites you can choose from, with the most popular being the numerous reefs. There are also a number of wreck sites, that might not yield any pirate treasure, however, we think the reward is still very high when you observe the prolific colourful coral, and vibrant marine creatures that call the wrecks home.

One of the biggest appeals for divers here, on top of wildlife encounters, is the great visibility. There are no major rivers emptying into the sea along this stretch of coast, so you can expect clear waters up to 40 metres.

All inclusive. All welcome.

We handpick the destinations in our portfolio and one of the defining factors is how inclusive and welcoming the area is.

Cocktails on the private Machangulo beach

The great news for LGBTQ+ travellers is that Mozambique is one of the most gay-friendly nations on the African continent. Although same-sex marriage is not recognised, our guests can freely express themselves with their partners, or as a single, without legal repercussions. Same-sex sexual activity was legalised in 2015.

The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association have listed Mozambique in its Top Destinations for LGBTQ+ Travel in Africa publication.

Now that the secret is out, where do you want to book?

Each of Machangulo’s villas is stunning, with views overlooking the pristine beach and the alluring Indian Ocean. Which one will you choose?

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