Ponta D’Ouro in Mozambique is incredibly accessible from South Africa being only a 20 minute drive over the Kosi Bay Border in Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal, but you truly feel like you are in a different country. I highly recommend you take a 4×4 vehicle as the roads are not really roads, but sand dunes, and it is easy to get stuck. Just like Swaziland, the border is pretty straight forward, if you need a visa you can get it at the border, and just make sure you have your car insurance papers handy. After crossing the border to you make your way to Ponta D’Ouro through sand dunes, which is a blast! You pretty much just head right after the border but a map will be useful.
The best place to stay at in Ponta D’Ouro is Kaya Kweru and it is right on the main beach. It is most cost effective if you go as a group, there were five of us and we rented one of the self-catering houses for NZ$30 per person per night (now it is more like NZ$50 per person per night). The village itself is small and has a few shops and a couple of restaurants, as well as a market that you can visit.
The beach itself is stunning. We spent our days swimming and chilling on the beach, with the odd football game thrown in. There are a lot of locals selling seafood on the beach which is pretty cool but make sure you check it thoroughly, one guy tried to sell us some pretty dodgy prawns.
By far our favourite part about our time in Mozambique was the many Shebeens (local bars) that served rum and raspberry drinks (read ¾ rum and ¼ raspberry!). They stay open pretty late and there is usually some music at a few of them to dance to. Be careful of the rum! It is called Tipo Tinto – very strong and not particularly tasty, hence the raspberry addition. But you’re here and you need to get involved, so we had many R&Rs. We really loved the party atmosphere of the village and had a lot of fun every night.
There are a few things you can do in the area, like go swimming with dolphins for only NZ$50. And taking a drive up to the lighthouse on the border with South Africa for some great views. Another village is just up the road called Ponta Malongane, which is great for a visit, it is also home to a Shebeen called the Sharks Bar (my favourite rugby team), so of course some beverages were enjoyed there. You can also do a bit of snorkelling at Ponta Mamoli, but unfortunately the reefs have been over fished and there is not a lot to see.
Our time in Mozambique was fantastic, it was beautiful and fun and the fresh seafood was delicious. We loved meeting a lot of the locals and soaking up the chilled atmosphere. Once we thought that we were in trouble when some police officers waved us down but all they wanted was to grab onto the back of our 4×4 for a ride to the next village. Cost wise, it is incredibly cheap. The toxic rum was only a few dollars a bottle and the food was pretty reasonable, plus you can always take in your own. With accommodation you’re looking at approximately NZ$70 (US$50) per day.
Editor’s Note: Visited Mozambique in 2010, updated in 2017.