Aren’t we all looking for that special place where your footprints are the only ones in the sand and time becomes a meaningless fluid entity? I found it at Anvil Bay Lodge inside the Maputo Special Reserve of southern Mozambique.
It’s the first (and at the time of writing only) tourism concession to operate along this long stretch of white sand coastline within this transfrontier park. Anvil Bay’s catchphrase is ‘Barefoot Luxury’ and I couldn’t put it any better. Discard most of your clothes and your shoes (except when the sand gets too hot to walk on) and become the beach bum you dreamed you could be – but with a whole lot of chilled-out style. This means night beach walking or riding a fat bike (Dec-March) to see turtles laying eggs or hatching – bucket list tick √. Snorkelling, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking or body boarding in the warm Indian Ocean. It also means extra-wide, extra-long king size bed in a large thatched wooden chalet with teak floors. A dining canopy on the beach, sitting at wooden slab table tops and fresh seafood served with big smiles from staff trained from the local community.
It’s this kind of local empowerment, where the community own the lodge in a trust, that turns tourism into a meaningful asset for the community and creates livelihoods that didn’t exist before. I encourage you to spend your tourism money somewhere like this, with serious happiness potential not just for you!
How to Get to Anvil Bay Lodge
A simple heading without a simple answer! You can fly the glorious 30 minutes from Maputo by helicopter over mangroves, savannah and coastline (and I do recommend this). Otherwise you can only reach Anvil Bay Lodge by 4×4. This means a whole lot of deep sand driving, which at times reminded me of being on a bucking horse! But it’s worth it! Driving time from Kosi Bay is around 3½ hours and from Maputo 4-5 hours. Getting there overland means you get to see the beautiful Maputo Special Reserve and pick ripe mangosteens from trees dotting the undulating grasslands, once described as ‘Tanzania by the Sea’. As a biodiversity hotspot it’s terribly important, even if you don’t know what you are looking at. Anvil Bay will organise your land transfer or you can self-drive.
You may see some zebra, wildebeest, kudu, impala and giraffe from the thousands of animals that were relocated here in 2017. The indigenous elephant are larger and blacker than you might have seen elsewhere, but all the wildlife is a little shy. With numerous huge lakes dotted through the reserve, the birdlife will get you twitching.
Sundowners by a Lake
Just a ten minute walk from Anvil Bay Lodge through a patch of indigious coastal forest and you arrive at a wooden jetty beside a lake. It’s sundowner time, which means a cold Dois M beer and snacks in hand, while pootling around on the lake on a traditional dhow. Life is sooo good!
Read this related blog post about what makes this a transfrontier park in the birthing.
Look, even if it is laid back, it’s still a private barefoot wilderness experience at 5-star levelIMG_4771s, which takes some doing in this remote spot. And with only 12 cabins it’s exclusive – in a totally understated way – and obviously the price reflects that. Enquire further: Anvil Bay Lodge http://anvilbay.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org