Finding the Magic on the Machangulo Peninsula

Paradise is actually not that far away … Sometimes we think that we need to board multiple planes and traverse to a distant continent in order to find a natural nirvana, where an exotic culture and nature worthy of a National Geographic TV series collide with the best damn food on the planet.

Not true. Paradise is right on your doorstep, especially if you live up-country, and that paradise is called Machangulo. An hour-plus flip takes you from the stresses of Jozi to laid-back Maputo, and then it is a just more than an hour by boat from the marina to get to magical Machangulo.

Situated upon the legendary Hell’s Gate and right at the tip of this sandy spit, Machangulo Beach Lodge may not seem that remote, but the fact that is is seperated from the vibey Maputo street scene by the eponymous Elephant Reserve means that you feel as if you’ve dropped off the edge of the map.

The only tracks during your morning beach run will be yours and those of the local otters; great flocks of terns and whimbrels will wheel against the amber dawn skies; touraco will be garroting in the dense coastal forest; and best of all, the ocean temperature will be in the high twenties. Yes. read my lips: the HIGH 20s.

Salt-water fly-fishing, boat angling, superb sea-kayaking, beach hikes and runs, chillax time under a thatched umbrella, open-water swimming, dhow sailing … damnit man, choose any of a dozen adventures, and go get your rocks off. Or don’t and soak up the solar rays in the utter tranquility of heaven right here on earth.

And then, once you think you have experienced every nuance of this mythical slice of the Calypso Coast, don your mask and dip into the wild, wet embrace of the Big Blue. Scuba diving or snorkeling at Machangulo blow every other underwater experience I’ve had in my life out of the proverbial water.

There are more fish fluttering about in the Inhaca Marine Reserve than in the whole of the Seychelles, if you ask me, with everything from giant trevellyes charging the pinnacles to pipefish, spotetd rays, parrot fish, regal angelfish and just about every possible shape, size and colour of tropical marine creature you can imagine.

Hear me when I say that Machangulo is a once in a lifetime experience, and thank me for it once you return to the Real World. More info at

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