Tag: Barra Beach

Mozambique itinerary with kids

Tips for travelling Mozambique with kids

With an seemingly endless coastline of powder-soft sand and turquoise waters, Mozambique has perhaps the best beaches in the world, yet is off the radar for so many travellers largely due to stories of corrupt police and terrible roads. Whilst the latter may be true, we had no problems with the police whatsoever and found them to be much more agreeable to their counterparts further north in Malawi and Tanzania.

Mozambique itinerary with kids

Fantastic beaches means that kids will (hopefully) be happy, and with well-equipped campsites for the budget travellers thrown in for good measure, Mozambique is a wonderful destination for intrepid families. There’s also the fascinating Portuguese history to explore and the wonderfully friendly locals to meet. If you are driving in from South Africa, you may want to read Crossing the border into Mozambique. I also have our Mozambique itinerary with kids, which outlines our route and the campsites we stayed.

Mozambique itinerary with kids

Mozambique with kids

Here are our tips for travelling Mozambique with kids. This is aimed at families who are overlanding, rather than staying in the one place.

Pick your beach wisely

For little ones, a clean sandy beach, safe water to play in and the right vibe is important, and like any country, Mozambique beaches are a mixed bag. Many tourists flock to Vilanculo, which has a small airport and is very popular with South Africans. There are some small resorts here and tourism is booming. However, we found the beach to be unsuitable for young kids; there is a very large tidal difference and when the tide is out, expansive mudflats are exposed, and when the tide is in, mounds of seaweed cover the sand.

Tofo beach is also another popular spot. Here the beach is clean and beautiful, but there were no suitable campsites for overlanders at our time of visit. There are, however, a few backpacker options with a party vibe.

Mozambique itinerary with kids

Barra beach

Our favourite was Barra Beach, just north of Tofo (we stayed at Paraiso Da Barra), which boasts an sandy stretch fringed with swaying palm trees and waves crashing in from the Indian Ocean. Tourism is just starting to develop in the area and the beach was very quiet at our time of visit (April). A paved road runs from the main road and there are a few local shops to buy the essentials of fruit and drinks. Another favourite spot of ours was Praia Do Bileni (we stayed at Complexo Palmeira)

There are also dozens of remote beaches where you will find your own personal slice of paradise. However, the majority of these beaches require advanced 4WD skills to get to, and you may feel they are a bit too remote for little ones.

Make time for the history

There’s more to Mozambique than just the beaches. The country is rich in history. There are small pockets of colourful crumbling buildings, which hark back to the Portuguese colonial rule. We particularly enjoyed the old quarter of Inhambane on our way to Barra Beach.

Mozambique with kids

Prepare for big distances

Driving between destinations can be hours of not a lot; just the odd dusty, nondescript town dotted along miles upon miles of potholed roads.  Stock up on fuel and snacks whenever you get the chance (shops and petrol stations can be few and far between) and ensure the kids’ tablets are fully charged.

Mozambique with kids

Ideally you need a 4WD as once off the main roads (which are often potholed, especially further north), tracks are sandy.

Have a Plan B (and C)

Travel throughout Mozambique can be slow and unpredictable; pot-holes, roads washed out, police checks. Always get an early start to a driving day and ensure you have a plan B for where you’ll stay that night, just in case you don’t have enough time to reach your designated destination.

Nevertheless, it is almost impossible to get lost in Mozambique as there are so few main roads and very few junctions. We recommend you sign up to the Drive Moz Facebook Group for up to date information on road conditions throughout the country.

Pack a travel potty

Public toilets on the road are extremely rare and when your little darlings have to go, they need to go! The roads in Mozambique are incredibly quiet, so just pull over with the travel potty and it’s highly unlikely you will see anyone else.

Leave the buggy at home

A buggy/pushchair is impracticable for Mozambique. Consider using a sling for younger kids if needed. Our youngest was 2 at the time and we didn’t take either; we rarely walked any long distances in Mozambique as there was so much beach time.

Purchasing milk and nappies

UHT milk and nappies can be bought from supermarkets in main towns. If using disposable nappies, be weary that there is no efficient waste management system in Mozambqiue to dispose of them.

Stock up on mossie repellant

The main downside we found in Mozambique were the mosquitoes. They are fast and viscous! Stock up on good mossie repellent (with deet), sleep under mossie nets, and cover up in the evenings with long trousers, sleeves and shoes.

Furthermore, the whole of Mozambique is in the malaria zone, so it’s advisable for all the family take antimalarias.

Mozambique with kids

Pack a good medical kit

Decent medical facilities away from major towns are scarce. As with all travel in Sub-Saharan Africa, ensure you have a good family medical kit (including malarial test kit, tick remover and sterile kit) and consider brushing up your first aid knowledge with a course before departure.

Medical kit list for families travelling Africa

Brush up on your Portuguese

Mozambqiue was once a Portuguese colony and therefore Portuguese is the main language. English is not widely spoken, so it is advisable to learn some simple Portuguese phrases.

Consider visiting the Kruger

Yes, I know the Kruger is in South Africa, but it’s one of the world’s best safari destinations and it borders Mozambique. In fact the southern gate of Kruger (Crocodile Bridge) is just a two hour drive from Maputo (although this timing does not take into account the Komatipoort border crossing).

Gorongosa National Park is Mozambique’s premier wildlife viewing destinations. However, due to recent poaching, the elephants in the park are rather agressive and self driving is not currently an option. At the time of writing, guided safari drives were possible, but if children are under the age of 1o they must be in a closed vehicle.

Southern Africa overland itinerary with kids

The Kruger, however, allow for self-drive safaris on paved roads, is game rich (particularly in the South) and some of the rest camps even have swimming pools (perfect for little ones after a long morning’s game drive).

 

Have you travelled Mozambique with kids? I’d love to hear your tales and tips!

Useful Travel Info:

Best time to visit: May-Nov (cooler, drier weather), although we visited in April.
How to get there: You can fly directly into Maputo. Many travellers enter overland from South Africa from the Komatipoort border.
Currency: Metical (as of August 2018 – £1=MZN75, US$1=MZN57)
ATMs: Only available in main towns. Credit cards rarely used. Have USD in case ATMs not working.
Visas: Cost USD50 and last for 30 days. Visas are available at borders, although it is advisable to arrange before your visit. Visas are required by all visitors except citizens of South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.
Language: Portuguese is the official language, although many different African languages are spoken (Tsonga, Sena Nyanja, Makonde and Macau)
Time: GMT+2
Government travel advice: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mozambique

 

Disclaimer: We completely funded our own travels in Mozambique and these are all my own opinions and words. Travel advice provided in this post is correct at time of writing (August, 2018).

 

Mozambique with kids

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Where would we be without our trusted Lonely Planet? The Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi combined Lonely Planet guide was invaluable to our overland travels.

Alternatively, if you are only focusing on Mozambique, you may probably prefer this Bradt guide.

This post is linked up to FarawayFiles#89

You may also like to read:
Travelling Africa with kids: our top 10 highlights
Mozambique itinerary with kids
Crossing the border into Mozambique

Africa Highlights

Travelling Africa with kids: our top 10 highlights

What a truly epic adventure the last few months have been! It seems only yesterday I was announcing that we were off to Africa. Whilst there have been some seriously tough moments – record-breaking torrential rains in Tanzania, obstructive border guards in Malawi, and countless times we’ve had to turn our Land Rover around due to impassable roads – travelling Africa with kids has honestly been the best experience of all of our lives!

READ – FAQ: Travelling Africa with kids.
Includes details on safety, route planning, 4×4 hire, border crossings, and much more.  

This was our route around Southern Africa. You can read our itineraries for each stage, which provides a day by day account and our accommodation each night:

PART 1: South Africa and Mozambique
PART 2: Malawi
PART 3: Tanzania
PART 4: Zambia
PART 5: Namibia

Namibia itinerary with kids

Below are our top 10 highlights of our adventures overlanding Africa with kids. However, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, the absolute highlight of this trip has been the luxury of time. It’s the time to be on our own schedule, time not distracted by other commitments, time to just simply share day by day experiences together. Time has given us the flexibility to stay longer in a place we liked, or move on if we fancy; to change our route and our ideas for this trip on a whim. But as we come to the end of this trip, I still wish we had just a little bit more time.

Namibia itinerary with kids

But without further ado, decided by Mummy and Daddy Lynn over a few glasses of South Africa’s finest red whilst sat in a campsite in Swakopmund, Namibia, here are our top ten highlights of our African overland adventures with kids that have taken us through South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia and back to South Africa. We unfortunately didn’t make it to Botswana and Zimbabwe (we needed more time!), but will save them for another adventure.

1. Skeleton Coast (Namibia)

The most stunning drive we have ever experienced where we felt like we were at the ends of the earth. The road to the Atlantic coast is an other-wordly landscape draped with unusual sandstone formations, traversed by a gravel road that cuts through the valley. Once road meets the ocean there were sand dunes, abandoned mines, untouched beaches, and shipwrecks to explore.

2. Mt Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)

Our visit to Tanzania was timed with the worst rains in over a decade. As such, Mount Kilimanjaro was completely shrouded in cloud as we approached its foothills. I was gutted. I had been desperate to see the iconic peak for too long. Still, we held tight at a campsite in Marangu and on the second morning the skies cleared to the most incredible view. Due to the uncommonly heavy rains, Mt Kilimanjaro’s peak was completely covered in snow. Just beautiful.

Tanzania itinerary with kids

3. Victoria Falls (Zambia)

Nothing quite prepares you for the sheer thundering immensity of Victoria Falls. And it’s not like you don’t get any warning; the spray is visible for miles around and the sound is the first thing you hear in the morning. But it’s not until you reach the first viewpoint that the true spectacle really hits you – literally. We got soaking wet as bucketloads of spray poured over us! We visited at the end of May, right at the end of the wet season with the falls at full volume. It was such a treat to stay at the Victoria Falls Waterfront, right on the banks of the Zambezi with restaurant views over to the plumes of spray bellowing up from the falls.

zambia itinerary with kids

4. Mating lions outside Ruaha National Park (Tanzania)

We had initially planned to camp overnight in Ruaha National Park, but we changed plans once we saw that the campground was covered in plastic litter and inhabited by a rather protective family of elephants. As the sun started setting on the horizon we drove away from the park gates, a little perturbed at the costs of entering the park, and stumbled across two mating lions in the road. Let’s just say they like it a little rough, and the deep roars from the male made my hair stand on end. We kept our distance and in throes of violent passion the male clocked us and released a deafening roar. I immediately understood and fumbled the ignition to get the Land Rover away, heart racing. An experience I will never forget.

Tanzania itinerary with kids

5. Etosha National Park (Namibia)

Due to it’s other-worldly landscape, so different from all the safaris we have done in Africa, and for the sheer ease of spotting its abundant wildlife, Etosha had to be in the top five. Spending the morning with a pride of lions surrounding the car and watching a lonesome rhino pass by was certainly memorable. However, our favourite experience in Etosha has to be venturing to the floodlit watering hole near to the campsite once the boys were asleep to watch local wildlife visit to drink and socialise (us parents took it in turns so the boys weren’t left alone). You can read here why we think Etosha is the best safari in Africa with kids.

6. Hippos on the Zambezi (Zambia)

We arranged a private boat cruise at the lodge we were camping at (Gwabi Rivier Lodge) to take us along the river. We must have seen at least 50 hippos that morning! And the boys particularly loved it as they got to drive the boat too! The campsite at Gwabi is right on the river, so we would fall asleep to the sounds of hippos grunting away.

7. Sunset cruise Lake Malawi (Malawi)

Lake Malawi was the centrepiece for much of our travels in Malawi. We drove from its southern-most point, all the way up the Western shoreline into Tanzania. Our favourite spot on the lake was Chembe Eagles Nest, Cape Maclear, where the water is calm and crystal clear. A sunset catamaran cruise was the perfect way to experience the lake.

Malawi itinerary with kids

8. Barra Beach (Mozambique)

The beaches of Mozambique completely blew us away. Long stretches of pristine silky sand as far as the eye could see. For ease of getting to, quality of campsite and sheer beauty, Barra was our favourite. Our campsite was a stone’s throw away from the sand and we mostly had the beach to ourselves. Half an hour down the road is the old colonial town Inhabane, with it’s crumbling architecture harking back to it’s Portuguese past.

9. Tarangire National Park (Tanzania)

In protest to the obscenely high park fees for Serengetti National Park, we decided to head to Tarangire instead. Our rash decision was rewarded with seeing hundreds of elephants in the wild without another soul around! But the true highlight was camping overnight in the park with the African stars above, no fence to guard off wildlife and roars of lions in the distance. I didn’t sleep a wink that night for listening out for wildlife, but certainly one of our most memorable.

Tanzania itinerary with kids

10. Mount Mulanje (Malawi)

Rising from the tea plantations of Southern Malawi, majestic Mount Mulanje seemingly soars to the heavens. With little legs, we didn’t really entertain the notion of a three-day hike to the summit. Instead, we settled for a splendid hike up to a waterfall on the mountain, where you can enjoy a refreshing dip. With our then 2 and 4 year old boys, the round trip took us about 3 hours. But most would do it 2 hours. We surprisingly bumped into Mini Travellers on our mountain hike who have written up a review of their hike up to the waterfall on Mount Mulanje. On return to our campsite, we were surprised by a performance from some local orphans, as part of Malawi Music Fund. The voices from this choir gave me goosebumps; rich tones and beautiful a capella harmonies. It was then magical to watch the views of the Mount Mulanje being cast aflame by the setting sun.

 

Disclaimer: We are sometimes offered complimentary accommodation and tours in return for an honest review. However, as always, these are my own words and opinions. 

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The Lonely Planet Africa, and the Tracks4Africa Africa Southern Traveller’s Atlas were invaluable throughout our travels.


You may also like to read:
We’re off to Africa!
Medical kit list for families travelling Africa
AFRICA OVERLAND Part 1: South Africa and Mozambique itinerary with kids

For more posts on Africa, head to our AFRICA page.

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