Mozambique – Barra Dica

New territory

Lebombo border post: Leaving South Africa takes about 20 minutes, 15 of which are spent with the government employee, who obviously has no desire to stamp our Carnet de Passage. South African customs is well organized, you know immediately where you have to go. Freight traffic, with its hundreds of mining trucks heading to the port of Maputo for unloading, is separate from passenger traffic.

At the “Muloza” border post of Mozambique we are greeted and briefed in a friendly manner. After checking the Covid vaccination certificates, we head to the hidden visa counter. The customs officer doesn’t seem to feel like issuing our VISA. He seems unmotivated – nevertheless, he does his job and does it quite easily. We have to wait about 45 minutes for the visa.
Now just stamp the Carnet de Passage. An older gentleman serves us at the “Customs” counter. A real “dad” who you’d like to hug right away, because he is so friendly and kind.
Then we drive to the gate, where we are questioned by two different people No. 1 “what’s in there” – “our apartment” – thumbs up. We pull up, but then No. 2 comes “Do you have anything to declare?”“No” – thumbs up – and we’re in Mozambique.

About five kilometers past customs is the JoMoz“base”, which is well-known among Overlanders. JoMoz offers simple accommodation and basic camping facilities, especially for smaller vehicles.
But the most important thing is that JoMoz sells MOVITEL SIM cards, registers them properly and loads them with the desired data.
JoMoz’s daughter speaks perfect American English. After about 20 minutes, the new SIM card is in our hotspot and works perfectly from then on (with the exception that I have to switch from 4G to 3G and back again depending on the mobile reception).

We spend our first night at a petrol station about 60 km from Maputo. We are allowed to spend the night free of charge in the large parking lot behind the gas station. Despite the never-ending columns of South African mining trucks, it is surprisingly quiet at night.

We have our diesel tanks filled (diesel is about 20 cents cheaper than in South Africa) and then we drive to the Novare Motale shopping mall on the outskirts of Maputo. Here we can get enough “Meticais” – the Mozambican currency – from the vending machine to take us as far as Zimbabwe. Super. Otherwise the mall is not very busy. You can also get dairy products here, but of course not in the same variety as in other southern African countries.
After shopping, we drive to the Honey Pot campsite just before Xai-Xai. About 250 km in total.

Quinta Sant Antonio

We only have one real goal: to go to the beach and relax. That’s why we’re covering another 250 km today. The landscape is changing. We leave the dry scrubland behind us and more and more extensive palm groves dominate the landscape.
A certain sense of relaxation spreads. We were warned about Mozambique and especially about the notorious police checks. But we are always waved past in a friendly manner and emotionally we feel safer in Mozambique from day one than in South Africa!

The “Quinta Sant Antonio” is a bungalow complex in the village of Lindela. Already a bit run-down. It belongs to a couple of Portuguese origin. The two grew up in Angola, then moved to South Africa and now live in Mozambique, which is not untypical for many white people living in southern Africa.
We are greeted in a very friendly manner and the two of them obviously enjoy being able to chat with Overlanders again. We are allowed to camp between bungalows and the water we are allowed to fill up with is of drinking water quality.

Hello Mzungu

Hello Mzungu, come over to us, we hear twice from the other side of the road. Mzungu means “white man” or “stranger”, i.e. someone whose origins are unknown.
They both sell coconut oil and want to sell me some. My intention is rather to get a photo. I ask if I can take their picture and the two of them immediately strike a pose.

Barra Dica Resort

There are two alternatives here. You can either drive to the somewhat busier hippie beach near Tofo or turn left to Miramar on Barra Beach. We choose the latter as the Barra Dica Resort was recommended to us and we are looking for “peace and quiet”. The road to Miramar is paved, narrow but easy to drive on. Before the turn-off to Miramar, there is a surprisingly well-stocked supermarket for shopping. A “colony of South Africans” lives here, which is why this supermarket is rich and geared towards South Africans.

It is another five kilometers from Miramar to the Barra Dica Resort. But now through well-groomed deep sand. The sand doesn’t cause any problems, but time and again we have to dodge low-hanging power lines. About 700m before the finish we cross two narrow bridges, of which we don’t know whether they can withstand 12 tons. For the last 500m, the trail follows the waterline of Inhambane Bay. For this reason, you can only drive through here when the sand is dry, i.e. just after or before high tide. The entrance to the resort is at a right angle and is again deep sandy, but covered with palm fronds. We can do it with momentum.

Barra Dica is located at the tip of a headland. To the east is the Indian Ocean, to the west the shallow bay of Inhambane. That’s what makes this resort so appealing.
The 17 multi-room chalets in local style are designed for large South African families who like to travel to Mozambique, especially during the season. The entire Christmas period, Easter time and other school vacations in southern winter and autumn are South African travel times. It’s a good thing there are no school vacations in South Africa at the moment. We are alone and are parked on the only paved area so far, namely the right of way. The “campsite” is deep sand and only accessible via two narrow bends – we don’t want to drive into it because we don’t want to have to dig ourselves out.
Either way, we enjoy the peace and quiet and the current seclusion and stay for 4 days / 5 nights.

And here, in Barra Dica, the inevitable happens. “Your hair and beard are far too long” is something my lover has been saying to me for a long time. I obediently submit to the inevitable process, watched only by many, many coconuts that you’d rather not let fall on your head.

Barra Dica was acquired by a South African family shortly before Corona. Corona naturally brought business to a standstill. Further damage was caused by a fire in which brand-new inventory and the power generator were destroyed. Of the 8 families booked for Christmas 2021, 6 have canceled again. The situation is precarious. That’s why her wife Herliaan runs the resort and her husband, Dries, works in Johannesburg, over 1000 km away, where their older sons also go to school.

Under a good star

We wish Herliaan and Dries all the best with their Barra Dica Resort.

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