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Trip report; private reserves @ Kruger. Pt.5: Mozambique

 
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Jochen
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:06 pm    Post subject: Trip report; private reserves @ Kruger. Pt.5: Mozambique Reply with quote

Before I start, some general info:

- This trip report is automatically translated from the trip report on my personal web page www.pixelpower.be , which is in Dutch. If you see weird sentences; sorry about that! I did a quick scan of the translated text but I probably overlooked some Engrish.

- The trip we did was to four private nature reserves in the Kruger area, and a short stay at the beach in Mozambique. This thread covers part five; four nights at Nyati Beach Lodge near Vilanculos

Enjoy!

J.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nyati Beach Lodge (see here for the website) sits on an isthmus between the Indian Ocean and a swamp. You can only get there by helicopter or by boat (when high tide). For convenience's sake the lodge charters a helicopter to fly customers to and from the airport. It is the only lodge on that isthmus, so there is 15 kilometers beach for no one else …but you. A pure paradise, and ideal to rest a bit after a safari. But how do you get there? I mean; how do you get to Vilanculos in Mozambique? Well, there's a South African charter company called Federal Air that flies there twice a week. Departure is from Johannesburg, but they make a stopover at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) near Nelspruit. That's ideal for anyone who's just been on a safari, because nor can fly straight from the Kruger to Mozambique. On the way back there is no stopover, so you're back quickly in Johannesburg, for your international flight home.

The central buildings of the lodge are built on the last major sand ridge of the isthmus. From there it gets narrower (up to 50-100m wide, but the isthmus still continues for several kilometers passed the lodge). There is not much to say about the central buildings. There is a curio shop and an office for management, and behind that there's the the kitchen. At the front, where one has a sea view, under a big thatched roof, is a half-open space with lounge, restaurant and bar. And right next to it a large terrace with pool. There is also a separate building with toilets. The very front of that part of the lodge, which is closest to the ocean, has a solid wall and some windows that face the ocean, so one is shielded from the wind. Most tables in the restaurant take advantage of that protection from the wind, but not all (so be careful what table you take).

The rooms are individual cabins in a long row, with their views towards the lagoon. So they are built behind the hills, sheltered from the Indian Ocean and its strong winds. We did not mind that at all, as the view of the lagoon is more beautiful than the ocean. And the lagoon side is perfect for sunsets. For a further description of the rooms, see below.


(panorama of the view from our room)
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We did not do any trips. The only thing that comes close to a "trip" would be our beach walks. That does not mean that walking is the only thing you can do there. No, the lodge offers a wide range of excursions such as scuba diving or snorkeling near a reef, visiting fishing villages nearby, a trip on a catamaran, etc... You can also go fishing yourself. Now, we are not boat people, and we'd rather have fish swimming than being caught on hooks, so we were not interested much in what the lodge could offer. But we knew that this would be the case beforehand, and we did not mind. As I said; we were there to rest.
But one can not spend three days and do nothing else but rest (we were there four nights), so we did long beach walks. And they are very worthwhile. It also pays to do a creation walk several times. Being; at least once at low tide, and once at high tide. Because what you get to see is very different, including the wildlife. For example, if you walk along the beach at low tide, then that beach is very wide and completely deserted. You feel alone on earth. All you see are some small waders. But at high tide, then there's an incredible number of crabs that come out of their holes, and the beach is full of life. I'm not talking about hundreds of crabs, but about tens of thousands! The beach looked red from all the crabs! But they always stay about ten meters away from you (very funny).



At the other side of the isthmus, in the lagoon, there are many flamingos. And in the water you see a lot of fish and snails with pointy houses that make funny traces on the sandy bottom. Watch where you tread, as there are also some sea urchins. Crabs also. Bigger ones, and definitely another kind. But a lot less. They stay at the entrance of their burrow and dive down if you come too close.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After such a walk, it's great to sit on your terrace and relax. It has views of the lagoon, and has a rattan table and two chairs. There are also two sunloungers. It's full of life here too. In the bushes on the isthmus are a lot of birds, including yellow-bellied Greenbul, Black collared barbet, speckled mouse birds and black-eyed bulbul's. Occasionally an eagle flies over. Also, sometimes monkeys come along. They are very timid, but they do try - if possible - to steal stuff from your room.



Talking about the rooms; they are great! In the middle is a large bed made of tree trunks, with a mosquito net over it. It also has a lot of storage space, a small desk, etc. .. behind it lies a bathroom with a (small) bath, a large sink and a separate shower and separate toilet. On the left is a door that leads outside, to an outdoor shower made of bamboo sticks. You guessed it: we have only made use of that one. The whole thing (terrace- + room + bathroom) is covered by a large thatched roof. You can keep the monkeys out (the doors can be locked and at the front where the terrace is, there's a big glass sliding door) but you cannot keep the birds out. They get in through some small holes, but also through the bathroom door (which has some horizontal wooden plates to keep the sun out, but there is no glass behind it). We had two sparrow couples who each had their nest in a corner of the thatched roof. You can worry about that (eg that they sometimes leave a little message on your patio), or you can enjoy the show. We gave them cotton wool for their nest.



A little something about the meals; these were delicious as well, with lots of seafood and fish, but you could always get something else if you do not like that (but please do ask in advance). Only the breakfast is a buffet. Especially the orange juice was delicious. And speaking of juices, the cocktails were very tasty as well. Although half of the cocktail menu is not available, due to lack of ingredients (see below why). But hey, there were enough possibilities to try a different one every night (every night we took one to our room to watch the sunset from the terrace).


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The final conclusion for us; the lodge was absolutely fantastic. And as far as resting is concerned; mission accomplished! That is also because we were almost alone at the lodge. The only other guests were six Danes and they went out every day. We saw them only during breakfast or dinner. Now, the week we were there were even less people; when we arrived there were only two tourists. And when we all left there was nobody there anymore, and there were no new customers for them on the plane that flew us back to Jo'Burg (the guy with the Nyati-sign who escorts the customers to the helicopter was not even there).

And there lies the potential problem for Nyati. The destination is still unknown and not popular. I suspect that the long, bad time that Mozambique has experienced is partly responsible for that. I hope they manage, and that they remain in business. Because it is a dream destination. But I also see some signs that made me less confident. Like the elusive cocktail ingredients, and a few unreplaced cracked windows in the salon, and there was already serious wear on the loungers, etc… Add to that that the prices went way up… We still got the introduction rates of Nyati's startup year, but those are far lower than the current prices. At the current price the lodge would have been too expensive for us. When I was negotiating prices with Nyati, and I saw the new and higher prices, I thought "they are going for the wealthy tourists" (the same as the expensive lodges do in Sabi Sands ... their product might not be better, but their prices breathe exclusivity). But now I know better. Nyati simply had to raise its prices to make sure all costs are covered. Note that they have to survive on the few customers who step off that Federal Air plane, twice a week. Now, this is the case for every lodge in the area, and if they can survive, I guess so will Nyati. Moreover, Nyati has several lodges in their portfolio (see their main site) so they "can take the dent with the bump", as they say here in Belgium. I just hope that the steep prices do not deter you from visiting this paradise!


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