Mozambique 2011: This is how it starts . . .

This post is part of the Mozambique 2011 series.

This is how it starts . . . just a couple of crates and things propped against the living room wall. Within the next two weeks, this pile will have grown bigger, and others would have sprouted in various rooms in our house. Just wherever there is an open space. It’s the sign that an “expedition” is about to occur.

How it all starts . . . a little pile of stuff

This time it is a fishing expedition to the Mozambique coast. In a couple of weeks time Willie and his fishing buddies will be on the long road north. For those travelling from the Southern Cape, it’s a 3-day journey. With 4x4s loaded with equipment and food, and each vehicle carrying at least one kayak, the driving is slow.

The planning for the trip started months ago. There have been several meetings (over coffee or drinks) between the Southern Cape members of the expedition. (Basically it is the drivers who get to determine what goes and what doesn’t.) With numerous long distance phone calls to those members of the group who live elsewhere in South Africa. Spreadsheets and lists have been drawn up and distributed (yes, Willie has been very “proactive” with the planning again!), so that everybody knows what is going on. The route is well-known by now, as this will be the 5th trip to Mozambique, albeit to different areas within Mozambique.

As with the Otter Trail earlier this year, I will be posting updates on my blog, and photos and a report back once they return. I’m trying to persuade Willie to write a couple of posts about the trip. Previously, he’s found it very useful to receive questions from readers about what they would like to know. So if you want to know anything about Mozambique, fishing or what they intend to do with those kayaks, leave a comment or email me directly here.

So what is at the end of the 2 300 kilometer journey? This . . .

The road to Pomene (©2009 B. Linde)

The beach at the Pomene camp (©2005 H. Kotze)

Looking towards the old Pomene Hotel ruins. The hotel was abandoned during the Mozambique civil war. (©2005 H. Kotze)

Pomene lagoon at low tide (©2005 H. Kotze)

Willie heading off down the beach (©2005 K. Venter)

Dhows at Inhambane (©2005 H. Kotze)

The good life! (©2005 H. Kotze)

Mozambique photographs featured were taken during the Mozambique 2005 and Mozambique 2009 trips to Pomene. See individual photos for credits.

The Mozambique 2011 Series:

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Lifestyle/Travel, Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)


Subscribe to the Notes from Africa RSS and Twitter feeds to receive updates.

43 Comments on “Mozambique 2011: This is how it starts . . .”

  1. April 8, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    He must be pretty excited!!
    And you´ll have some days for you!!

    • April 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

      Yes, Willie is like a little kid about to go off to camp! 😉

      I’ll enjoy having some “me” time, but I also have a friend coming to stay with me for some of the time he’s away.

  2. April 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Wow, the place looks lovely! I know little about fishing and even less about Mozambique, so I have no idea what to ask–except if they will be camping–as in tents. And what will the weather be like there this time of year?

    • April 8, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

      Well, if you think of anything you’d like to ask, let me know. You’ve got over a month to think about it.

      The short answer to your one question is: yes, they’ll be camping in tents – with the sand fleas! 🙂 Either Willie or I will write a post about their camp.

      I don’t know about the weather there, but it’s fairly tropical, I think. So never gets really cold there. Willie will write more about this in a post.

  3. April 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Good thing the stuff is stacked against the wall so you won’t trip over it. On the other hand, sounds like you might be in danger of bumping into stuff before long 🙂
    Are those duffel bags I see in the back? Won’t Lucy be tempted to climb in there and make the trip with Willie?

    Okay, I’ll ask some questions even though I know nothing about fishing – but you don’t have to answer all of them 😉
    1. Do you fish in the sea, a lagoon or both?
    2. Is it possible to fish from the shore, or do you need to kayak into deeper water?
    3. Do you use lures or bait – um. . .er, or is it the same thing?
    4. Do you plan on eating any of the fish that you catch? Or I guess if these questions will only get answered AFTER the trip – Did you eat any of the fish that you caught?
    5. On trips like this, do you keep to a schedule (get up at 3am, pack breakfast and head off to fishing spot) or does it depend on the weather and the tides?
    6. Do you take a break from fishing when you’re there?
    7. How much time will be/was spent on taking photos for Lisa? 🙂

    • April 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

      Yes, the piles do get bigger – and get in the way. Those things that look like duffel bags are specially designed food bags. They’re actually quite big. Lucy has been checking out the pile, but so far hasn’t attempted to hide in anything yet. I’ll be doing a pet headcount before Willie leaves to make sure there are no stowaways 🙂

      Thanks for all the questions for Willie! He’s starting to think about his homework . . .

  4. April 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Beautiful pics! and your organization skills are outstanding!

    • April 8, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

      Yes, it is a beautiful place. Willie is a very organized person – both in his professional and personal life. I’m well . . . less organized! 😉

  5. jacquelincangro
    April 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Clouded Marble had some great questions!
    Will they be going to Gorongosa National Park? I saw a special in National Geographic and it looked amazing. They called it the Lost Eden.

    • April 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

      I saw the same National Geographic special! Isn’t it wonderful there? No, unfortunately they won’t be going that far north.

  6. April 8, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

    ~~~Oh, this looks devine.

  7. April 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Looking forward to the Mozambique posts. But I’m a little sad that you won’t be going with Willie! Make sure he eats lots of grilled calamari and prawns for you 🙂

    • April 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

      If they were going to stay in a nice resort I’d be there. This is camping on the beach with sand fleas and who knows what else! Also not sure how often they’ll get to indulge in the calamari and prawns . . .

  8. April 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    What a beautiful place. It will be great to hear about the adventure when he returns!

    • April 10, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

      I’ll be doing a couple of posts – not just about their trip, but also about Mozambique and the what the locals get up to. I’m sending Willie off with a list of what he has to photograph when he’s not fishing!

  9. April 10, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    What a beautiful beach.

    • April 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

      Remind you of home? I see the area of Mozambique they’re going to is on about the same latitude as north-eastern Queensland coast.

  10. Sarita Botha
    April 11, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    It looks wonderful there. Think that is exactly what I need now. You think they need somebody to do the dishes??? They won’t even know I’m there.

    • April 11, 2011 at 10:11 am #

      Willie says the dish washing will be all taken care of, but as you sound desperate for a break, you can submit your CV to him. There is an opening for a bait hunter/collector. 🙂

      • Sarita Botha
        April 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

        I’ve done that before. Shouldn’t be to difficult. I’ll update my CV and get some references, maybe I’ll qualify for the post. Hehehe

  11. April 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Ah good old Moz – I have many fond memories of the Moz coast. It’s not too far for us to visit – I must plan a trip sometime.

  12. April 14, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    Looks like it is definitely worth the trip! Looking forward to seeing photos from this years trip.

    • April 14, 2011 at 10:43 am #

      I’m am sending my “roving photojournalist” off with a list of things I want him to take photos of i.e. more than just photos of the fish they caught! 🙂

  13. April 18, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    ek is so bly ek het jou blog gevind! it is very interesting. can’t wait to jump into everything 😉

    • April 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

      Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! Always nice to make contact with a fellow South African.

  14. Ryan
    May 9, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    Hi , we are going to Pomene next month! Myself and 13 other guys from church! Harvest angling club. Can you maybe tell a bit more about how to avoid Malaria mozzies and your experience and did you take meat? What lures did you use and how far did you paddle?
    Never been to Moz and I am so pumped! Thank you in advance!

    • May 10, 2012 at 6:18 am #

      Hi Ryan!

      Thanks for reading my post and leaving a comment. 🙂 Willie is in Pomene at the moment – has caught amongst other things a sailfish off from his kayak! He’s returning this coming Sunday (13 May) so I’m going to ask him to answer your questions. He’s got a Moz checklist of things he takes, which I’m sure he’ll share with you.

      I do know that he takes Doxycycline as a malaria preventative. Because it’s a broad spectrum antibiotic it also helps to keep away any other infections from cuts etc. You’ve got to be careful there because cuts and sores get infected very easily in the sub-tropical areas.

      Did you see the other posts in the Mozambique 2011 series? If not, you can find them here:


  15. Ryan
    May 10, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Thank you very much! I am already looking forward to hearing from Willie!

    • May 10, 2012 at 9:34 am #

      Ryan, he had originally planned to write a guest post for my blog about the fishing, kayaking etc, but then thought that none of my readers would be interested. So glad you asked – now he’ll have to write that post! 🙂


  16. Ryan
    May 15, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Hi, any news from Willie?

    • May 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

      Hi Ryan,

      Yes Willie is back again. Arrived back Sunday afternoon – back at work on Monday morning, so things have been a little hectic. But I have told him about your comment. Also if you have specific questions, it might help focus what he writes about. Will remind him again tonight! 🙂


    • May 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

      Ryan, are you going to be camping or renting a chalet? Lisa.

      • Ryan
        May 17, 2012 at 9:34 am #

        We are renting a beach house in the corner of the lagoon close to the mouth. Thanks.

    • May 16, 2012 at 10:04 am #

      Comments from Willie (I emailed you this and the planning lists he speaks of too):

      More comprehensive write up later. Planning lists attached – not required to take everything on the lists.


      Get required moz third party insurance beforehand. Vehicle registration and permission letter from the bank. Also, get Meticais beforehand, not at the border where you will get ripped off.


      There are some mozzies at Pomene so you need to take full precaution against malaria (see attached files) – bug spray, long sleeves in the evening, tent / mozzie net closed all the time and some prophylactics. I used doxycycline and would recommend any accepted anti-malaria stuff except lariam (gives weird dreams). Bug spray also needed for other small biting bugs, spray all exposed parts especially legs and feet. Also, take insecticide to spray tent occasionally.


      Need to eat well to sustain very active lifestyle. Take breakfast stuff, lots of energy bars (protein bars included). For lunch get pao bread from the lady close to old hotel that bakes them daily – one (at 10 Metiacais) with butter and honey is an excellent lunch – not to be missed !! We always take meat in a camp freezer to braai and make other meals in the evening. Meat is vacuum packed beforehand. Freezers are National Luna and Engel with portable National Luna battery packs. Power (off generator) available during parts of the day – charge battery packs with good chargers like CTec to sustain freezers during the periods that power is not available. Locals sell fresh fruit and cray fish at the camp daily.


      Light tackle fishing (at the mangroves on lagoon) and rock and surf fishing (other side of old hotel) is good fun. For kayaking pulling dead bait on a couta-trace (pink skirt a must) is the most effective. Take normal sards but especially large red-eye sards along. Karapau (looks like maasbanker) can be caught at baitfish reef (see all the locals there in the mornings – towards old hotel) or traded with the locals – they work well and can be trolled or slided at the point. Pulling halco’s are easier than rapala’s – the pink halco laser pro 120 worked well. For the flick stick small spoons, squid jigs or drop shot on the reefs at the point (old hotel) also work well.

      Good spots are in front of the river mouth close to the campsite. Should get some couta there. Reefs between the hotel point and the lighthouse very productive for couta and other species. Also look where the birds are working and try to get to those spots. We paddled up to 35 kms a day but with a short paddle to the river mouth you should get fish. Alternatively drive to the old hotel and launch where the locals do close to baitfish reef – short distance to hotel point. Watch out for north / south currents that sometimes runs at the point – takes you south quickly, paddle towards the land to get out.

  17. Ryan
    May 17, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Hi Lisa.
    Thank you very much for all the info so far!
    Wilie jy’s ‘n yster! Congrats with the sailfish! Can’t wait for the pics!
    Sorry about the late reply! Been working late and had no time for emails! LOL!
    Thank you again..
    Lisa the camping list…… i did not get?

    • May 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      Hi Ryan,

      I’ve loaded all the planning/info documents onto Dropbox. To download them from there, just click on the individual links below.

      Additional important tips for travelling in Mozambique (PDF file):

      Mozambique planning lists (MSExcel spreadsheet) – contains several different worksheets including Info1, Info2, Full Packlist, Basic Packlist, Medicine:

      How To Protect Yourself Against Malaria (PDF file):

      Malaria Advice for Southern Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa (PDF file):


  18. Ryan
    May 18, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    Hi Guys

    Thank you very much for the unbelievable amount of invaluable information! Yes Willie , can I please get the map of the shortcut through Maputo.
    We have had our last official meeting last night and I can’t wait anymore! I woke at about 3 this morning and could not get back to sleep , my head was spinning with all the lures and tackle and fishing! We decided on taking 2 Kayaks and our 4.4m rubber duck. If you can think of any thing additional that we might have to know it would really be appreciated!
    Even some coordinates for spots as we do have a fish finder on board.

    Lisa your Blog is THE BEST!
    Very professional!
    I have surfed through the net and I don’t bother anymore…LOL!

    Are there any Crocks to worrie about?
    Can you walk around the mangroves and not be eaten?
    How far up the river can you go and how safe is it?
    What about crime?
    Is your washing safe outside the bungalow?

    The list can be endless….
    Only if you have time Willie 🙂

    Have a Blessed day

    • May 21, 2012 at 6:37 am #

      Hi Ryan

      Maputo Bypass – The bypass past Maputo is actually a very different route and you miss Maputo altogether – Maputo can be very hectic and time consuming – missing it is worthwhile. It could be interesting to get a GoPro camera (from Cape Union Mart) to make a video of the Maputo trip or some of the other fishing experiences. If you are aiming to stay at Casa Lisa or one of the places just north of Maputo the bypass will not work. This bypass / back road is a dirt road and was provided by a friend and it worked out well for us. I assume you will be using a GPS – the bypass is on the normal Garmin street maps and the last section to Pomene is only on Tracks4Africa. Not worth getting Tracks4Africa just for that portion though. See route info at end.

      Mangroves – We have never seen any crocs and the locals have never spoke about them, by now we would have known. You can go up the river / lagoon as far as your boat would take you, gets quite shallow in places at low tide. We refer to the “mangroves” mainly as a spot between Pomene Lodge and the river mouth – you will see it soon enough if you launch on the lagoon side and exit to the sea via the mouth. There is a large hole at the mangroves of about 10 m deep. Divers saw some large barracuda there (up 1.5 m), so it is worth a try. Also got some snapper (drop shot – nuclear chicken) in this area. From there to the mouth there are a large variety of species eating especially small spoons.

      Crime – we have never had any issues and feel safer in Moz and especially Pomene than in most places in SA. Have told you about the cops / bribery issues. At Pomene Lodge camping area we normally leave our stuff at the camp and washing on the line – basic valuables like cameras, passport and money should be locked in vehicles like in any other place. Last time I left some money in my pockets and the Pomene camp guys returned this when washing my clothes. There are some night guards at the lodge to deter locals from walking around at night, but couple of stray dogs there creates far more problems at night than anything else.

      If you stay at Pomene lodge you can maybe get the bakkie that goes into town to get some beers and possible petrol for the boat = worth a try. Buying beers and cool drinks are cheaper at the little store at Pomene City than at the lodge.

      Neap tide conditions are generally easier for launching and especially beaching kayaks. Spring tides are good for the flat rocks on the southern side of the old hotel – low tide of the front of the exposed rocks and high tide on top of the rocks. A couple of kms down the beach there are really nice holes on the beach – unfortunately you are not allowed to drive on the beach. Spring also good for light tackle of the rock ledge at the old hotel. Sliding bait of the old hotel rocks good very early morning or late afternoon for couta.

      Surf / wind conditions from windguru on the internet very helpful. Join and get and account on windguru, then create a point for Pomene. Get somebody to sms vital information to you on a daily basis. There is cell phone coverage at Pomene – do not use MMS and data services (internet access & reading emails) via your phone when on roaming – it is extremely expensive !! Sending one picture with your cell phone can easily cost R85 to R100.

      I have are attached some Waypoints.

      For fishing one always tend to take too much. That is fine, if you have not got it with you then you have to do without it. You actually can go quit far with some essential stuff. The following should get you fish “

      Light tackle – small spoons
      Rock & surf – like normal but especially natal red-eye sardines with tjokka. Nice natal stumpies and a large variety of other fish.
      Kayak – couta traces with cape sardines or large natal red-eyes – on the sea side of the river mouth. Watch out for areas where the waves stands up on you. Also get some good Kingfish in same area, but it may be late for them.
      Boat – drift bait with dead karapau on trace with two treble hooks on wire is popular, while nothing beats live bait (catch at bait fish reef). While drifting you can jig on the reefs with vertical jigs or dropshot. Trolling with feathers or rapalas also work. From the hotel point go east until the water goes deeper than 40m, should get tuna there, especially when the birds are working – rapalas/halcos without wire (only for tuna – for everything else you need wire), onda ondas, sprat spoons or halco 135 rooster poppers. Have a live bait trace prepared, if you get bonnies then pin it on a trace and let it swim – this gets you big stuff. Zambia reef is further out and can be brilliant one day or not so good the next.

      Fishing locals always looking for fishing line and treble hooks to trade.

      By the way – have subsequently discovered that the fish I thought was a sailie was in fact a black marlin, very chuffed – first marlin for me of the kayak. Bigger boats got two marlin in deeper waters while we were there so it is worth a try with more regular marlin stuff. On the last trip out species count was 22.

      Obviously take as many cameras as possible – many oppurtunitues available. Camera that is waterproof is worthwhile. Please take a picture and send to me if possible of the sign at the small shop in Pomene city that refers to the “Cool Staff” at the shop.

      Download the files here:

      Alternative route North: bypassing Maputo:

      Pomene fishing waypoints:

      Have a good trip and please let us know how it went.


      • Ryan
        May 21, 2012 at 11:26 am #

        Again I cannot thank you enough!!!!! 🙂 Thank you and God Bless!

  19. Ryan
    June 4, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Min Dae! 10 Days !!!! Can’t Wait!

    • June 5, 2012 at 7:33 am #

      Hi Ryan! Good to hear that you’re so excited about your trip. 🙂 You must let us know how it went, when you’re back home again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: