After the relative luxury of our night in Maputo, we boarded the ferry to Catembe and headed out onto pot-holed dirt roads for the Elephant Reserve.
I’d read on the Getaway site that there are two kinds of traffic police in Mozambique – those in white and those in grey. The ones in white are usually friendly and helpful. The ones in grey will take away your licence unless you give them a bribe. Guess which one stopped us?
After handing over all the Rands we had and feeling a little shaken (men waving guns and laughing at you is never a comfortable scene), we crossed the Maputo River and finally reached the entrance to the reserve.
Driving incredibly slowly for another two hours, we crested a hill and behold – Ponto Milibangalala.
The campsite was shady and clean and we had the whole place to ourselves, except for a few friendly rangers. Traipsing through the scrub, we stepped onto the most unspoilt beach I’ve ever seen.
I know most people think paradise is a 5-star resort (and I’m all for that too), but there’s something special about living wild in a precious, undeveloped piece of Africa – and having it all to yourself.
We went for long walks in the magnificent dunes. Saw duiker and osprey and fish eagle. Swam and bathed in the warm Indian Ocean. Ate potjiekos and sandwiches toasted over an open fire. Gazed up at a night sky that was more like a roof of stars. I felt like I was in the Beach of Eden.
We didn’t want to leave and I think we each left a part of ourselves in Milibangalala. As Hannah said when she emailed me from New York two weeks later, “We’ll always have Mozambique. xx.”