How to have the perfect day in Ponta do Ouro

Posted by Melanie van Zyl on 1 September 2016

Ponta do Ouro is a seaside playground. It has boomed over the last few years with copious developments and is bound to change even more as a tarred road is currently being built southwards from Maputo to the Kosi Bay border (currently the drive traverses slow-going roads and takes about four hours).

 

The wide beach at Ponta do Ouro.

The wide beach at Ponta do Ouro.

 
Ponta is a noisy party place and an enormous amount of fun, if that’s your kind of holiday. As I said, Tartaruga in Ponta Malongane has my heart and it’s where I will return, but Ponta do Ouro is definitely worth a day visit. The following is a perfect day out there:

Also read: The complete guide to Ponta Malongane

 

Start with the sea

Back to Basics Adventures is run by enthusiastic people besotted with the sea and is rated the number one activity in Ponta do Ouro on TripAdvisor. Jenny Strömvoll is a sharp divemaster, keen underwater photographer and is incredibly knowledgeable about reefs and life under Ponta’s waters. If you’re an underwater photographer, don’t go anywhere else. They also do Ocean Safaris snorkelling over shallow reefs where there’s the chance of spotting dolphins. Full gear rental and a dive costs from R450 per person.

Ponta do Ouro - Melanie van Zyl

Gozo Azul fishing charters is for those who prefer to be on top of the water rather than in it. Charter a boat from R4 000 for a four-hour trip for six people.

 

Have breakfast

Love Café serves melt-in-your-mouth omelettes and great coffee in a funky atmosphere, and there’s a homely aroma of freshly baked rolls. Go to Mango Tropical Café for healthy fare such as smoothies and salads. It wasn’t open when I visited as it was out of season. You can find it at the entrance to the main campsite.

 

Walk it off

Next to the only fuel station in Ponta do Ouro you’ll find a small shop with authentic hand-woven kikois called Ponki. The main weaver hails from Zanzibar and uses an old loom to create his beautiful one-of-a-kind designs at affordable prices. Then brace yourself for the bustling downtown market. This is where you’ll find bona fide peri-peri sauce, booze, tomatoes, onions, eggs, seasonal fruit (such as mango) for a steal, Sparletta and wax-print fabrics (for an epic souvenir, get clothing tailored in your favourite fabric by locals sewing on old Singer machines).

 

Hand-woven kikois and fiery but tasty bottles of chilli.

Hand-woven kikois and fiery but tasty bottles of chilli.

 

Colourful fabric is easy to find in the markets in Ponta.

Colourful fabric is easy to find in the markets in Ponta.

 
Fresh seafood is displayed in colourful cooler boxes and you can buy enormous crayfish, lobsters, prawns caught near Santa Maria, and fish. Alternatively, place an order with Blue Barraca at the market to guarantee the freshest catch and collect it early in the morning. Eat it with the best bread from Padaria directly opposite – the loaf is creamy it’s so fresh. Bread costs R4 per loaf, fish such as cuta and bronze bream cost from R40 per fish and both tiger prawns and crayfish roughly R200 per kilo, but you can hustle.

 

Fresh and enormous prawns caught up the coast at Santa Maria.

Fresh and enormous prawns caught up the coast at Santa Maria.

 

Eat lunch

Tandje Beach Resort serves a great-value seafood platter (about R230). The two-person platter is laden with prawns, calamari, cuta, chips and rice, and the beach is close by for a swim afterwards (for something different, try the milky Mozambican coffee called galão). If you are feeling more energetic, surfboards are for hire from Surf’s Up Rental next to Ponta Beach Bar from R200 per person for two hours. Lessons are from R250 per person.

 

Party

Fernando’s Bar serves great (heavy-handed) R&Rs to top off a day in Ponta. Everyone recommends a party here and it’s a compulsory ‘to do’ for most. A guide book at Tartaruga Maritima tented camp puts it perfectly: ‘If Ponta is the party capital of Mozambique, then Fernando’s Bar in the market is ground zero with its claim to be the home of the garish R&R – a cheerful mixture of rum and a splash of raspberry.’

 

Classic RnRs.

Classic RnRs.

 

Places to stay in Ponta do Ouro

If you do want to stay in Ponta there is cheap accommodation – but, boy, you get what you pay for. There are some really dismal offerings (some websites are seriously misleading). Here are four that weren’t:

Coco Rico Resort

This is a well-maintained log cabin resort with 20 self-catering units each accommodating eight people. The units are close together and near restaurants, shops, the market and Fernando’s Bar – and the staff members are great. It’s the place to stay if you want to be in the thick of things. From R2 200 per unit.
Contact: Tel +258848758029, cocorico.co.mz

Ponta Beach Camp

The beach camp at Tandje Beach Resort (the main Ponta campsite) is near the village square, shops and bars, and has just won an award for Best Value in 2015. The dive camp consists of tents close together and it’s relaxed and informal. The beachfront en-suite units are best, with a private loo and sea view. From R540 per person.
Contact: Tel 0116489648, pontabeachcamps.co.za

Views straight over the Ponta beach from the Ponta Beach Camp.

Views straight over the Ponta beach from the Ponta Beach Camp.

 

Gala-Gala Eco Resort

This haven is set in coastal forest high above Ponta. Accommodation ranges from deluxe en-suite cabanas (recommended) to standard units and private campsites with your own bathroom (these sites far exceed the standards of the main site). Camping is from R150 per person and a two-sleeper deluxe cabana from R1 000 per night.
Contact: Tel +258849508252, our find them on Facebook

 

The private patio leading into a room at Gala-Gala Eco Resort.

The private patio leading into a room at Gala-Gala Eco Resort.

 

Lar do Ouro

This is a peaceful, easy-going B&B with simple white decor, an on-site bar, dining area and pool. From R460 per person.
Contact: Tel +258843167699, pontadoouro.com

 

The verdant gardens and simple white decor at Lar do Ouro.

The verdant gardens and simple white decor at Lar do Ouro.

 

This article was first published in the March 2016 issue of Getaway magazine.

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All prices correct at publication, but are subject to change at each establishment’s discretion. Please check with them before booking or buying.