Tartaruga Maritima – relaxation at its best in Southern Mozambique

Posted by Kim Steinberg on 11 April 2014 Tags:

Does waking up in a luxury tent surrounded by dune forest sound enticing to you? Tartaruga Maritima in Southern Mozambique is a little piece of heaven, that doesn’t cost the earth.

The inside and outside view of the beautiful rooms. They even have turtles carved into the headboards

One of the things that fuels my 10 year love affair with Mozambique is her ability to regularly surprise me with new adventures, one of which I recently discovered in another little piece of heaven at Tartaruga Maritima, a Luxury Tented Camp in Southern Mozambique, Ponta Malongane. Bruce Hopwood knows how much I enjoy Mozambique and I could tell by his excitement when he told me about Tartaruga that I was about to be “wowed”.

With my faithful Suzuki Jimny packed to the roof, we devoured the 300 km from Mtunzini to Kosi Bay and by the skin of our teeth and made it through the border before they closed for the day. From Kosi Bay border post it was a 45 minute drive through dune forests and wetlands to get there. Although it is only around 19km from the border, the roads are thick beach sand and you definitely need a 4×4 to get there. If you don’t have your own 4×4, fear not! R30 parking fee will get you secure parking at the border and Tartaruga Maritima can do collections and drop offs at R700 return per vehicle (seats 7).
On arrival we were taken to our cabin and shown around the camp by the very helpful Moses. Our bags were carried to our room and our cooler boxes and food were taken up to the well-equipped communal kitchen where everyone gets their own fridge to store everything in. Although Tartaruga is a self-catering camp, it is within walking distance of some of the well-known restaurants and pubs along the Do Ouro to Malongane pub crawl route. The ‘Sunset Shack’ is known for its fabulous R+R’s and ‘Come to See’ has delicious prawn rissoles, along with all the compulsory peri-peri chicken etc that make Moz food so yummy. If you opt to stay at Tartaruga to eat, the kitchen is fully stocked with everything you need from cutlery, crockery, stoves, gas and wood braais to microwaves, you name it! It is attached to the dining area with tables and chairs which are set by the staff for meals with table cloths and candles for dinner. The views over the sea are spectacular and sitting there reminiscing over the beauty of this paradise over coffee in the morning or a glass of Merlot in the evening made this one of my favorite dining spots to sit and chill. The first night was spent around the bonfire chatting with some of the other holidaymakers under a blanket of stars untouched by light pollution and then off to bed where a midnight rain storm lulled me to sleep.

When we woke up in the morning I made us some coffee, slid the two big wooden sliding doors open and hopped back into bed to look for birds in the dune forest surrounding our chalet. The room was big and airy with white wooden floors, air-conditioned and had a big romantically styled mozzie net over the bed. I was absolutely in love with all the turtle decor in the rooms from the toilet roll holders to the cotton ball baskets, to pictures on the walls and carvings on the headboards! I am not much of a TV fan but if you have children with you or have to watch the Sharks beat the Brumbies, there is a communal TV room which has a big lounge suite to sit and chill on and the one whole side of the room opened out into the forest for bird watching right from the couch. The walkway to the beach opened up through the forest to a beautiful, untouched section where we could tan and swim and not be bothered by the maddening crowds that always tend to gather at the bigger resorts during busy season. If you are lucky a moonlight stroll on the beach could turn into an amazing experience watching a turtle laying her eggs.
We had come down to Tartaruga so that my partner Wayne could do his open water scuba course, and so early the next morning we headed down to DevOcean Dive Centre in Ponta Do Ouro which is a 7km drive away. Usually one can arrange to do dives at Parque de Malongane which is right next door to Tartaruga, but we had friends at DevOcean and so opted to go there instead. The diving instructor Lea was very informative, friendly, helpful and most of all patient which really made for a great first time underwater experience. The weather held out for the weekend and we got 4 incredible dives in. Despite what people have said about all the ‘hoards of holidaymakers’ destroying the reefs in southern Mozambique, I was pleasantly surprised at what a load of ‘hogwash’ that rumour was. The reefs were full of fish, in good condition and the visibility was spectacular! It was an amazing weekend and with it being only a 4 hour drive from our home in Northern KZN, it was worth it!
I would highly recommend Tartaruga to anyone looking for a relaxing escape in Mozambique that’s also not going to break the bank! With the private beach, security access and other child friendly amenities it is also a great place away from the crowds for a family holiday.

The main dining area at Tartaruga Maritima in Ponta Malongane

Room number 8 is set away from the others and is so incredibly peaceful

 

This definitely rates as my ‘Room of the Month’

Beautiful bathrooms with views of the surrounding forest

The bathrooms all have little turtle details everywhere. A lot of attention to detail

This is one of the other rooms at Tartaruga. Each is set up on a stilted deck inside a luxury tent and surrounded by indigenous dune forest

There are two swimming pools joined together. One for the kiddies and another deep one for the adults

The wooden ‘boma’ deck is situated next to the pool and has bonfires on the go every evening to sit and relax around

The decks outside your tented room has chairs and a table to sit and sip your coffee from in the mornings while listening to the birds

All the tents and main areas are interconnected with raised wooden walkways through the dune forests

Tartaruga has its own secluded section of beach

Their TV room is gorgeous and opens out into the dune forest

Tartaruga is within walking distance to some of the more popular restaurants along the Do Ouro to Malongane stretch