On the coast of the country Mozambique is a beach town called Ponta do Ouro. A picturesque, quiet town that can only be reached by jeep or quad due to the surrounding sand dunes and lack of roads. Be prepared to take off your shoes for the entire length of your stay, as I did the second I crossed the border from Swaziland. Fear of being barefoot in public bathrooms, bars, and on the sidewalks will leave your mind as you enter this coastal beach town.
I visited Mozambique as part of my International Student Volunteers trip, and have decided on the top five things to do in Ponta do Ouro that range from the adventurous to the relaxing. (I intend to have later posts that go into some of these activities in detail). Some of the activities are a bit pricey, however, even if you do one of them it is well worth it!
1) Scuba Dive
I went scuba diving for the first time in Mozambique with Gozo Azul Adventure Charters. For 1200 African Rands (about $100) you will get trained in a pool and learn all of the necessary emergency procedures, hand signals, and get accustomed to the scuba gear. I highly recommend doing this! The day after training, we were on a boat into the middle of the Indian Ocean; scuba diving 60 feet below the surface over The Creche Reef. The water was completely clear, there were hundreds of colorful fish swimming above and below me, and there were starfish, dolphins in the distance, and intricate shells on the bottom of the ocean floor. Ponta do Ouro is known for its beach and diving, so if you want to get accustomed to their culture, scuba diving is a great way. It even influenced me to go home and get my scuba certification!
2) Quad Biking
For those of you who are like myself and wish to see as much as possible, then quad biking is the perfect way to do that. For $60 I went quad biking for four hours around Ponta do Ouro and the surrounding area. I found myself struggling to steer the bike at first, almost crashing into my friend who was on the tour with me (I also lack coordination). The tour took us to Lake Piti (Lagoa Piti), the second largest lake in Mozambique, about 26 miles north of Ponta do Ouro. I saw deer, horses, and had the chance to see hippos, but unfortunately did not (but you might!). We went through sand dunes, fields, and small towns. It was so much fun and a great way to see the country if you have a limited amount of time there.
This is a beach town, is it not? I had never touched a surf board my entire life until Ponta do Ouro. Through Spig’s Surfs Up Rentals (for about $35) we learned how to surf the waves of the Indian Ocean. They will give you a surf lesson and will go out into the ocean with you for further assistance. It was extremely difficult, considering the fact that I am completely uncoordinated like I said, but I did manage to get onto the board for a split second (it counts!).
4) Visit Mango Cafe Restaurant
Walk away from the beach and head to Mangos. They have amazing smoothies, an amazing view, and delicious food! I found myself here twice a day. It’s also inexpensive and a great place for those on a budget. You can see the Indian Ocean from their seating area.
For those of you who do not wish to scuba dive but still want to experience the beauty underneath the ocean, then snorkeling is the perfect activity. With Dolphin Encounters Research Center, we went snorkeling for about $45 above a reef. We swam with dolphins! They swam right under us, passing by on their way somewhere else.
Ponta do Ouro is a gorgeous town with many different activities- I didn’t want to leave!
If you look hard enough, you can see a dolphin in the center of the photo