A guest’s experience visiting Kanimambo​

Kanimambo Beach Villa, just remember the name, it’s one I will not easily forget. Kanimambo means thank you in Shangaan, a local language in Machangulo, the name given to the villa when owner Julie and Mike completed its building. For me this was a trip of adventure, beauty, good food and the perfect way to escape and forget the hustle and bustle of city life. This is a place with kilometres of uninhabited beach on the Machangulo Peninsula overlooking the untamed Indian Ocean. An area to witness beautiful African sunrises and sunsets or experience pods of Humpback Whales showing their acrobatic skills while on their annual migration. They are easily visible with the naked eye from the pool deck, but a pair of binoculars will enhance the experience. 

This is not our first-time to this piece of heaven on earth and hopefully not our last.  We travelled by road in a 4×4 through the Maputo National Park to reach Machangulo Nature Reserve (a 3-hour drive covering 60Km). In this Environmental Protected Area there are hippos, zebras, wildebeest, antelopes, giraffe and elephant (which one may be lucky enough to observe). 

There are two other options to reaching the villa: fly/drive to Maputo and hire a boat which takes one hour to Santa Maria and be picked up from there and taken to Kanimambo, or fly to Maputo and charter an aircraft and land at the privately owned airstrip in the reserve, experiencing the beauty of the Machangulo Peninsula from the air. Whatever means of transport you decide to use, the journey is well worth it. On arrival guests are met by host and chef Mendes and the friendly staff with a welcoming drink, warm smiles and true African hospitality.

Stepping through the front door I was immediately struck by the light, airy, spacious and tastefully decorated living area with captivating views of the unspoilt beach and vast ocean. We were shown to our private rooms which are away from the main house. There are four nearly identical bungalows, none better than the other, each with slightly different views. The sleeping quarters is made up of a large, air conditioned bedroom with a very comfortable king size bed (amazing pillows), separate dressing room with walk in cupboards and a bathroom with both a bath and two showers (one indoor and one outdoor). The rooms are kept immaculately clean by the attentive staff.

Mendes and Lourdes spoilt us with many culinary delights. Three scrumptious meals were served in various settings around the villa daily. One of my favourite meals was the beautifully prepared Couta fish that had been caught by the local fishermen that morning and deliciously  prepared by Mendes. He is a skilful and versatile chef, producing all kinds of meals, salads and homemade sauces and accompaniments. He always bakes his own bread and bread rolls and makes the dough should you want to have pizzas. Of course there is a pizza oven and a barbeque area!

Kanimambo Beach Lodge is well appointed and has everything to make one feel pampered. It is luxurious and rustic at the same time. We did not think once that we wished we had brought this or that with, everything was there.

There are quite a few things to do for those who want a little more than the obvious resting and reading activities. One can cycle along the beach during low tide for more than 10km in either direction from the house. We hired a boat to Inhaca Island from Santa Maria to snorkel and do some sightseeing, as well as a guide and vehicle to take us to the old, but still functioning lighthouse. We bought some coconuts from some kids trying to make some extra money along the way. After returning to Santa Maria, we had dinner at Bemugi’s to eat the best prawns and Portuguese chicken in Mozambique. 

While very seldom on the agenda in Machangulo (perhaps the first time ever), we were lucky enough that our week coincided with a visit by the world class Schönbraun Palace Orchestra playing under African Skies.  The orchestra had so much fun and were so impressed by what they experienced, we’re sure they will return again one day.

Our week was eventually up, and we reluctantly bid farewell to Kanimambo and Mendes and his staff. This was a week in paradise, and we had memories to last a lifetime. 

Thank you to Barbara for submitting this awesome write up of their stay at Kanimambo.