Sunday, January 12, 2014

WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO SOUTH AFRICA & MOZAMBIQUE, part 3, White Pearl

SANDS & SEA.
A lovely welcome to White Pearl.
Wrapped in quiet luxury, White Pearl lies on a sublime beach nestled into gigantic sand dunes on the unspoilt coast of southern Mozambique, close to the South African border.

Eternal waves and a beach that goes on forever

At White Pearl you stay in serene comfort, with divine food, spa, your own pool, and wide views of the sea and sand, yet wrapped in the privacy of exuberant greenery.

Suite 6 at White Pearl, Ponta Mamoli

There is some 40 km of unbroken beach stretching all the way from south of Kosi Bay in South Africa to near the capital Maputo.  

The sands are golden with a blush … and you would have to walk 18 km along the beach to get to the next little town. Perfect for someone who wants to jog and get fit amidst exquisite beauty. Or for those who want to wander and pick up seashells on the shore, or just enjoy being here.


Through the tangled bush the beachfront suites give access
to your own beach chairs and your "own" endless  beach -
not a soul in sight

Hideaway on the beach

Ideal  for your honeymoon, your recovery, your treat – suite 6 was our favourite. Suite 5 next door is also fabulous, so are all the beachfront suites, and we also favour suite 11 a little up the slope.

The higher rooms have the furthest views, but then you see the other suite rooftops, so if you have a fantasy about returning to the Garden of Eden you will prefer the views that we had, showing nothing but nature beyond your comfy sofa, your bath with a view and your swimming pool on the deck.


Beach wilderness

Few places in the world have beaches like this. Stretching all the way from Rocktail Bay on the KZN coastline of South Africa to Sant Maria just south of the Mozambique capital, it is in itself pure wilderness most of the way - nearly 40 km. Gigantic sand dunes are draped with glistening green forests where monkeys, bush babies and tiny antelope live off the land. Trees twist and turn, lianes tangle together, and the feel is breathtakingly wild, with the sound of birds and pounding of waves.

Beach fringed by gigantic bush-clothed sand dunes
Lush and tangled greenery on the banks
Here you share the sands with loggerhead and leatherback turtles who have come in since ages past to lay their eggs, and whales mate offshore. The water is tropical as the Trade Winds drive currents down the coast from equatorial regions, so there are coral reefs offshore, colorful fish, rays. Dolphins and sharks on the reefs.
Dune flowers

This was turtle egg laying time. Turtle walking tours go in the evenings when the tide is right. People are encouraged not to do their own turtle tours as you have to be very careful not to disturb these creatures on these inherited sands …. The sands of multi-generations before them…

In the southern winter then the whales come, and play and spawn in these waters.

Rain washed out some of the included activities. Instead of  the usual short thunder storm in the afternoon, steady warm rain came and went on impulse from iron grey clouds. But nothing could spoil the beauty and the peace.



We watched a boat bobbing out over the waves.  Heading for a reef and dolphin waters...
But chose instead to go to the spa, high up with infinity views, for a divine hydromassage on a special hydromassage bed on a rainy day.

Divine hydromassage


What to do





Beach watching by the pool. Swimming, horse riding on the beach, snorkling, diving, beach walking, tours to the nearby elephant reserve. whate watching, turtle watching, dolphin watching. White Pearl has its own dive school and its own boat to take you out over the surf.

For those who absolutely need to swan around in the latest swimwear to be noticed, pop in to little boutiques and markets, or eye the lifeguards, this is not your beach. There are not even any lifeguards.

Nor is it your beach if you want a sea that is glass still like a swimming pool. This is an ocean for those who adore the sense of eternity from the sound of the sea and the tides. For those who like to try surfing, or bobbing  up and down on the waves.



The waves surged in evenly, and kids enjoyed floating in the water behind the first breakers, not far from the edge. The rest of us chose to dip in the infinity pool, the beach bar pool or our own pool. Or just sit on our powder blue sofa staring at the waves. This is the way to fill your soul.



Soul food


A lot of soul is involved in the food too.

The head chef is a treasure who comes from the Polano hotel that dates back as a legend to the days as a Portuguese colony. For us he produced imaginative personal menus headed with our names, and built up on our info given to AndBeyond. Along with interviews with us on site through an interpreter.

Starting with some roast vegetables in the salad







The dining room is all glass to give you the beauty of your surroundings. With candlelight silver and glassware the night has sparkling ambience along with great food. Lunch is served at the beach bar. 

Tapas at the beach bar
Beach bar

The walkways between suites...nature walks with you

Weather

The rainy months in southern Mozambique are Dec-Feb, but usually it is a warm rain that clears QUICKLY to sun giving some 7 hours of sun per day on average. October is the driest month and November is a good balance of less rain (half as much as Dec) and warm temperatures. To quote figures for Bazaruto a little further north: On average there are 7 hours of sun per day in the rainy season, and in December temperatures rise to 30 deg C and do not drop below 24 at night. At the coldest time of the year (July and August) temperatures range between 15 (at night) and 25 deg C (average at the height of the day), and the weather is dry. Even in the coldest months the average temperature of the sea is 23 deg C, rising to an average of 27 in Jan and Feb. By May you get 8 hours of sun per day, average daily minimum of 20 and maximum of 29, and an average sea temp of a pleasant 24.

Getting to White Pearl

Getting there was a delightful adventure. Our wonderful AndBeyond driver Sipo took us to the Kosi Bay border on a surfaced road. White Pearl was already waiting on the other side with the essential 4wd. Then we drove on a sand track - that criss crossed grasslands and then lush tangled dune forest.

Sand track through the rainforest

Friends Bar by the roadside
The atmosphere of southern Mozambique is relaxed, cheerful.  Clean picturesque villages with reed houses and paintings on walls (all by the same artist), offered little pubs and restaurants well frequented by young tourists who seemed to be camping within easy reach of beaches. 

This is the same road you follow if you fly from Maputo by light plane, as the air strip is near the Kosi Bay border with South Africa. However an airstrip closer to White Pearl is under construction.





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