Discover with Mussiro Trips the peace, nature, dunes and beauty of Calanga Beach. Perfect place to disconnect from the rest of the world, bird watching from the dunes and also the rhythms of the soft waves as the sun goes down… And much more!
This tour, departing from Maputo, is a “must do” for any traveller passing by Mozambique.
Departure & Return Location
We will leave from Maputo at 6:30 and drive for 1hr 30mins to Manhica where we will have a short break for coffee and to Calibrate the car tyres in preparation for the driving adventure in the sand.
Your first real adventure will be after passing through the sugar cane plantation where the cars will be literally gliding on sand. For more than 40 mins we will drive on the sand through the forests to
the beach spot.
We will have the welcome drinks with us and set up a marquee so that when you are tired of the sun you can rest in the shade. Meanwhile our catering will be preparing lunch at the beach. Lunch will be served at the beach and thereafter you will have a
free time to fish, just enjoy the music, swim, sunbath. For those interested, we will take a small walk to the other dunes and the marine reserve where we might see turtles and also the places where they lay their eggs.
At around 16:00 we drive back to Maputo to arrive in Maputo around 18:30 with a heart full of lasting memories of this amazing beach site.
Today we take you to Calanga’s Beach, just 100 km away from Maputo City. This is a unique and less explored beach. It is a remote and unspoilt beach, less visited hence very clean.
What makes Calanga’s Beach so unique is its spectacular scenery: white sand and large dunes. If you are planning of taking a break-away day tour out of Maputo, Calanga awaits you –a paradise close to Maputo, between Macaneta and Bilene.
Our Calanga Day Tour starts at 6.00 am picking you up at your point of choice.
This tour includes guide, transport, tolls, breakfast, snacks, drinks, water and lunch, and feel free to bring your extra drinks (gin and tonic or a bottle of wine) as we always carry cooler boxes and ice for your disposal.
You need to bring a hat/cap, sunscreen, water bottle, camera, towel and swimming clothes and don’t forget to carry your passports or ID cards with you.
The language spoken at Calanga is Xitsonga, although in Mozambique it is also referred to as Shangana. Calanga means peace and tranquillity, which is very applicable, as most of the time you will be the only people on the beach, or sometimes you will spot a shepherd with his goats passing by. 😀
Most of the Calanga local people here live from the sea, therefore fishing is a main activity for Calanga’s men, so as the day set you will see them coming in their small boats to the shores. Some also depend on the livestock, keeping goats and cows, so as we drive close to the beach we will see a lot of cows, goats and sheep. The locals use the cattle for milk, meat, and also they use them to plough their farms. This cattle farming is also used to increase overall income to raise their standard of living.
There are few fresh water lagoons, so also as we drive pass, you see women doing some washing of their clothes at these lagoons, and they also use the water from these fresh water lagoons for drinking.
This expedition is ideally for bird watching, dunes hiking and or just enjoy the scenery, read a book, walk along the white sand beach…
We will drive passing Costa do Sol, through the ring road. The drive will take us around 3 hours to reach this paradise. We will also drive through huge sugar plantations stopping at some point to calibre our tyres as we will drive through soft loose sandy for an hour, and this is a sign we are getting closer to the paradise. Are you ready for a free massage? As we drive in this soft sandy it’s like you are at the massage.
Along the trip, as we will drive through the villages, let us know if you would like to stop for a picture or to admire at a view. We want you to have a very memorable tour.
If you are keen on birds, we have seen a few water birds in these lagoons, like egrets, spur-winged goose, ducks, herons, kingfishers… The term water-birds is used to describe the birds that lives on or around water. These adaptations include webbed feet, bills and legs adapted to feed in the water, and these birds have the ability to dive from the surface or the air to catch their food in the water. Well, known diving birds include ducks, geese, pelicans, these highly aquatic birds have evolved special adaptations to their habits, such as waterproof feathers and webbed feet for swimming. Catching food depends on the bird, some birds dive for fish while others hop around on lawns, eat insects that are attracted to lights, running around the beaches with their beaks open.
Fresh water lagoons are perfect scenarios to spot those birds so chat with our guides if you would like to stop for some water birds watching on the way. Small birds can be seen on the marshes, reeds and as you drive passing the sugarcane plantations, species like waxbills, cuckoos, kingfisher, red bishops (just to mention a few) can be easily spotted.
Few kilometers before Manhiça Town we will turn right leaving the highway and driving into Maragra Sugar Plantation, which is a division of the Sugar ILLOVO Africa Company. This group is Africa’s biggest sugar producer and has extensive agricultural and manufacturing operations in six countries. The group produces raw and refined sugar for local and regional Africa. After 1 hour (more or less) through the sugar plantations, we will come to paradise, with beautiful stunning landscapes on the shore of the Indian Ocean.
Crossing these sugarcane plantations will make you feel like in a movie. It’s a huge maze with plenty of “streets” and easy to get lost but also easy to find the way out, hehehe. You only need to drive and drive and drive until the suspension bridge which brought you into this fancy arena.
We will have welcome drinks with us and as soon as we arrive at the beach, our crew will set up the shades, chairs and tables, and quickly serves a welcome drink. You can have some coffee or tea, and snacks.
After the welcome breakfast, now it’s time for you to enjoy. Some love fishing you can try your best but be aware we don’t provide fishing gear, so you need to bring your own, or talk to fishermen and join them with their tasks; they will be happy at sharing their captures afterwards. Or just enjoy the music of the waves, swim and sunbath. If you are a hiker feel free to walk around and explore and climb the dunes around and get lost amongst the canyons they create. It’s safe here, so feel free to walk around. You will probably hear and see vervet monkeys crossing from some dunes to others, and this area is a Marine Reserve for sea turtles. It’s not easy to spot them, as they more active close to reefs and at the end of the day, but if you are lucky and spot some, just enjoy them, even in the sea. And if you spot a nest let us know, please, as we will take care of covering properly to avoid poaching. Turtles are one of the species endangered as their shells and eggs are still hunted.
We can expect leatherback sea turtles, big ones, which will lay 100 eggs per year in around 7 nests, returning to the same nesting location every 2 to 3 years. The female will lay the eggs in a hole and cover with sand; after laying the eggs she will go back to the water. Sea turtles don’t safe guard their nests, they leave the babies on their own, and after 2 months the eggs will hatch and the babies will find their own way to the sea.
Besides turtles, when walking and climbing the dunes, vervet monkeys may come to great you and wait for some food leftovers. These vervet monkeys are called “macaco de cara preta” in Portuguese, meaning black faced monkeys, simply because of their black faces. They are considered as one of the most widespread primates in Africa and very friendly. Vervet monkeys can easily adapt to a variety of habitats, typically living in groups of up to 30 individuals. Troops of these monkeys will live on the edges of forests and even in the middle of swampy habitats or along with the mangroves bushes. Vervet monkeys do not attack humans, but they will bite in self-defence if they are attacked or serious provoked or threatened. They live up to 12 years in the wild and up to 24 years in captivity, they eat a primarily herbivorous diet, living mostly on wild fruits, flowers, leaves, seeds and seed pods. In places where there are agricultural crops, they have become a problem, as they will raid beans crops, peas, young tobacco plants, vegetables, fruits and various grain crops.
There is typically only one baby born at a time after a gestation period of 6 months, and the young ones are well cared for as the mom won’t have another baby for a few years as long as she has one to take care of.
Vervet monkeys are seen feeding from the monkey oranges, locally known as Massala. Monkey orange fruits are a small round fruit with the size of a big orange. These fruits are edible, green when not ripe and yellow when ripe, the shell is strong used for music and decoration, and the fruit is soft. The monkey orange tree is a small tree up to 5 meters tall with spreading branches and a rounded crown and covered in spines. Although the monkey orange tree fruit is widely distributed in Africa, it is underutilized and little attention has been given to its potential commercialization due to limited knowledge and information. It is reportedly that monkey orange fruit has healthy benefits for children and immune-compromised people, who on regular consumption, have reportedly increased weight and resistant to diseases. If it’s season for eating massala we will provide you some to taste it. 😀
Whilst doing dunes hiking, you can also see fruit trees like mobola plums tree. They have a small fruit and is also edible, and the oil extracted from the nuts can be used for cooking. Medicinal applications of the mobola plum include using the bark and leaf extracts for pneumonia symptoms, cataracts and earache. Crushed leaves can be used as a dressing for broken bones or dislocations as well as to heal sores and cuts. Mobola plum is also called hissing tree because of the hissing like noise that the bark makes when cutting the tree. Its fruit is tasty and sweaty and much sought after–rated, the most African wild fruit you can try.
The trees are normally left standing though when areas of woodland are cleared for cultivation, making them a noticeable feature along the roads. The fruit is especially important during periods of food shortages. The nut kernels are a good source of energy, protein, nutritionally valuable minerals and contain good quality oil useful for cosmetic purposes.
Mobola plum tree mostly grows in open woodland, wooded grassland, savannah and often on rocky sites, it is common near rivers and they are considered an indicator of a high-water table.
The fruit skin and pulp are removed with a knife and the seeds washed with water, the pulp can be served as porridge or thickened with meal/flour and cooked to make gruel; the juice can be ferment well and is often used to make alcoholic beverages and can be dried and used as a reserve food. The seeds may be eaten raw or are often roasted, they make excellent substitute for almonds.
Meanwhile whilst you enjoy the day, our crew will be preparing a nice light lunch for you, either sea food or you can choose with our team when you make your booking.
At 1 pm, or at your time you want, we will serve your lunch in our shade, with drinks. Later you will also have the free afternoon to continue enjoying this marvellous location. Depending on the time of the year, we can stay longer for you to enjoy the sunset from the top of the dunes and over the sea of palm trees –this would during winter time.
We also carry some soccer and volley balls with us, so that you have quite things to do during the day and not just swimming.
There is a camp close to Calanga Beach, so if you want to have a nice warm shower before we depart to Maputo, please inform us so that we arrange to take you there.
At around 4 p.m. we will start driving back to Maputo and arriving there around 7 p.m., dropping you at any point of your choice. Let us know how you feel and we are sure you would love to come back there for the 2 days tour, as sleeping under the stars in that destination in very magical.
You are most likely to find George at Maputo Special Reserve or Limpopo, he loves nature, wildlife, cars, and football. We have been trying to put all the four things together but it has been hard to teach lions to play football, but we will get there.