Mozamboogy!

Mozamboogy! And the adventure of getting there! This festival rocked through the end of August ending on the most beautiful Spring Day of 2019.

RIOTS!

We lumbered around the circle just outside of Hluhluwe. Came out the other side to find another procession of vehicles. Then another. And another. All stopped on the side of the road. Police had cordoned the exodus off, right on our journey to our first Mozamboogy.

Gave it a try, stating our SASRIA riot insurance would get us through. Nada. Then all of a sudden, around the same circle comes an FJ sported by the dude who owns Kosi Bay Lodge. He has clients also jammed and so sought out a route through. And we were invited to follow him around the riots. So now our procession was real impressive. Thirty or so cars and bakkies and trucks now took up position behind us and the FJ and off into the dust of Africa we went. And got through.

BORDER

The border was reasonably quiet because of the riots hemming them off, but in an instant, it became very busy with all the new arrivals, and the queue rolled out for miles behind us. But the operation was slick and we only heard of a few people who could not make it across for that first night.

PONTO DO’ OURO

Bustling. The new bridge and road have this place cooking now. If you rock in from Jhb, there is so need to turn left up to Tofo or Vnx anymore. Punters can just turn right rather and in less than an hour, you are in the delightful Ponto. The gateway to Molongane. And the Elephant Reserve. And so much more Mozambique. So from Jhb to the border, might be 5 or 6 hours. Plus an hour south. Wow!

PONTO MOLONGANE

This always a favourite place for me. The tropical forest could just keep me there forever. Milkwoods. Ancient. One of the mornings a dewy air rolled in off the ocean. The forest went misty and mysterious. The animals were loving it, as were we.
Our campsite was delightful with electricity and close to amenities. The staff were friendly and funny and everything about the toilets and showers worked great. Clean was the word. Nothing ran out. The water was hot most times. The power stayed on!

MOZAMBOOGY!

Is a collection of fun and eccentric party people who hail from all corners to celebrate.
The organisers have done a great job. Again and again. The resort is so perfectly suited to the application. Punters went out diving and on ocean safaris. Others were kiteboarding and surfing. Fishing even. The beach. The beautiful empty pure beach. Was filled with pretty people each day.
The venue sucked up the 1000 plus guests easily enough, with space for more next year. And so next year. There is always a rumour around that another big new development might make a problem for Mozamboogy, but in this place, the last thing you bet on, is a rumour. And so next year, Ponto Molongane will definitely be hosting the Mozamboogy another time.

DJs

Trance: wow this music can get heavy but with no lack of takers, this dance floor thumped the entire time.
Beach Bar: DJ Tushi stole the show. He performed! And luckily kept the standard very high in the face of a few more mellow performances by some others. I observed, that if a DJ does not look up at his audience, and make at least some eye contact, the dance floor empties rapidly. Especially if the music is changed too far from current stuff that everyone was digging already. And so many exoduses up and down the beach bar stairs could be observed.

And a little Ponto Molangane market gallery…

NEXT YEAR

Mozamboogy run a really decent online show – with website and facey pages. The facey group dedicated to the festival was real enertaining too! Like a running commentary! But either way, it was easy to book and pay online, even choose from the many options available for things-to-do in Ponto Molongane, and find out all you need to know.

Check it out at http://mozamboogy.com

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Praia do Chongoene to Xai Xai reveals views like this the whole way along

Back in Xai-Xai

Back in Xai-Xai

Being back in Xai-Xai is always a treat. The backpackers here is right on the beach. It’s a scintillating view out the front, over the waves. It’s quiet most times. There is very little to distract you from chilling out on the beach a few days and nights in this cool spot.

And it’s halfway between Maputo and Inhambane. Perfect stopover to break the journey.

Straight out front is the huge Xai-Xai bathing tidal pool. A completely natural swimming enclosure, that operates with the tides. At high tide, it’s deep and with strong currents. And the low tide is epic for swimmers and frolickers. Just be sure to get your tides right (first mention).

The view from the verandah at the backpackers in Xai-Xai
The view from the verandah at the backpackers in Xai-Xai

If you cruise the sand road beach boulevard north, you pass a range of lodges, restaurants and hotel-like operations. The Xai Xai beach north is another surprise of empty beach after empty beach. And is really burgeoning with development as the country opens up even more. Just watch out for those currents! (2nd Warning).

The rock and surf fishing here has been enjoyed by local and visiting anglers alike, for a very long time. Big GT’s (Giant Trevally, aka Kingfish, aka Caranx Ignoblis) are caught and released here. As are the elusive and cunning snapper species like the Red Snapper, and the Speckled Snapper. These fish are also released by sport anglers and are just so hard to catch, so they seem to survive ok, in this area! The ocean is actually quite wild here with that fierce rock shelf standing up to the mighty Indian Ocean. And a 4m tide range making for some very confused and angry waters swirling with super-strong currents. (Another warning).

Yet another empty beach on the Xai-Xai strip
Yet another empty beach on the Xai-Xai strip

Then, as you weave along the casuarina and milkwood lined ocean road, it finally opens up into the deserted Chongoene Hotel and it’s ghosts. When 24/24 came along (the expulsion of non-cooperative foreign nationals), a bunch of wild ones stayed behind at the hotel, and after a week of partying, were summarily shot!?

4x4 Necessary to get past the old deserted hotel at Chongoene
4×4 Necessary to get past the old deserted hotel at Chongoene

Fuller story read right here…

https://web.facebook.com/groups/shuttletomoz/permalink/1531240490343715/

BUt wow! What an alarmingly interesting piece of coastline is that little drive from Xai Xai to Chongoene Beach and the deserted hotel. Did we mention that the road is strictly 4WD, especially the last section up past the hotel and back onto the more gentle road back to the EN1 tar section? Well it is, strictly 4WD.

And did we mention the strong currents?

Join The Sardine Team as we work and around Southern Africa. We have been taking on volunteers to assist with the myriad of duties and challenges Africa presents. We are in Vilanculos the next few weeks, working with a whale research team from Tel a Aviv University. Along with facilitating research and remote operations for the marine and bush – conservation and research realms – we can also help you put your dream holiday together, – anywhere in and around Southern Africa.

We will be operating in the Inhambane Province of Mozambique until the end of cyclone season next year. Tag and release fishing with ORI. We are looking for the tagging types – bring your own tackle, we got the tags and the boats.

Get in touch with Sean on umzimkulu@gmail.com or +27 79 326 9671. Check out our current projects and offerings on http://thesardine.co.za/travel/.

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Underwater Africa Ocean Observatory

Underwater Observatory in Mozambique by Calum Murie

Underwater Observatory in Mozambique by Calum Murie

Calum Murie, when he’s not out catching and tagging huge sharks for science, can be found deploying underwater observatory style camera rigs, all over Mozambique.

Calum and his band of volunteers at Underwater Africa designed this simple but effective underwater observatory camera rig – with bait and all!

The Morey Eels love being on camera, and literally dominate the entire show, whenever Calum and crew deploy their rigs. Up in Bazaruto and Benguerra Island two huge Moreys spent literally hours trying to figure out how to get at the free bait.

Without revealing too much, you can look forward to literally hundreds of fish and other marine animals in this particularly well edited clip. Soundtrack too!

The underwater observatory work that Calum is doing up here, is the first of it’s type here in Mozambique.

You can look forward to more of Calum and crew’s phenomenal work as they perfect the art of deploying an underwater observatory in Inhambane waters. His work is constantly being refined and the cameras can now stay down longer and film more. Having developed a crew that understands the value of the results and how important it is to deploy perfectly every time, is what is producing these results.

You can learn more about Underwater Africa and their research work going on in Praia do Tofo, where they are based. Their shark tagging program has been a great success. The Sardine crew have been assisting and getting right involved. Sonar tagging Zambezi sharks, and Copper Sharks, the data is being used to formulate a plan to reduce shark and human encounters up and down this coast. The spate of shark attacks that occurred up the Inhambane Estuary towards Morrumbuene is what kicked off the project. Listening stations are deployed along the entire East Coast of Southern Africa, and record when a tagged sharks swims past.

Ultimately, proving that Zambezi (and the other usual suspects) sharks are not wanderers, that they stay on their pieces of reef and ocean, is what can lead to measures, to curb the attacks.

If you are interested in this kind of activity and you have some time on your hands, please get in touch. We need help tagging these sharks up here, it’s not easy work, and it can be dangerous too.

Accommodation is rustic luxury and we have many boats to choose from for when we go out tagging sharks.

The Sardine is also facilitating tag and release programs for gamefish. Billfish included. But mainly targeting high value data fish that are in jeopardy and nobody has any data on them. You can see more of The Sardine’s adventure options by clicking here.

Get in touch with Sean on umzimkulu@gmail.com or WhatsApp +27 79 326 9671, anytime.

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Here is a little baby marlin being released in the beginning of last year’s (2018) season…off Benguerra Island, with Jason Morkel on the rod, and Sean Lange on the trace.

Bazaruto October Fishing Report by Captain Duarte Rato

Bazaruto October Fishing Report by FishBazaruto

Bazaruto October Fishing Report by FishBazaruto:

For October, we have Captain Duarte Rato of FishBazaruto with a marlin packed gallery featuring his marlin taming exploits recently fishing up off Vilanculos and the Bazaruto Archipelago.

Read the full story here…

by Captain Duarte Rato

It has NOT been an easy season up in Baz. The winds have been wreaking havoc with our charters. Luckily for the GTs and the inshore spots! This is the best thing about Bazaruto and surrounding waters – there is so much variety and so many different genres of fishing to enjoy! From the marlin out the back, to the gamefish in the channels between the islands and then all the very many inshore spots – you can fish in any reasonably bad weather for sure.

The gallery…

FishBazaruto still have a few slots left for 2019. You can get in touch with Captain Duarte Rato by popping on over to his website at http://fishbazaruto.com.

We have many other options too that you can choose from to make up your dream fishing holiday. From budget all the way on up to FishBaz. And from Inhaca to Pemba. South Africa too. Get in touch if you would like us to tailor make a trip just for you and your family or friends. We don’t focus only on marlin and Bazaruto at The Sardine. We also do estuary and fly fishing experiences. Spearfishing. Light tackle boat. Spin fishing. Rock and Surf. All up and down the Southern African seaboard. Contact Sean on umzimkulu@gmail.com. Or WhatsApp +27 79 326 9671 anytime really!

You can also check through the menu item Trips and Travel above or follow this link: http://thesardine.co.za/product-category/fishing-experiences/

And easily keep up with the news and our seasonal offerings by staying on top of The Sardine News’ various channels…YouTubeInstagramFacebookTwitter.

Fishing Benguerra

Fishing Benguerra: 2 Black marlin, one brown – on same live bait in same minute!

Fishing Benguerra: 2 Black marlin, one brown – on same live bait in same minute!

We had been catching and tagging Zambezi sharks. And recording humpback whale and calf conversations. For three weeks straight. In all kinds of seas and conditions. And so it was absolutely great to be out to tag marlin again. The core BCSS crew were aboard. Captain Bento and crew Pedro and Mario. Dr. Mario Lebrato. And me. We are all fishing mad and this heaven-sent day was just what we all needed to unwind and blow off some steam.

I wanted a marlin for Dr. Mario but when we got down to business, the sharks had eaten our entire box of 22/0 circle hooks. And we were left with our sailfish sized models. But there have been loads of small fish about, and sailfish. So when that beautiful little very unlucky skipjack found itself on the deck. I rigged it up with the small circle and let it go.It took a while to find a frigate bird way up on top, circling with promise. The bird was way above a flock of terns enjoying the action down below. And as we sneaked up on the bait ball, with action all around us, I got a solid strike. Then the fish picked up the bait and headed off with purpose. When the lines and smoke got cleared, I looked down to see the heavy shark purposed braid already melted off towards the half way mark. I pushed the lever forward and felt that almighty power as a huge black marlin took to the skies. Her bill was soooo thick. By now the reel was down to a third and it was with some relief that we all saw her throw the bait, still kicking, way through the air. We would never have turned that boat in time to give chase. But we were out for a laugh and we have been seeing so many marlin that we really, just had a laugh about it.

Then. The bait righted itself and there it was, kicking away merrily. Slowly I brought the bait back towards the boat, when bang, another strike. I was hoping it was not the same fish! And it wasn’t. A fish half the size of the first one greyhounded around us. A spritely male that also regurgetated the bait. Completely intact and still kicking determinedly we watched the unlucky skipjack fly through the again. Hitting the water with a splash we heard over the water from 30m away!

When I felt the bait still kicking again this time, I just handed the rod to Dr. Mario. Who promptly hooked a hammerhead of about 120kgs, that Mario broke the rod on, and we had to handline up. Easy job with that heavy braid.

It was super to encounter that first real big fish. She was so thick and fat. Compared to the rat that took the skipjack the second time. The reel wasn’t big enough either, even with that power braid, we would never have stood a chance. So in the end, the hook matched the tackle just fine. And it’s great that the fish got away scot-free.

Everyone else around us is also getting marlin every day. It’s an incredible scene. You can keep up by staying on top of The Sardine News’ various channels…YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

You can also check out Captain Duarte Rato and his marlin taming antics on their website http://fishbazaruto.com and social networks too. Duarte really has raised the bar and produces excellent results by global standards as he consistently releases marlin after marlin, species after species, up here in the waters around Benguerra Island and surrounds.

If you would like to join us fishing like this, The Sardine has many options on offer. From super budget camping and small boats. To luxury lodges and sportfishers. To live aboard mothership with 24ft gamefisher and a huge range.

You might also be interested in the goings on at the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies. It’s exciting times as scientists and researchers have begun utilising the facility.

Get in touch on umzimkulu@gmail.com or try the menu item Trips and Travel above.