I know what it entails to read a travel blog; escapism doesn’t cost a thing and reading about nice places doesn’t mean you’ll cry about not experiencing them yourself.
But writing one is a different story. I do try to keep it real and I am well aware of the huge gap between the people who can afford to go places and the people who cannot. Especially living here, where for most it is not even about being able to afford to go on holiday but rather being able to afford to pay for enough food to put on the table every day.
Hence my somehow weird procrastination about writing this post.
Going to Nahyeeni Lodge implies booking it a very long time in advance and giving a deposit that already feels wrong, so high is the advance payment.
Going there with my very dear French friend Christine didn’t help ease the feeling either!
Anyhow, after discussing it over a long exchange of emails and skype calls, Christine and I decided that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was the first time that she was coming to visit us in Mozambique and the first time for her husband and kids to go so far away from home. She is a hard-working doctor in France and had the money to do it. We had been in Maputo for over a year then, and after a year living here, it was strange to never have stayed on an island less than an hour away from Maputo. Also, a lot of people had mentioned Nahyeeni Lodge as THE lodge to go to when going to Inhaca Island.
Because we were already dumbfounded by the amount of money we were going to spend anyway, we ended up going totally nuts and chose the full board option, making this trip the first one when I actually really felt like a white girl having a (really) good time in Africa.
Now that I have got this out the way, and every white and/or wealthy person reading this has reflected on their whiteness/financial means and the privileges that go with it, let’s write about our stunning weekend on Inhaca.
Inhaca is right there, only 45 minutes away from Maputo by motor boat:
You don’t decide when you go there. The tide decides for you. We were lucky and only had to turn up at the harbour for 8 o’clock in the morning. Do not tempt fate. Just arrive on time.
The people who were going to look after us during our stay, as well as the very friendly manager of the lodge, were there waiting for us and welcomed us when we arrived at the harbour.
The journey was okay on the whole, though bumpy, but that’s what the Indian Ocean does to you.
We were all pretty excited. But nothing compared to our state of delirium when we actually climbed up the stairs and saw the lodge with our own eyes.
Damn. So that’s what we were lucky enough to enjoy for 3 days. I hadn’t even realised when I booked that the lodge would be ours alone for the length of our stay, even though they do have extra bungalows in the garden for more people to stay on top of the main house. We reminded ourselves that the experience was nothing but literally extra-ordinary and enjoyed every second of it.
Look at the view we had.
As soon as we arrived, we jumped into the pool and then started organising our schedule (yes, I know, very me but my friend is strangely enough -or not!- the same). The boat that had taken us there had dropped anchor in the water down below and the captain was available on request to go and visit places (for extra costs obviously but that was not too bad).
We agreed to go snorkelling towards Santa Maria. Every one calls it Santa Maria Reserve but it is not on Santa Maria Peninsula. It is indeed a bit confusing but it is at the very end of Inhaca and you can see Santa Maria on the other side but the water is rough and there is no way you could swim across there, even though it’s very close. The kids did snorkelling for the first time in their life with their new, very ugly, futuristic-looking Decathlon masks on and it was a-ma-zing. Marlowe stayed in the water as long as he could. We literally had to pull him out of the water. Some of us went for a walk. Others just stayed sunbathing on the beach. Pretty chilled out afternoon, to say the least.
As you can see, we did have to push the boat for a while before taking off because the tide was pretty low and the boat was sitting firmly on the sand. To be honest, I didn’t remember it (maybe because I didn’t push that much?!?). Or maybe the colourful starfishes and the flamingoes flying along quickly made us forget the episode.
Another stunning outing was our walk to the lighthouse. It was hot and a long walk with kids but they’re used to walking pretty much now and it was so worth it. The boat trip was okay on the way there but totally crazy on the way back as we had to go out into the open sea and cross through the waves to do so. But apart from that little (big) fright, all went smoothly and we really enjoyed that walk.
Take a lot of water and snacks if you happen to do it. Even grown-ups will be happy to munch on an apple or some cashew nuts after the exercise (and a beer or two should totally be ready to be opened in the cool box)!
It is hard to find the words in order not to sound cheesy about it but on the whole our weekend was amazing and we would definitely go back every weekend if we could afford it! The lodge, the location, the island, the view, the food, the people working there, everything and every one… It is a very special place and we felt very special too to be there.
Thank you Christine for making us go there and enjoying this little paradise together 🙂