We left Windhoek, Namibia, flew to Johannesburg and spent a (thankfully) uneventful evening in Johannesburg. The kids were sure we wouldn't make it out of that city alive, so they were quite excited when we got on the plane to Maputo, Mozambique.
Maputo is a big city (almost 3 million people) but it has a tiny little airport - I think because they've been at war for so many years, most people can't afford to fly, and Mozambique doesn't get a lot of tourists. After arriving in Maputo we got a ride to the Maputo Marina and then took a boat for about 1 1/2 hours to Machangulo Beach Lodge on the Santa Maria Peninsula. We saw the cool and very efficient dhouws (a sailing fishing boat of Arab origin) out fishing en route and eventually we arrived at the very remote and beautiful Machangulo beach.
In Machangulo we had six days and nothing at all planned - it was a really welcome change from most of the rest of our trip. We chilled on the beach a lot, visited nearby Santa Maria village, swam, snorkelled and hung out. One day Shannon, Noah and Robyn went whale watching and saw some very impressive humpbacks. Our intrepid photographer, Noah, got some amazing photos of the whales breaching and smacking their fins on the water. HIs mom, Shannon, spent most of her time saying, "Noah, get that photo!", "Noah, did you get that?"....
Shannon enjoyed some beautiful morning walks on the beach. We all enjoyed going online and getting updated on the Olympics. We did a little jig and big old Canadian YEEEEEHAW when the soccer gals brought home bronze again and when De Grasse ran like the wind on De track!
We LOVED Machangulo so much. It was really mellow, a beautiful and relaxed natural setting and so few people around. It was a great way to wrap up our big adventure.
We left Machangulo on the morning of August 20th, really sad to leave but excited about getting home. We arrived in Maputo about one hour later and had 5 hours to burn, so we hung out at the super swish Polana Hotel for a few hours before heading to the airport. They were great. They let us store all our stuff there and just hang out in their lobby, pool deck and restaurant. The hotel was built in 1922 and should be in a movie. It's an incredible 1920's colonial hotel that I'm sure has seen many interesting characters pass through its doors. However, it seemed out of place to have such an upscale hotel in a city so poverty stricken.
Robyn and Anth had developed colds, so they really appreciated just laying low. Noah and Shannon strolled over to a craft market a few blocks away and saw some very cool local art. Then off to the airport for a one hour flight to Johannesburg, then a 5 hour layover until our 10 hour evening flight to London.