This is a one of a kind lodge, offering both the bush and the beach in one package. Anvil Bay in Chemucane is accessed via a road transfer from Maputo or from the Kosi Bay border with South Africa. Alternatively a helicopter transfer can be arranged from Maputo. Or of course, self drive, which is what we did.
MAPUTO SPECIAL RESERVE
We came in from the Kosi Bay border and through the Maputo Special Reserve in a 4×4 camper van. The new Maputo / Catembe bridge and the main tar road that runs from Maputo all the way to Ponta d’Ouro has made this a somewhat shorter journey. However, once you enter the Maputo Special Reserve (previously known as the Elephant Reserve), going is very slow. 4×4 is essential and in places the sand is extremely soft and deep.
One can enter the reserve through the South Gate, also called the Gala Gate, or through the West or Futi Gate.
The prices to enter the reserve are different for locals, SA citizens and for other International guests, but the cost is negligible. Around 900 mets for a vehicle and 600 mets per person for South Africans. Slightly more for International visitors.
The West gate is somewhat easier and a shorter route in the soft sand. The Maputo Special Reserve is home to southern Africa’s last herds of coastal elephant, and covers an area of 1040 square kilometres, with breath taking sand and mangrove forests, lakes, wetlands and grasslands. Aside from the elephants, there is a chance to see, amongst other wildlife; giraffe, zebra, reedbuck, nyala, suni, red duiker, hippos and even crocodiles. The birdlife is also prolific and varied, with 359 bird species recorded.
The trip from the gate to the lodge is usually around 2 hours, but it took us closer to 4 hours, as we were going quite slow in our rather large and cumbersome 4×4 Landcruiser campervan. We also stopped a few times for game viewing.
We only saw a couple of other vehicles on the entire drive, making it feel as if we were the last people on earth, in one of the more beautiful parts of the planet.
On arrival at Anvil Bay we parked and had our bags taken to the lodge on their golf cart. We were welcomed by Ricky and Paul Bell, the trustees of Anvil Bay. They are truly wonderful hosts and they and their staff are all extremely friendly and helpful.
The lodge has 10 casinhas, each with a thatched roof and canvas walls. The rooms have beautiful wooden floors and decking around them, but the pathways are all sand. We were advised to rather take to the beach to get from our casinha to the public areas, to avoid potentially harmful creepy crawlies, so our calves had a good workout in the soft sand back and forth! Head torches are provided by the lodge as the lighting is minimal.
Anvil Bay is an eco-lodge operating with solar panels but they also have gas for the water heaters.
The rooms are open plan with the bathroom separated with only a wall between the toilet and the rest of the room. The shower is also open. The rooms are large and beautifully furnished with a king size bed and comfortable sofas. A mini bar and tea/coffee making station complete the room.
The main area is actually right on the beach! Most meals are served here under a large stretched canvas roof, with side walls on one side. If the weather is inclement, there is a dining and lounge area set back from the beach, but this is also just beach sand at your feet. The kitchen is to one side of this dining area.
The food was really superb! This is a small lodge and they do ask for dietary requirements, but if you have no specific requests, the food is varied enough with delicious seafood and meat being offered, with a selection of side dishes and fresh salads. The pizza we had on one evening and the pancakes one morning at breakfast deserve a special mention.
The beach is a wide expanse of soft white sand and is pristine and unspoilt. There are resident Fish Eagles who frequent the specially built wooden perch on one end of the beach.
Anvil Bay has a few boats available for snorkelling and fishing excursions. They also have sea kayaks, stand up paddle boards and bicycles for the more energetic. The months from July to October are whale watching season and dolphins can also be seen on the ocean safaris offered by the lodge.
From October to March each year one may be privileged to witness the nesting of Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles. The emergence of the Hatchlings occurs from December to late March. Anvil Bay participates in the turtle monitoring program and guests can participate in a turtle tour during these months.
We were invited to walk down to the lake for sundowners and this was a quite a treat! Unfortunately it was overcast, but despite this it is so incredibly peaceful and beautiful, that the lack of the sun did not detract from our enjoyment. One can also take a walk around the dam and end up on this lovely deck area over the water of the dam for snacks and sundowners of your choice.
Anvil Bay is quite unique in that it offers the best of a bush experience on one side with a beautiful beach on the other!
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