Drinking and Diving

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A quiet day at Ponta d"ouro
Lois Kuhle
Lois Kuhle

LOIS KUHLE  raises a glass in Ponta d’Ouro, Mozambique

Rest and Relaxation should be on everyone’s schedule but in Mozambique an R&R means something different. While you may end up flat on your back, it might not be quite what the doctor had in mind…

A busy day at Ponta d"Ouro, as opposed to a quieter day featured in the main image.
A busy day at Ponta d”Ouro, as opposed to a quieter day featured in the main image.

After scrambling across the dusty border post from Kosi Bay to Ponta d’Ouro, bouncing over the sand dunes with little more than a sand track to follow, you arrive at the bustling coastal town of Ponta d’Ouro, a favourite for drinkers and divers. It was once a small coastal haven for South Africans who owned beach houses, but the war soon took care of that. After the end of the war, and assurances that the land mines had been cleared, South Africans came back in their droves.

‘Fernando’s’ is the first shebeen at the entrance to the village. Perched on the edge of the market place, where everything cooks in the hot sun, Fernando’s has grown from a table and chair establishment to a full-on bar with a huge South African stamp. Over the years patrons have taken ownership of the bar and catapulted Fernando into infamy.

Visitor Debra O'Connell has a YIKES moment as the barman pours out a few R&Rs. Pictures: Lois Kuhle
Visitor Debra O’Connell has a YIKES moment as the barman pours out a few R&Rs. Pictures: Lois Kuhle

No Ponta visitor worth his salt passes Fernando’s without stopping for a traditional R&R. Great big beer mugs are slapped on the table. A full bottle of Tipo Tinto* rum  is splashed over ice cubes with a dash of Sparletta raspberry to finish it off. The mug is already filled to the brim with rum leaving little space for the raspberry.

It’s only there for colour. With great enthusiasm mugs are clinked, cheers and toasts are made, and down the hatch she goes. Say ‘good-night’ because that’s one helluva drink! Life after that is seen through rose tinted glasses, the ice is  broken and everyone makes new best friends. Welcome to Ponta d’Ouro – the little drinking town with a diving problem!

*Tipo Tinto the Mozambican Rum has been made in Maputo, Mozambique since the 1920′s.