Pleasure Bay


Bridget Hilton-Barber

Bridget Hilton Barber wonders why southern Mozambique doesn’t do a “wild coast meander” after walking on a beach with a dog

Pleasure Bay is an evocative name. Hey bebe, wanna take a walk down Pleasure Bay? Chances are you’d say yes. Well, I’m not sure quite what I’d had in mind – satin sheets, trumpeting angels, men with chocolates – but as it turned out, Pleasure Bay rewarded me with one of the simplest pleasures of all.

Palm fringed view of Pleasure Bay. Picture: Bridget Hilton Barber

“You don’t dive?” asked our hosts Charmaine and Gerald of Pleasure Bay.

“No”, we said, “we take photographs, and he,” – pointing at our friend Simon – “paints watercolours”.

We could see they were slightly bemused at the thought of having three non-diving, un-sporty, middle-aged Bohemian Seffricans to stay.  This was after all, one of southern Mozambique’s top dive spots, famed for its Manta Reef and Lighthouse Reef sites, for its extra deep swimming pool, for its popular dive centre. What were they to do with nary a wetsuit between us?

Being gracious hosts and consummate professionals Charmaine and Gerald suggested tequilas immediately, followed by the sunrise walk in the morning. It was a good call. The east coast is sunrise central. We woke in the dark, charged up a quick espresso on the stove, and were scrambling down the dunes with our cameras as the very first light broke in the east. We’d just made it down to the shores when behind us came a flurry of sand, an enthusiastic bark and Miro, the Jack Russell.  He belongs to Charmaine and Gerald and lends himself out for added value.

Walking with Miro. PIcture: Bridget Hilton Barber

As the Indian Ocean’s waves crashed eternally and the day dawned gold-pink-salmon, Miro went beach befok. He chased the breaking waves up and down the endless beach. He swam. He body surfed, frolicked, dug in the sand, chased seagulls, greeted the fishermen, peed on flotsam and jetsam… and that was only in the first five seconds.

What is it about a walk on a beach with a dog? Is it the comedy, the philosophy, the simplicity? You can have all the riches in the world, but life without a walk on a beach with a dog is a poor substitute, we all agreed on our dawn stroll.

Fisherman at Paindane Bay. Picture: Bridget Hilton-Barber

We passed fishermen on their way to launch their tiny boats, we saw a man catching fish. We passed the odd tourist strolling or running, a few small boys on a morning jaunt, a woman carrying things on her head, people going about their morning on a remote beach up the southern coast.  We felt as if we could walk forever. Which begs the question – why is no one in southern Mozambique doing the same kind of Wild Coast Meander we have in SA?

We walked and walked until the sun was high in the sky and then we walked back to Pleasure Bay. We spent the rest of the day on our veranda drinking G&Ts, chatting and watching whales. Simon made some watercolours of palm trees which he later traded for curios. My darling made us scrambled eggs and sardine sandwiches with Portuguese water biscuits. We spoke of possibility and creativity and the joy of simple things in life – like a walk on a beach with a dog.

It was one of the nicest days on our recent road trip up the lagoon coast.

Paindane Bay. Picture: Bridget Hilton Barber
  • The lowdown: Pleasure Bay has self-catering chalets set in the dunes. The chalets have basic kitchenettes and showers; you can also eat in the main restaurant which serves breakfasts, light lunches and wonderful seafood dinners. There is a dive centre here if you are keen to learn how to dive; other activities are deep sea fishing, boat rides, snorkelling , kayaking. Pleasure Bay is reached only by 4×4; otherwise leave your car at the nearby garage some 5kms away, and they will do transfers & shuttles.