The road there gives away nothing about the fabulousness you are about to experience. It has barely any tar left and forces you to meander along rough sand roads created next to the almost nonexistent road to avoid the immense potholes that have taken it over.
It’s hot, dusty, humid and bumpy, but this is southern Mozambique; a 4×4 is the bare minimum in this area.
As you arrive at The White Pearl a strong sea breeze brushes through reception, forcing you to forget about that rugged road, and as you look towards the Indian Ocean, all is forgiven.
Hidden in a sheltered bay in Ponta Mamoli is The White Pearl, a lodge with 22 free-standing units that adapt to the environment as opposed to taking it over. The deck design allows nature to continue on its way with minimal disruption and really seems to form part of the ecosystem.
The hospitality is on another level, the food amazing and the views out of this world. In short, it as close to heaven on earth that I can imagine.
The Isuzu mu-X Mozambique adventure put us up there during our trip around Ponto do Ouro. The rugged off-road driving during the day contrasted with the luxury we were exposed to afterwards.
As Cyclone Idai made landfall in northern Mozambique, causing massive damage, I couldn’t help but feel bad as I looked eastwards over the ocean towards perfect skies and a scorching sun from the safety of my private-suites pool with a 2M beer in my hand.
I received a message from family in South Africa about my safety and I assured them I was fine, but I wasn’t just fine, I was great!
There are two types of suites: the beach pool suites offer direct access to the beach; the pool suites back up against the dune forest.
Each suite has a living area, personal bar, stylish bedroom with a king-size bed and luxurious en suite bathroom. All are equipped with air conditioning and have in-room unlimited wi-fi access.
As you’d expect from such a top-end establishment, staying there is not cheap. The “rack rates” – the base rates, which are often subject to discounts in the travel business – start at $500 (R7 190) per person per night. However, that is an all-inclusive rate, which is something rare in the hospitality business these days.
And they do have a generous definition of all-inclusive. At White Pearl, what you pay includes full breakfast, lunch (excluding oysters and lobster on the Beach Bar menu), afternoon tea, mini-bar snacks, three-course dinner, canapés at the pool bar, teas, coffees, local beers, soft drinks, a selection of spirits, selected cocktails, mini bar spirits, house wines, sparkling wine and bottled mineral water.
There is also a private butler service, laundry service (to the value of $40 per adult, per stay) and unlimited wi-fi. The resort also has a medi-vac helicopter on standby for medical emergencies.
Activities – some are included, others you pay extra for – comprise beach sports, picnics, shoreline fishing, surfing/kayaking and stargazing/moongazing.
For more information, visit www.whitepearlresorts.com