Helpful info for planning your trip

Being fully informed regarding your trip to Balistidae ensures you’ll be well prepared and have complete peace of mind. The following information should be helpful.

Getting to Balistidae

The most convenient way of getting there is by boat from Maputo. ‘Titan’ is a safe and secure craft which is licensed to carry up to 12 passengers (plus crew) and luggage and will normally take 1 hour to complete the 40 kilometre crossing.

Titan is usually skippered by Marcos or Thomas, both of whom are qualified skippers with over 10 years of experience in sailing and skippering large boats. The boat is fully seaworthy and is fitted with a transponder VHF radio, life jackets and all required safety equipment.

Transfers will only be conducted at wind speeds of 20 knots or under, at the skippers final discretion. The boat is equipped with a toilet and there is sufficient dry seating for ladies and children in the event that a choppy windy sea causes a side spray.

Guests flying into Maputo can be shuttled between the airport and the marina and there are several quality restaurants for a meal before boarding the boat for the crossing.

Your holiday really starts the moment you hop aboard Titan – thereafter you’re in good hands.

Transfer on the Titan is currently charged at R11 000 return for a max of 12 pax.

Balistidae map

Malaria

Unfortunately the whole of Mozambique is painted by the same red brush and as such is all indicated as a high risk malaria area. This could not be further from the truth. For malaria to spread, it needs concentrations of anopheles mosquitos as well as a population of people infected with malaria. In the absence of either, or both, the chances of contracting the disease reduce to insignificance.

At Balistidae, we are lucky in that there is no source of permanent fresh water close by and the lodge is a good few kilometres from the closest permanent village.

Guests should therefore not be overly concerned about malaria and should only consider taking prophylactics if vulnerable.

Medical emergencies

The lodge is situated in a remote area and while there is a first aid kit on site, medical emergencies will be dealt with according to the severity thereof.

There is a clinic on Inhaca Island which is capable of administering a drip and performing basic stabilization of patients.

More severe emergencies will need to be transferred to Maputo for medical attention. During the day, a boat can be scrambled for the crossing – even in relatively bad weather. At night however, skippers will be reluctant to cross to Maputo in bad weather. Helicopters are also not easily dispatched in bad weather at night.

As is the case with all lodges in remote areas, take care and be sensible. Help for severe cases is not immediately available and it will take time to get patients to proper medical facilities.

Local supplies, amenities

The town of Santa Maria is small and remote. Basic provisions are available but it is best to come to the lodge well prepared. The following food and drinks are usually always available in town:

Colas, local beer, some wine, non-premium alcohol brands, local pau (French loaf style bread), basic cosmetics and toiletries, sanitary products, basic foodstuffs like maize meal, rice, tinned food, fresh tomatoes, fresh onions, fresh potatoes, some fruit, long life milk, batteries, sweets, chips, etc.

Eating and drinking out

The most highly recommended local restaurant and bar is Bemujis (pronounced ‘Bem-gees’). Their rustic Mozambiquan vibe and ‘feet-in-the-sand’ dining is an experience not to be missed. Specialties include all types of fish and shellfish as well as various Portuguese peri-peri chicken. Best accompanied by a rum-n-raspberry of course.

The beach bar south of Balistidae just outside Nhonguane lodge is a worthy pit stop for sundowner GnT’s, RnR’s or an ice-cold local beer – of which 2M is the most renowned.

If you happen to be passing through from the lodge towards town, stop and support one of the local baraccas. They serve ice cold drinks with a big smile and enjoy the support of tourists.

Law enforcement

The local law enforcement officers have received a bad reputation over many years for their hostile attitude towards tourists and for soliciting bribes. Things are however improving but all guests are required to adhere to these simple guidelines:

  • Obey speed limits, traffic signals and always wear your seat belt;
  • Comply with requirements like compulsory third party road insurance;
  • Never drive on the beach;
  • Buy the relevant licenses required if you plan to fish or launch a boat;
  • Respect law enforcement officials but don’t be intimidated if you are not in the wrong. Remaining courteous but firm shows that you are not a soft target for a bribe.