Carrusca Mar & Sol

In a place where any journey anywhere is going to take some time, it makes some sense that weekend trips to the coast, to Nacala or Ilha, are seen as simple excursions just out of town. And driving for just over 2 hours, mostly on a relatively smooth tar road is nothing compared to the hours of total relaxation one earns, being in the middle of nowhere.

And this is my excuse for going away on another weekend break, this time to Chocos Mar, found along the road to Ilha. The turn off to Chocos takes us off the tar and onto a sandy and rain rutted road, fun for the driver, not so much fun for the passengers who get the most bounce out of each ditch and donga.

It’s worth it though – Chocos is one of my favourite spots here in Nampula Province. It is the quintessential Mozambican stretch of coast with nothing but long thin palm trees slightly bent, water patchworked in turquoise, aquamarine and denim blues, a beach with sand so bright it blinds and clusters of mangroves that the tides fill and empty of water throughout the day.

The actual town of Chocos Mar has its own strange atmosphere. Here, there are small flat roofed holiday houses that on a whole seem to have been out of use for some time. This was after all the Hermanus or Plettenberg Bay of the Mozambican Portuguese before they lost their rule. Now signs of revival show with some of the cottages showing off new coats of paint but the dirt streets, laid out in a 2X3 grid along the coast line, are still deserted, some buildings stand incomplete and empty. It’s the quiet that is so strange – no holiday making sounds, no cars, no people sitting in bars. But no doubt there will be a day of revival, it has started already, these things just take time out here in Mozambique.

We head through the town and on to Carrusca, a new development with 5 cottages and a bar/restaurant. The cottages are self contained in that they have their own bathrooms, a dining area, a bedroom and upstairs mezzanine with beds and kitchen. But the kitchen contains no fridge and no cooker – and if we want coffee in the morning we must a) bring our own and b) request a flask of hot water from the restaurant. The kitchen then is a unnecessary extra, having no real use at all. Same would go for the dining area as with no way of cooking any food, what would one eat at the table. 

But, the verandah comes with deck chairs, a hammock and the most spectacular sunsets over Ilha de Mocambique that we forget all our complaints. Besides, we travelled with others who were staying in the family cottage, the one that has the fridge, so the beers at least were cold.

And what is there to do at Carrusca? Nothing, some reading, long swims in the sea (almost like a rather large private swimming pool), beer drinking and talking and dinner at the restaurant. And we did just that!

There is a warning that should come with places like these – it will make you lazy, you will never want to do anything in a hurry again, that is, if you ever get it together to get up and actually leave.

Unfortunately we did manage to leave, only after a couple hour wait for a plate of chips, so we almost didn’t make it out. Fortunately we can always go back!