A Classic Pair - Musgrave Gin & Machangulo Beach Lodge
FRED ASTAIRE AND GINGER ROGERS. CHEESE AND TOMATO. MOVIES AND POPCORN. G&TS AND THE BEACH. SOME PAIRS ARE CLASSICS, WHEREAS OTHERS AREN’T YET, BUT ARE DESTINED TO BE – LIKE MUSGRAVE GIN AND MOZAMBIQUE.
With Maputo being only a 45-minute flight from Johannesburg, it’s a crime that more South Africans don’t make use of this route – if only for a long weekend away. “But the best beaches are a trek away in Vilanculos,Tofo and Pemba,” you might say.That’s because you haven’t heard of possibly Maputo’s best kept secret – the Machangulo Peninsula, and in particular, Machangulo Beach Lodge.
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Curving round like a protective arm, the peninsula, along with Inhaca Island just to its north, are responsible for creating and somewhat sheltering Maputo Bay. Comprising almost entirely of nature reserves, the peninsula also protects a host of indigenous flora and fauna, as well as some of the most pristine beaches you will find anywhere in
Mozambique, including the one that serves as the welcome mat for Machangulo Beach Lodge.
This is hard to believe, considering that it is only a 60- to 90-minute boat ride from the bustling metropolis of the country’s capital city. And on a calm day – when the water is mirror smooth and punctuated only by the wading of flamingos or the splash of a local fisherman casting his net – the boat ride does much to soothe tired city souls and get one solidly into a holiday frame of mind.
IT’S GIN O’ CLOCK!
As does the welcoming song of the staff, and an obligatory welcome drink – with G&Ts being the favourite order of the day. This is little wonder, considering the latest worldwide gin resurgence, but also because South African favourite, Musgrave Gin, has found its perfect spiritual home here at Machangulo. Owner and creator of Musgrave Gin, Simone Musgrave, is the quintessential South African sun and sea worshipper, as at home on a SUP or a kayak as she is on her own two feet (preferably with her toes wiggling in the sand though). And there is arguably no better place in Mozambique to get your beach on than here . . . with a G&T always reassuringly close by.
While gin and tonic are a classic pair,Simone’s gins – Musgrave 11 and Musgrave Pink Gin – also lend themselves well to other combinations, as the bartenders at Machangulo are only too
eager to demonstrate to guests as they toast the setting sun with a host of delicious Musgrave gin cocktails to choose from.“Moreish” is a word that should probably form part of Musgrave’s marketing in the future (if it isn’t already), but it’s best to ask the bartender to cut you off after a few cocktails – after all, there is much to do tomorrow.
GO THERE, DUNE THAT!
Built up against and along a giant sand dune, the lodge boasts swathes of white sand before it on which to lay your beach towel or to go for early morning strolls on, while a huff and a puff up the dune reveals magnificent views of the peninsula, Inhaca,
and even Maputo on a clear day. Directly in front of the lodge is a phenomenon called “Hell’s Gate” where, trapped between two bodies of land, the tide from two directions gets buffeted together to form an impressive patch of crashing waves, topped with white horses in full gallop.The natural phenomenon aside, Machangulo is about as far away from hell as one can get. A guided dune walk reveals, in addition to gorgeous views, also sightings of indigenous birds, and at the right time of year pods of whales performing acrobatic flips on the horizon.There is even a shipwreck for added drama.
You won’t find any drama with the lodge’s boat rides though. The expert staff are adept at navigating these waters, as well as finding the best spots for avid fishermen and scuba divers, both of which are promised to be richly rewarded with the abundance and diversity of the marine life here.The staff also know all the best spots for a secluded beach picnic. Secluded needn’t mean basic though, as Machangulo’s picnics come complete with cushions, deck chairs, gazebos, scrumptious food and your chosen mode of entertainment, whether it be snorkels, kayaks, SUP boards, or just a towel for a little reading and sunbathing. Once again, the cherry on the top of our picnic – any beach picnic really – was a Musgrave G&T, the ideal companion to another sunny day in Africa.
While one should never drink and dive, a few G&Ts won’t affect your snorkelling abilities, and it is well worth abandoning your deck chair for some time in the water, where lovely coral reefs teeming with life await in all of their technicolour splendour. You may even be lucky enough to spot a turtle swimming by.
SAIL INTO THE SETTING SUN
As the sun started to set, a traditional dhow moored on our little patch of sand, and we clambered on board for a leisurely sail around the bay. Is there anything more typically iconic of Mozambique than a wooden dhow with its sail turned to the sunset? As the amber glow lit up our glasses we toasted our good luck at finding ourselves in such an idyllic location. We can’t be the only people to have done that here, and, just like that, a new classic pair is born: Musgrave and Machangulo.
For more information on Musgrave Gin, please visit www.musgravegin.co.za. For more information on Machangulo Beach Lodge, visit machangulobeachlodge.com.
While gin and tonic are a classic pair, Simone’s gins – Musgrave 11 and Musgrave Pink Gin – also lend themselves well to other combinations, as the bartenders at Machangulo are only too eager to demonstrate to guests as they toast the setting sun with a host of delicious Musgrave gin cocktails to choose from.