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On the 23rd November 2017 history will be made, with the first MSC Cruise to stop at Pomene in Mozambique - the lucky lady getting there will be the MSC Sinfonia, which leaves Durban on the 21st November 2017, and first stops at Portuguese Island and Maputo. Pomene is a brand new cruise destination in Mozambique, an idyllic bar of sand seperating the sea from an estuary with a mangrove forest, which MSC Cruises have upgraded with shade and bars for your enjoyment. It's situated about 600km north of Maputo, with its remote location allowing it to maintain its pristine nature. Book cruises from Durban to Pomene on the MSC Musica or MSC Sinfonia, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that due to rough waters it is sometimes not possible for passengers to be transferred to Pomene. Safety first.
Here's a photo of the fingers of the Pomene sandbar sticking out to sea. Imagine walking along the beach to the far ends of the sandbar's fingers, and the feeling of the enormity of the sea stretching out in front of you.
On the beach shade is supplied by these thatched umbrella bali huts.
Sunset from the thatched umbrellas:
Here's an aerial view of the thatched beach umbrellas, and note the shaded walkway back to the "village" area, to keep you from burning your feet on the piping hot white sands.
And behind the beach lie a couple of resorts, whre you can launch you trips to the estuary, old hotel, snorkelling or fishing.
Here's a wide angle view of the Pomene estuary's entry point into the Indian Ocean:
If you're used to a 5 minute transfer from the Sinfonia to Portuguese Island, expect much longer for a transfer from the ship to Pomene. The tender boats take some 80 people - the rubber ducks are no more, and the same boats used at Portuguese Island are also being used at Pomene.
Here is a list of the excursions as at 10 Nov 2017. Note that excursions change over time, particularly when the destination is new (like Pomene) and it is still being observed what is popular and what is not. For the same reasons, prices have not been given.
The mangrove forest is a stand out (literally!) feature of Pomene, with the estuary protecting the forest from the sea - these plants appear to float on the surface of the water. The Pomene Nature Reserve is a protected marine area that has managed to preserve its authentic and wild beauty thanks to its remote location.
A trip to see the old Pomene Hotel - read more about it below.
Navigate the waters of Pomene Island. Easy to learn, stand up paddle boarding otherwise known as Supping will give you the opportunity to enjoy views of the shoreline before returning to the beach. Guests are required to sign a waiver before joining the activity. You shouldo return the equipment on time, otherwise a surcharge will be applied.
Gt a seaside view of Pomene, whilst punching your way through th swell on a kayak.
A Pedalo Boat is a 4-seater pedal boat. It its an hour's fun the whole family and you get a chance to explore the coastline of Pomene from a different perspective. Do physical exercise to th extent you enjoy. HOW IT WORKS: Pedals work by utilizing the peddling motion to rotate a paddle wheel similar to the form of a marine propulsion used in the earlier Paddle steamers.
Go out by zodiac boat to the snorkel site where you can see numerous tropical fish in the protected waters of the Pomene. At depths of 3 to 5 meters you will find a wonderful variety of sea life ranging from potato bass to eels. Enjoy an approximately 15 - 20 minute boat transfer to reach the reef to begin your drift snorkelling from the boat. Your Equipment will include a mask, snorkel and snorkel vest. Rich varieties of fish and abundant coral will amaze you.
Of course dolphins and whales are wild animals, and don't appear right on cue, therefore there is no guaranteed sighting. If you are lucky you will spot leaping dolphins and whales on this 1 ½ hour shore excursion as you head into the open ocean of Pomene in search of marine life. Dolphins and whales are part of the mammal family (cetaceans) as they are both warm blooded and give birth to live babies and not eggs.
Go out snorkeling on your own by renting masks and snorkels for 30 minutes so you can explore for yourself at your pace what lies underneath.
If you enjoy a sense of history, then be sure to go on an excursion to see the ruins of the old Pomene Hotel; which was built in 1964 by Portuguese colonialists and damaged during the civil war. The catalyst to the building of the hotel was the "discovery" of Pomene in 1960; when a ship carrying a valuable cargo of sugar ran aground in the area.
Looking at the ruins, one can almost feel the enjoyment and sense of excitement from past travellers from a bygone era.
The hotel was well positioned alongisde a beautiful beach - paradise rediscovered.
Enjoy Mozambique's signature turqoise blue waters.
Here's a view of the old Pomene hotel, from out at sea:
And here's an aerial view of Pomene Point, with the old Pomene Hotel buildings clearly visible, as well as the beach with the blowholes.
Also near the old hotel you can find "blowholes", as waves approach the rocks they force air and spray through the blowholes.
Here's a video of a couple of tourists having a blast at a blowhole, by positioning themselves so that the blow goes right up into them!
Paradise Beach Lodge forms one of the few existing structures on the Pomene sandbar. They offer snorkelling, diving, deep sea fishing and boat trips out to the mangrove swamps and in the estuary. It's not clear yet whether you'll be able to book this through MSC. If you want to go scout out the area before your cruise, they offer accommodation in their thatchedd-roof lodges (you'll need a 4x4 to drive in). The easiest way to get there is by flying from Johannesburg to Inhambane, and then taking a 4x4 minibus to the loge. Latest news from them is that a 35 foot catamaran will be based there from mi November 2017. Click here to read about them on their Facebook page.
To catch a bite to eat, why not visit Pomene Lodge; the restaurant and bar area offers views over the estuary.
The Pomene Hideaway is accommodation on the southern end of Pomene, right on the other side of Pomene from the landing point the MSC boats will be ferrying passengers to, so you are unlikely to see it, but here's a nice video they set up.
The word mangrove makes one immediately think of Florida (coincidentally the major launching point for cruises into the Caribbean), but here in southern Africa we have our own mangrove forest, in the pristine Pomene estuary - and this is what makes Pomene so special.
The mangroves can easily be recognised by the rooting system which props the trees above the water level (which makes them look like they're "floating" on the water). The roots of the plant are a favourite spot for fish to hide away from predators, and are a good spot to snorkel or kayak.
8 Nov 2017. The first landing at Pomene was meant to happen on the MSC Sinfonia, but couldn't take place due to inclement weather. This highlights for clients that safety is always the number 1 priority, and becasue of factors like the weather it's not possible to plan with 100% certainty what is going to happen. As one does more and more cruises, one learns to surf the wave as it appears.
Here's the beach where you can lie under thatched umbrellas.
And just in case you were thinking of getting some cellphone reception in Pomene - forget it - it's too remote, which is part of the attraction.