MAPUTO - Golden beaches, the warm and crystal-clear water of the Indian Ocean, endless seafood feasts and days spent exploring under the African sun – the stuff of dreams, and what feels like another lifetime after more than a year of lockdown. No wonder Mozambique is so popular with many explorers. It was also the destination chosen by 4x4 fundi and Mitsubishi brand ambassador, Francois Rossouw, for one of his recent 4x4 Sport expeditions.
Prior to South Africa being placed in an adjusted level 4 lockdown situation, Rossouw, at the wheel of his trusty Pajero Sport, led a party of six 4x4 vehicles through Moz to sample all it has to offer. The group met at the Komatipoort border before tackling the first 150km of the trip to Tan ‘n Biki, nestled in the dunes of the Mozambican peninsula island of Macaneta.
“We were almost seduced by the unspoilt beaches and beautiful chalets at the lodge, but I was eager to stretch my Pajero Sport’s legs on a 300km route to Xai Xai, where we stayed at the Go Wild Resort,” says Rossouw.
“It wasn’t that far, but the roads are in terrible condition and there were police checkpoints every 30km or so. As a result, we reached our destination just in time to enjoy the first of many seafood dinners during the trip. Fortunately the Pajero Sport has dusk-sensing headlights as standard, and together with features such as rain-sensing windscreen wipers this makes driving in less than ideal conditions much safer,” he says.
The next day saw the group travelling 400km further north to Morrungulo Beach Resort, a Robinson Crusoe-type getaway situated right on the beach in the shade of large palm trees. From here it was on to Inhasorro and the tranquillity of the Mystic Blue Bay Lodge. On the first of their three-day stay, the adventurers took full advantage of the beach permits they had secured to drive 60km along the coastline to the Bartholomeu Dias Point peninsula. The balmy water of the Mozambique Current offered a welcome reprieve from the heat as Rossouw’s group had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the local marine life.
A boat ride to Santa Caroline Island – also known as Paradise Island – was on the agenda for the next day, before the group headed further south to the Paindane Beach Resort for a three-day stay. A highlight was visiting Tufo Beach at Inhambane, were it was time for some 4x4 fun in the sand dunes.
“The selectable Off-Road Modes of the Pajero Sport maximise traction on and across various surfaces. The Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand or Rock setting can be selected to suit surface conditions to optimise engine output, transmission settings and braking for superior traction control, so the loose, fine sand was no match for the Mitsubishi’s prowess,” says Rossouw. “Serious adventurers can take my word for it when I say that the Super Select 4WD II system is amongst the best in the world and will be an asset on any excursion.”
The Pajero Sport has a 30-degree approach angle, the best in its class, which allows adventurers to challenge tough obstacles head-on, while the 24-degree departure angle will get you back down safely.
Bilene, 140km northeast of Maputo, was the next stop. It is said to be the closest beach destination to Johannesburg and the Uembje Lagoon is one of the main attractions. The group did a 60km loop around the body of water before sampling some of the beach bars and lodges that have survived the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry.
All too soon it was time to head home and the convoy passed Maputo before taking the new road over the very impressive bridge on the way to the border. The last night was spent at the Kosi Bay Lodge, with a seafood feast to bid a fond farewell to the country and its friendly people.
“During the 3 500km round trip, I was once again impressed by the comfortable ride and quiet cabin of the Pajero Sport. We travelled three up and, apart from our luggage, we also brought along special equipment for emergencies. Despite this, there was still plenty of room inside the cabin,” Rossouw says. “In addition, practical features such as tilt and telescopic adjustment for the steering column and a multi-function leather-clad steering wheel with audio and cruise control settings at your fingertips, made the trip all the more enjoyable.
Bearing in mind that the speed limit in Mozambique is 100km/h, the average fuel consumption of the Pajero Sport was around 8 litres/100 km.
“The Pajero Sport was designed and built to help those with an adventurous spirit, like Francois Rossouw, escape the mundane and get their adrenaline pumping,” says Nic Campbell, general manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa. “Think of any terrain and Pajero Sport will get you there – and back – safely and comfortably.”
IOL Motoring is planning to take the latest 2021 Pajero Sport on a unique offroad adventure as soon as we can, so stay locked on for more road trips coming up in August.