Giriyondo - Manjacaze - Chidenguele/EN1 Route
Sahara created the topic: Giriyondo - Manjacaze - Chidenguele/EN1 Route6 years 9 months ago
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I greatly appreciate all the useful info I find on Mozguide and always take a look before travelling in Moz. Those traveling to the Moz coast/EN1 via Giriyondo may like to take a look at the link below which gives detailed directions with coordinates of the route from Massingir to Chidenguele (or Xai-Xai) along the route you suggest.
We took the Giriyondo - Massingir - Chokwe - Chibuto - Manjacaze - Chidenguele/EN1 route up to Vilanculos just after Christmas and returned via the same route in the big rains during the start of the 2nd week of Jan.
Some additional info on our trip (which should be read in conjunction with the route described in the link above):
We were 5 adults with 4 children in two vehicles - Volvo XC90 & Land Rover. On our way up we took four days (JHB to Vilanculos) which is a bit excessive but we wanted to enjoy the sites on the way and avoid driving in the dark. Also did not want to risk missing the park/border closing times (there was no suitable accommodation available in the KNP) or risk being denied access to the KNP if the day visitor quota had reached its limit (apparently you can no longer pre-book your day visitor permit and it is first come first served at the KNP gates). On our way back we did the same route in two days of long driving in heavy rain. The sand roads both in the Parque Nacional do Limpopo (PNL) and around Manjacaze had been recently graded and were in good condition in late Dec, however, these were being washed away by the heavy rain and some flooding in early Jan.
TRIP NORTH JHB - VILANCULOS
DAY 1 (approx. 515 km) JHB to overnight accommodation in Phalaborwa
DAY 2 (approx. 195km in 5 hours) Drove through the KNP (picnic brunch at Makhadzi Picnic Site just to your left on the road in teh KNP)into the PNL at Giriyondo (95 km) (Border Post Tel: 013 735 8931) and then out the PNL at Massingir gate (78 km), crossing over the Massingir Dam wall and then stayed the night at Covane Lodge (outside the park) on the southern bank of Massingir Dam. Covane is 14km west of Massingir; drive into Massingir and turn right at BMI Bank (ATM had run out of cash) and follow sand track west & north west. This trip is slow going at a speed limit of 40km an hour through the parks and drivers should be aware of the massive speed humps in the PNL - do not take your eyes off the road for a second. Some of the humps have warning signs but some do not and a few are so huge that they should be negotiated from a standstill.
DAY 4 (approx. 330km) An easy drive the next day from Inharrime to Vilanculos. We had breakfast at Stop in Maxixe and espresso at the Snack Bar & Restaurant next to the petrol station in Mapinhane (ask if their coffee machine is working before you order - it was broken on our way down). We arrived in Vilanculos by lunch time.
TRIP SOUTH VILANCULOS - JHB
DAY 1: (approx.695km) Left Vilanculos early morning and arrived back at Covane Lodge in the early evening (the lodge is not well signposted and could be difficult to find in the dark if going for the first time). Trip took over 13 hours but with a few short breaks for coffee and a picnic in the rain. It was raining heavily by the time we turned off the EN1 onto the sand road to Manjacaze and there were a few spots of deep mud around the town. The potholes along the tar roads around Chibuto & Chokwe had increased in size and number and a few sections of the road had deteriorated badly since our journey two weeks earlier.
DAY 2: Covane Lodge/Massingir to JHB (approx. 710 km). Slow going through PNL in heavy rain with roads washing away in sections.
The route has a lot to recommend it even though it is over a 100km longer than the Komatipoort route, slower going and a little more expensive with park fees. The Giriyondo border is pleasant; officials were efficient, there were no queues or touts hassling us. Customs official did not give us a hard time, he looked at our papers and we were off. A much more pleasant experience than Ressano Garcia. Hardly any traffic officials on the Massingir Chidenguele route but we did see traffic cops on the northern side of Chokwe on our way back (around a corner in the 40km/60km zone under some big gum trees). We were not pulled over once on either the route up or down; in fact each time we travel in Moz we are stopped less often. We have travelled to Vilanculos many times and it was great to be on a different route for part of the way. The Massingir Dam wall is impressive but it is sad that the Park de Nationale Limpopo is basically being used as a highway from SA to the Moz coast, there was evidence of elephants but all we saw was a warthog.
There are three accommodation options within the PNL along this route (these are signposted on the main Giriyondo Massingir sand road through the park):
Outside the Park (14 km out of Massingir) Covane Lodge (Tel: +27 21 701 7860, +258 2895 1030 & +258 824 796 841) has inexpensive/basic but comfortable accommodation in separate chalets and offer a great chicken and rice dinner and breakfast (pre-order) with COLD cokes & 2M - if it had a swimming pool it would be perfect - no swimming in the dam due to crocs & hippos. One could also camp here. Covane has recently acquired two new house boats (sleep 4 each) which would be a more luxurious accommodation option but probably more suitable if one had more time to enjoy the dam. We did take a pleasant boat trip on the dam on the afternoon of our trip up.
When planning this trip be aware that the Giriyondo Border closes at 4pm Oct to March and 3pm April to Sept and Massingir gate closes at 6pm all year round. The PNL website states that: “Transit visitors entering the Park at Massingir within 1¾ hours of Giriyondo Border Gate closing time must reserve camping or chalet accommodation within the park”. More info at www.limpopopn.gov.mz/parkaccess.aspx & www.tfpd.co.za/ .