The Lubombo Tourism Route, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Route from the Kruger National Park, through Mozambique to Swaziland and back to Piet Retief
This is one of the longest routes that travels from South Africa through Mozambique, Swaziland and then back into South Africa. The trip will take you across several borders so please ensure that you have the correct Visa’s and that your passport is still valid. Citizens of South Africa do not need to have a Visa to visit Swaziland or Mozambique. The trip can easily take more than two weeks to complete so please make sure that you and your bike are capable of handling a trip that is this long.
The first two days of the trip can be spent in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. After which you will head to the border crossing at Giriyondo Border post in the Kruger National Park. From there you drive through the Parque Nacional de Limpopo nature reserve, where you are sure to see even more of the amazing animals that walk across Africa.
Once you are out of the park simply get on the 208 until it becomes the 423, follow the 423 until it becomes you get to the turn off for the EN1. Follow the EN1 until you reach the EN6. The EN6 will take you into the fifth largest city in Mozambique, Chimoio. The city has a blend of Zimbabwean and Mozambique cultures. This means that you can learn about two different cultures at the same time.
When you are leaving Chimoio you can simply get back on the EN6 until you reach the EN1. The EN1 will eventually split into two different roads, you have to follow the 477. The 477 will change into the 472, this road will take you past Mt. Mabu. Mt. Mabu is well worth a visit with one of the last untouched forest in Africa. Because of political reasons and a lack of roads the forest in Mt. Mabu was only discovered in 2005 by the scientific community.
Leaving Mt. Mabu you can travel along the 229 until you reach the 104, just follow this road until you reach Nampula. This town is the centre of business for Northern Mozambique and is a hot pot for the cultures of the country. There are a lot of things and strange food that you can enjoy throughout the city. After Nampula it’s a short trip to Pemba.
From Nampula get on the EN8 until you reach the 106, the 106 will take you straight into Pemba. In Pemba you can start enjoying the water of this tropical country. The waters along Pemba are tropical and filled with some of the most amazing sea creatures in the world a short dive away. Enjoying some of the local cuisine is a must and enjoying some freshly caught fish is simply a must.
After Pemba it’s down the coast towards Nacala. A trip on the 106 and then the 516 will take you quickly into Nacala. One of the largest cities in Mozambique it also has the largest natural port on the West coast of Africa. The city is a bustling metropolis that is filled with smiling faces and a lot of souvenirs that will make you excited, there is also a great swimming area that will allow you to enjoy the waters without having to worry about waves.
From Nacala it’s an almost straight path to Angoche Island, simply follow the 236 from Nacala. The trip is short and you should reach Angoche within a few hours. Angoche Island is filled with history as well as the signature Mozambique beaches. The Island was held by the locals until 1913 when the Portuguese took it. Used as a port to trade slaves the island is filled with some dark and terrifying history. Luckily the island now is served as a paradise and there are several things to do, one of the most important things to do is to explore the island and learn its history.
From Angoche get on the 260 that will eventually change into the 502 and the 542. Follow this road until you reach the turn off for the 232, follow the 232 until you hit the 7 which will have a turn off to the 470. The 470 will take you into Qualimane. Qualimane is known as the capital of the area and is the fourth largest city in Mozambique. Typically not a tourist location the city has been gaining reputation because of its accessibility. Many Non-Government Organisations have their headquarters in the city which means if you want to help the local community it can easily be done here. The city is filled with old buildings and there are many mosques and churches spread throughout the city.
When you leave Qualimane you can simply get on the 7 which will take you to the EN1 and then the 213. This straightforward route will take you into Beira where you can enjoy the beaches and the local culture to the maximum. This city serves as the industrial metropolis of Mozambique which means you can view some of the best works of engineering in the whole of Mozambique. Everything from giant shipyards to the amazing railway station the amazes even some of the best architects. If you want to you can explore some of the older buildings spread throughout the city, please ensure that these buildings are safe before you enter them.
From Beira it’s a straight trip on the coastal highway, the EN1, towards Inhassoro. This town is a lot smaller than any of the previous towns, the main way of surviving here is by fishing and the locals are all capable fisherman. So enjoy the hot tropical waters and eat some of the local specialities that are all sure to contain a fish variant of some kind. The days spent here are meant to make you feel as relaxed as possible.
Straight down the EN1 lies the coastal town of Maxixe. This town serves as the best way to reach the historical Inhambane City. Inhambane City serves as the capital of the Inhambane province. These two towns work in perfect unison because there are hundreds of boats that cross between the two every single day. When you visit one of the towns you get to experience both of their wonders.
After your visit to Maxixe and her sister city take the EN1 all the way down to the Xai-Xai District. Here you can truly experience the Tourist parts of Mozambique. The area is rich in culture and the waters are perfect throughout the year. With great culture, great food and clear ocean waters you can truly relax and see just how great the world is.
After the Xai-Xai district it’s a straight trip down the EN1 to Maputo. Maputo is the largest city in Mozambique and it is the cultural hub that you can expect. The city thrives on tourism which means you can experience almost anything while you are there. Everything from kite surfing to sundowners on the beach will keep you entertained while you explore the deepest corners of the city.
After Maputo it’s straight to the border on the EN1. The Goba Fronteira border post will welcome you into Swaziland. From there the trip follows the MR7 in Swaziland all the way to Big Bend. Some of the best wildlife can be seen when you travel through Swaziland. At Big Bend you can explore the culture and see some of the Big Five casually walking through the reserve. There are also several fishing holes where you can enjoy spending the day catching the largest fish manageable.
After Big Bend it’s a straight trip on the MR8 to Manzini. This town is one of the fastest growing towns in Swaziland and there are several great spots to view the countryside. With a wealth of wildlife and natural beauty Manzini will have you believing that summer never ends. The town is filled with trees and fresh air is a short walk into the backyard away. With all the locals increasing the culture that is available to enjoy here.
From Manzini it’s a short trip on the MR18 until you reach the MR4 where you will travel to the border and enter South Africa. The Emahlatini border post will make sure everything is safe when you enter the country. From the border post it’s a straight road into Piet Retief, you can enjoy the history of South Africa easily from this small town in Mpumalanga. With your arrival in Piet Retief the end of the trip is near. There are a few sights around the town that you can enjoy and after spending a few days learning the history of South Africa the trip will be finished.