NiQi Travel Guides; ‘Know before you Go’: White Pearl Resort

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For most, the annual beach holiday is one of the highlights of the year, and one that is chosen with careful consideration. Most sun-seekers will be looking for beachfront accommodation, an abundance of authentic seafood and an opportunity to relax and explore.

If elegance is what you are after for your beach break, the grace and luxury of White Pearl Resort is the ultimate coastal pick. The luxury touches are well worth the expense; picture getting flown in by helicopter or having the services of a private butler to take meal orders and deliver drinks or watch the ocean whilst running a bath or shower?

Ponta Mamoli is situated on the south east coast of Mozambique with its sublime ocean frontage of more than 2km and is surrounded by natural beauty; from the Indian Ocean to the east to the Maputo Elephant Reserve to the west.

I’ve compiled a ‘Know before you Go’ guide on White Pearl Resort after a recent stay with them. Over the next week, I’ll be sharing a second post with a detailed review of the Resort and it’s facilities.
If you’d like to begin sharing in the experience, visit: http://www.whitepearlresorts.com/

So you’d like to visit White Pearl Resort, how do you book?

The first point of reference would be to browse their website and decide on the type of Suite you would like to book. There are two Suites available; The Beach Pool Suites and The Pool Suites.

The difference between the two may be found here: http://www.whitepearlresorts.com/luxury

The Beach Suites give you a direct access to the beach, whilst the Pool Suites are located higher up (with glorious views of the Ocean). The layout and styling are exactly the same.

Once you have decided which of the two you prefer, or to enquire rates on both, email: reservations@whitepearlresorts.com

Gloria will be able to assist you with the following:

  1. Rates for the requested dates plus number of travelers
  2. Advice on how to get to White Pearl Resort (sky or land option)
  3. She will arrange transfers if necessary
  4. She will email you a Guest sheet to fill in which will request your dietary restrictions and/or any other guest related information that they will require from you.

It’s important to note that bookings should be done directly with the Resort. As South Africans we are offered SA Cost-Saver rates so please mention to Jasmin that you are a South African citizen.

For 2016 Special Offers, click here: http://www.whitepearlresorts.com/2016-special-offers

Do South Africans require a Visa to travel to Mozambique?

No, South Africans are exempt from needing a Visa to travel into Mozambique.

How do I get there by aircraft and how do you book an airticket?

There are two modes of air transportation that you can use to get to White Pearl Resort.

Option 1. The easiest and most recommended way would be to fly directly into Maputo International Airport, (also known as Lourenço Marques Airport or Mavalane International Airport). Our tickets were booked on https://www.travelstart.co.za/

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There are currently 5 flights per day that depart from OR Tambo International Airport, with a duration of 50 minutes. You may choose to fly with SAA or LAM (Linhas Aereas de Mozambique). Both are equally suitable to travel on. I was very surprised that LAM was pretty decent (I have per-conceived notions of it being rickety and dodgy!) A meal is also supplied on both flights (a basic boxed meal of a sandwich and juice).

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To be completely honest, I wouldn’t suggest booking a seat in Business Class. It is not a spoil by any means. You are given a few inch’s more of leg room and access to a lounge (which you could easily get using a South African credit card) and costs so much more. The cheapest economy flight is priced around R3800 and Business around R6700 return for 1 traveler.

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When you land, you will be escorted by a White Pearl agent to their lounge. The agent will offer you some refreshments before you are ready to board the Helicopter. The flight to the Resort is approximately 30 minutes. Remember to take any motion sickness tablets if you might think you might feel ill with the flight.

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Option 2. White Pearl Resorts also offers a fixed wing transfer service from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit to Kosi Bay.

This is where White Pearl becomes the ideal holiday destination for anyone (specifically international visitors) wanting a bush and beach experience. For Bush experiences in Kruger, mention to your White Pearl agent that you are considering a holiday which involves wanting to spend time at Kruger and then at White Pearl. They will advise and assist in arranging accommodation in the Kruger which suits your budget and style of holiday.

The flight between the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport and Kosi Bay takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. This transfer option is followed by a Kosi Bay road transfer to White Pearl  Resorts which is approximately 90 minutes. A representative will meet you once you arrive in Kosi bay and assist you in getting to White Pearl. Secure parking is available if you are making use of a road transfer from Kosi Bay Border to White Pearl Resorts. Parking is approximately R 40 a day (cash only and should be the exact amount as the border does not give change)

Remember the rules of traveling by plane and be sure to check the luggage restrictions ahead of time.

Because you are flying out of Terminal A at ORT, you will need to be at the airport 2 hours ahead of flying. You may browse the stores in Duty Free or settle down for breakfast or lunch in the lounge or at the Diner (Sanha-approved for Muslim travelers).

I’d like to self-drive, what are my options?

White Pearl is situated a mere 25km from the South African – Mozambican border at Kosi Bay and can easily be accessed by either driving yourself on a 4×4 adventure or leaving your vehicle at Kosi Bay and taking a 4×4 road transfer offered by White Pearl.

A self-drive option directly to White Pearl Resorts, from the Kosi Bay border post or Maputo can be an option for travelers who prefer exploring and have a few days to spare. The road conditions vary and are dependent on the weather. It is recommend that you use a 4×4 vehicle with high clearance to successfully navigate your way to the resort. Please allow ample traveling time to get to the Border before it closes as road conditions aren’t always good and can slow journey time down. External factors like potholes, trucks and livestock might also lengthen the duration of your trip.

Suggested travel time from Jo’burg to the Border is 7 – 8 hours but with the current road works the journey might take 9 hours. It is approximately an 8 hour drive to the resort from Johannesburg.

It is compulsory for any South African vehicle, caravan or trailer to have a ZA sign displayed when it crosses any of the borders. The ZA sign must be placed on the rear of each vehicle, caravan and trailer in a visible position and may not be within 150mm of the rear number plate.

When traveling with any South African registered vehicle in Mozambique you will also need a set of red warning triangles in your possession – available here: http://www.autostyle.co.za/reflective-foldup-warning-triangle-large.html

A few important notes (not from personal experience, but from recommendations online):

  • Your passport (must be valid for 6 months to come and have 2 clean pages available for stamps).
  • Make sure that your passport has been stamped on BOTH sides of the border (SA & Mozambique).
  • Please note that the SA government no longer issues temporary passports. However if you do still have a valid one it will be accepted at the border.
  • 3rd party insurance, plus temporary import duty of approx. R220.00 for your vehicle.
  • Temporary import license should you be towing a boat/trailer/wet bike etc. This will be in the region of R120.00.
  • Drivers of South African-registered cars crossing SA borders must carry and present a certified copy of vehicle registration/vehicle licence papers at the border posts. This must be accompanied by a letter from the bank giving authorisation to take the vehicle across the border and must indicate dates of travel. Both the bank letter and licence papers should be signed by a Commissioner of Oaths.
  • If the driver of the vehicle is not the owner of the vehicle, an affidavit from the police giving authorisation from the financial institution/owner to take the vehicle abroad is required. If the car is rented, the driver must have a letter from the rental company giving permission to take the vehicle out of the country.
  • A letter of permission from your vehicle insurance company stating that you may take your car into Mozambique and will still remain covered whilst there.

The border post opens at 08h00 and closes at 17h00 daily. Long weekends and peak holiday periods can create extensive delays. During the High Season (12 December to 5 January) it is open for an extra two hours daily 07h00 to 18h00.

NOTE NB: Normal fuel and diesel are available at Ponta do Ouro however unleaded fuel is unavailable. KwaNgwanase in South Africa is the last point at which unleaded fuel is available.

Refer to this link for further important documentation: https://www.aa.co.za/services/travel-services/into-africa/cross-border-information/mozambique.html

Once I’ve booked and confirmed everything, do I need to take copies of all my documents?

Yes! Documents online might not open immediately on a device. Remember to print the following:

  1. Air ticket confirmations. This would include your reservation number and schedule of flights.
  2. A copy of the Hotel confirmation is not vital, but might assist you when pointing it out to Passport Control (language is a huge barrier). The White Pearl Representative should meet you once you get off the aircraft, but it is always recommended to keep a copy on hand.
  3. Copies of your passport.
  4. A copy of your medical aid card – just in case.
  5. A sheet with contact details of family in SA in case of an emergency (this is a MUST when traveling, no matter how many times you have traveled).

What to pack:

How can I use the technology available to me to simplify how I travel? What are some must-know points when taking chargers and devices to White Pearl Resort?

  1. White Pearl Resort uses the same plugs as South Africa, so there is no need to take adaptors. There are many plug points in the room, with 2-pin and normal 3-pin points.
  2. Wifi is available through the resort unless you are traveling/walking away from the resort on the beach. There was absolutely no need to purchase a data card (even though we had our Modem with us). If you absolutely have to purchase data, you may purchase from the Vodacom stand at the airport however they are closed on Sundays.
  3. I always recommend traveling with a Power Bank. It really is the must-have device to travel with. I highly recommend purchasing 2 power banks before you travel; a small one which can be used as a back-up and a larger one with 2 outputs. These may be purchased from Autostyle Motorsport www.autostyle.co.za

Weight and luggage restrictions:

If you are taking the Helicopter to the resort, you will only be allowed a maximum of 12kg per person of luggage packed into a soft bag (i.e not a hard case). Mohamed used a soft bag and I used a soft, light-weight bag from Saleys. Remember to purchase or use a bag that you are able to lock (i.e the lock should have another fastener to attach to). I almost purchased one from Country Road (because of its cute factor) but it would have been extremely impractical to travel with (from a security point). I thought that the weight restriction was going to be a huge problem (I pack clever, but I generally take more clothing than I need to). Between my husband and I, we were on a total of 14kg at check-in and we packed everything that we needed to, with the exception of warmer clothes. If the weight limitation is a serious concern for you and if you are traveling from abroad, White Pearl offers secure storage at the airport. Their representatives will be glad to assist in keeping your additional weight and luggage while you’re away at the Resort. If you are traveling by car, there is no limitation on the weight (check your baggage allowance on the airline that you’re traveling with to make sure).

You are also allowed a napsack and/or handbag, so you can always keep more valuable items in there. Even if you are a seasoned traveler, one can often forget an item that’s not permissible to fly with, so check your luggage carefully before leaving for the airport. Because the flight is so short, I wouldn’t suggest packing additional clothing in your carry-on, however carry a jersey as it tends to get cold in the airport and/on the plane.

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Light-weight warm clothing:

The weather in Ponta Mamoli is usually dominated by warm sun and blue skies. One can generally expect good weather conditions throughout the country, with little or no rain and relatively cool temperature. However, even out of the rainy season, the weather sometimes can disappoint. There was a light drizzle for most of the time that we were at the Resort. It was still pretty warm, but we needed something warmer to wear in the evenings when going to dinner. I recommend checking the weather report a day before you leave, and to pack a jersey, some long-sleeved light-weight tops and long nightwear. Packing larger jackets and socks etc are not necessary. The Resort has umbrellas, so there’s no need to pack your own.

Resort Wear, for the ladies:

All through growing up, and much through some part of my adulthood, I loved ‘surfer’ wear. It’s pretty much a personal preference, but now I lean towards a more refined look when heading to the coast. I mentally began planning my outfits the minute that I knew that I was going to stay at White Pearl. Everything was picture perfect and it would have been such a shame not to have had resort wear to match.

The biggest challenge is finding swimwear which is fashionable yet compliant with modesty. If you’re not wearing a Burkini, theses two concepts don’t go hand in hand. I visited almost every clothing department store in Johannesburg and even some over-priced swimwear boutiques looking for swimwear that suited my body shape and modesty needs, and it also needed to look great at the same time.

Woolworths has outshone every clothing store in their price category with a whole section dedicated to costumes, bikini’s, shorts, wraps and throw-over dresses. What impressed me the most (and I landed up buying 3 pairs of them) were the swim shorts with the little cutouts at the bottom of the leg. Not only do they look really cute, but they’re suitable to swim in.

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Their full piece costumes also target specific areas on your body to tuck in and shape. I purchased a one-piece costume in a deep plum/burgundy to match a lovely little beach dress that I purchased from Accessorise. Together with black swim skirt and tie up sandals, it was chic poolside wear.

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Necklace: Aldo Accessories | Sandals: Steve Madden | Full cossie: Woolworths | Beach Dress: Accessorize | Swim Skirt: Woolworths | Sunnies: Celine by InterOptika, Mall of Africa

My next ensemble was put together from pieces from a few different stores. I purchased the full piece costume from Country Road. Because the middle was a bit too revealing, I took it to a seamstress and had her add in a panel to make it more wearable. I wanted to opt for a more glamorous take on this costume, so I wore it with a high-waist pair of short with gold button detail down the sides. The entire piece came together beautifully with a statement piece ring and a long-sleeved open-front chiffon top. In warmer weather, I would have likely worn an open-front short sleeved kimono-styled cover-up. To complete the look, a straw and sequinned phrase-hat from the Elizabeth Summers hat range and black tasseled tie-up sandals.

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Ring: Mimco | Sandals: Steve Madden | Full cossie: Country Road | High-waist Shorts: H&M | Sunhat: Elizabeth Summer | Sunnies: Celine by InterOptika, Mall of Africa

Albeit, I’m not much of a beach-swimmer. I prefer to watch the ocean and dip in the pool. My clothing was suitable enough to lounge around in (while not offending other guests) or if I needed to swim, or take a walk along the beach in.

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If you’re going on a 2-night 3-day day, I recommend packing the following swimwear:

  1. 2 swimming costumes
  2. 2 pairs of shorts
  3. 2 cover-ups (dresses or wraps)
  4. 1 pair of sandals or slippers for the beach/pool
  5. 1 hat (large enough for proper coverage if planning to go out on an Ocean Safari, or to sit around in
  6. Minimal accessories (if you’d like to) – this is entirely optional

Towels and beach bags aren’t completely necessary. There is a medium sized bag that is hung up at the entrance of your Suite which can be used to hold anything that you need to take onto the beach (for sizing, think a bag that can keep 1 towel, a magazine, some sunscreen, a water, sunnies and your phone – large enough!). If you think that you might need to take more things on to the beach, then I recommend taking your own along with you. Make sure it’s water-proof, especially in the case of taking items for children.

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For the same duration, I recommend packing the following additional clothing items:

  1. 2 light-weight dresses that can be worn during the day at breakfast or at dinner. Both need to be able to be worn with a light-weight jersey (weather-dependant). Alternate between long and short. Depending on the season and weather, these can also double-up as your cover-up on the beach.
  2. An additional pair of nice-ish sandals that match the dresses which can be worn in the evening.
  3. A pair of yoga pants or tights and/or gym wear (there are yoga classes available during the peak season and you really don’t want to miss the wellness activities.
  4. You don’t need long pants for the horse-riding (stirrups are provided), and neither does it bother your legs, but if you are conscious, then rather pack a pair of comfortable jeans to ride in. The same applies to shoes (a pair of takkies, or sandals that strap on. I wouldn’t recommend slippers.)

If you’ve forgotten your pair of sandals for the beach, there are adult-sized slippers provided in your Suite. They are made from a really good quality with the branding of the Resort on it.

Although the resort doesn’t have a strict policy about what is worn for dinner, it’s really special dressing up especially if it is for  a candle-lit dinner. It doesn’t need to be extra fancy, but I would make a little more effort to feel really nice.

I do not recommend taking a pair of heels at.all. There is decking everywhere and your heel might get stuck in-between the joins if it’s too thin. To get to and from the beach/main areas of the Resort, you will need to walk up a considerable incline. Save the space and fill it up with nicer clothing instead.

I would keep accessories to a minimal, and try to alternate it through your outfits. A pair of earrings might be the only constant, and take 2 or 3 longer length chains to add variety to your looks.

The plus side is that if you don’t have enough clothing to see you through the time that you are there, White Pearl offers you a complimentary laundry service. They stipulate a 24-hr time in getting it delivered to you, so be careful of sending anything the day before you leave, although I am certain that they will get it to you on time, or let you know if they are not able to meet your request.

Depending on the type of get-away that you are going on (holiday with kids, family, alone or honeymoon), your nightwear and underwear needs will vary. The room does tend to get cooler at night, so plan to either ask for an additional blanket or carry something that’s slightly warmer to sleep in (again, depending on the month/season/estimated weather forecast). There is an overhead fan and air-conditioning so you are able to adjust the room temperature if you need to.

I’d suggest taking neutral underwear so it’s easier when wearing anything sheer and (again) depending on whether you’re traveling with kids or family, nice nightwear (you are on holiday). Also remember, you’ll be wearing swimwear during most part of the day so you don’t need to pack hundreds of pantys/bras.

What do guys need to pack?

Gents usually can get by with (just) swimming shorts (nicer ones) with t-shirts for most of the time that they are at the Resort. Again, I would suggest making a bit more effort at Dinner time, although you don’t require a formal shoe and long trousers at all, but perhaps a nicer sandal and shorts with a collared top or shirt.

I would recommend packing 2 sets of shorts for a 3 day stay along with 1 casual sandal and one slightly more formal sandal (for dining).

A collared Polo-style top is the ideal style of top to pack when dining, or sitting at the pool or beach. I would suggest packing 3 of these along with 2 t-shirts for pool/beach wear.

A pair of long trousers aren’t necessary, but if you would feel better about wearing one when going out horse-riding then perhaps pack a tracksuit trouser which can also double-up as a longer trouser for salaah (prayer).

Remember to pack a jacket depending on the weather report (also consider it as a must when traveling because it can get chilly at night or on the flight).

What toiletries are necessary to pack?

Instead of one large toiletry bag, use small bags to separate face and body care/make-up/hair products. They also fit easier in to the available spaces in your luggage. I recommend saving those complimentary bags when you fly long haul and whip them out when you need them for smaller trips like these.

If you are staying for a minimum of 3 days, I would highly recommend decanting all of your products into smaller containers. You may purchase a travel-safe set from most stores (Dischem, Clicks and Woolworths stock a variety). Its unnecessary to lug around large containers and they take up a lot of weight and space in your soft luggage (if traveling with the helicopter).

There is no need to take body or bath wash (shampoo and lotion are also provided) as full sized containers are supplied in the Suites.

If you are able to, also try to arrange sample or travel sized face-care products. I was fortunate enough to have received a vanity bag with all of my face-care products from my dermatologist. They were ideal for such a short break and I didn’t have to worry about decanting those products.

Sunscreen is a must on any beach holiday.

I’d also recommend packing the following items:

  • Extra hair bands, grips, and clips and hair-related products: These are very useful and sometimes tend to get forgotten. Make a note to pack it in when packing your hairbrush and other hair-related items. I never take a hairdryer with me, because I know that most hotels supply one. They’re aren’t always the fastest but they do the job sufficiently. Remember to pack in your basic hair washing products and any heat products if you’re planning to take along a flatiron. A showercap is not a must, as many hotels usually provide this. Many people prefer a fuss-free, maintenance-free holiday, but I usually can’t get by on that.
  • Feminine products if necessary
  • Dental care
  • The worst feeling is being ill late at night with no medication available to pull you through until the morning. It’s something that I highly recommend packing, even if you never use any of it. Aside from packing chronic medication, remember to pack your daily medication that you have to take. I like to pack the following, as a precautionary measure. Remember you don’t need a full card, so take whatever you have in your home, even if it is only 2 or 3 left in a card or container. You might need to get a script if it’s items that are scheduled drugs.
    1. Painkillers; usually the lower dosage items like Panado, Grandpa and Stilpane. Anything stronger like Myprodol might require a script.
    2. Nausea and vomiting: Valoid usually works well and especially helpful if you have motion sickness (if taking the helicopter or going out on the boat).
    3. Diarrhea: You can never be too certain! Smecta works very well, and doesn’t have an awful taste. Remember to pack a few sachets of Rehydrate which restores moisture or fluid if you’ve been throwing up or have had diarrhea.
    4. Medication for hayfever, sinuses or allergies: Consult with your medical practitioner, or use what suits you and your family well, eg. Demazin or Sinumax.
    5. General flu medication: Flusin, Corenza or similar.
    6. Throat lozenges.

    These usually fit into one very small bag which get left in the zipped section of my check-in luggage. It doesn’t take up much space but might be really useful if and when the need arises. You will need to adjust the list if you are traveling with the very elderly or younger kids even if it is only for 3 days.

If you’re tempted at all, I can’t wait to share images and the experience of the Resort with you!

Contact Details:

White Pearl Resort: Jasmin – general@whitepearlresorts.com

Elizabeth Summer: Jess – jess@elizabethsummer.com

Luggage: Saleys Travel in Ormonde – Ask for Imtiaz (+27 11 247 9200)

To Shop Woolworths Costumes and Swimwear accessories: http://www.woolworths.co.za/store/cat/Women/Clothing/Swimwear/_/N-1z13s4h

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