Today I found my mind wandering back to a few years ago, to one of our first big trips together. An MSC Portuguese Island Cruise. A cruise to Maputo and The Portuguese island. For anybody who is unsure, The Portuguese island is a small, uninhabited island found off the coast of Mozambique, in Africa. It is nowhere close to Portugal. As South Africans – this was a trip that was not too far from home for us.
The cruise was a trip that we took back in 2014. As the first ‘international’ trip that Peter and I did together, this one will always hold a special place in our hearts. We have visited many exotic destinations and major cities around the world since then but the MSC Portuguese island cruise has still got to be one of my favourite trips. It may or may not have to do with my love for the ocean but I discovered a myriad of reasons why life is more fun when you’re out at sea.
The local MSC cruise from South Africa is typically either 3 or 4 nights long. We opted for the 4 night cruise with stopovers in both Maputo and The Portuguese island. Maputo was great but I had been to Mozambique before and it was The Portuguese island that stole the show. Stretched out over beautiful beaches, this uninhabited island is only 6km big. Yes, you could explore every nook and cranny of this island in a day! It’s so secluded which is one of the best assets that this island has to offer. The only people in sight are fellow cruisemates – speed boats transport passengers from the cruise ship to the island. Other than a few huts set up by MSC Cruises, Portuguese Island is made up of pristine stretches of beach skirted by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
MSC Portuguese Island Cruise: What makes it special
Untouched by humans
Well not quite, since the MSC cruise takes people here regularly, but you get my drift. This is an uninhabited island, meaning that it is not populated by people. There is something so beautiful about visiting a piece of the Earth that hasn’t been destroyed by humans. With a world population of over 7.6 billion people, it’s hard to believe that there are still places in the world that don’t bare our permanent footprint. As we continue to grow in numbers, these types of places are likely to become more sparse. For those of us with an adventurous spirit, these experiences are surreal.
Enjoyed in Mozambique for over 150 years, Tipo Tinto is an island specialty. It’s usually mixed with raspberry juice to make a delicious and very refreshing concoction to quench the thirst and of course, give you a “buzz”. Commonly known as R&R (Rum and Raspberry), it’s a hugely popular drink among South African holiday makers, a nation that is notorious for never missing out on a good party. It’s very tasty but can be quite potent. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
No rush, no worries and no noise!
You are free to listen to the waves crashing against the shore, feel the sea breeze blowing through your hair and look out into complete paradise with absolutely nothing else in sight. It’s very easy to find an isolated spot on the island, with nobody else in sight. You could even have your very own yoga session, if you wanted to. It’s a truly surreal experience. We hired a kayak that we took out into the ocean which was so much fun. The tide was so low and the sea so calm, that we paddled out for miles. We were still able to get out and stand, even when we were so far out from the shore. In fact, we could have gone on our own MSC Portuguese Island Cruise!
As the sun started to go down over the sea and the tide started to come in, it was time to head back to the boat. If I could have stayed on the Portuguese Island forever, I probably would have. I am a self-confessed island girl with a love for sunshine, salt air and beach sand. I most likely will never find an island that I don’t like but The Portuguese island has stolen a piece of my heart.