Think a summer holiday deep in the South combining big cities to a proper bush experience and beach life along the Indian Ocean. This was a trip of three men exploring the route from Johannesburg via Maputo to Tofo and back via Kruger National Park.  Hop on to this boys' trip into the city, beach & bush through these great photos taken by Lauri Soini. 

M-Cell Building is one of the tallest building in Maputo, and look at the view! Before independence from Portugal, Maputo was called Lourenço Marques. With about 1,2 to 1,7 million inhabitants, it is the capital of Mozambique. Photo ©Lauri Soini

Maputo city has rich food culture and relatively vibrant art scene as well as several big craft markets. This photo was taken on the way to Chikeleni Market outside the city center. Photo ©Lauri Soini.

Maputo fortress represents a piece of living history. It is one of the landmarks and most visited spots in the city for the tourists, but it is worth checking out. The fortress was built by the Portuguese in 1787 and is one of the oldest buildings in Maputo. The colonial history museum is located here including information about king Ngungunyane, the last ruler of Empire Gaza (a province in current Mozambique) and vassal of the Portuguese Empire, who rebelled against the colonial rule and was quite famous also in Europe on his time in late 1800's. 

Historically a small coastal fishing village, Tofo has grown into a foreign tourism center. However, beaches of Tofo are definitely not a mass tourism destination, but there's space to enjoy the sun and the warm Indian Ocean. Photo ©Lauri Soini

What makes Tofo an attraction, is the exceptional opportunities to see manta rays and whale sharks which are permanently resident in these waters. Perfect destination for diving. Photo ©Lauri Soini 

Cliff with great character, also good for spotting whales on the season from June to December. The most common migratory Whales seen in the warm Mozambique waters are the Southern right Whales and the Humpback Whales. This place is also close to "execution rock" which has been the site of untold numbers of assassinations for about 40 years. Portuguese used it to execute dissidents at the start of the liberation struggle, then Frelimo did the same to Renamo soldiers during the civil war.

The buzz vegetable market of Tofo is run by the local ladies. The vegetables sold here are produced in the area. Photo ©Lauri Soini

Great day trip from Tofo: Sailing on a dhow to Pansi Island where the chief of Inhambane lives. He personally hosts the visitors who wish to explore this lovely island. Photo ©Lauri Soini

The mangroves and the coconut trees create a very tropical vibe on this small island. Pansi has a small and very friendly and welcoming community. People leave simple life. There are no other services except a school and a clinic. But life seems to be good; the atmosphere is totally relaxed, there's a sense of togetherness, and happiness. Photo ©auri Soini

The shores of Pansi Island have a lot of sea stars and sand dollars, which are species of extremely flattened, burrowing sea urchins. However it is not advisable in terms of conservation to take sea stars or sand dollars, or to play with them. This information is not always known by the local workers, but we may all raise awareness of these issues while travelling. Photo ©Lauri Soini

Game of rugby? Yep. Together with tourists and villagers, and one safari guide & rugby player called Farayi. Photo ©Lauri Soini

Time to head back to Tofo. Traditional sailing boats are called dhows which is the generic name of a number of traditional sailing vessels with one or more masts with lateen sails used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean region. Historians are debating whether the dhow was invented by Arabs or Indians. Photo ©Lauri Soini

For people who love seafood, Mozambique is the place. Today fish barbecue for dinner. Just need to first bargain for the fish with the local fishermen. Photo ©Lauri Soini 

Tofo offers also a relatively big craft market with lots of beautiful items on sale. Everyone is eager to sell, so prepare to chat and be firm but polite if you just wish to see what is on offer first. Photo ©Lauri Soini

Capulanas, capulanas! Capulanas form the base of women's wardrobe. It can either be used as a wrap-around skirt, dress or can become a baby carrier on the back. It is considered a complete piece of clothing. Same fabrics can be used for making e.g. shirts and shorts for men. There are also capulanas that have a certain meaning, there are for example particular capulanas for married women and for the widows. Also traditional healers have a special design that only they can wear. Photo ©Lauri Soini

A small jump from the beach to Inhambane town and historical tour with the local guide. The catholic church of Inhambane used to host political meetings and guns were stored there during the liberation struggle. Inhambane was also one of the ports for slave trade. Quite an interesting place is also the Inhambane indoor market. Local people believe that Inhambane was one of the first landing spots for Portuguese as Vasco de Gama and his crew are told to visit here in the late 15th century. Photo ©Lauri Soini

Seafood, indeed. Here a cray fish under preparation for lunch, served with Mozambican salad, glass of white wine and fruits for dessert. Photo ©Lauri Soini  

From beaches of Mozambique the journey continued via Maputo to South Africa and to Kruger National Park. Baobab tree is the landmark of Africa. It can be and is used for multiple purposes, e.g. the seeds full of vitamin C are edible, and the bark is used for rope and making baskets etc. An interesting details is that the baobab trees are pollinated by bats. Baobab trees live hundreds of years, and the oldest baobab is believed to be well over 1700 years. Most Africans believe that the God lives in baobab trees. Photo ©Lauri Soini

There are plenty of giraffes in Kruger Park, as they are successful in Africa in general. Giraffe is the tallest mammal on earth and they spend most of their lives standing up. Giraffes have the shortest sleep requirements of any mammal. With new age symbolism giraffe is a symbol for intuition and flexibility. Photo ©Lauri Soini

Kruger has a healthy elephant population. Elephants like fresh water to cool down when it's very hot. Did you know that elephants can be right-tusked or left-tusked like people are right-or left-handed. For this reason the other tusk can be more worn out than the other. Photo ©Lauri Soini

Highlights of bush life; chilling by the camp, telling stories under the stars by the fire. Photo ©Lauri Soini

Dinner on the fire. Farayi preparing a braai which is traditional South African barbecue. Photo ©Lauri Soini

Farayi and Section Ranger Steve Midzi discussing on zebra's scull identifying the age and gender of the animal. Photo ©Lauri Soini

Farayi and Steve interpreting elephant tracks while looking for lions. Important in tracking is to observe the behavior of other animals, droppings, foot prints, wind direction, changes, saliva on grass etc. In Farayi's words, tracking is form of art. Photo ©Lauri Soini

End stop of the city, bush & beach trip: Soweto. The Orlando Towers in picture are one of the famous landmarks of Johannesburg. People interested in history, there are several interesting places worth visiting in Soweto. Nowadays there are several community-based service providers offering tours and accommodation in Soweto, which is one of the biggest townships of South Africa and used to be the main stage for the anti-apartheid struggle. Also remember the apartheid museum! Photo ©Lauri Soini