Kutembea, an epic trip by kite along the Mozambican coastline

What ultimately inspired this journey was a passion of five people!


In northern Mozambique,Pemba’s small kitesurfing community is drawn to the pristine coastline and peaceful lifestyle of Cabo Delgado,


Away from the Pemba bustle is the area’s best kitesurfing spot and at the heart of the community is Il Pirata, an intimatehideaway lodge – home to Carlo and Susanna, a place for home-cooked Italian food, a kitesurf lesson or an adventure with Carlo exploring the idyllic coast by kite.

This is where the team of seven congregated and conceived the epic challenge.

The Challenge!

The challenge was to travel by kite the length of Cabo Delgado,traveling between the River Lurio and the River Rovuma, a 210 nautical-mile stretch as the crow flies, culminating in oureight-day adventure. 









A Kitesurf challenge: an aim to raise awareness for the need of clean water, promoting current community projects in Mozambique and to document a raw way of life, living along the pristine coastline of northern Mozambique










 Kusi Wind

The Winds of the east African coast are the south easterly known locally as the Kusi and the north easterly known locally as the Kazkazi.

The Kusi has the reputation for being the stronger and more consistent of the two, blowing from April to September.These winds are the backbone of the ancient Dhow trade routes. As far back as AD600 the dhow has been harnessing these winds bringingtrade and wealth – shaping the coastline cultures. To this day the dhow spirit and trade routes continue as local communities rely on these winds as a means of life.

 We relied on the Kusito travel our part of the dhow trade route, usinga kite – one of the most modern forms of harnessing the wind.The Kusi lived up to her reputation throughout the trip blowing hard and consistently, though not always on our side.


Epic Adventure – tackled on a shoe string

Lacking funds for a fancy support boat, we had no option but to rely on a far from ideal weekend flat-water boat,whose hull wasn’t ideal for choppy seas.

But we had confidence in Geert our Captain.








With the seven of us scattered acrossa remote zone we were already facing a communication challenge. But two days before the trip onset we were able to come together at Il Pirata and managed to finalise our plans.


The mostbeautiful stretch of kiting was day five between Guludo and Queiterajo. Thewind was pitch perfect and the islands pristine, as we cruised past idyllic beachfront fishing villages, fringed by grass roofs and hanging palm leaves. Crowds of excited locals ran along the shores to greet us with beaming smiles, arms waving frantically. We entertained them with a few displays, hoping to leave them with storiesthat may be recounted for years to come. Drawing closer to Queiterajo we weaved amongst the few dotted mangroves and were welcomed byhappy faces.



Cat and myself entered the village to greet the chief – Chefi De Aldea and were escorted to his house by Frank, an affable old man we

end of day's fishing

met en route. He explained about the ‘shambas’ (fields) and the poor crops due to the lack of rains this year – a problem all over the region. We were welcomed to the Chefi De Aldea’s house with warm hospitality. We sat outside on the road on wooden school chairs while we waited for him to return from the mosque.A curious crowd had gathered and the ensuringintense questioning from them, was broken by his arrival. After a lot of banter and laughter he kindly gave us a few guards for the boat over night, as many fishermen who aren’t local to the area pass through.

We arrange with the guys guarding the boat that we want to leave by 9am the next day and could they keep the boat floating. The next morning we woke to a low tide and no boat……

Somehow lost in translation, the guards had walked the boat round the mangroves, on the outgoing tide to another spot where we found her lying dry!

Queiterajo departure



20 strong we push the boat into deeper waters in tune to the rhythm of a fisherman’s song whoat the top of his voice lead us into “ONE STRENGTH”, breaking the suction of the wet sand.

We pumped our kites and headed off waving goodbye to Queiterajo.


Marine life is in abundance.From the Lurio to Il Pirata,we were joined by a Humpback Whale. These curious beasts pass the coastline during July, August and September on their migration to warmer waters to birth before returning south.We were often joined by pods of sociable dolphins along the way and it was hard to keep up with the vibrant dashing world going on under water as we cruised over the fringing coral reefs teaming with life: colourful fish darting off in all directions and the occasional cloud of sand from a ray that had been resting in the comfort of disguise.


During our stay in Guludo local fishermen told us that elephants had passed by earlier that morning. Based within the Qurimbas National Park, the marine area of the park includes eleven islands, home to the incredibly rare Dugong and several species of shark and ray. Several WWF posts, who are working with the fisherman towards a more sustainable future, protect the area.




Our first challenge was discovering that our experienced trip leader, Carlo, was critically ill withMalaria.It was hard and rather concerning to leave him behind

The toughest challenges of the whole trip was to navigatePointa Diablo, known forhuge swell and a vicious rocky coastline. We established protocols to prepare for the foreseeable challenges ahead.


The full force of the Kusi was blowing and swell was huge coming at us from all directions. With compromised and limited communications the group became inevitably separated but thankfully our buddy system held strong.

Nic and Andre reconciled strong currents with 6ft waves breaking on the point’s continuous rocky coastline, whilstBart and myself went further out to sea, battling the huge white capped swell, coming from every direction. It was intense, even experiencing seasickness amongst the giant chop.

The safest route for the boat was to give the point as wide a birth as possible; completely dwarfed by the swell it was clearly fighting its own battle on the edge.

After 4 hours of kiting we had passedPointa Diablo and found safer calmer waters and a brief respite in some awesome waves to play in along the way.

Playing in transparent waves, admiring the reef below, leading onto palm fringed islands, the other kiter’ssilhouetted around you and the big African sun setting over your shoulder into the continent isa feeling you cant describe but can treasure forever.

end of the day


The sun sets fast close to the equator and the next encounter happened as quickly as the sun disappeared. We hadn’t seen a sandy beach for hours but were making good progress in the calm waters on the inside of the reef. Pushing on, Bart and myself suddenly jolted as we hit shallow rocks hard…and went down. After several attempts we found ourselves on a razor sharp urchin infested dead reef in the pitch black. Having a barefoot ethic the thought of footwear hadn’t even crossed our minds. Soat this point we were more than grateful toCatfor insisting that we all had the most uber un-cool sandals!


With a fast incoming tide and the sun disappeared it was very quickly night.

With a display of torches dancing in the distance, we were certain it was the rest of the group but with a large stretch of deep water between us. We decided to pack up our kites and head for the island, a black band on the horizon. We felt our way through waist deep water often disappearing into holes, clambering over rocks and urchins. Neither of us could remember if the Island was lined with cliffs or mangroves. And we wereCOLD by now, nine hours of kiting, wet and hungry.


A gruelling two-hour struggle later we reached the black band and it wassurrounded by dense mangroves. We drained as much water as possible from our kites and repacked them with the intention of trying to walk along the tree line until we found a way in. But we were quickly put off by knee deep sticky mud and a tide in fast pursuit. The trees offered some protection away from the wind. Exhausted, we staggered into the trees, tethered up our boards and climbed into a tree, wrapped in our kited cocoons to ‘sleep’while the tide came in and went out.

The rest of the team were eventually safe on a neighbouring island, Qurimba. Separated for the night and unsure of each other’s ‘location’ it was a long night!


waking in the mangroves

The next morning we woke curled up on our boards on top of the muddy roots, after a night surrounded by black cloudsof mosquitos. We both subsequently got malaria, which is yet another experience we won’t forget in a hurry. It seemedeven harder to get ourselves out of the day lit mangroves than it was navigating our way in – in darkness.

A fisherman kindly led us through a maze of streams in the dense mangrove forest and eventually into the open, across several fields and into Ibo town.

The team was reunited here and we had a chance to nurse our cuts dig out some of the thousands of urchins in our feet and repair our kites, before we were on our way again.


Community Projects

One of the biggest challenges communities face along this pristine coastline is access to clean drinking water. Through our passion for water sports, we aim to bring awareness to this need for clean water along the coast of northern Mozambique.






People have very kindly supported our kitesurf challenge and we have raised funds for a new well in Lumaumua village. Lumaumua is a sprawling fishing village hidden from the beach, with 485 residents relying on small-scale rice crops and predominantly using the sustainable method of spear fishing.






Lumaumua only has one well that has proven so insufficient that members of the village now resort to digging holes up to two meters depth to reach the water table.Nema Foundation will work together with Lumaumua, delivering the funds and helping to organize the technicians required, while Lumaumua will provide the labour and any local materials needed. Once a well is complete Nema, through their community volunteers, will provide training on sanitation and how to manage and maintain the well.


As three ambassadors of +H20 we organized a beach clean up on Wimbe beach in Pemba and involved the locals. We also visited a wind project in Mpandi village where the village has access to electricity and water, generated from the windmill. With the support of Water Charity, +H20 and Nema we hope to continue to raise the issue of clean water along the coast and do as much as possible to help.









Local People

The coastline of Cabo Delgado is mainly populated by the Mwani people, who systematically integrated with the Macua and the Makonde people over the years. These coastal communities have embraced the ocean as a source of life and have adapted their ways to co exist.We’ve documented this way of life, which hugs Mozambique’s remote coastline.










Words by: Jack Stevenson

Images by: Cat Vinton























From the river Lurio to the river Rovuma Kitesurf Expedition



Somewhere North of Pemba

A Kitesurfing challenge, bringing awareness to community projects and documenting a raw way of life, living along the pristine coast line of Cabo Delgado.

The challenge is to travel by kite the length of Mozambique’s northern most province, Cabo Delgado.

A small part of the ancient Arab and Portuguese trade routes, who used the south easterly trade winds known locally as the ‘Kussi’.

The start and finish points are marked by two rivers, the Lurio to the south and the Ruvuma to the north bordering Tanzania.

Five kitesurfers will set sail around the 9th of June, depending on the wind, to cover the 210nm stretch over seven days carrying what we can, using only a small motorboat for support.

During the trip there will be several open water sections and dense mangrove swamps to navigate. These are just some of the foreseeable challenges that we will encounter, while stopping along the way to explore the abundant potential for kitesurfing and absorb the essence of such an unspoilt coastline.

Our first port of call will be Il Pirata, ( northern Mozambique’s only kitesurfing school and home to Carlo, who is leader of the trip and has the most experience in the team. From there we will continue our

journey north to the Tanzanian boarder, camping along the way.


Our aim is to raise awareness for the need of clean water, and promote current community projects in Mozambique.

The coast line of Cabo Delgado is mainly populated by the Mwani people who have over the years integrated with the Macua people and Makonde people. Coastal communities have embraced the ocean as a source of life and have adapted their ways to co exist. One

of the big challenges communities face along this pristine coast line is access to clean drinking water.

Through the support of the NEMA foundation, Guludo Beach Lodge, Water Charity, +H20 and the communities themselves, access to clean drinking water has been provided, all over the world, including a number of projects in Mozambique, Madagascar and Tanzania.


We will be documenting not only the huge potential of new kitesurfing spots but the way of life that surrounds them, hugging Mozambique’s remote coast line.

As early as AD600 the coast line and its communities have been influenced by Arab and Portuguese traders, leaving behind trails of their influence and presence.

Through our passion for water sports and a conscience for the environment we hope to capture life along the coast as it stands today


Please follow the links below for more information on the supporting parties:

Lurio to Rovuma Kitesurfing Challenge 2012

A Kitesurfing challenge, bringing awareness to community projects and telling a raw way of life, along the pristine coast line of Cabo Delgado.


The challenge is to travel by kite the length of Mozambique’s northern most province, Cabo Delgado.

A small part of the ancient Arab and Portuguese trade routes, who used the south easterly trade winds known locally as the ‘Kussi’.

The start and finish points are marked by two rivers, the Lurio to the south and the Ruvuma to the north bordering Tanzania.

Five Riders Carlo, Bart, Jack, Nic, Andre. Two boat skippers, Geert, Andt and one Photographer, Cat. Will set sail the 9th of June, depending on the wind, to cover the 190NM stretch over seven days carrying what we can, using only a small motorboat for support.


09/06/2012 Day One:

After the approach to the River Lurio, we start the trip at the river mouth. 13°26’57,88”S 40°34’06,49”E

A 27 NM downwind, passing by several lovely coast villages and some amazing wave spots, will take us to Il Pirata in Murrebue 13°03’30,96”S  40°33’25,41”E

Il Pirata Murrebue, will provide for our food and accommodation 

10/06/2012 Day Two

The longest leg of the all trip, 45 NM, will take us from Murrebue to Ibo Island 12°13’28,00”S 40°41’03,95”E

This is with no doubt the most demanding leg of the all trip, we have around 10 miles of Open Ocean to sail and we will pass Ponta Diablo, one of the most demanding stretches of water in Mozambique, it is also the whale season, so we count to be accompanied by Humpback Wales as we sail.

On Ibo Island, Miti Miwiri Lodge will provide for us on the Island

11/06/2012 Day Tree

A short leg, 14 NM will take us to Guludo Beach Lodge 12°08’19,00”S 40°29’19,00”E

Guludo Beach Lodge will provide accommodation and a logistic base, there we will visit the sites of the Nema foundation projects as well as the village of Mipande, where The Clean Energy Initiative, has a very interesting project providing wind generated electricity to the village

12/06/2012 Day Four

With a 27 NM leg, cruising among the fishermen communities in the area, we will reach the village of Quiterajo 11°43’53,60”S 40°26’50,69”E. A fishing community, lying on the mouth of the river Messalo.

We will camp by the village, seeking the hospitality of the local community.

13/06/2012 Day Five

The second longest leg of the trip, 39 NM will take us to Metundo Lodge Private Island 11°08’44,95”S 40°40’23,44”E

The Leg start with the crossing of the River Messalo, we are particularly excited about this crossing, while Dugongs, the marine mammals heavily threatened by extinction, have been spotted in these waters. We will also cruise by villages whose fishing communities are reachable only from the Ocean, and the small town of Mocimboa da Praia.

Metundo Lodge Private Island will provide for our accommodation and a logistic base.

14/06/2012 Day Six

Island to Island, 23 NM Leg, taking us to the Island of Tecomaji 10°46’01,27”S 40°39’16,16”E some awesome wave spots along the way, time to play!

We will land on the Island, where the crew of the Lodge on the Making, will host us.

Guy, Project Manager on Tecomaji will join us for the last leg the following day.

15/06/2012 Day Seven

Uncharted Waters, 15 NM to get us, as close as possible to Quionga 10°35’41,08”S 40°30’33,82”E, costal border post with Tanzania, End of the trip

We will start cruising across the lovely Palma bay. The little town of Palma is the hub of the Gas explorations off shore and is witnessing a huge development in recent days, next check point is the light house of Cabo Delgado, which gives the name to the most northern province of Mozambique. Next, the Rovuma river mouth, where sadly we will put the kites down and End the Trip.

We will ten work our way back to Tecomaji where we will wrap up the trip.


16/06/2012 Day Eight

Time to go home, some of us will go back by boat while the others will travel by road on any available mean, from Palma to Pemba

We have a number of spots along the way where we can surf the net! keep on checking these sites for updates as the trip goes on

latest video from Murrebue

Murrebue downwind in the lagoon at low tide


is proud dealer of Crazy Fly products for Mozambique

on top of the full carbon 2011 range of boards, that has made Crazy Fly one of the best kite boards manufacturer worldwide, crazy fly now launched a brand new line of kites! check out the 2011 collection at

we can provide on order any of the Crazy Fly products with delivery at your doorstep anywhere in Mozambique.

for prices, orders or simply for informations on the 2011 products, contact us or call Carlo +258/823805790

Seasons Greetings =)

Il Pirata & Pirate Kites

Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

CarloSusannaZoePetra =)

Sprite Maputo Open

was a weekend of extreme kitesurfing!


pro riders from various countries and the stars of SAKT delighted the crowd with moves never seen before in Mozambican soil … waters.

the wind blessed the event every afternoon assuring the possibility to run the course race and the free style both for the pro and the amateur category.
all the riders gave their best and the organizers assured a smooth and very pleasant event!

we will never forget Bob and his commentators team who rocked the event …. how can we forget the piece “Give me back my wind!”

Team Pemba represented by Chris and Carlo, as usual left it’s mark!
Carlo delighted the crowd with his unconventional moves, only to loose the free style amateur semys to Sergio, raising star of Mozambican Kitesurfing who competed both in amateur and pro categories for free style! (not bad for an old man was the recurring comment)

Chris ….. brought the trophy Home to Pemba, with a perfect heat in both semy and final, he was unstoppable and left no chance to his opponents!
the Bmx, Skateboard and inline skate from the extreme sport association offered some amazing side events on the hallf pipe built for the occasion
official results were:

free style Amateur
1 Chris
2 Johao
3 Sergio

free style Pro
1 Colin
2 Oswald
3 Kurt

course race amateur
1 Greg
2 Josse
3 coubus

course race Pro

1 Oswald

2 Ettienne
3 Greg

looking forward th the next edition in 2011

On the road

July 2010, Piratekites gets on the road and goes to explore the far north.

"The Team" Will, Max, Wess, Carlo, Pablo, Bruce and Bart

the trip started at the border of Tanzania and continued along the beautiful coast of Northern Mozambique, after a couple of magical days on the Island of Tecomaji, the team explored spots in the unaccessible village of Shanga, Ingoane, Ponta Cabo Pekeue, Pangane.

7 days of absolute adventure, everywhere we found enthusiastic crowds that made us feel like pros at the WorldTour       we had to open the road to get to the village of Shanga, every night at the camp fire shared the experiences and the feelings the adventure left with us.

being the first ever kiting the spots we were encountering along the road, made us feel the expectations and anticipation of the unknown ahead, we made sure each and every one of us had his solo entrance in a new spot.

the wind blessed us for 5 days with 20 knots average, we all came back to Pemba with fantastic memories sculped in our eyes memories that will stay with us forever.

for more news, pics and the full story check:

New Website

New website Il Pirata Kite Surfing

Il Pirata has renewed his online presence. Our new website offers to you the possibility to connect with us more effectively. We also want to share through our website important information about Mozambique, Pemba and our little paradise. We hope you like to come and visit us soon.

Discover Pemba with us

Pemba is a port city in Mozambique. formally known as Porto Amelia, during the Portuguese colonization was a vibrant resort town.

It is the capital of the province of Cabo Delgado and lies on a peninsula in Pemba Bay. Pemba is also renowned as being a prime destination for water sport and diving enthusiasts as a coral reef lies close to shore.



Nowadays Pemba has increasingly become a tourist destination,  There are now several flights  from Johannesburg Dar el Salaam and Nairobi to Pemba, but visiting Cabo Delgado you still feel far from the major touristic routes. In Pemba there is the closest major city airport and is also the major gateway for those who wish to visit Quirimbas Islands.

The beaches in the all province, are beautiful, the ever changing landscape offers completely different scenarios and most of the beautiful beaches are still untouched.


Wimbe Beach is only a few minutes from the airport,it is the beach of Pemba and and it is always very lively, within 15 minutes of Car you can get to Cuiba, beautiful beach on the east coast, but travelling only a few minutes more you reach Beautiful Murrebue Beach and there you feel like you are the only person in the world!

around the province there is also plenty of historic sites and the Maconde Area, home to some of the most skilled wood carving Artists, known all over the world for their stunning masterpieces.

one thing is sure, Pemba and the Cabo Delgado province offer the perfect environment for a diverse and adventurous holiday.

Little Italy

Susana’s kitchen is like a little piece of Italy in the middle of Africa. You will be delighted by a great selection of pastas, pizzas and other delicious Italian recipes. Also if you want to try some Matapa the local cook will prepare it for you. Matapa is a typical Mozambican dish, prepared with young cassava leaves piled with garlic and flour extracted from the tubers, cooked with crab or shrimp.