De Addis Abeba a Ciudad del Cabo (From Addis Ababa to Cape Town)


Country no. 6 – Mozambique
March 22, 2012, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Like Lilongwe, Blantyre didn’t hold much interest for us (although the queues of unmanned cars waiting for petrol were possibly longer). Malawi is beautiful with its mountainous landscape and gorgeous lake but it’s a mess, and apparently things have got progessively worse over the last year or so. There’s still no petrol, the cost of the little food that there is is extortionate and good luck trying to get any foreign currency.

One of our favourite things in Malawi (after baobab trees) - Cherryplum and Cocopina Sobo!

One of our favourite things in Malawi (after baobab trees) - Cherryplum and Cocopina Sobo!

So we decided to get out of there and head to the border for challenge – I mean country – number six, Mozambique.

Tete, a nondescript and ridiculously expensive mining town, was the first major town on our way towards the coast. After resigning ourselves to the fact that our basic room with communal bathroom was going to cost more than our room in Zanzibar, we dumped our bags and went in search of lunch. That’s where Tete redeemed itself a little because my frango (grilled Portuguese chicken), custard tart and proper Portuguese Delta coffee were all delicious!

But my happiness didn’t last long. As my dad had been stationed in Tete while he was in the army, I thought I’d take some pictures for him. As we were walking down the street, we were stopped by two policemen, one of them quite a lot more obstinate than his colleague. He began harrassing me in Portuguese about my entry stamp (as a South African I don’t need a visa) and we weren’t quite sure how things were going to turn out (he was rude and obstructive as he wouldn’t explain what needed to be done to solve the non-existent problem. Of course he wanted money but he wasn’t going to get any from us). Thankfully, a young local guy stopped and asked me in perfect English whether the police were harrassing me. He then went over to the nasty little policeman and I’m not sure what was said, but the policeman soon left us alone after telling Alberto that there was an issue with my entry stamp.Whatever. One thing you learn in Africa – NEVER trust a policeman.

The excitement for the day wasn’t to end there. The joys of Mozambican travel involve at least six hours on cramped and old buses that depart – this is the best bit – at 4am. We thought we’d be clever and go to bed at 8pm to be up in seven hours. However, seven hours later, we were still awake. The noise of the traffic and the music of the cars as they sped past and the people shouting/talking in the street below meant neither of us got any sleep.

The next morning got off to an even better start. Upon arrival at the bus station just before 4am, we found out that our bus driver hadn’t turned up for work. We were then all shoved onto another bus and left for Chimoio at 4.30am. Ok, could be worse we thought. And then it did get worse because the music started on our bus that was to become a travelling nightclub. And it blared from 4.30am (nevermind most of the bus was trying to sleep) until we got off six hours later. At this point, we were ready to get the next plane to Joburg.

But then we arrived at the Pink Papaya (and yip, almost everything in the house is pink but you don’t notice that after a while :-p), a German owned and run guesthouse in the quiet town of Chimoio and what a difference it made to the way we felt! Anja, our host, was brilliant and did more than enough to make us feel welcome and comfortable and soon we felt ourselves relax. We spent three days catching up on washing (some of our clothes got washed in a machine for the first time in three and a half months thanks to Anja!), eating awesome chicken from the churrasqueira and we even finally got a chance to cook vegetables (we’ve missed them!) for ourselves in the guesthouse kitchen.

The good times at Pink Papaya came to an end all too soon and it was time again for another early morning bus, this time to Vilanculos. Thankfully, there were no speakers on this bus. Soon we would be on the coast.

I think we were pretty spoilt with the beaches in Zanzibar because we weren’t all that impressed with the beach at Vilanculos. However, we did do a day trip out to Magaruque Island, which is part of the Bazaruto Archipelago, and that was beautiful. We almost had the whole island nevermind just the beach to ourselves.

Magaruque Island, Bazaruto Archipelago

Magaruque Island, Bazaruto Archipelago

The beach at Magaruque

The beach at Magaruque

Onde esta Wally en Magaruque? (Where's Wally at Magaruque?)

Onde esta Wally en Magaruque? (Where's Wally at Magaruque?)

From there it was on to Tofo via minibus, a rather choppy ferry crossing on a dodgy little boat and then another minibus. I think that quite a long time ago the beach at Tofo was probably beautiful but sadly now it’s been spoilt by the many guesthouses, hotels, restaurants and bars that have been built along its shores.

Tofo beach

Tofo beach

We just spent the weekend at Tofo and then took the bus back to Inhambane, a pleasant and quiet little town (and long ago important trading port) with evident Portuguese and Arabic architectural influence, about 20km away. I liked it there.

18th century cathedral in Inhambane

18th century cathedral in Inhambane

One of many old buidlings in Inhambane

I thought the old Beetle complemented the old building quite nicely :-)

How do you like . . .

How do you like . . .

. . . d'em coconuts?

. . . d'em coconuts?

A sunset swim in Inhambane

A sunset swim in Inhambane

And then on to the big one – Maputo. I suppose my sister and I have this city to thank for our existence – my mom and dad met on the steps of the cathedral one weekend over 35 years ago :-)

Maputo!

Maputo!

My mom and dad met on these very cathedral steps

My mom and dad met on these very cathedral steps

The Maputo railway station

The beautiful Maputo railway station

If you can avoid twisting your ankle or falling down an uncovered manhole while trying to navigate the broken pavements and can get past the litter that lines some of the main streets, it’s a pretty cool city. Yesterday we hired a tuk-tuk\taxi thing to take us for a ride along the Avenida Marginal to see the beach at Costa do Sol and finished up by treating ourselves to high tea at the Polana (darling).

Breakfast in the city

Breakfast in the city

Our ride for the afternoon

Our ride for the afternoon

Grilling chicken along the Costa do Sol

Grilling chicken along the Costa do Sol

Here you go Dad, the 'lemon squeezer' cathedral

Here you go Dad, the 'lemon squeezer' cathedral

I say, a spot of afternoon tea and cake at the Polana (one of the oldest and flashest hotels in Maputo)

I say, a spot of afternoon tea and cake at the Polana (one of the oldest and flashest hotels in Maputo)

Maputo’s a city I definitely wouldn’t mind coming back to visit as I’d love to explore it some more and experience the fish market where you choose fresh fish and then have it grilled and to wander around the markets, probably to buy more textiles!

I can’t help but wonder what my dad would think of Mozambique now after all the years he spent here?
In memory of my grandfather. I hope he has found some peace.

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Absolutely beautiful reading! Wow, you have left a lump in my throat. I hope you are feeling better today. So looking forward to seeing you both soon. XXX Stellie

Comment by John and Estelle Collier

Glad you guys went to Costa do Sol…
i love the 2M draught and sitting on the balcony overlooking the water.

looking forward to seeing ou guys soon.

Comment by Tyronne

Have brought back good memories for dad and I! and were both touched by your final comment – thank you.
Love you x x

Comment by Cheryl

Yay! Your in SA! Adventurous as ever! Enjoying your pics and story! I like Alberto’s hat! Enjoy your holiday. Love, thoughts ad hugs. x

Comment by Valerie McIntosh




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