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26.12.2006, Lilongwe, Malawi – Tete, Mozambique, 359 km (part 2)

Well the Malawi border crossing was easy, but now came the tricky part: Mozambique! We had heard from everyone that the Mozambican officials (customs, police, etc.) are very keen on bribes and hence always busy trying to find something that is “wrong” with your papers or the car. In addition is Mozambique the only country that does not accept the Carnet de Passage for the car, but issues some strange local tax import paper for roughly 25USD. We had heard from people who had managed to get the carnet stamped anyways and so we decided to do the same (plus we did not have the 25 USD on cash). We had to leave Tembo in front of the barrio/ border post and entered the small customs building. Our passports were checked and stamped, our visa from Nairobi got accepted (it is also possible to buy the visa at the border now, so getting a visa up front is no longer necessary). Then we moved on to the car insurance desk – ignoring the hissing “Christmas present, Christmas present” whispers from the officers. We showed them our car insurance document from Germany stating all the countries covered by the insurance, including Mozambique, and they accepted it (like any other country before). Now only the Carnet de Passage hurdle was left. The guy working at the customs desk was constantly distracted for he was also the guy who had to open the barrier to let the cars enter the country – and he had a heavy limp. So the barrier opening procedure took some time. Another customs guy took our Carnet and went down the list of valid countries (and obviously Mozambique was not on it). When he came to the last country “Zimbabwe” he pointed at it and said “ah Mozambique, good!”. I nodded in agreement. When the customs guy finally returned from another trip to the barrier he suspiciously took the Carnet and leafed through it looking lost. Jens then carefully entered the scene and explained to the guy exactly what he had to do: “stamp here and here, sign here, this is for you, etc.”. The guy added a few extra stamps (but they did no harm) and we were back outside with a stamped Carnet and without paying either a bribe or the 25 USD. We couldn’t believe it. But we had to keep a straight face until we were actually through the barrier and back on the road. It worked; our limping officer hissed some more “Christmas present, Christmas present” and we answered happily “yes, yes, merry Christmas!” and then we were through.
The road was smooth and empty and took us through a beautiful landscape. But already I was getting doubts. Maybe that has not been the cleverest of all things to travel through a country with difficult police checkpoints with illegal papers … hm. Well, too late, we will see how it goes.
And so here we were: Mozambique, our 9th African country on this trip and the final country before South Africa … we were so close now, but yet also still quite far away, since Mozambique is a large country.

As for Malawi, I will give you a short overview on Mozambique, since it is not yet a very well known travelling country.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to settle in today’s Mozambique. Once Bartholomao Diaz navigated around the Cape of Good Hope in 1488(!), the Portuguese (Vasco da Gama) started using Mozambique as stop-over on the way to India. After rich centuries of trade (mostly slaves) Portugal lost interest in Mozambique and turned its focus on Brazil. Only when the British started reaching out to Mozambique, Portugal started fighting for its colonial right and won (BerlinCongo- Conference in 1884/85). After the Second World War a long and bloody freedom fight started and resulted in the first free elections in 1975. 200.000 Portuguese fled the country, most of them destroying everything they had to leave behind. Mozambique turned to Marxism and became a good friend of Moscow.
The Renamo, a terror organization financed and supported by outside money, e.g. South Africa, got installed to systematically destabilize the country and fight the communists. A terrible civil war started – and the results still can be seen today. In 1992 finally a peace treaty was signed and slowly democracy started to grow and so did the tourism … So, this is why in Mozambique we had to pick up yet another language: Portuguese!

On the small EN223 we moved south towards the N7 and then took a right towards the city of Tete. The EN223 was in excellent condition and the landscape was beautiful, hilly and lush green, with only few settlements. Once we were on the N7 the tarmac got bad and the trucks joined us. The N7 is the so called Tete-Corridor connecting the capital of Zimbabwe, Harare with Malawi – during the civil war this part of the road was called “Tete-Run”, “Gun-Run” or “Hell-Run” for on this important transit road rebels ambushed trucks coming from Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean military tried to secure this passage, but attacks and shootings were common.
We did not encounter any of that of course and by evening we reached the city of Tete. Tete is supposedly the hottest city in Mozambique lying only at 175m above sea level on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. It is also the city with the most through-traffic in entire Mozambique (because of the Tete-Corridor) and so we did not expect much from Tete. But, we were pleasantly surprised. When we visited Tete the next day we enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, the Portuguese-style architecture and the somewhat street life that seemed more Latin than African to us.
For the night we found the community run “Jesu E Bom” campsite, directly on the Zambezi with a great view onto the large suspension bridge and the town on the opposite river bank. The campsite is in a small village, with muddy streets and the families that run the place live on the same premises. That gave it nice African feel.
We had been on the look-out for Mick the entire day, but he did not overtake us on the road and we worried that he might have gotten stuck at the border. However, just as dinner was ready we heard the R65 engine getting closer and Mick’s familiar shape zoomed past the campsite … Jens and all the kids went running after him and so he joined us, setting-up his Scottish “Ikea-“tent (it is blue and yellow) next to Tembo. After dinner, Mick went out to get some drinks, using his Portuguese to chat up the “drinks-lady”. The drinks were warm, but she gave him a wicker basket to carry them in. It looked very nice J. Mick had not managed to get his Carnet stamped and he was full of envy …

27.12.2006, Tete – Forest Retreat (north of Chimoio), 311 km

Another long stretch of driving was lying ahead of us and we got up early. In Northern Mozambique are not many camping possibilities and one has to cover huge distances (at least huge for us and Tembo). The next stop would have been the city of Chimoio, but since we did not want to go from a city campsite to another city campsite we decided to check out a forest camp north of Chimoio. We said good-bye to Mick (he travels much faster than we do) and agreed to meet him along the road before the turn-off for the camp. We drove into Tete to get some money. The currency is Meticais and as in every new country, we first had to get a feeling about the amount of money needed per day and hence needed from the ATM. To make things more complicated Mozambique was about to have a currency reform, dropping 3 zeros, effective for the 1st of January 2007. But already in December old and new money was in circulation one had to watch out not to get terribly ripped-off.
We managed to get a reasonable amount of cash and we even found a bakery selling excellent Portuguese-style bread rolls – what a bliss compared to the countries with a “British-bread-legacy”, like Tom used to call them. We could not find a supermarket though, that would have to wait till Chimoio. The people in Tete were very friendly and their English was fairly good. No one hassled us in the streets and all in all, the atmosphere felt like we were in the Caribbean more than in Africa.
Leaving the Zambezi behind us we left Tete and continued south-west bound. Again, the landscape was very pleasing and with Baobab trees and small African villages. Later there were impressive “balancing rocks” along the road – huge granite rocks artistically arranged by millions of years of erosion and tectonic movements. Occasionally Mick kept overtaking us and then driving past us in the opposite direction just to overtake us again later … hm, what was he up to? He later told us that he had left Tete without getting petrol and so he spent his day following some locals to some dodgy places where supposedly petrol was sold from jerry cans. It was always cool to see him drive past us, because Mick does not travel like many excessively equipped bikers with full high-tech battle gear. No, he simply wears an old leather jacket, an open helmet and ray ban sunglasses.
We had our first police stop in the middle of a lonely forest stretch, but he did only speak Portuguese and we spoke only English and so we did not really know what he wanted from us. He kept on pointing at our spare wheel on the bonnet saying something like “seguridade” … yes, yes, seguridade … he eventually let us move on without checking our non-existent car import papers, phew!
For the last km to the Forest Camp we teamed up and followed a rough farm road for many km down into the forest. It was a cool road, but Mick got a bit nervous for he does not have off-road tires and if there were a heavy rainstorm the road would be impassable for him. But we were fine, no rain visited us that day/night.
That forest camp was really true to its name, in the middle of the forest. Morris, the caretaker, greeted us – he actually looked quite surprised to see us there – and after Mick spent 10 minutes talking to him in Portuguese, Morris said: “Sorry, I am from Zimbabwe, Portuguese is a problem …”. Ha, so much for showing of your language skills Mick J.
We set up our tents, fought off the nasty flies, had a true bucket shower and some cheap beers and great conversations (about a shop called “hide & sleek”, single malt whisky and the Scottish independence). Later Morris got a fire going and it was Mick’s term to cook up some “tea”, as he would say. We would call it dinner. I got a special vegetarian treat with ready-made macaroni & cheese fuelled with chilli-olive oil. After “tea” we sat around the fire and we tried the cheap-ass whisky Mick had bought that day, packed in small “stylish” plastic bags. Yucko. We decided that life was too short for bad whisky and spent the rest of the night spitting it into the fire making the flames go wild. Morris joined us at the fire and he must have thought that we were nutcases. Morris told us that his wife was in Zimbabwe at the moment about to have their first child. Oh, we said, are you afraid or happy about that? Morris looked at us completely irritated “I am happy, of course!”. Of course, no one in Africa would ever think of being scared about having a child, that is such a Western way to think …
After some more beers and an incident which involved Jens head and a “very confused bat” as Jens put it we all retreated to our tents.

28.12.2006, Forest Retreat (north of Chimoio) – Chimoio, 112 km

Today we had to say good-bye to Mick. He needs to catch a ship to South America from Durban (that was the plan at least) and we were taking it a lot easier. So after some action photo shots on the dirt road we said good-bye and watched Mick and the R65 disappear in a cloud of dust.
Strange to be alone again. We had an easy drive on to Chimoio. There we stocked up our supplies at the Shoprite supermarket. The parking lot was packed with South African 4x4 vehicles with large trailers and tons of kids.
Chimoio is a non-descript and faceless town and apart from being the capital of the Manica province it has nothing to offer. However, it also sported that Latin feel, with people being out in the streets at night and with colourful, Portuguese houses. The only backpackers and camping option in Chimoio is the “Pink Papaya” set in a street behind the government building. It is run by Helen, a British lady, who is super nice and who knows a lot about Mozambique. Her courtyard was just slightly bigger than Tembo and we just fit in. It was very comfy though and again something completely different to all the other camps before. The mango tree in the courtyard was nice enough to drop some fruit once in a while and we just spent the rest of the day relaxing on the roof rack and watching the street life.
We had a long chat with Helen about living in Africa, running a business in Africa (not highly recommended in Mozambique, that is for sure), the road conditions further south and where to spent New Years. She was later joined by a friend of hers, a Zimbabwean farmer, who just had to sell parts of his farm in Mozambique, because the business was down. That day he had managed to sell off the mill (for maize flower) and Helen and he went out to celebrate.
We tucked in for an early night, since we had a long day ahead of us tomorrow.

29.12.2006, Chimoio – Vilankulo, 474 km

We had decided to head to Vilankulo to check it out as a possible New Years location, for according to Helen, all the South Africans, Zimbabweans and local Ex-pats were gathering for the big party at Tofo Beach this year, so Vilankulo should be fairly empty. Also, coming from the north, Vilankulo is the first real beach stop.
It was a long drive through an empty country with endless stretches of forest and wilderness. Very beautiful. Where there were small villages however, the area around the village was always completely burned down (for charcoal) and the people looked very, very poor. They were selling fresh pineapples along the way, and they turned out to be delicious (I am still talking about the Mozambican pineapples … I will never forget that taste!). Helen had warned us that there was a police checkpoint at the Save River Bridge and so I spent the drive worrying (again) about our incomplete paperwork. Jens was completely calm though, absolutely convinced that we would not get stopped. And sure enough, we crossed the bridge and the police let us pass with a friendly wave.
Once we got closer to the sea front the amount of South African cars increased and the road got pretty busy. After a very long day, we finally reached the turn-off to Vilankulo and found the Baobab Beach Camp. The campsite was not exactly great, but it was fairly empty, it was very cheap and just a few meters from the beach. The beachfront bar was nice, although the beer was warm, and suddenly we were surrounded by stylish teenagers and twens with fashionable sunglasses and the latest beachwear. Wow, how did that happen?
The beach is nice, but suffers also from strong tides (like Kenya & Tanzania), so that at low tide one has to walk a couple of meters to get one’s legs wet. Vilankulo is mostly a fishing village and its main attraction is the fact that it is the gateway to the beautiful Bazaruto Archipel – more to that later.
Anyways, we decided to stay and hoped to meet some nice people to spend New Years with.

30.12.2006-01.01.2007, Vilankulo, 0 km (featuring the “snorkelling trip”)

That happened the next day. The campsite got even emptier and we ended up next to a couple from Cape Town with a cute, white short-wheelbase Land Rover (a Series II, with a Defender front). They were called Emma and Ricardo (Ricardo being born in Maputo) and are super nice (we just met them again in Cape Town). They were also planning to spend New Years here and so we already had a nice team going. Later we met Tammy (from Zimbabwe, but living in Cape Town) and Roberto (from Tuscany, Italy), they were also staying for New Years. So now we had quite a nice mix of cultures, languages and nationalities.

Tammy and Roberto had organized a snorkelling trip to Bazaruto Island for the 31st with a local fisherman and his dhow and asked us, Emma and Ricardo if we felt like joining in – it would be fun to go all of us together. For some strange reason Jens and I both had a funny feeling about it, but in the end we thought “what the hell, it’ll be fun” and agreed to join, for Emma and Ricardo also decided to come along. But, oh well, sometimes one should listen one’s instincts. And so this turned out to be a very memorable snorkelling trip, with a lot of boat riding and zero to no snorkelling …
The morning of the 31st the sea looked quite rough, but the captain showed up on time. Tammy confronted him with the 4 extra passengers (i.e. us and Emma & Ricardo) and he reluctantly accepted us on board. The boat really was a tiny dhow with barley enough space for the six of us to sit, let alone store our backpacks. But we were in an excellent mood and looked forward to spending the last day of the year on the water. Then the guy stopped again some meters up the beach to pick up some more passengers. Whoops. It turned out to be a French family of 5(!) people, including a small girl of 6, the grandmother, the pregnant mother, the dad and his brother. OK, now it was a bit crowded on the ship. Anyways, we were not to spent most of the time on the ship but on the island and in the water, so I thought … The dhow took course towards the islands that seemed very far away (and they were very far away) and the sea started getting really rough! The tiny boat was bouncing up and down and huge waves splashed over the bow of the ship drowning everyone. At the beginning it was actually fun and we were screaming excitedly, but slowly the water level inside the boat was rising and I started counting the life-jackets. There were 3 in total and we had a grandmother, a small kid (she luckily had her own vest on), Roberto, who did not know how to swim and a pregnant woman. Great! And we were far off from reaching any island shore. In a nutshell it took us 3 very long and very uncomfortable hours to reach Bazaruto Island. Luckily we could spent most of the time chatting and Roberto turned out to be an excellent story teller, making us double over with laughter, recounting Italian anecdotes and – how fitting – telling us how he had almost drowned before: “Ande thene I thought oh noe I am drowning … so I started to calle fore elp, but no one elped … and thene I gotte angrry and ecrossed my armes and went under water …”. Well, he got rescued eventually, but that had not stopped him from going on a snorkelling trip. Great attitude, I think.
When we finally reached the shores of the island we felt like kissing the ground. Our bums were sore from the rough wooden boat benches and all we could think about was the return trip. Horror. And we hadn’t even snorkelled yet! When Ricardo asked the captain, what we were supposed to do on the island, the captain replied: “now you guys will climb the dunes for 2 hours!”. Er, we don’t think so. It was high noon and the heat was bouncing of the huge sand dunes. Well, so we settled under some trees, had our bread rolls and thought how not-clever it had been to go on a trip without knowing exactly what the itinerary was … time was ticking along and so after 1.5 hours we sort of urged the captain to get the boat going again, because, as we had figured, it took another 30 minutes before we were all back on board. Hm, and the captain had spent the time working on the boat engine, not very encouraging …
But now the fun part was to come: the snorkelling. However to our great dismay it took another hour to reach the alleged snorkelling grounds – obviously in the opposite direction of our home – so the return trip would last 4 hours now and it was already 2 pm. We turned towards the open sea and the waves got higher and higher, we saw waves breaking at a reef in front of us and the captain confirmed our fears: that was the snorkelling spot! They dropped anchor and the boat started a violent dance. Immediately Ricardo and the little girl got sea sick and Emma followed suit. The waves were meters high and the actual reef still 50-80m away from the boat – impossible to swim there and snorkel there. Jens and Tammy gave it a quick try, but the rest of the passengers was either sick or trying not to get sick (me included) or just plain fed up with the whole scenario. So after just some minutes we all decided to turn around, Emma gave the captain a mouthful in Portuguese and off we were. The atmosphere had lost its gayness. Everyone was just tense and looked at the watch … 4 hours to go … gaaargh!
Luckily the sea calmed down once we were back between the islands, the sun was loosing its vigour and we started enjoying the return trip. I even ignored the fact that we made a huge detour to drop off one of the three crew members on one of the islands. But then we were back on the open stretch between the archipelago and the main land, the sea got rough again and we could see very dark clouds piling up on the horizon constantly moving closer. That was the moment when the engine died!
And I started counting life-jackets again – still three. It turned out that the captain had forgotten to refuel. And after refuelling, the engine did not start again … and the dark clouds got closer and closer. The captain started to dismantle the engine again. Jens and I were looking at each other, both thinking: “we cannot believe, that we are driving through Africa without a problem, just to end our lives on a small fishing dhow in Mozambique …”.
After agonizing minutes the engine came back to life and the captain set the dhow’s sail in addition (almost killing most of us with the pole the sail was attached to – not the main mast, but an extra pole). We were making good progress then and I realized that we would probably not drown and actually could think about New Years Eve dinner …
As you can tell, we made it back shaken, but safely. I cannot remember the last time I was so happy to see a beach … We all hugged each other and went into preparations to get seriously drunk.
We heard later that the dark clouds were actually the edge of a serious cyclone that had done devastating damage in Maputo … well, we had some serious guardian angels doing their business that day!
The rest of the evening was very pleasant. We had tons of beers and grilled fish, watched a fashion show(!), drank sparkling wine at midnight, went to the beach and did some dancing. Happy New Year!

The first day of the year 2007 was spent sleeping and eating. The cyclone had brought rain and heavy winds and so we all snuggled up in our tents. Luckily the campsite was very sheltered from the wind for on the beach just a few meters away one got blown off in seconds. We had a final evening together at the bar and then we said good-bye to Ricardo, Emma, Tammy and Roberto. They were planning to leave very early the next day. The holidays were ending and they still had a long return trip ahead of them. Luckily we did not have that problem. We just planned to move down the coast for a few 100 km.

Actually, the Bazaruto Archipelago is a great place and supposedly one of the best snorkelling grounds in the world (without a cyclone that is). There are 5 islands and most of them offer luxurious accommodations (on one island we saw a bed standing on a small private beach!). The islands are 10 – 25 km off the main land. I seriously recommend going there. Just check the boat upfront and shop around a bit. There are also very modern speedboats that go out to the islands (NOW, we know that …).

02.01.2007, Vilankulo – Morrungulo Beach, 195 km

We had heard that the Morrungulo Beach Resort offered a nice beach and camping. So off we were. Vilankulo is not the place to spent too many days. Before leaving town I had a clash with the rudest-bread-vendor-lady on this planet (no, actually, I know and even ruder one in Paris …) which ended with the both of us pulling on to the bag with the bread while she counted the money I had given her … that was after 1 hour of African-queuing. I lost it a bit I guess … Jens was equally unsuccessful in his attempt to get beer and water. Oh well, we did have bread …
Morrungulo Beach turned out to be really nice and it was also our first real South African Holiday Resort. Luckily most of the vacationers had already left and not too many Quad bikes and campers were left. Yet still enough to impress us. They build entire villages around them with a cooking tent and a dinner tent and a Quad bike garage tent. One guy came over to chat with us and he said (amongst other things) “Well the first thing you want to do when you get to your campsite is to set-up the toilet and to connect the power and the water!”. While he said that he pointed at Tembo for confirmation. Er, well, right, connect the water … What was this guy talking about? He was quite impressed by our trip, but he admitted that he would never do something like that, because it was “so difficult to live with Africans”. Southern Mozambique was the absolute limit for him. He does live in Johannesburg, so one could almost understand a bit what he meant, but being an African and not knowing Africa …
The beach was most definitely impressive and far nicer than Vilankulo. We decided to stay an extra night.

03.01.2007, Morrungulo Beach, 0 km

That was a typical beach day. We bought a huge bag of cashew nuts (Mozambican cashew nuts rule! They are the most delicious nuts ever. They are in line with the pineapples!) for no money and spent the day eating them. Perfect!

04.01.2007, Morrungulo Beach – Tofo Beach, 192 km

After the cashew nuts it was coconut time. We planned to move on to the Inhambane Province, home of over 2 million coconut palm trees and one of the best beaches: Tofo Beach!
With fresh bread rolls in the car we managed the drive easily and reached the turn-off to the Inhambane peninsula with a police checkpoint incident. There really were palm trees everywhere! In Inhambane we stopped for the usual: cash, fresh fruit and veggies and diesel. The market was a great buzzing place surrounded by Portuguese-style buildings. The vendors were all elderly mamas in colourful dresses and I had a ball checking on all the stalls and hackling for super-fresh products. And by the by I also managed to buy some wooden bracelets and two huge pineapples. Hmmmm!
20km further on we reached Tofo Beach and set-up camp at Bamboozi Backpackers. The South African summer holidays were gradually ending, but there was still quite a crowd at Bamboozi’s. At the restaurant and bar I felt like at a skiing hut in Austria – just with surfers instead of snowboarders. The crowd was young and hip and we felt sort of misplaced. However the beach was GREAT and empty and the waves high, the bar had a great view and there were palm trees everywhere. Can’t go wrong with that!

05.01.-06.01.2007, Tofo Beach, 0 km

Gradually all the Gauteng Province (Johannesburg & Pretoria, South Africa) teenagers were leaving and we had the place almost to ourselves. It was baking hot and so we enjoyed the battles with the waves. One could spend hours riding the waves and picking oneself back up from the bottom of the sea …cough … cough. We took a short ride to Tofo Beach to check out the small market and to buy some bread and – of course – pineapples and other than that we just lazed. This would be our last stop at the Indian Ocean for this trip!
At night we had seafood at the Bamboozi Restaurant and then spent 2 hours killing about 200 mosquitoes that had managed to get into our tent sucking our blood by the gallon. A true tropical vacation.

07.01.2007, Tofo Beach – Casa Lisa, 461 km

However time was slowly becoming an issue since our return flight got scheduled for the 19th of March and there was still tons to see. We were also in desperate need of internet access, food supplies and new books. Also we were keen on actually reaching the country of our final destination: South Africa! How odd though! The biggest part of our trip was over by now …
Well, but today there were quite some km toad to the clock. Emma, our Capetonian friend, had promised us some really bad potholes and rough driving. So we got up early, fuelled up and left the Inhambane region. Of course not before seriously stocking up on cashew nuts.
The drive was actually were scenic for most parts and the potholes were nothing compared to what we had seen before. Some were quite substantial though and the biggest ones had hubcaps (Renault, VW, Toyota) lying in them to prove their viciousness. Again, we did not get stopped once by the police and so we reached the campsite Casa Lisa in the late afternoon.
It was an evening of strange anticipation and none of us wanted to jinx the drive to South Africa tomorrow by talking about it. We were NOT there yet …
At the camp were 3 very barky German Shepherd Dogs. The owner explained to us that these were mine dogs, usually at work in northern Mozambique. They were on “vacation” while their human work partners were at home with their families. The dogs did not take the break too well and so they were causing quite a racket. Poor things. That showed us that the civil war in Mozambique was still an issue and that mines were still a major threat for the local population. It will take years of cleaning up. One tends to forget that while lying on the beach …

08.01.2007, Casa Lisa, Mozambique – Nelspruit, South Africa, 272 km

At night the wind got strong and nasty and in the morning the sky was grey and it was freezing. Bye-bye tropics. We had a delicious breakfast at the lodge, Jens got our South African Rand (left overs from previous vacations) out of the safe and we hit the road again. Against our usual preference for small border posts, we decided to go for the major border at Ressano Garcia hoping that all the holiday returnees might distract the customs people and we might get our illegal Carnet de Passage through.
We easily found our way through the outskirts of Maputo and got onto the toll road to the border.
At the last toll station – a few km before the border – a very bored police lady stopped us and pulled us over. Oh no, not now, we almost made it!!! She was incredibly bored and walked very slowly around our car. She then asked Jens for his driver’s licenses and disappeared behind the car. Hm what now? Then she made a movement with her hand that Jens correctly interpreted as “turn on hazard lights!”. Tembo happily blinked along and the lady returned very, very slowly to the driver’s window and handed over the driver’s license. We were free to go! Phew …
At the border we hit the full load of South African holiday returnees. Huge queues of people were spilling out of the immigration and customs buildings. Very clever young gentlemen tried to use this scenario by offering their “help” with the paperwork: “Give me your passport; you will be back out in 2 minutes. You can trust me!” Yeah right buddy, as if I would give you my passport. When I told one of the very persistent guys, that we had already crossed 20 African borders (well I was exaggerating a bit) he immediately pulled away looking for new victims J.
The “help” from the guys was not necessary. The officers issuing the exit stamps were working at high speed, neither looking at the passports nor at the holder: “Next! Next! Next!”
Now came the tricky part, our Carnet. Luckily the queue was also quite long and it was only one officers working. Jens casually handed over the Carnet to the officer. The guy looked somewhat annoyed at the carnet: “what is this, what do I have to do with it?” So Jens explained where he needed to stamp and sign the paper:
Jens (pointing at the slip of paper): “And this is for you!”
Customs Officer (happy): “This is for me?”
Jens: “Yes, you just need to sign here and here and stamp here. And again, this is for you!”
The officer did as he was told and a minute later we were back out on the street with our stamped carnet and without a fine!!! What a piece of luck!!!!

Summary Mozambique:

Mozambique is a pearl. Do go there before it is too late. That is all I can say. The people are friendly, but by character less smiley and chatty than the East Africans. The city life seems to be more Caribbean or Latin than African and the beaches are still quite empty. However the population is very poor and one can still see leftovers from the civil war.
We loved the empty North and the area of Inhambane, especially Tofo Beach. The Bazaruto Archipelago is beautiful, if you do not go there during a cyclone in a small fishing dhow that is.
Communication without knowledge of Portuguese is possible if limited. Try the delicious bread rolls (pao), the seafood, the pineapples and the cashew nuts.
The government tends to take away licenses for camping from white lodge/ camp owners to give them to local entrepreneurs. This means unfortunately that many lodges/ camps loose their license but that no new campsite replaces the old one … Africa. So, better check before going.

Costs: Mozambique is not cheap considering campsites and touristy things. Apart from that it is fairly cheap and veggies, fruits and bread cost nothing. Do try to avoid the main South African holidays, for prices double around that time.

Driving: driving in Mozambique is no problem. We had 2 police stops and they were harmless. The road conditions are all right – mostly smooth tarmac, apart from the stretch around the city of Xai-Xai. The busses of course are fast and their chassis twisted, so one has to look out for them. The road between the South African border (Ressano Garcia) and Maputo is a toll road.

Nach oben


on the shores of the Zambezi River across from the city of Tete (Jesu e Bom campsite)/ an den Ufern des Sambesi Flusses gegenüber von Tete (Jesu E Bom Camp)  
Tete, a nice city/ Tete, ein nettes Städtchen  
our very forresty camp at the Forest Retreat/ einsehr waldiges Camp beim Forest Retreat 
hm, Mick is cooking for us ... and it is not haggis!!/ hm, Mick ist dran mit kochen ... und es ist kein haggis ... 
Mick on his way to Argentina! Don't cry for me .../ Mick auf dem Weg nach Argentinien ... Weine nicht ... 
At the Pink Papay in Chimoio/ Beim Pink Papaya in Chimoio 
downing the last Malawi Gin in Chimoio at Pink Papaya ... doesn't the bottle look classy?/ der letzte Malawi Gin in Chimoio (Pink Papaya) ... sieht die Flasche nicht stylisch aus? 
crossing the Save River bridge ... and we did not get stopped, and we did not pay a bribe ... jiha!/ die Save River Brücke ... und wir wurden nicht angehalten und wir haben keine Bestechungsgelder bezahlt ... juhu! 
finally, on the beach in Vilankulo/ endlich am Strand in Vilankulo 
we all survived the "snorkeling trip", that calls for a party at new years eve/ wir haben alle den "Schnorchel Trip" überlebt, das verlangt nach einer Feier an Sylvester 
Happy New Year (it was a cyclone in Maputo and somewhat windy in Vilankulo)/ Frohes neues Jahr (es war ein Zyklon in Maputo und sehr windig bei uns in Vilankulo) 
Morrungulo Beach! 
helping fellow travellers - that Mercedes is supposed to take them up to London .../ Hilfe für Reisekollegen ... dieser Mercedes soll sie bis nach London bringen 
now THAT is a beach!!! Tofo Beach from Bamboozi Lodge Restaurant/ DAS ist ein Strand!!! Blick auf Tofo Beach from Bamboozi Beach Restaurant 
and THAT is a pineapple!/ und DAS ist ein Ananas! 
sand, palm trees, beach ... sigh. good bye Tofo Beach/ Sand, Palmen und Strand ... seufz. Tschüss Tofo Beach 
Leaving Mozambique ... mobile phones are hip in Africa, everywhere/ Wir verlassen Mozambique ... handys sind hip in Afrika, überall 

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Jesu E Bom, Tete, S16 09.320 E33 36.011
Forrest Retreat, north of Chimoio, S18 32.598 E33 20.941
Pink Papaya, Chimoio, S19 06.621 E33 28.328
Baobab Beach Camp, Vilankulo, S22 00.525 E35 19.309
Morrungulo Beach Resort, Morrungulo, S23 13.979 E35 29.530
Bamboozi Backpackers, Tofo Beach, S23 50.493 E35 32.219
Casa Lisa, north of Marrancuene, S25 35.112 E32 39.279

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