Up the Mozambican coast
Trip Start Feb 04, 2011
23Trip End Nov 11, 2011
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Until Toro lets out a weird noise and just stops. Fantastic, cause now we were finally far from any small towns on the way. There was nothing anywhere close and no cars passing by. Two minutes later, while we were putting up the triangles and opening the hood, we however saw a
South African Land Rover coming from the opposite direction, slowing down by us and turning around. Yes! Three South African guys get out of the car, take one look and know exactly what the problem is
a mechanic, as one of the guys spoke fluent Portuguese being brought up in Mozambique. To our big surprise the same guy also spoke some Finnish. What are the odds of that? Anyways, they drop us of at the mechanics in the town of Macia and they wouldn’t even take a few cold beers for a thank you. We were really grateful of their helpfulness. The mechanic seemed alright even though he kept on drinking beer and crying a bit while telling us the story of his Zimbabwean wife and kids not being able to be with him in Mozambique due to the fact that he hasn't been able to pay the lebola to her family. Until he shows up with a cow and a few goats the wife stays with her family. As we did agree that it is tragic as one easily thinks that it would be better for the family to be together than apart we patiently listen him weep. The crying mechanic didn't have a new bolt but would be able to kind of recondition one and weld it together. Alright alright, we didn't have much choice anyways. The worked seemed fine so a few hours later we could get back on the road. We decided that it would be too far to Xai-Xai as it was already getting dark so we went to nearby Bilene. It turned out to be a great overnight stop with a cheap cute camping just by a lagoon
The next day we finally arrived in Xai-Xai, found the camping and had a stroll. The camping turned out to be a real rat-hole. The location is absolutely beautiful but the facilities haven't been pimped up for the last 20 years and the security was non existent. Apparently there is a beautiful camping by a lodge further down the beach. Then the rain started. Just a little afternoon drizzle, we thought, until it started to lash down. We found refuge up in the tent and thought it was quite cozy until the lightening started. It was like being in a nightclub, lightening striking down everywhere around us while the thunder exploding just a a second later. The sound was so loud and so close by that I got a real fright at some point. We also realized
that we had our fridge, that is in the car, plugged into a electricity plug that was on a huge tree just next to the car. So what if the lightening hits the tree and then travels through the cord into the fridge that starts to burn and we lay there right on top of it? Great news. As it was raining so heavily we decided to chance it, but were nevertheless quite nervous. After a dreadful night we decided to hit the road again. This time toward the little village of Zavora, before the tourist hot spot Tofo.
Zavora had an amazing beach and a beautiful camping overlooking the sand-dunes
others say it used to be nice but is overcrowded these days, and expensive on top of that. So we were not really expecting much. We had met a English guy, Dave, in Stellenbosh three months before that said we should get in touch if we make it to Tofo as he lives there. As we couldn't get hold of him we did a tour of the sleeping options and were not too excited. Even the cheapest was more expensive than in Maputo. Then we got a hint of Turtle Cove which turned out be a nice friendly place just 15 min walk from the main area. We camped there for the night and while having breakfast the next morning Dave called so we moved in with him. Sweet! The best thing with staying with Dave was the chance to see how the people that live there live, in contrast to the backpacker scene, and to meet his friends. It was quite an eye opener to see that one could live in tourist Tofo but still have your own little place away from all this and live a simple life with your friends doing the same thing. Everyone we met that works there lives in Tofinho which is the village next door. We spent a good 6 days in Tofo; Faycal diving and I talking walks on the beach, learning Portugese at the market, reading and baking in the sun. I have to say that the beach in Tofo is absolutely stunning
After Tofo we were ready for some remote village life and as we had heard that Pomene was fantastic we decided to go there, but didn't quite make it so far. About 20 km from Maxixe the same noise appeared and the car stopped. Bloody crying mechanic! Again there were no cars on the road except for buses and trucks, and we would need to be towed. We hoped to once again be saved by someone from the famous Land Rover community, but no one came. After a good hour a Mozambican guy in a pick up stopped. He was going to Maxixe, which we would have to go back to, so he was happy to help
thank you very much amigo, 1000Mt very much, we live tent, no much money. Then I put a 200 Mt in his hand, gave a good tap on the shoulder and said “Muilto obrigado Amigo”. He looked at good cop Faycal that gave the guy the face that, “Yes, I know, I have a very strict wife” and the deal was sorted. So there we were at the camping with a non functioning car, again. I was all worked up, still being in the role of bad cop, so Faycal let me chill out by the car while he asked around for a mechanic.
Two mechanics showed up at the camping, took a good look at the reconditioned bolt and said “black man's job”
a nice location with dhows sailing by. We had a very tasty dinner in one of the nearby local restaurants, even though there was a big fat rat watching us eat. The next morning the mechanics showed up five past nine, just as promised. They also had a good looking bolt with
them. They worked a few hours and at noon everything was sorted.
With Toro back on track we headed for Pomene. Knowing that it would be a remote place we also had to do some shopping. Buying fresh veggies always takes some time as one has to do the tour of the market, so we were not really on our way as early as we would have hoped for. Well we only had 60 km to do. How long can that take anyways? Well the last bit of the road is quite shitty so the 60 km took us just over 2 hours. Dave in Tofinho had told us to look up the chief of village, Sathane, as he would have some cheap camping options. Pomene Lodge is about 5 km from Pomene village so at least we had a back up plan in case we wouldn’t find him as the sun was already going down behind the trees
With a few tasty Pomene breads in the backseat we drove to Vilanculos. The place is famous for the Bazaruto Islands which lay just outside. In Vilanculos there is accommodation in all price classes but out on the island one would have to pay between 250-3000 US dollars a night. It
is also possible to visit the islands for a day, which we did. The beaches are wide, white and sandy while the water is filled with little fish in all colors
After a month in Mozambique we are very happy that we have another two months left before our visa expires. There is so much to see, the people are friendly and the food tasty. To our surprise we still haven't been stopped in a single road-block. The only time the police stopped us was when we were walking in Maputo. The police asked for our papers, as one is obliged to always have them on you, and said that they were thirsty. As we wouldn’t buy them a drink and our papers were in order there was nothing more to that. The only reason why I would love to leave Mozambique for a short while is the fact that my brother and one of my best friends are getting married, yes to each other, in 2 weeks and I would love to be there. The budget doesn't however allow a little pop over in Finland so all I can do is to wish them the best of luck and a great party.