Mozambique

Mozambique
Between Tete and Chimoio

Since I studied in Portugal, I had wanted to have a look at Mozambique which somehow fascinated me. I am fascinated by quite a lot of exotic countries… I guess that’s why I like travelling there to have a quick look.

Mozambique was the last country of our South Africa – Zimbabwe – Botswana – Zambia – Malawi – Moz – South Africa round trip in 2014. We came from Blantyre, Malawi, by bus and spend 5 days in the country. The visa was ridiculously expensive – something like 80 US$.

We spent our first night in Tete, a dry, hot city in the north west. Our room was in Predios Univendas, in the city centre and just opposite the bus station. In Mozambique busses tend to leave at awful times like 4am, so it’s good to have a short walk in the morning. The ATM was on the other side of the street as well and shops were close. We had a fabulous dinner with chicken and noticed that we could communicate in English. My long-time unpractised Portuguese helped understanding a lot but communication was definitely better in English.

In the evening we had some beers on our balcony (where we discovered holes which really looked like bullet holes). We were observing the high amount of police and army, with an impressive amount of guns but until 2 days later we had no clue that the area actually had been involved in rebel fights.

Very early in the morning we took the bus to Chimoio – we were making our way South. The luggage went on top of the bus, many many people were squeezed into the medium sized bus – of course the aisle was filled with stools and chairs. It stank to like toilette which was no surprise because nobody could move and the bus just stopped for a very quick stop on the road where you had to pee into the fields. I decided to not get my white arse out into the open as I also didn’t want to venture deeper into the fields in which no idea what was living.

After 6 hours we arrived in Chimoio and found the cute small hostel Pink Papaya, led by Germans. We chilled there most of the day except for an excursion to the city to get food.

At 4am we left to catch the bus to Maputo. The reluctant night guard of the hostel accompanied us which we were happy about. It’s only 15 min walk but we had no clue how dangerous people and dogs would be. As always we had already bought our ticket the day before. Luggage somehow was always extra charge in Moz but at least it also always arrived with us.

We were heading to the ocean, to Vilanculos. There are no direct busses and you have to take the one to Maputo and jump off in Pambarra Junction from where you take a chapa. Of course you have to pay all the way to Maputo.

The bus was a lot more comfortable. It was another 6-7 hours ride but we got off without a problem in Pambarra where we took a chapa heading the 20kms to Vilanculos. Chapa is the local transport, a covered pick up in this case. We were 20 people with luggage and babys in the back and some more in the driver’s cabin. There was more luggage on the top, including building material and a goat which legs were tied together.

We hadn’t prebooked the accomodation and it took us some walking to find the place I had thought we stay at. It looked closed and we enquired at another nice looking place how much it would be. It was so expensive (in relativity) that I stormed out angrily. We kept walking, getting really tired and annoyed. At some point we ended up at the Baobab which was THE hostel according to lonely planet. It did sound a bit too much party but when we finally decided to stay, we had a nice time. Instead of the cheap hut, we treated ourselves to a cute ocean view chalet. It was probably 50$ per night – a luxury. But this was our little break from bus travelling and we enjoyed our 2 nights there.

Taking another very early bus, we finally arrived in the capital Maputo. Ending up somewhere far outside we shared a cab with a dodgy looking South African to the hostel I had hoped to stay at. They were booked out and we went to another place where they really were annoyed of guests arriving. We still managed to book a room for something like 90$. A super small room but Maputo is expensive.

Having a walk around, trying to find the bus stop for the next morning, having a look at the city and buying some food, we spend the afternoon in what we found not to be a pretty city. In the evening we tried to sort out our plans for Kruger National Park the next day and then get some rest as the travelling and the digestion system had taken a toll.

We left Maputo early the next morning heading towards Nelspruit, South Africa. My husband almost disliked Moz due to high prices, unfriendly people and no apparent wild life. I’m not that harsh but it wasn’t my favourite country either… which could change if I would stay longer and not just rush through it.

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Accomodation links:

Predios Univendas (Tete)

Pink Papaya (Chimoio)

Baobab Beach Hostel (Vilanculos)

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