Mozambique arrival


29 June 2009 - Tofo, Inhambane - added by Steve

I fear that somewhere in the jungles of central Africa, where no shops exist and western food is all but impossible to come by, Roxy and I have developed an eating disorder... having realised how much we've taken for granted popping down to the shop and picking up anything we feel like, we've overstocked on food (and I won't lie, a fair amount of booze too!) I wouldn't be surprised if a customs official, taking a look in our storage cupboards, mistook us for smugglers of a monumental scale! Furthermore, we've also invested in a freezer and have brought a bucket-load of frozen meat with us! Of course this can present several problems when crossing borders, so we decided, in the interests of our new-founded eating-disorders, to take a quick detour through Swaziland and enter Mozambique at the very quiet Goba border-post, thus missing out on Komatipoort, the main SA-Mozambique border, which is notorious for hassle. At about 10kms before each border post, we stop the truck, transfer all our frozen meat from the freezer to a cooler-box and hide it in the cab, convinced that a customs official will spy our freezer and relieve us of our booty. Naturally, after numerous border crossings, not a single person has looked in the freezer... only one customs official has even stepped inside the truck!

Upon arrival in Swaziland we realised we'd left some things behind in South Africa, but as luck would have it, some friends were due to visit Maputo a few days later. Some frantic phone calls later, arrangements were made and we had a couple of days to kill waiting for their arrival. A great weekend was spent in Maputo, sampling the legendary prawns and the fantastic beer... perhaps too much of the beer, but it was great fun! The only downside to this is that with Maputo being so close to Johannesburg, a huge number of South Africans come down for the weekend... the police have a complete field day, concocting the most ridiculous scenarios which they confront you with and demand huge fines, naturally payable on the spot. With our friends only in Maputo for a couple of days, we didn't have the luxury of time we usually have, and thus couldn't exactly expect them to spend the majority of it in a police station! Several fines were extracted from us, one for being in a taxi without a passport, and the other for turning left at a T-junction... interesting highway-code they have in Mozambique!

We bade our friends farewell and headed up the coast for Xai-Xai. Unfortunately, 2 hours up the road we stopped for lunch, and couldn't get Songololo started again. A problem with our fuel-system, which first reared its head in Angola, was coming back to haunt us. 4 mechanics later, and we thought we had it licked, but clearly not. Luckily we knew that if we just waited for the truck to cool down sufficiently we'd be able to get back on the road... but who knows how long that remedy will continue to work for? A lengthy delay later, we decided it would be pertinent to return to South Africa where we could both speak the language, and good mechanics could be found. Thus it was we found ourselves in Nelspruit at Funky Monkey Backpackers, in desperate need of a mechanical miracle-worker... 5th time lucky perhaps!? Time and again we are reminded how lucky we are, and purely by chance, chatting to a local there, we found our man! Before we knew it our ghost in the machine had been exorcised, and we were back on the road. Of course, since the problem only rears its head after several hours on the road, when the engine is nice and hot, we decided a short road trip in South Africa was necessary. Disappearing into Mozambique and finding out things were still not right wouldn't be the wisest idea.

Our road trip took us up to Pilgrim's Rest, a beautiful old mining town from one of the first gold rushes in South Africa, and where Roxy's grandparents are buried, and then on into Kruger Park.



We spent a fantastic couple of days in Kruger seeking out beasts before we decided Songololo was back to her reliable old ways and we felt we could continue. Recently a border post has opened up within the Kruger Park where you can cross into the Limpopo Park in Mozambique. It's a rough old track, 4x4 required, but surely nothing we haven't seen before!? Turns out the road was practically a super highway, when viewed with the same eyes that have seen the roads in central Africa, and we breezed into Mozambique, eager to get the second leg of our trip finally under way.

We are now sitting in Tofo, a magical beach town near Inhambane, known for its great surf, long sandy beaches and world-class diving with Whale Sharks and Manta Rays. Our new fatter tyres, put on in South Africa knowing we'd encounter a lot of sand in Mozambique, Sudan and Egypt, are proving up to the task. We now saunter over deep sand where before we'd sink like a stone. The engine is running smoothly, better than it has in a long time, and we feel Songololo is up to the task of getting us safely back to England. I feel the lessons we learnt on the way down will stand us in good stead for the return journey... so far things have been a breeze and I'm really looking forward to the east coast.





Comments:

1 .
i take it they havent gone ahead with the 50mil dollar development behind barra lodge then? lucky bastards.
al - 29 Jun 2009, 12:55
2 .
Hi guys, we are back home after 33000km. lucky we still have something to read here that we recognize. we can't wait till you cross Belgium!!!
Veerle & Gert - 3 Jul 2009, 17:53
3 .
Hi guys, we are back home after 33000km. lucky we still have something to read here that we recognize. we can't wait till you cross Belgium!!!
Veerle & Gert - 3 Jul 2009, 17:53
4 .
Hi Steve & Rox. We are missing you both big time! Apparently Nelson's Bay is a fabulous place to holiday in Moz - fabulous beaches and not so many people. Have fun! X Fossils
lorimer - 5 Jul 2009, 4:13
5 .
Lori, It sounds like you a beginning to get more of an easier trip which i am sure you will enjoy and make the most of. Hope it runs super smooth. Love to Rox from Daz and Robs. ps - any new cell phone numbers on your trip uo the east coast?
Daz - 6 Jul 2009, 17:36
6 .
Hi Steve and Rox. I'm glad you are enjoyinh Mozambique. We are on our way down Africa (east coast route) and are planning to spend quite a whilein Moz. We may bump into you on your way up. We are currently taking it easy in Khartoum (fantastic by the way!)
Jan andTrevor - 14 Jul 2009, 6:06
7 .
HI Stevie - here's wishing you a very happy birthday ib the wilds of Inyanga, I gather! Have a great day. Lots of love, your AA xx
Wens - 19 Jul 2009, 5:03
8 .
Steve, also from us a happy birthday too you! We drink one anyway... so anotherone on your's. Take care.
Veerle & Gert - 20 Jul 2009, 5:34
9 .
Thank you for a fantastic talk at Mutare Club It was a treat for Mutare and we will never complain about our roads again !
Johan & Rochelle Vorster - 21 Jul 2009, 15:41
10 .
Beautiful pics of Mozam guys, you both look well! Best of luck for the east coast, Taryn x
Taryn - 14 Aug 2009, 10:22

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