More photos on photo album link
Spent a relaxing couple of nights in Swaziland at Hlane Royal National Park.We didn’t do much exploring,but heard Lions roaring at night close by, which is always exciting.We entered the country in the middle,driving diagonally North- east,through beautiful countryside,green,mountainous and clearly very fertile. We found the local folk very warm and .friendly Well worth a visit if anyone is ever thinking about it
Swaziland is one of only 3 countries that were never colonised in africa – the others being Lesotho and Botswana – Source Michaels “interesting” fact
Border crossing into Mozambique,straightforward and swift,helped by our new stickers of a map of Africa, showing our route,stuck to the front doors of the Landrover, which proved to be a good conversation starter, easing the normally prolonged discussions on why we are here and what we are doing!(art work courtesy of Brett&Mary)Also many thanks to Matthew@brandsunplugged.co.za- a very speedy service indeed.- Shame someone nicked the money!!
Forgot to mention Michael bought a “black box” having seen one in the car of JC who we stayed with in Ithala. He had also had cylinder head problems and found a device made by a guy called Thys ( Turbo logics) this measures exhaust manifold temperature also water loss from radiator – although this has yet to be installed plus other stuff – all very simple and tough intended for off road use. He also made some serious LED lights – quite a boffin although its his hobby not proper job
Having crossed the border,got pulled over by a policeman,who tried it on, he followed us 3k from the border before stopping us, in fact he was a complete novice by West African standards and after some debate let us go .We drove through Maputo, only stopping briefly for supplies, it’s a proper African city,one huge street market with,terrible pot-holed roads, crazy driving and even crazier Taxi- drivers.We witnessed a first for Africa, a policeman doing his job and actually pulling over two of them/ one small step for mankind!
Spent a few nights camping at a quiet little town called Bilene. On the beach,overlooking the Uembje Lagoon,which is separated from the Indian Ocean by a large sandbar.
Here we discovered the delights of Mozambique cuisine,plentiful supplies of Lobster,Crayfish,Prawns and Calamari. Fresh lemons,garlic and butter being the only other ingredient needed and perhaps a dash of the fiery Piri-Piri, that is served with everything. My kind of food and it costs pennies, particularly if you buy from the local guys.
The market ladies,also sell fresh fish, as well as many fruits including Pineapples,passion fruit,Mango’s and Papaya, with veg being the usual tasty Tomatoes, Avocado’s, Onions etc. Cashew Nuts are readily available here, sold in bags hanging from the trees by the roadside, needless to say we acquired a kilo,which are making some impact on my hips already!
After leaving Bilene,we headed to Xai-Xai, crossing over The impressive Limpopo River,which was flooded,as were many of the nearby villages
.It continued to rain heavily for most of the journey,which was only interrupted once,by a Policeman trying to do us for speeding, a joke as several cars had only just whizzed past us,seconds before and he didn’t stop a single one,not to mention the fact we hadn’t even been speeding,so yet again it was out with all the documents etc etc. He told us the fine was 4,000 Meticals (80 quid) or anything that we would like to pay! We told him we would not like to pay anything as we weren’t speeding and were prepared to go to the Police-station, at which point, of course, he backed off and let us go.
Finally arrived in Inhambane,but being a Saturday everything was shut ,so, unable to explore, we carried on to Tofo, along sandy tracks, setting up camp under the giant coconut palms on a magnificent vegetated dune. That night we had a massive,but impressive, thunderstorm and this time were relatively prepared for it so battened down the hatches and went to bed.
Next two day’s we spent playing in the waves, with the swimming here apparently quite safe(no sharks Laura) and the idyllic,white sandy beaches,it would be silly not to take advantage,plus the fact the temperatures(between the storms)are extremely hot.
The main attraction in this area is quite simply, fishing diving ,snorkelling and surfing and apparently, is as good as it gets anywhere in the world,so we have been very spoilt of late!
News had spread,that newcomers had arrived at The Municipal camp-site, so we were inundated with villagers selling their goods,everything from bread and fish to home-made straw hats,bracelets,paintings etc, and finding it hard to say no, as usual we ended up with two Lemon Fish,having declined five kilo’s of King Fish, on the grounds of being just a little too piggy!
Also purchased a bracelet from a guy whose name, he claimed, was John Wayne!
Managed to have some good long chat’s with the girls as internet connection and signal seems to have been as good as any we’ve had since being in Africa,with the only exception being in Cape-Town at Pete and Fi’s. We certainly weren’t expecting miracles in Mozambique, but well done girls for settling into your new jobs back home, a bit of a shock after Kruger too.
Just a mention to those of you who commented on how many animals we’d seen and we did, but it certainly took some serious man hours,very early mornings and over 1,000 miles of driving in the park to achieve this…….it wasn’t as easy it may have seemed !
Michael has been taking inspiration from all the fisherman,wading out to sea with nets,rods and lines and has spent this morning,sorting out his own tackle. I’m sure by the time you read this we’ll have some photo’s of the massive haul…..
Still no sign of fish…..
Moved further on down the coast to the very remote resort of Paindane, which has a reef about 100 metres off the beach. Hired out some snorkelling kit from Fozzy at the dive centre and ventured out to the Coral Gardens. Absolutely fantastic,the variety of shapes and sizes surreal. Add to that the colourful fish and you’ve got something really special. So many types of fish (names not known)but included Blue Starfish, black and white striped Moray Eels, Parrot fish, everywhere you look you see more, it’s like swimming in a giant aquarium.
Laura you’ll love this, we’ve been told there are Great Whites in the area, the local research centre tags and tracks them via satellite……yet I still swam! (almost fearlessly!)
Fishermen getting more persistent in selling us fish as we go along the coast……do they not realize we simply can’t eat a 3 ft long Barracuda,let alone 2 of them!
Can’t fault the camping here, we are on a pristine, palm fringed beach ,every bit as stunning as it looks in the books,the temperature of The Indian Ocean, being warmer than the air outside.Very humid though,with the odd tropical storm thrown in.(I’m sure you’re heart bleeds for us!)
Moved on up to Vilanculos a small fishing port, linked to the nearby Bazaruto National Park. This protects an Archipelago,whose reefs offer some of the finest diving and snorkelling in Mozambique.
Many travellers and backpackers are staying at our camp and we’ve met some very interesting people from all over the world,spent one evening listening to a local band,with some exceptional drumming and guitar playing.
Booked a snorkelling trip to Bazaruto Island and Two Mile Reef, suffice to say our ticket salesman”forgot” to tell his boss that we had booked and we had given him the deposit. His boss was contacted and basically dragged him out of bed having discovered who the culprit was. A “people’s Court” then transpired, at which point he was questioned and then confessed, including the fact his name was Antonio and not in fact Rodrigeuz, as he’d initially told us. All concerned gave him a major bollocking, he paid us back our money, with the missing “Beer money”to be paid back to his boss!
All a bit of a fiasco,but finally went out the following day,sharing a small boat with four others.One Brazilian,one Australian and two Swedes.
Off we went,within two minutes,it became apparent we would be getting very wet,even before arrival. With choppy sea and high winds,the little boat clearly couldn’t handle it and it was like having a bucket of salt water flung in your face continually for the hour the journey took…..at least it was warm,but our eyes were stinging and I was praying we wouldn’t have to far to swim to reach the island, luckily our fellow passengers saw the funny side,as did we until we got there.
Surreal scenery, as we walked around the dunes, brochure perfect! Snorkelling off Two Mile Reef, equally beautiful with some amazing fish, a huge variety,every colour of the rainbow, in all shapes and sizes, no wonder it’s known as The Aquarium. ………I think I’m becoming addicted ! A truly memorable day.
Now in Inhassoro,moving further along the coast Northwards to Beira