Mozambique 2003

Tell us about your recent trip. Please add some photographs.
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LR 4WD Full Lockers
LR 4WD Full Lockers
Posts: 558
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 1:30 pm
Town: Howick
Vehicle: 1998 Hi-lux 2,4 S/cab (p); 1997 Hi-lux 2,4 D/cab (p)
Real Name: Harold
Location: Howick

Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:55 pm

A trip to Mozambique. (October 2003)

We left home (Greytown KZN) on Thursday 16th at midday and our final destination was the beach resort of Paindane on the Mozambique coast about 508 kilometres north of Maputo.

It was a lousy day, hot and dry with a strong north wind and temperature in the high thirties. Near Seven Oaks a plantation fire was raging on one of Mondi’s estates and the yellow water bombers buzzed round the pall of smoke like angry hornets. The hot conditions were a far cry from the headlines of the Natal Mercury that warned of an “Icy weekend for the Midlands”.

We were thankful for the air conditioner in the Toyota.

Midway between Greytown and Stanger we noticed a heavy bank of cloud on the southern horizon, a sure sign of the predicted cold front. Shortly before turning off on a short cut towards the Mandini Pulp mill the south wind arrived with the velocity of a runaway train. It hit us with a frightening force almost pushing me off the road. Within minutes the overall visibility had dropped to a few kilometres and the sky was grey with dust and debris from the cane fields. We passed one farm and watched as the corrugated iron on a shed was being peeled off. A large broken branch from a gum tree, that could have caused a nasty dent or broken my windscreen, narrowly missed us. Besides the gale force wind the temperature had dropped dramatically.

Just before Empangeni we moved from the cold front coming in from the south, back into the hot winds from the north, and within seconds the temperature again soared.
Weird weather!

The effects of the drought being experienced was evident everywhere. In places the sugar cane was dead, streams had little or no flow and dams were empty or almost empty.
The bright green of spring was still a long way off.

We arrived at Matubatuba and were thankful that we did not live there. Although it was hot at home it seemed doubly so at Matubatuba, and the humidity was oppressive. Our son works at Matubatuba managing a tilapia breeding facility. That evening he took us to dinner at St.Lucia. We left our truck in his garden and we squeezed into his little Nissan 1400. While on our way there the southerly gales arrived. The winds were just as fierce as we had had earlier and his little pick-up was buffeted to such a degree that he had to slow down appreciably.

Next morning dawned cool with heavy grey clouds that threatened rain. We spent some time at the Talapia fish farm before setting off to for Swaziland where we were to link up with the others on our trip to Mozambique.

Swaziland was most depressing. It is overpopulated and dirty. Besides the effects of the drought it is grossly overgrazed and in places looked like a desert. About the only good thing I can say about Swaziland is that their roads are good, although their drivers are murderous and suicidal.

We were all to meet on the farm of the a friend of Struan’s, about 18 kilometres from Manzini, called ‘EI Ranch’. The group was going to consist of 10 people:
The old folks were Libby, Clive and I.
Then there were the younger folk, Struan, Clive’s son, who arranged and organised the trip and his friends Steve, Grant and girlfriend Amaree, Greg, Richard and Mike.
Besides my Toyota, Struan had a new Landrover TDI 5 short wheelbase and towing a large boat. Grant had a Toyota Double cab and Mike was in rusty Toyota Hi-Lux single cab also towing a boat.

We were all up very early next morning and shortly after sunrise we left the ranch and headed for Namaache on the Mozambique border. The others took off at break neck speed while Libby and I took it quietly. After all, why the rush? We only had about 130 kilometres to go and the border only opened at 7.

The sky was a dark gloomy grey and we encountered the odd patch of drizzle sufficient to activate a flick of the windscreen wipers once in a while.

We met up with the others at a service station close to the border. They were not only filling their vehicles but also jerry cans and boat tanks. The price of fuel in Swaziland is cheaper than South Africa; R3.60 compared to R3.88 and considerably cheaper than Mozambique where it was equivalent to R5.51.
I filled up as well and was the first to leave arriving at the border 10 minutes before the others.

Now the horse-trading started. Within seconds of arriving at the border a black man appears at my window. He furtively looks around then asks me, “You want meticals?”
“Yes,” I reply, “what’s the exchange rate?”
“2500 to the Rand.”
“No deal”, I tell him, “I want 3500.
He looks horrified, and rolls his eyes; “3500?? Ill give you 2800.”
We haggle for a while then I finally wind up my window to clearly indicate that negotiations are over. As he leaves another arrives and we begin the same procedure. We finally settle on a rate of 3000 and I exchange R300.

The rest of the group arrives and I see that the first guy who I dealt with is busy exchanging currency with them. He looks smug and I later asks, “What arte did you get?" No wonder he looked so smug he got a rate of 2500.

Once across the border you can feel things are different and this heightened the feeling of excitement; - A new country, a new adventure.
The difference was immediately noticeable in that now all signs, posters, etc are in Portuguese. Another immediate impression, once leaving the border town, was the cleanliness of the country. There was hardly any litter and compared to Swaziland Mozambique looked pristine, especially north of Maputo. The same, however, cannot be said for Maputo.

Not far from the border I saw signs saying, “Mine clearing area” and the tell tale notice with a red skull and cross bones signifying land mines. Throughout our visit we saw a numbers of people on crutches with limbs missing, a chilling reminder that the country bled for 20 years in a bloody civil war and that even today the threat of land mines still remains.

Once more Libby and I were on our own as the others had on streaked ahead. Having heard of the frequency of speed traps and the heavy fines levied I stuck to the speed limit, in fact at a speed slightly less than what was allowed. I must admit I never saw a speed trap on our entire trip.

We reached Maputo and our road north skirted the city and from the little we saw it looks like the pits. Dirty, drab and snarling with traffic. On the northern edge of the city the road was flanked by open-air vendors, and crudely constructed wooden shelters that served as shops. The gutters were filthy, chocked with rubbish, and thin mangy dogs snuffled for something edible. Traffic crawled along at a snails pace.

Ahead was a police roadblock and we were signalled to pull over and I made the mistake of releasing my seat belt. The policeman, a young black man, indicated that I did not have my seat belt on. He no doubt did not see me wearing it as I had on a black leather jacket identical in colour to the seat belt. This I tried to explain with much gesticulating. He finally, but reluctantly, accepted my explanation but was now determined to find something wrong. He walked round to the back of the truck.

The rack on top of my truck extends about 400mm over the back and he indicated to me that this was not allowed; it had to be flush with the back. Before leaving, and following the advise of others, I had fitted a red triangle onto my rack at the back. I immediately pointed to the triangle and said to him, “Tring, tring.” Before he had a chance to respond I grabbed his hand and shook it vigorously saying, “Mozambique, number one. Sharp. Sharp.” Then I put my arms around him and gave him a hug; “Abrigado” I said and jumped back into the drivers seat, started the motor and drove off. Well I wish you could have seen the look on his face, nothing in his training had ever prepared him for a hug from a grey bearded tourist.
He was ‘gob-smacked’.

Not far beyond we pass the cemetery. There were crowds of people and they seemed to be having a very busy day. Hordes of pavement traders and funeral processions, yet in spite of this the scene had a carnival atmosphere.

As we travelled north the countryside become more scenic. There was many a small village we drove through. Most of the buildings were old, dreary and dilapidated and probably not had a coat of paint since the country gained independence 20 years ago. The only buildings that looked well maintained were the odd government building. Some of the buildings were empty and in the few remaining rusty gutters weeds grew. Street vendors where everywhere and open air markets the order of the day selling everything and anything from chickens to bicycles.

The countryside, between the villages, is well wooded but for how long this will be is doubtful. All along the roadside vendors sell bundles of cut firewood. In fact most of the trees to be seen are cashew nut trees. Because of their value in nut production they are not cut.

We come to a small nameless settlement and see the bleeding body of a pedestrian lying on the side of the road. A short distance further on a car stands with the front end crumpled and windscreen broken. A crowd is beginning to gather and a policeman waves us on.

Vendors with plastic bags of cashew nuts are a common sight as they wave and tempt you to stop and buy. We stopped a few times to buy. As you stop they arrive like blow flies round a carcass trying to push the bags into the vehicle window all shouting their price at once. Finding the situation intolerable we drove off. We finally find three vendors, not a mob, and proceed to negotiate a price. I had no idea what the weight of the bag was, at least a kilogram or two. They start with 200000 meticals (approximately R66), I offer 50000 and finally struck a deal at 100000. The vendors are quite happy to sell in South Africa Rands.

Words of advice: Check the nuts carefully before you buy to ensure that are properly shelled and cleaned and that they are not over roasted.

The countryside is well populated and grass huts are everywhere with small cultivated fields of maize and cassava that stretch out on either side of the road.
The soil is sandy and rocks and stones a rarity. In fact all building aggregate north of Maputo, as far as Inhambane (470km), is trucked in from a huge quarry just south of the capital.

As there are no fences all domestic animals we saw, cattle, goats and pigs, were all tethered. Only once we saw a herd of cattle and they were well supervised by half a dozen herders.

About 250 kilometres north of Maputo the coconut palm becomes the dominant feature of the landscape, together with cashew nut trees. The huts are no longer constructed with grass and thatch but with reeds and palm leaves.

Although the road is tarred it had by now worsened. It was narrow with many a bone-jarring pothole. In fact some of the potholes resembled an open cast mine and made our potholes back home look like a dimple on a babies bum. It was 300 kilometres since we crossed the border and the day had progressively become darker with a gale force wind and heavy rain. The potholes were now great dams of water.

As we approach Xai-Xai I spot the others a short way in front of us. We follow them across the Limpopo River into a garage to top up with fuel.
Here we are told of an accident that Struan had shortly before. He was driving through a village when a pick-up suddenly braked in front of his Landrover. Although he hit the brakes the weight of the boat behind skidded the Landy into the back of the pick-up. The Landrover, having a fearsome bull-bar, was OK but not so the pick-up he rammed. The pick-up had a South Africa registration and driven by a black from Johannesburg. After much discussion and argument a roadside settlement was reached and Struan paid him R800 for damages. Case closed and all went on their merry way.

Once more we set off with the others speeding ahead into the rain. It is now it is shortly after twelve noon.

The next time we met is 125kilometers further on at a village called Quissico.
We spot the group at a broken down service station and turn in.
Bad news, the Landrover will not start. Struan, lips tight with anger, is on his cell phone to the garage that sold him the Landrover who in turn gives Struan the name of a Landrover technician in Nelspruit. Although a diesel engine the problem appears to be electrical and linked to the immobiliser system. The technician suggests that the driver’s seat be removed and check fuses and relays fitted under the seat. He feels that the wet conditions could have something to do with the problem. However Struan has no spanners, or any other tools with him. Just as well I have a toolbox together with a can of water repellent spray, but the Landrover refuses to start. Then Struan gets directions as to how to reprogram the alarm system. No joy – “the Landrover she is going nowhere”.

Meanwhile Libby has produced a cold chicken, which the rest of the group, who have had nothing to eat all day, rip to shreds and devour like a pack of wolves. A packet of rusks suffers the same fate. Meanwhile the rain pours down and driven almost horizontally in the ferocious wind and most of us are wet through.

Finally it is decided that the others will carry onto Paindane and I will stay with Struan, and if he cannot get the Landy started within a short while then I’d tow him to Inhambane. Grant takes over the boat Struan was pulling and they leave.

As we still had 132 kilometres to go Inhambane, which would take close on two hours, we decide to proceed with the tow so as to get there before dark. Before we left I had said to Struan, “Remember the secret of a smooth tow is that I am the engine and you are the brake. On a downhill you change to 4th gear so that I have to pull else you could catch up to me. On an uphill you go to neutral. If we are too slow down I’ll signal and you do the slowing and braking. I should not have to touch my brakes – that is your job.”
So with Landrover in tow we set off. I must say Struan learnt fast and proved to be the best I have ever had to tow.

We had gone about 20 kilometres when I see the rest of the group in the two Toyotas parked off the road. What now??
Disaster! The trailer carrying the large boat had a blow out and they cannot get their bottle jack underneath the trailer chassis to jack it up with. They also do not have a spanner to fit the trailer wheel nuts. In fact they had sweet bugger all.

Off comes my hi-lift jack, out come my spanners and the job is in progress.
But wait a moment – something is not right, in fact something is very wrong.

The axle of the boat trailer had moved sideways resulting in the tyre rubbing against the trailer chassis, - hence the blowout. I remain convinced that speed and potholes was a contributory factor to the problem.

To remedy the matter we now had to remove the boat from the trailer and then try to move the axle. It is still pouring with rain and it is beginning to get dark.
Anybody have a torch? Oops, sorry no! Lucky I have a decent torch.

At last we get the boat off and manage to reposition the axle and in the process they loose two of the U-bolt nuts. Lucky I have a few spare lock nuts in my toolbox that fit. Repairs made we now have to get the boat back onto the trailer. After much swearing and cursing, pushing and shoving the boat is firmly back in place and secured.

I left first with the Landrover in tow and the rest follow timidly behind.
It is pitch dark and the rain is coming down in buckets. It was nerve wracking and the road seemed to be endless. Visibility was poor and I had a Landrover with ‘giant slaying bull-bar’ not three-and-a-half meters off my tail. If I suddenly had to hit the brakes, for whatever reason, there is no way that Struan could stop in time. For him it must have been a nightmare. With my canopy, rack and roof top tent he could not see past me. He had limited vision by driving off centre and trying to see past my right hand side. As hand signals were now out I had told him I’d signal him to slow by activating my hazard lights. To make matters worse his windscreen wipers did not work, at times he must have thought he was a submarine especially when I hit a deep pool of water.

A few kilometres before Inhambane the others turn off to Paindane and we proceed onto the town. So for all their speed during the day compared to my sluggish ‘ol Hi-Lux we arrive at Inhambane with me in first place. Admittedly the Landrover was a close second, about 3,5 meters behind, on the end of a towrope!!!

“Wat se mens?” “Skilpad wen weer!” (Tortoise wins again)

We passed a noisy disco and stop to ask for directions to the ‘Backpackers lodge’. One of the blacks at the bar can speak English and he explains to us how to get there. Fortunately it was in the same road about a kilometre further on. The lady that runs the establishment takes us through the lounge up some stairs to show us our rooms. In the lounge were a few young girls and two guys. Now Struan and Clive are big men who stand head and shoulders above a crowd. I’m not exactly small myself but a midget compared to Struan and Clive. As we walk through the lounge I hear the one girl say in awe, “My god – they’re huge.” On hearing this I fluff out my chest and try to look as big and as fierce as possible. I don’t think they even noticed me.

By this time we are famished and we set about making supper in a small kitchenette out the back of the building. Again from the magical interior of my canopy we produce a tin of ham, a packet of pasta, a packet of ‘Mushroom a la crème’ sauce, a tin of peas, a packet of olives and all the necessary condiments. We also have cold beer in my Engel, whisky and a bottle of red wine – suddenly, in spite of the rain, life looks a lot better.

Next morning it has stopped raining and although cloudy the weather looks promising. So we set off for an exploratory walk in Inhambane.
It is an old town, established by the Portuguese as far back as 1534 when it was then called “Terra de Boa Gente” (land of the friendly people). The friendliness could not have lasted long as the Portuguese quickly established a lucrative slave trade. Before the independence of Mozambique from the Portuguese it must have been a beautiful town set in a tropical paradise. But after years of civil war it is but a spectre of its former glory. Struan visited the town six years previously and said that most of the buildings were then deserted. Some buildings are still empty and fig trees grow on the outside walls, their roots penetrating into the brick and mortar. Broken shutters hung dangerously over the pavement. We wander through narrow streets and gaze at crumbling buildings trying to imagine what it must have been like.

It is Sunday and the town seemed empty and even at 7.00 in the morning there were few people or vehicles about and we begin to walk back to the ‘Backpackers’, which is on the esplanade overlooking the bay and close to a quayside that juts out from the esplanade. Littered alongside the quay are some skeletal rusty remains of boats plus a few old fishing boats. I think it would be safer to play Russian roulette than to go out in on of those fishing boats.

Across the bay is a little town called Maxixe and already a few locals carrying goods on their heads are gathering to catch the ferry across the bay. We see a decrepit old hulk of a boat with someone tinkering with a single outboard motor at the back. He finally gets it started with much coughing and spluttering and soon to discover that this is the ferry. I think it would be safer to swim across to Maxixe.

The only building, which shone with new restoration, was the catholic Cathedral built over 200 years ago. Close by was a freshly painted building, which I soon discovered, was a military building. I wanted to get a photograph of the church from a different angle when a sentry appeared from nowhere indicating I may not take photographs. I finally got him to agree when I pointed out it was the church I wanted a picture of.

Back at ‘Backpackers’ we find Struan again on his cell phone. The plan is now for Landrover technicians from Maputo to come through on Monday or Tuesday. If they cannot get the Landrover going then they would have to take it back to Maputo.

By prior arrangements Grant arrives at 10 and Struan and Clive leave for Paindane leaving the Landover parked at the backpackers. Libby and I decide to do a tour and head off for “Praia do Torfo” a few kilometres further north up the coast. We arrive there and find a small beach resort called ‘Casa Barry’’. So named after Barry Dowson who lived in Greytown some years before leaving to start a new life in Mozambique. Unfortunately he was in South Africa and only due to return some days later.

This part of the coast is well developed with many small resorts nestling under lofty coconut trees. Most of the buildings were constructed of plaited palm leaves others of more conventional brick and iron. On the beach a few black children are netting small fish using a piece of green shade cloth.

By now the weather had darkened so we decide to leave and return to Inhambane.
One the way we see a collection of huts and some men tying reeds together. We stop to see what they are doing and I take out my video camera. At first they are reluctant but then I invite the apparent headman to come and have a look at the picture on the LCD screen of the camera. He though this was great and soon I had a crowd of men, women and children crowding round to see the pictures. Some though it hilariously funny and staggered around in fits of laughter. I took a photograph of the headman and his family and he wrote out his address for me on scarp of paper so that I could post him a copy of the photograph.

About few kilometres out of Inhambane is the turn off to Paindane. There is a large sign saying ‘Guinjata Bay’, the sign to Paindane is much smaller and difficult to see.

The rain has started once again. It starts softly and steadily gains in intensity.

For the first time since leaving home we are now on a dirt road. It had been topped with red earth and was very muddy and slippery so I stopped and locked my hubs for 4-wheel drive, should it be required. After 5 kilometres the red-road stopped and we were now on a sandy track that wound through the palm trees. We pass a few resorts along the way with the main one being ‘Guinjata Bay’ about halfway to ‘Paindane’.

Although sandy and with my tyre at normal pressure I only once had to change to 4-wheel drive when I had to go off the track for an approaching vehicle while going up a slope. No doubt the heavy rain and wet sand resulted in easier going. The worst sand was at Paindane itself and this is where I got stuck. Most embarrassing!

Just before ‘Paindane’ there is a steep slope. Halfway up is a turn to the left saying ‘reception’, as I was turning Libby said, “No, the chalets are straight ahead.”
I stopped and reversed back; but instead of making a wide turn back I did a short turn and before I could say, “A Toyota never gets stuck”, - I was. I had turned too sharply and ended up in very soft sand on the edge of the track. I stopped and in the pouring rain let my tyres down to almost zero. Tried again but was well and truly stuck.

Leaving Libby I set off up the slope to find the others to come and give me a hand. A few hundred metres further on I find them all in the bar. They were getting wetter inside than out.

We all jump on Grants double cab and in two shakes of a wet ducks tail I’m unstuck. They drive off and head back for the pub. I begin to drive then hear I have a flat tyre.
I had deflated my tyres too much and the one rear tyre broke its seal and completely deflated. Back out into the rain and change a tyre. By now I wetter than water.

We arrived at the chalets and Clive was waiting to show us which one we were in. The sand at the chalets is the worst on the entire trip and 4-wheel drive is a must. We were in chalet number eight and sharing it with Clive. The youngsters had taken up Chalet number 9 & 10.

The chalets are large and spacious and constructed mainly of palms leaves. There are two bedrooms. The beds are concrete bases on which are a foam mattresses. Two singles in one bedroom and a double in the other. The main room also has three bases along the walls to serve as either a bed or seat. In the centre of this room is a rough wooden table with benches on either side. There is an open plan kitchen with work surface.
Off the main room is a veranda, but you must provide your own chairs.
There are large windows but no glass. Instead each window has a drop shutter made off plaited palm leaves which are held open by lifting and propping open with a stick, or whatever else you can lay your hands on. Each window is covered with netting, no doubt to make you feel safer against mosquitoes. However there are large gaps between roof and wall, and everywhere else so the netting is actually a waste of time and serves no purpose, other than lessen the intensity of the wind.

During our entire trip we never saw a mosquito and were very happy about that, especially as the sister of a friend of ours had died of malaria two weeks before which she got whilst on a visit to the Kruger Park in mid September. There is much controversy about malaria and the taking of prophylaxis. Some say that you should not take anything as it masks the symptoms. The doctors I have spoken have said, “You must take a prophylaxis”. As we had used ‘larium’ before we again put ourselves on a course of ‘larium’.

All that is provided are basic kitchen utensils, a three-ring gas cooker and chest deep freezer.
The bathroom has a shower, basin and loo. We had to provide gas for the stove and bathroom, all linen, food etc. There is electricity but that only operated from 7am to 11am and then from 5pm to 10pm.

The chalets are on the top of the coastal dunes overlooking the sea, however coastal bush and scrub obscure most of the view and only chalet number 7 has a reasonable view.

So … our overall opinion of the chalets. WONDERFUL – truly delightful…. Except!!!
Except our chalet was leaking like a sieve. I mean who cares about a few leaks … but ours gave you a better wash than the shower.

Shortly after we had moved in the camp manager arrived in his Landcruiser to see check how we were. Fine we said expect for the leaks. “No problem,” he says, “move to one that is OK.” So we check out no: 7. It is not quite as bad, at least it is not leaking on the beds and the view was great. So we quickly carry our meagre belongings across and move in.

I’m still wet through and Libby and Clive are also rather damp around the edges. It is still pouring with rain, so we decide we will not worry about a thing and walk up to the bar to see how the youngsters are.

Away we stroll, as Noah’s floods loom ever closer. The young ‘uns in the bar are on a roll. Besides our party there are other visitors, mainly young folk who are there to dive off the corral reefs that make this place one of the best diving havens in the world.

Two of the young lasses were diving instructors, an Australian and New Zealander lass who made young men’s hearts beat faster and older men hyperventilate. She was a WOW and I so wished I was a great white shark when she went diving.

Our group, out numbering the other patrons, had taken over the place and “hi-jacked’ the two pretty diving instructors. Struan was flying like a Boeing out of control. After all the hassles he had with his Landrover, I didn’t blame him. For the first time in 24 hours he looked relaxed and enjoying himself.

Then the lights go out but the bar staff quickly has paraffin lamps going and the party really got going. Libby said she would go and make supper and advised Clive and I not to stay to long. We stayed for a while then quietly left. We could have left with an explosion and nobody would have noticed. Libby had taken the torch so we set off in the blackness and got lost.
We were barefoot and stubbed and crushed our toes against every obstacle there was. Where was the sand, the bloody place was full of rocks. We swear and curse. Finally we see a glimmer of light and find our chalet and Libby and a hot meal. Outside the wind howls and eerily whistles through the walls and windows. If it was not for the warm spirits within us we could have felt our spirits flagging, especially as by now the chalet was leaking so badly it became impossible to avoid the drips. Just pour a tot and hold out your glass for water.

That night we thought we were going to blow away. If not blown away certainly drowned.
The wind howled and the rain bucketed down. Was this the start of another flood in Mozambique?

Next morning the sky was still leaden but the rain had let up and the wind was no longer a full-blown hurricane. Together with Clive we set off down to the beach for a brisk walk.
By the time we returned it was raining again and the wind had picked up.

Struan and his friends gazed miserably out over the sea that heaved with mountainous waves and wind driven globs of foam. Not much chance to do any fishing, best thing is head for the pub, which they duly did. Libby, Clive and I just mooched around bored stiff.
The wind and rain continued unabated. So Monday passed. At his rate the bar would soon run out of booze.

By now we have realised that awake or asleep we were going to be wet – it was a fact of life, there was nothing we could do about it. Thankfully it was not cold.

Tuesday – the same as Monday. No further comments necessary.
The Landover technicians from Maputo are due to arrive at midday and Struan and Grant leave for Inhambane. Grant returned by late afternoon with the news that they were trucking the Landover back to Maputo.

Wednesday. I wake early and listen carefully. Everything is deathly quiet. I get up and go outside. The sea is like glass and there is only a whisper of a breeze. The horizon glows and few torn clouds scud across the sky chased by a jet stream high above.
It was going to be a great day. Suddenly whoops and howls erupt from chalet 9 and 10 and within seconds there is frantic activity to get fishing tackle, diving gear and the boats ready.
Shortly after sunrise the first boat puts to sea closely followed by the second and Clive and I are on the beach fishing.

The resort of Paindane lies at the top of high dunes beneath lofty coconut trees. There is a steep road angling down to the beach which had been hardened using coconut husks and in places wooden slats set horizontally across to form a corduroy grid. So taking a boat up and down is not a problem. Set slightly back from the beach is a large thatched Gazebo that once must have been well equipped with bar facilities and everything else. However the beach at Paindane is being eroded away and according to the local staff it used to be 50 meters further out at high tide than what it currently is. The Gazebo teetered on the edge and already most of the front veranda area had been lost to the sea.
At high tide the sea is perilously close to the base of the dunes and there was concern that the bottom end of the access roads could be washed away. They were tying to bolster the road edge with logs set into the sand.

From the shoreline a reef juts out into the sea and curves round to form a sheltered bay ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Although rod and line are permitted in the bay inside the reef no spear fishing or boat fishing is allowed. This only applies to visitors – the locals (blacks) can do as they please. The reef, exposed at high tide, and especially so with spring tides, is stripped clean of all marine life. The ski boats all launch within the bay then go around to fish on the seaward side of the reef.

This lack of a beach at high tide made launching a boat, or the removal of a boat, very difficult as there is not much room for a vehicle to move in, besides the beach slope was steep and the sand was soft and thick. A dangerous place for a vehicle to be at high tide.

By mid morning it was bright and hot, almost if the sun, annoyed at having been blocked out for four days, was now beaming down UV rays at full force. I decided to go back to the Chalet and re-hydrate myself with an ice cold ‘Mac Mahon’, a Mozambique brand beer.

Libby suggested I try my cell phone to see if there was an SMS from our daughter in England. There was an SMS and I was horrified to read a message from Clive’s brother-in-law saying that Clive’s brother had died. Not the kind of news that one wants to convey to someone on holiday. It was not altogether unexpected as his brother had been very ill, none-the-less chilling news. The message went on to say, “Funeral on Saturday. See you tomorrow evening.” Tomorrow been Thursday. We had known that his brother-in-law was flying in the next day as he was negotiating to have a house built on a piece of land he had acquired between Guinjata Bay and Paindane.

By late afternoon Struan, and his Landover, returned from Maputo.
Clive and Struan (father & son) agonised over the decision of what to do. To return home would mean that they would have to leave either mid Thursday, or very early Friday to travel the 1174 kilometres back to Greytown. Struan felt he could not abandon his friends. Meanwhile a number of other SMS’s were received from family begging Clive to come home. The matter was further complicated by the fact that Clive’s wife was in England and she could not get back.

Now let me tell you about what had happened to Struan and his fancy green Landrover TD5.
For starters the technician from Maputo only arrived at three in the afternoon and not at mid-day as promised. After working on the Landover for a few hours they could not get it started so they loaded the Landover onto the truck they came in, and together with Struan, drove through the night back to Maputo. At their workshops the next morning they managed to get things sorted out and the Landover started. Next problem was the question of payment. Landover South Africa has assured Struan that they would pay Landover Mozambique.
Landover Mozambique said “Not a damn – they take too long to pay.” They wanted payment now! All R7800 of it. Struan had to go to a bank and after a flurry of telephone calls between his bank in SA and the local bank funds were transferred and the Landover agents paid.

The Landrover is still not right, but with a box of fuses, Struan at least knows what to do to get it going. He is not a happy chappy.

That evening we had a great fish braai with the 15 kg Barracuda that the boys had caught that day.

Thursday dawns bright and hot. The boys and Clive leave to launch the boats and I go surf fishing. I retuned quite early, as I felt frazzled out from the sun the previous day. The skin on my face felt thin and tight, and in spite of wearing my Rockies, the tops of my feet were sunburnt. Far better to sit in the shade with a frosty beer and lazily gaze out over the azure sea. Still more SMS’s were coming in concerning the funeral and appeals for Clive to return.

Clive is still uncertain of what to do. Struan is reluctant to leave his friends and Clive’s options are limited.

Next morning Clive goes out early with the boys and Libby and I go with Grant to Inhambane. Grant needs to buy fuel and we decide to tag along and visit the local market where we buy a few kilograms of prawns and Portuguese bread rolls. The market is a colourful place with noisy vendors and buyers in colourful garb. On one side is the fish market with all kinds of fish, octopus, prawns, crayfish and other marine animals. The vendors objected strongly when I wanted to take a photograph. Grant remarked that this was probably because there were 'illegal' fish been sold.

When we return there was another impassioned appeal from Clive’s daughter for him to return home as well as one from his brother in law saying, “Tell Clive I think I can arrange a flight back – leaving at 12.” I went down to the beach and by waving my arms like a Dutch windmill I manage to attract the attention of the fellows on the boat and they brought Clive and Struan back to the shore. In spite of everything Clive is smiling broadly as he has retuned with a 17 kilogram barracuda.

The message regarding the flight is the catalyst for a decision to be made. Clive will take the flight back and Struan will remain and return with the others on Monday. I have to be back by Monday so Libby and I decide to leave on Saturday to arrive home on Sunday.

Clive quickly changes and Grant agrees to take him to Inhambane airfield.
Shortly after Clive arrives at the airfield the charter flight that his brother-in-law is to catch arrives but the pilot informs them that he cannot take Clive aboard as he has to fly up Vilankulous, further north, to collect other passengers before flying back to Lanseria near Pretoria. But there is a second flight chartered by Standard Bank with only two passengers and they kindly offer Clive a lift. There flight path would be straight back to Maputo to clear customs and they would also land at Lanseria.
Clive got to Lanseria by five in the afternoon and had to wait for more than two hours before his brother-in-la arrived back. They finally get back to Greytown in the early hours of the morning . It was a long day for Clive.

Meanwhile back at Paindane we were having a fabulous supper of Barracuda and prawns.

Next morning Libby and I left shortly after sunrise and slowly ambled back. Unlike the trip up, or trip back was without incident except for the fact it was very hot, 42 degrees C.

We crossed the border into Swaziland and headed for a game farm/lodge we had seen on our way up, called Nseleni, where we would camp the night. It is a most pleasant and well laid out camp. It also has a lion breeding facility and the camp is right in the middle of the lion pens. Quite disconcerting having supper with a large male lion watching you through the fence not 20 meters away and knowing it is me he wants to eat not my plate of food.

The fun began that night. The lions were like frogs in a pond. One would roar then the others would join in with thunderous roars, growls and grunts. After awhile silence would prevail and I would begin to drift off to sleep when it would start all over again. It was a noisy restless night.

Next day is the final leg home. That evening we sit and reminisce about events. It was one hell’va trip, certainly a most memorable one. In spite of all the rain and the hassles we loved every minute. Suddenly life seems so dull and boring and we agree that given half the chance we would do it all again, but this time we would keep going all the way to Dar-Es-Salaam.
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Last edited by Harold on Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
Harold (Greytown, KZN)" onclick=";return false;
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:11 pm



:wink: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:40 pm

Sorry no pics. Had a series of disasters that wiped out all pics.
Firstly moisture wih my video camera that prevented me using it. Subsequently bought another.
Then a hard drive drive crash 4 months later which wiped out all still photos.
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:50 pm


It seems you really had a memorable trip! The trip reads like a story - adventure, romance, agony, heartbreak, drama, happiness - real human interest stuff. Sad news about Clive's brother, but I'm sure you will remember this trip for many a year to come.

Thank you for your intriguing report!


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Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:25 am


Great report and it is definately a trip to remember a Bennie said. I will say one thing though, "jy maak my jaloers" :mrgreen: I just want to jump into my lux and drive north to Inhambane or Vilinculos. Such wonderful places and they have a tendancy to make all troubles you may have along the way seem almost trivial.

Had many a trip up north and no matter what happened we still had the best time. :D :D
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Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:33 am

Rummaged through a box last night and found a CD of the Mozambique photos and have attached some to the report.
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