About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

07 February 2009

Crossing the Border - First Attempt

After a long drive on a surprisingly good road (one map labelled the road as "extreme potholes" - but this was obviously fixed) through some different scenery of the Mozambican mountains (Mount Gorongosa); it was theoretiacally a short drive to the Malawian border from the overnight stop just outside Caia. Take a 60 Km gravel road to Villa Senna, cross the famous 2.7 Km railway bridge across the Zambezi, and then another 60 odd Km to the border. What could possibly go wrong ... after all the locals and the guide books confirmed the route!

Arriving at the bridge, we found that it was closed for repairs - and had been for a while. The engineer suggested we go back to Caia, cross the Zambezi with the ferry, and then drive the longer way round. Not too much of a detour - just anout 100 Km of dirt road after crossing the Zambezi.

Crossing the Zambezi proved to be easy, but long affair. After confirming directions at the petrol station, we arrived at the ferry port to find out that the captains were out to lunch between 12pm and 2pm. The time was 12h10 ...

Queue at the ferry

The ferry crossing itself was interesting - except the driver, everyone else was squeezed in like sardines behind the load of trucks and cars. Once across, we drove through some very interesting scenery to arrive at Chipanga, on the Shire River, just after 6pm. There is apparently a ferry that crosses this stretch of river - but when we asked the locals about the ferry, we were offered a canoe ...

There was a ferry moored on the riverbank - but it seemed that it has not run for a long time. Thus we decided to take the even longer road around to Malawi via the Milange border post, through 200 Km of dirt road. We spent the night camped at the parking lot of an "exclusive" lodge - which charged rip off prices for the use of their parking lot and bathroom.

05 February 2009


After 2 days at a (very hot) beach in Linga Linga, it was decided to make a final stop at Inhassorro before continuing inland. Inhassorro, about 50Km north (as the crow flies) of Vilankulos, is the last regular South African stop in Mozambique - and very well known for fishing trips. So inevitably, we stumbled across a bunch of South African guys on a big fishing trip - they had 2 boats, a trailer full of alcohol and obviously some free time :)

But for me, the really interesting part was the local fishermen. They take a massive net out to sea using boats and then in a large, communal effort bring the net in. It is a long haul, and the going seems very tough; but the joy of catching fish and the impromptu celebration was amazing to watch. It was not a massive catch; but definitely sustainable and definitely will get them money.

04 February 2009

Linga Linga?

Lonely Planet describes it as paradise because it is so difficult to get to. When we asked for directions, we were told that the easy road was no longer available - as it was washed away in a flood. The ravages of storms are clearly apparent, when we drove through the alternate route - as can be seen by the bent palm trees.

And the road to Linga Linga was difficult - and tested quite a few functionalities/capabilities of the Land Rover. A long, sandy 4x4 track, and frequent stops to ask "Linga Linga" managed to get us there, but giving real directions is still difficult. Tobias' drivign skills were trully impressive - and I doubt the route would be possible with either amatuers driving or with a non 4x4 off road vehicle.

But it was well worth the pain to get there. It is really paradise; and although there is a barebones backpackers, in the form of a village hut; we decided to just camp for free on the beach (and for most of the time, we had our own private beach).

But the paradise will not last long. I had cell-phone reception, and to add to that, there are already two resorts; with a 5 star hotel in the planning. So it was well worth going while it is still possible.

02 February 2009

Praia de Bilene

We started the day quite late - after a flight from Germany, Tobias, Petra and Annette were very tired - so, it was quite understandable. It also took a long time to pack everything up. I am sure it will get faster and easier as we get more practice; but for now it was quite a mission. The relatively early stop last night also alowed us to work out what we were missing; so another round of shopping took place in Nelspruit; before we headed to the border.

The border was a hive of activity, and surprisingly very well organised. Excep for a short traffic jam, it was a quick crossing. We were somewhat scammed by the money changers ... still not sure how they did it; but it was not a lot of money.

Instead of carrying on to Maputo, we took a "short cut" through some back roads. It was quite a beautiful drive - saw a long green snake, which we think was a mamba; a few monkeys and a lot of birds. Driving through small villages (more like settlements than villages) was also interesting.

Praia de Bilene, or the Beach of Bilene is not really on the sea. Instead it is an inland lagoon just next to the beach. It is very picturesque, but it still feels a bit fake.

Praia de Bilene was not our intended stop - the original idea was to stop in Zoegoene at the mouth of the Limpopo river; but it was getting late. We are staying the night in Laguna Camp - which is a 7Km dirt track away. While it has great facilities; it is also very expensive so