Category: Mozambique


african-oscars

Well now that we leave Africa soon (Boo Hoo!) Muni & Molly’s African Oscars are now published.

The categories are : (drum roll please)

1. Best Accommadation / Hotel : Green Turtle Lodge, Dixcove, Ghana
2. Worst Accommadation / Hotel : Pensão Leeta, Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique

3. Best Meal : La Colombe, Constainia, Cape Town, South Africa
4. Worst Meal : Cafe No Name, Arsi Negele, Ethiopia

5. Best Transport : CTM, Morocco
6. Worst Transport : Burundi

7. Friendliest People : Tied at Burkina Faso and Malawi
8. Unfriendliest People : White Namibians

9. Best Value : Ghana
10. Worst Value : Rwanda

And last but by no means least…

11. Best Beer : Primus 720ml, Burundi
12. Worst Beer : Laurentina Stout, Mozambique

And the most coveted award for biggest tosser in Africa goes to….

The fat, Afrikaner, make-up put on with a cement mixer, hair-do like a bulldog’s arse, manager of the Cat Nap Guest House in Springbok for her inability to take a booking 3 whole weeks in advance. Moan about the check in time, lie about her presence prior to us checking in and then only say that we had booked one night when two were requested. I hope you catch the clap from a toilet seat and you choke on some worm infested biltong again. Congratulations, your golden Oscar is in the post.

We’ve also added some additional categories for those that were worthy of such an acolade.

They are:

Toughest Day : 8th April 2009, Butare, Rwanda after visiting a genocide memorial. (I talk about it HERE)

Most adventerous moment: Boarding a tug boat to travel down Lake Tanganyika en-route to Kigoma, Tanzania

The 5 best highlights (in no particular order):

1. Getting up close and personal with 5 Silverbacks in Parc National de Volcans, Rwanda
2. Being pamered in Madikwe Safari Lodge, South Africa
3. Juming out of a dhow, after spotting Dolphins, onto the best beach in Africa. Praia de Chocas, Mozambique
4. Standing on the precipace of the plateau in Dogon Country, Mali
5. Giggling at the confluence of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean’s at the southern most tip of Africa

Muni & Molly

Well now that we leave Southern Africa soon Muni & Molly’s Southern African Oscars are now published.

The categories are : (drum roll please)…

1. Best Hotel : The Gecko Lounge, Malawi
2. Worst Hotel : Pensão Leeta, Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique

3. Best Meal : La Colombe, Constainia, Cape Town – by far
4. Worst Meal : Hotel Palma, Palma, Mozambique

5. Best Transport : Zambia
6. Worst Transport : Namibia

7. Friendliest People : Malawi
8. Not so Friendly People : Namibia

9. Best Value : Mozambique
10. Worst Value : Malawi

And last but by no means least…

11. Best Beer : 1 Litre Frosted Glass Hansa Draught – Namibia with Maluti a very close second – Lesotho
12. Worst Beer : Laurentina Stout – dire!

And the most coveted award for biggest tosser goes to….

The fat, Afrikaner, make-up put on with a cement mixer, hair-do like a bulldog’s arse, manager of the Cat Nap Guest House in Springbok for her inability to take a booking 3 whole weeks in advance. Moan about the check in time, lie about her presence prior to us checking in and then only say that we had booked one night when two were requested. I hope you catch the clap from a toilet seat and you choke on some worm infested biltong.

muni

Chapa’s n Chocas

After a long morning traveling on the ubiquitous chapa we are finally sitting on our private rooftop terrace, the cool ocean breeze is refreshing. The ambient temperature now somewhat cooler since venturing this far south. A mess of angles, corrugated tin roofs held down by breeze blocks and worn out old tyres. Rusted television ariels pointing every which way. All strung together by thin drooping electricity cables of various colours. Coconut palms jut out randomly to further punctuate the skyline. Peeling paint next door to fresh coats. On narrow sandy streets footsteps are muffled. This place has a aura of contentment with the constant din of children playing. A young boy shimmies up a coconut palm, picks one, waves, and returns to the ground for lunch. Tap, tap, tap. The muezzin clears his throat. “Allah hu ackbar!” is screamed through a megaphone bolted to the nearby mosque’s minaret. We’re on Ilha de Moçambique.

For hundreds of years Ilha de Moçambique has served as a meeting point of cultures and a hub of Indian Ocean trade. A sliver of an island three kilometres long by three hundred metres wide just off the Mozambican north coast. It is from here, in the early 1500’s, that Vasco de Gama set up the administration point of Portugal’s interests in east and southern Africa. The place strewn with old colonial buildings some sadly crumbling and some gloriously restored. It’s a confusing place. Most speaking Portuguese as they weave down the narrow streets that lead to lots of un-manicured parks and old administration buildings and palaces. It almost feels like an old European town, but just when you think so, someone walks by with a basket of fish on their head.

Lamu, Wasini, Zanzibar and now Ilha de Moçambique. To visit them has been like watching the passing seasons. From staunchly Islamic, to very Swahili and now very Portuguese. This island could not be more different and yet more the same than the others. The beauty of this one is that it’s not spoilt by tourism. No touts and no hassle it’s an extreme pleasure to amble about.

1 Ilha de Mocambique2 Ihla de Mocambique

“Pemba! That’s for tourists!” we were told. “Praia de Chocas, now that’s the beach for you”. Gabriel, a gaunt, slight, Italian with an intoxicating easiness was our host on the Ilha, recommending a nearby beach. “Go to Chocas for a few days. Eat, sleep and then come back here I’ll keep a room for you”. All just too easy – for a change!

It is BY FAR the best beach of the trip. Molly reckons the best beach she has ever seen. Gabriel organised a return Dhow to the beach for us and three hours later we were there. Dropped right onto it. Out of a boat and into paradise. I know it’s just another beach to you. Just another picture postcard. I could post more pictures of a white sands beach over seven kilometres long, skirted by palms and azure ocean. At the detriment of destroying the image of hardship I portrayed in the last two posts, I have !

1 Praia de Chocas2 Praia de Chocas

Sadly, this will be our last beach on the Indian ocean coast. So we’re soaking it up before heading west. West I say. Malawi up for the chop…

muni

Two Days in the Life – Part 1

Not long after sunrise we boarded a pick-up truck to Kilambo, the last Tanzanian town before the Mozambican frontier. With about 15 others in the back I held on for all I was worth trying to time a soft landing for my already numb backside. A piric and painful exercise. An hour later we arrived at immigration and checked out. Soon after that we found ourselves at the banks of the Rio Rovuma haggling for passage. 5000 Tanzanian Shillings the agreed price for us both. Half way across the price increased. All of a sudden it was now Mozambique Meticais. An argument ensued. The final outcome was three people being thrown off the boat as I refused to pay. Seemingly, the guy I’d arranged passage with was not a “boatman” and was getting free passage on my ticket. The real boatman now worried that he’d not get any money marooned the three of them on a random sandbar. Mutiny over we got to the other side, laughing. A crocodile watched, it smiling also.

A pick-up was waiting on the other side and soon after docking we headed for the immigration outpost. 15 uncomfortable people atop random this and that. The passports stamped and customs finished we waited for the others. And waited, and waited, and waited… and waited. After three hours it turned out that the Tanzanians that arrived with us, about seven, had no entry visas. The immigration officer obviously waiting for a bribe that was not coming.

We were growing impatient as a couple of Chinese fellas showed up in a 4×4. We cadged a lift with them and off we went. Ten metres later we got a puncture. Over an hour later the wheel not off as there was an odd nut on the wheel that the brace would not fit over. Eventually, the wheel came off with a lot of sweating and cursing. Then, just as we are about to pull off the immigration officer stops us to check passports. He watches us for four hours, and then asks for passports as we leave !!! More delays.

The road to Nampula

The road south

Finally off we went. At speeds of over 80 km/h, again I held on for all I was worth in the back, as we trundled through some of the most amazing sand forest I’ve ever seen. Hotel Palma our new home as Mocimboa da Praia, the planned destination about 100 kilometres away, was a field just too far. Rice, sauce and a cheese sandwich for dinner we retired to our waterless and electricity devoid room. Local time was now dictating that sundown be at 5:15 P.M. Both of us were asleep by 8:30 P.M. in preparation for our 5:30 A.M. start for transport to Mocimboa. We had travelled 100 kilometres in ten hours.

muni

Two Days in the Life – Part 2

Like zombies we fumbled around with the mozzie net to get packed. Standing outside the hotel waiting for a chapa (minibus) to Mocimboa da Praia three hours away. It arrived, we boarded and then we cruised around town looking for more passengers. Two hours later we passed our hotel to commence our three hour trip. In Mocimboa we bumped into our Chinese friends who had stayed the night there. Smiling and nodding. Pointing and clicking. “No Engrish!”. On foot now, trying to find a place to stay. Nothing….at least nothing without a cringe factor. We settled, after some hours of deliberation, into a Pensao. (cheapest of the cheap, paintless rooms only, not en-suite, shit hole – sorry folks). After knocks on the door and demands for money had ceased we managed to get some sleep.

When we woke we went in search of food. None, zilch, zero, nadah, nowt. Unless you like petrified squid. That day we had yoghurt for lunch and dinner. We tried to find transport out of this place, this pimple on Africa’s Arse, without much luck. Our only options were :
1. Stay an extra night here in the “Ritz” and get a seven hour bus to Pemba or 2. Leave at 3 A.M. the next morning and drive for fourteen hours to Nampula.
Hmmmmm. Decisions decisions. We toiled with both prospects. Neither option the minutest bit attractive over the other. While on reconnaissance for something edible I clocked a South African registered camper van outside a restaurant. Molly and I looked at each other with the same idea. We walked over to find three Portuguese fellas in the camper van. We enquired if they were heading south. We were delighted to find that indeed they were and, happily, they agreed to take us to Pemba early the next morning at no charge! Pedros, Jose and Baron. A Pilot, a Soldier (from the Mozambican Bush War 12 years ago) and Baron or “The Baron” as they called him. Both of us were ecstatic. What luck on Africa’s Pimply Arse! As we walked away we both agreed that if the fellas were happy with taking us we would continue to Nampula. Pemba now scuppered for obvious reasons.

1 Nampula2 Nampula3 Nampula

In the back of the camper van we made it to Nampula and were dropped at the very place where we planned on staying as the guys stay here also. Complexo Montes Nairucco is a very beautiful spot 12 kilometres outside of Nampula town. Hidden amongst inselbergs on a citrus and mango farm with its own private lake. Leafy and green. Breezy and tranquil with resident donkeys. Its an oasis in a transport, food and accommodation desert. We thanked the Portuguese fellas profusely over a few beers that night and retired to our tent early. We will stay here for a few nights to massage our beaten and bruised mojo’s, fill our bellies and go to the toilet for the first time since Tanzania! Welcome to Mozambique!

Now, who said we had it easy?

muni