Finally we decided it was time to say goodbye to our good friends in Maputo and we hit the road to the beaches to the North of the country with direction to the Inhambane province.
We took gain the early morning mini bus (5 am) so that we could make it to Tofo, our first stop, by sunset. The route was one of the most interesting so far. Our stops for food were basically stops at small villages where local women and boys would come close to the bus’s windows balancing buckets of their heads that they were full of bread, coconut biscuits, and bananas .In the bus, people chatted happily in Portuguese while the cobrador (cashier) was working hard to fill all the free space of the bus with more people and their weird baggage.
The scenery we passed was as tropical as you can imagine. The side of the road was full of red sandy soil where banana and papaya trees were growing. In between the tall coconut trees and the small corn fields, little villages were popping out like mushrooms.
The huts were made out of straw and palm tree leaves weaved together in patterns and the different homesteads were neatly separated from one another with hedges.
When we finally arrived in Fatima’s Nest Backpackers in Tofo, already excited from the trip we nearly cried to the view of the beautiful beach with the much awaited warm water of the Indian Ocean!!
In Tofo we had 5 days of real holidays .We spent our days exploring, swimming, playing beach volleyball and watching the local fishermen bringing out their daily catch .During the night we were gathering in the bar area chatting and watching the World Cup with people from around the world.
The food experience was simply one of our best experiences. We discovered Veronica and Vincent one day at a random visit to the small local market. There was just a gas kitchen out in the sand and a table among the sheds but we had the best home-cooked Mozambican food and local prices. The dishes? Matapa (sauce made from greens and cashew nut paste) with rice and fresh small fish, frango (fried chicken with tasty coating).And for desert enormous ananais(pineapple) and coconut juice from a coconut that we would later crack open and eat. We will never forget our lunches and dinners there!
Next stop Vilanculos. Vilanculos is the gateway to the exotic islands in Bazaruto archipelago. Hence, it is a touristic spot but also full of local fishing life for those interested. We were lucky enough to be hosted by Marina, a crazy Milanesa, married with a local guy from the area. She and her husband made sure that we had the best time around!
Leaving Vilanculos without visiting the islands is like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Towel! Therefore, we were quickly booked on a dhow safari by Marina’s company (dhows are the boats that are used for sailing in the area by the local fishermen).
The day we spent in Magaruque island will definitely be memorable. We sailed in high tide in the green blue waters of the Archipelago until we reached the reefy coast. As soon as we arrived, we set off to a 2 hour walk around the island exploring its high sand dunes with green bushes and greeting the local fishermen that live there. In the meantime, a lunch was waiting for us with delicious Barracuda fish grilled by our skippers on the boat! Bazaruto apart from its pristine clear waters is famous also for the reef life, so we put on masks and fins and explored the colourful and full of life reef!
In Vilanculos, shops are pretty basic and there are no typical restaurants, so we had the chance to try the few local ones! At Leopoldina’s we had the best Crab paella and Lula (calamari cooked in the Mozambican way), while we got more than tipsy with Tipo Tinto (rum and coke). Going around Vilanculos felt so original with girls in their kangas (colourful fabrics used as skirts) walking barefeet in the sandy streets. Happy marabenda music was often playing at nights and the roosters reminded everyone that it was the time to wake up. What a simple and peaceful life!
As quiet as was the trip until there, trouble was waiting in the next part unfortunately. Currently, in Central Mozambique, in Sofala province, there is political unrest and conflict between the party on power, FRELIMO, and the opposition party, RENAMO. Therefore, the 120 km between Save River and Muxungue had to be crossed accompanied by an army convoy.
Luckily, 4 hours later, tired and scared from the trip, we passed unharmed the spot and continued towards Tete, already excited for our fourth country, the friendly Malawi J
Check out more photos from Mozambique