Welcome to Mozambique – besides one of the most interesting fact about Mozambique being that in a game of scrabble, it would score more than any other on-word country, Mozambique is also renowned for its Indian Ocean warm beaches, exotic seafood and some of the most warmhearted people. The common thread being that half the country speaks the colonial Portuguese language but a side note is that everyone we had spoken to understood English. I mean my Portuguese is as strong as “am about to guard you” (abigardo)
Besides the affordability of Mozambique, the initial pull was the amazing warm picturesque beaches you always see and hear about. We also found an insane deal on accommodation at this resort on one of those e-commerce marketplace websites that connect subscribers with local merchants by offering great deal on travel.
So in planning this adventure I already saw the prawns, crayfish and array of cashew nuts I’ll be eating (Mozambique exports a lot of cashews, fact).. Obviously on the trip did not have one cashew.
Mode of Transport
Being based in Cape Town, there is a few ways of getting to Mozambique – land, air and even the warm sea. We chose the most economically way – a combination of air and land and then almost landed in hot water.
There are daily flights from Cape Town to Maputo (capital city of Mozambique) – instead we decided to fly to Johannesburg (a third of the cost of flying directly to Maputo – literally) –hired a, what we thought was a 4X4 (It was Renault duster 2X4 – but reliable!) And drove from Johannesburg to Maputo which took us 9 hours (weak bladders)
A standard map will indicate 6.5 hours but always take into consideration the time it will take you to stop for bathroom breaks, food, passport control and the fundamental – bad roads in Mozambique.
Also key note, cellular reception will be lost upon entering Mozambique. For non-SADC countries I don’t think Mozambique has much visa restrictions but always do your research.
Border & Traffic control
The process is unfortunately not very streamlined as everyone will have differing experience of driving into Mozambique. Either way you will find everyone trying to assist you but like they say don’t forget the age old tale – nothing is for nothing in this world. Common rules that I can confirm are a reality when driving into Mozambique -remember to wear seatbelts, obey the speed limits, carry your driver’s license, ensure you have your 3rdparty insurance and road tax documents (ask the rental company to ensure you have a border letter) and a huge smile or money.
Entering Maputo, a city under development for the last 10 years – the roads are still nearing completion but what the roads lack the variety of people make up, we saw a strong mixed community that seemed to assimilate well with each other into society. There is a good host of food and night life and it is generally safe to walk around. You will most likely come across a variety of kids trying to sell you anything from flowers to sweets. Regarding accommodation, we found an Airbnb place in the capital and it was walking distance to food and clubs.
Xai Xai District
Beautiful. Finally some beach – we left as early as we could (11am) and the drive took about 3 hours – finally arrived at our destination. First point of call. Ensure we book the essential thing that we came to do –fishing!
We arrived at the East Africa Safari accommodation (5 nights stay at R2000) which is basically self-catering units but also has a convenience store and restaurant on the property if you are interested.
We met this amazing ex-pat who lives on the resort and took us fishing for the day (this is his day job)– the boat and gear and everything else came to about R4000 (the conversation rate is dependent on when you reading this) – in addition you can do the split based on the number of people you are. Perks are that you get to keep everything that you catch and boy did we catch. We did an array of various types of fishing – most of which I’m no expert in. Most of the fish we gave away to the staff that assisted in cleaning and preparing the fish.
The captain of the boat then invited us over for a braai at his place that evening. Apparently we were the funniest bunch of people he had met in a long time – this could be his line for inviting all guests over and not eating alone – alas he stays at the top of this resort. Enough said.
The next day we explored the city for a bit and helped the local economy by purchasing gifts at a higher than usual price. As Mozambique’s is one of the poorest countries in Africa the cost of goods were still very cheap. We spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach at our resort. That evening we had a huge braai (barbeque) and cooked everything we had in our fridge
The following day we caught the red eye and drove back to Johannesburg in a massive drive and returned home.