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02.03.2011, 13:30   ---   Crazy ride to paradise

To cut it short: I made it to Mozambique ! :-) At the border it got picked up by 4 crazy, funny Zimbabwean guys, they patiently waited with me for one hour to get my visa, extended my Portuguese vocabulary by easily 300% and with lots of beer we drove straight to the coast to Beira. They know the owner of a lodge there, where we stayed in a little cottage right next to the beach and next day they dropped me off along the road on their way back home to Zim.
I continued on public transport and it’s quite different to Zimbabwe . Minibuses are called Chapas, the streets have the biggest potholes I’ve ever seen (and plenty of them) and the people are by far not as friendly as I was just used to. Especially the Chapa-drivers always try to rip off foreigners with incredible overprized fares and on the buses, which are expensive anyway, you have to pay the full price eventhough you only go half of the distance. To that adds that most routes are only done once a day, but at least without big delays. Buses and Chapas seem to be in a better condition though, but at the same time they are extremely overcrowded and therefore less comfortable. And I never shared a bus with as many live chickens! Apparently most people have no chance to keep meat refrigerated or frozen, so they simply buy and carry their dinner alive to kill it freshly at home. For the same reason they seem to eat mostly chicken, because a whole cow for example is usually way too much for one meal – even for those huge African families. ;-)

Right now I’m in Praia do Tofo, live right next to a breath-taking beautiful huge beach and enjoy the sun. :-) I’ll probably stay for a few more days, will finally dive again and then head slowly towards Malawi .  

11.03.2011, 10:30   ---   Just no rush

Well, I’ve already spent a lot more time in Mozambique than I first planned, but one shouldn’t rush while on holidays, right? ;-)
Tofo was really dreamlike beautiful and totally relaxed, just the diving was rather disappointing… strong current und poor visibility are not too much fun and manta rays and whale sharks are rather scarce at the moment. My first dive was quite alright. We saw a manta ray, a leopard shark and huge moray eels and got escorted by a group of dolphins. In contrast the second dive was a nightmare. With extremely strong current and a visibility of less than 7m it was even very difficult to keep the group together at all and was not all too much fun. But I gave it one last try and went to Manta Reef the next day. The Mantas disappointed us again, visibility was still not good and I had to admit that I’m just here in the wrong season. But the highlight was awaiting us on the way back to shore: A massive whale shark was swimming at the surface, approximately 7m in length!! By the time we got into the water with our snorkel, mask and fins we only saw a huge dark shadow disappearing in the deep unfortunately, but anyway it was really cool! :-)

After one week I eventually managed to leave Tofo and made my way to Vilanculos. Galya, who I met in Tofo, joined me spontaneously and we’re enjoying this place to the fullest! We’re staying at a nice hostel, right next to the beach again (which can’t beat the one in Tofo at all though) and met a bunch of really nice people. One of them even is a good mate of one of the four Zimbabweans that took me to Mozambique , the world’s small! :-D
Right on our first day we did a boat trip to the islands of the Bazaruto archipelago along with two Norwegian guys – paradise!!! We stopped at several islands, relaxed in the sun, had a swim in the crystal clear water, snorkelled along the reef, climbed some big sand dunes… and simply had a fabulous day!! From the beach we even saw a dugong, very cool. We also tried to snorkel with it, but once in the water we couldn’t find it anymore.
The rest of our time we didn’t do all that much… Sunbathing, bargaining for fruits and veggies at the local market, watching the hustle and bustle at the beach when the fishermen came back with their daily catch and sipping a few beers at night. There have been some serious storm warnings for yesterday and today and I actually considered leaving on time… well, so far there was little wind and some rain showers, so no big deal at all. But anyway most people are leaving at the moment and it seems to me I’m the only backpacker around that doesn’t leave yet… But the latest in a few days I’ll head off as well and hope for some sun until then. :-)  

25.03.2011, 13:15   ---   It’s hard to leave

Well, 2 weeks later I finally managed to leave Vilanculos. That wasn’t all that easy! After Galya & Co left I actually planned to carry on travelling as well, but there was always a reason to stay another day, mainly caused by an awesome group of people living in Vilanculos. First I decided to stay until the weekend for the Beach Braai at Dale’s Casbah, a beautiful bar right on the beach. Later Anne-Kathe convinced me to go diving, so we spent another fantastic day out at the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago and dived the beautiful reef with lots of colourful fishes, morays and turtles. Apart from that I spent most of my time relaxing either in a hammock or by a pool, eating plenty of fresh seafood and having more or less of a party at night. Then it was almost weekend again, so I just added a few more days until the Full-Moon-Party at the Casbah on Saturday… ;-)
My decision to leave was finally made and I was about to take the 4am-bus on Sunday morning right after the party. So I packed up my stuff, after a good breakfast Anne-Kathe and I checked out the market for some party-outfit-shopping and last but not least we went to the bus station to get my ticket. Good plan so far, but then the bus driver told me he’s not gonna leave next morning due to a lack of passengers! My last hope was a bigger bus company, but their office was already closed for the weekend and so I ended up staying another day… After a long night at Casbah it was planned to go to one of the islands with the whole crowd in the early morning, but after only 2 hours of sleep Anne-Kathe and I decided against it. Luckily we weren’t the only ones and by noon Chris, Amad and Steph picked us up with a speedboat and right on time for the Braai we arrived at Magaruque. We spent a fantastic day in the sea with some cold drinks and headed back to the mainland by sunset. Needless to say, that it was already too late to get a bus ticket for the next day… but that one day didn’t really matter anymore! ;-)
On Monday I finally got my ticket for the next morning and everything was sorted! Well… everything’s a bit different in Africa and while we had a few last drinks that night the bus driver send a text message telling me there are not enough people for the bus, so he’s not leaving! Aaaaaarg… It seemed to be a very bad joke! But then on Tuesday I finally left Vilanculos, I had two days on buses, chapas and taxis ahead of me, my phone got stolen in Chimoio and yesterday I arrived in Malawi – and already need some holidays again! ;-)


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