Wednesday, July 20

Ille de Mozambique

Mary: We then pushed it a bit on the last stretch down to the coast and arrived at Ille de Mozambique just after dark. We were headed for Casuarina campsite ($8 pppn) on the mainland near the bridge to the Island as there are no campsites on the island itself. Pulling up at the gate it looked very closed and we eventually found a lady who spoke no English but seemed to be saying it was closed as well. We were quite frustrated as it was now very dark and the next nearest campsite was about 60kms away. Just as we were resigning ourselves to another hour or so of driving, the manager turned up. It turned out that although the campsite is officially closed for renovation they let in whoever arrives. There were already 2 other tents there and we parked the car & got settled in a beautiful spot right on the beach behind some palm trees. There was no running water or internet but apart from smelling for a bit longer we were fine.

We had a much needed drink on the beach then swapped roles as Brett cooked dinner & I put up the roof tent. We left the cheese out on the table when we went to go eat down on the beach, thinking it would be safe, but the flea-ridden campsite hounds had other ideas and our whole, lovely, expensive block of cheese got snaffled by the mangy curs! In case it wasn’t obvious, I was not loving the dogs after that little stunt. After dinner I did some night time photography on the beach which was cool. We met one of the other campers, a Finnish girl who is taking public transport round Africa, travelling mostly by herself – she has been on the road more than 2 years already.

After chatting to her I started feeling really sick so we went to bed. I don’t know if it is something I ate, but with no running water (in fact no water at all) and Trainspotting style toilets, this would definitely not be the place to get sick.


Brett: We didn’t sleep very well as there were lots of strange noises in the night, with the wind in the palm trees and the dogs howling. In the morning Mary was feeling quite a lot better, so we had lovely french toast for breakfast and spent the morning chilling out on the beach. We eventually got around to cycling over the 3km bridge to Ille de Moz and just oustide the campsite I left Mary guarding the bikes while I ran back to get the bicycle pump. When I got back there were about 10 fascinated kids hoping to have a ride on the bikes. We explored the town which is a World Heritage Site. It feels like another era with traditional fishing boats, tailors sewing in the streets, and beautiful crumbling buildings. We found a fantastic cafe (can’t remember the name) and had lobster with mango sauce for lunch. The cafe was also a great spot for photographing the passers by staring at our folding bikes – they loved them!

The next day we had an earlier start, heading over the bridge to a small island just south of Ille de Moz, which you can walk across to at low tide. People collect clams etc from the mud and rock pools at low tide and there was one kid that abandoned his clam hunting to come follow us round. We had no language in common and he was mimicking everything I did, so I tried out some Ministry of Funny Walks on him and he happily played along. We climbed up a rusted-through old ladder up to a small fort with views over Ille de Moz. Heading back to the mainland, we found our bikes just where we left them but with all the buttons pressed…

Cycling through town I got a puncture – I had to push my bike 2km, melting in 32 degree heat and doing more ministry of funny walks because my slipslop also broke (which Mary fixed with a safety pin). After lunch at the same great cafe, we cycled along the beach next to the main fort and swam in the 25 degree sea. The fort is the oldest standing fort in the Southern Hemisphere. Heading back over the bridge, I used my sarong as a bicycle-sail, amusing more locals.

In the morning, we left for Pemba and gave a lift to a backpacker who was heading the same way. As of the 16th, we have been on the road for one month – many of the places up to now have felt very familiar from our previous trip to Malawi, but Northern Mozambique has a very different feel. Mary has done some stats from Month 1.


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