Beira necessity

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August 25th 2009
Published: October 30th 2009
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The TCO bus is an anomaly in African transport, like a readable passage in a Harry Potter book. Though not hitting Argentinian heights of comfort, it makes the 16.75 hours to Beira pass in a trauma-free fashion. The promised toilet and AC are present and correct, and the secret to reaching our destination in just one day lies in infrequent stops and certainly none for fruit and veg shopping. I wonder if the ripping sound I hear is the tearing apart of the very fabric of African travel.

There is one cause for concern, however, and it unexpectedly revolves around Westlife. The bus has insufficient DVDs to last the duration of the journey and, though we only get one showing of "Operation Delta Force 2:Mayhem", the Westlife Greatest Hits DVD gets repeated.

I consider myself as being fairly clued in to the musical era in which Westlife experienced their success, but I have to reconsider that in the wake of this overdose. Most shocking to me is that I realise I couldn't pick the lead singer out of a line-up though, disturbingly, I not only recognise Brian McFadden but know his name. Two of the others are familiar but number five is unknown to me. Their destruction of "I Have A Dream" is a further slap to the face.

Our steady onward progress comes to a grinding halt near Mocuba. "Overnight" work on the bridge over the river Licungo has encroached on the daytime and we wait for over two hours to be able to cross. It's a testament to the awesomeness of TCO that we subsequently make up more than half of this delay.

The landscape for the trip is nothing special but we do cross one of Africa's great rivers, the Zambezi, though it's via a bridge rather than the ferry that was the only option when the WLP was written.

We arrive in Beira well after nightfall - not the best time given Mozambique's second city's grim reputation - and half-heartedly haggle down a taxi driver's initial quote. He agrees to return to the hotel at 3AM to take us back to the bus terminal but the wee small hours fare will be nearly twice the current one. We're too tired to complain.

The hotel we choose is fine for the six hours I spend in it. In particular, there are no
Wall detailWall detailWall detail

Hotel Infante
signs of the malarial mossies for which Beira is famous, but it's still an unwelcome intrusion when the alarm goes off at 2:30AM.

The taxi driver is on time - not that difficult as he appears to have spent the previous six hours in the bar across the road - and the emptiness of Beira's streets at this time means he can weave around with impunity. We're dropped back at the TCO terminal without incident and prepare for another day on a bus.

Dull but possibly useful info
i. Took the TCO (Transportes Carlos Oliveira) bus from Nampula to Beira, which left at 4AM from a filling station a block behind the cathedral, cost M1,610, and took nearly 17 hours (the schedule is 16 but we had the delay near Mocuba). The TCO "office" in Nampula is at the Galp filling station (i.e. different from where the buses depart from) in Casa Fabiao on the corner of Ave. 3 de Fevreiro and Ave. de Independencia. The bus is a single-decker and has a loo, AC, and you get a cheese sandwich and a muffin for both breakfast and dinner (wasn't sure if dinner was included or was just brekkie leftovers due to the bus only being half full). Lunch is picked up at a gas station en route - you're given a menu in advance for your order and they phone ahead. Chicken and chips is M110 but the chicken was nasty. The gas station also has crisps, choc bars, etc so they might appeal more. The bus runs on Tuesday (definitely) and Thursday (possibly - couldn't really understand the ticket woman's Portuguese but I think she was saying there's a service to Beira on Thursday but no onward connection to Vilankulos on Friday). The comfort level was high - no aches and pains even after the 17 hour journey.
ii. Paid M150 for a taxi from the TCO terminal (location unknown) to Hotel Infante, and M250 for the reverse journey at 3AM.
iii. Stayed at Hotel Infante, paying M800 for a decent room (no mossie net but no mossies) with a broken TV and en suite (towel but only cold water).


23rd March 2010

Nice article
Just one quibble. From Maputo to Beira you don't cross the Zambezi
23rd March 2010

Thanks for the comment, but this entry is describing my trip from Nampula to Beira.
12th June 2010

10th October 2010

HI, I found the Mini Buses to Durban quite confortable, we passed Swaziland and the South africa North Coast,and for aroud R280 for about 650 km is very good value for money in fact the trip had 3 movies,fully aircon and catering service with Fruit,a juice and biscuit,Opening the route surely will help the travellers from Durban to Maputo and vice versa,their office in Durban is were is was old Pantera azul it seems yheir is join venture as stated TCO with some other ane their phone no is 00 27 31 304 0997 from 8.30am to 4pm ...hope this info will help travellers
13th December 2010
Stonking TCO bus

looking for a bus
I am looking for the booking office for swtonking tco bus company to book a ticket from maputo to beira - where do i find this and is i possible - I am arriving in Maputo on the 8 Feb 2011 and need transport to Beira
27th December 2010

There is other very good company MAPUTO to BEIRA ON luxury coach with AC, WC, TV and nice seats. The charga 1.300mt. More sheap in the market and best service at this time, include breakfast and gifts for childs. Contact number is 825588995 - 844181421 - 21300077 or in beira 823491400 - 843491400 - 23328488
19th January 2011

bus from Tete to Maputo
I need to find a goog bus from Tete to Maputo. TCO is nice but stop 1 day in Beira. I like a direct one. I know that is another one - tricamo - but i donĀ“t know if the car and his condictions are good. Anyone help me to find a good one, please? Thanks
19th April 2011

TCO question
hello, I write on this blog forum as well and found your blog helpful. Wanted to ask how to contact/book TCO. Currently in Tofo. Can catch at Maxixe and want to go to Vilanculos. Then back from Vilanculos to Maputo. Can't find a TCO site so any advice on how to book would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Robyn & Johnny
19th April 2011
Stonking TCO bus

Iwould like to book a coach from Maputo to Inchope/Beira for Thursday 28 April I want to know the fares and timetables
9th May 2011

Its sad to hear that the TCO head office has closed down the Durban office route from April 10th 2011 due to not having reliable buses,NOW any one traveling from Durban to Maputo have to go to Johannesburg and then to Maputo ...inconvenient indeed
13th August 2012

Contact Numbers
Does any-one have a contact number or email address for TCO.

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