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Africa » Mozambique » Southern » Bazaruto Archipelago
September 28th 2010
Published: September 30th 2010
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Friday (6/8/10) Drive Day
Another early start we were back on the truck this time bound for Mozambique! We stopped midmorning at a local stone curio’s picking up a couple souvenirs. Back to the truck we cruised along some the very narrow single lane road’s. Keen to get to camp we planned a quick lunch stop, which took over 45 minutes to buy a couple bottles of water (TIA). A couple hours later pulled into our roadside camp spot for the night, in time to whip up some spag bol for dinner.

Saturday
Up and at em, we hit the road right on 7am along surprisingly good roads. We stopped to buy some fresh cashews and made another quick road side with lunch everyone keen to get to Vilankolos.
We arrived at Vilunkalos a small African village on the Mozambique coast still suffereing the effects of a tropical cyclone in 2003. We checked into Baobab camp taking the opportunity to upgrade to a beach villa and a real bed. We headed straight for the beach with chilly water and so shallow 200m in we were still knee height. After a refreshing swim we made the most of some luke warm showers. A couple sundowners in the cool bar and it was time for dinner, bbq pork shops and rice.

Sunday
We set off on our snorkeling trip to Bazaruto Archipelagos Island.Whilst we waited to be fitted with fins, mask and snorkel we were entertained bysome local kids dancing on the beach. Next we boarded Dolphin Dhow Safari III in the already hot sun. After an hour cruise across the crystal clear waters we arrived. A minor confrontation with another tour group (over the shelterour guide wasn't willing to compromise) and a few safety tips and we hit the water. We snorklelled along the coral reef which lined the small island spotting Angel fish, Banner fish, Puffer fish and schools of tiny fish. After a fair workout against the current we headed back to explore the other side of the island making it back in time for lunch of prawns, calamari curry, rice salad, bread and fruit. Back into the ocean to cool off (we waited half an hour I promise!) as the tide came in and the reef all but disappeared. It was then time to set sail, our crew opting for the sail for our return journey making it blissfully peaceful. But the wind died down and we reverted back to the motor rather than five hour trip back.
Back at camp tucked into a hearty beef stew (compliments of Jack our tour guide) all starving after a day in the water. As everyone called it a night we settled in for a private movie in our villa and fell asleep listening to the sounds of waves.

Monday
With no strict itinerary we had leisurely stroll on the beach before breakfast. It was low tide and hundred’s of tiny crabs scurried around our feet in the very warm morning sun. After breaky we set off with the others into town, first stop was the bank, Barclays wasn’t open for exchange today and the other bank required a passport which we didn’t have with us so agreed to make do with the cash we had. Second stop was the internet café... which we couldn’t find. Last stop the market, full of fabric, clothes, shoes and general supplies including cosmetics, flour, salt and piles of dried fish! We got some lemon and flour and headed back to camp to make pancakes for lunch.
Over lunch we traded African music for our limited supply movies with Jack. Then we headed down to the beach to see what all the commotion was about, there were locals everywhere. On closer inspection we realized the fisherman we’re returning with their days catch and women from every direction sprinted through the water as the boat pulled in, josseling for position with their buckets ready to fill. They bought their fish and set off into town to sell it, dry it or eat it. It was an amazing site. Buckets full of crabs, squid, small fish,huge barracuda, kingklip and rock cod . After much negociation we bought a huge kingklip to share.
As the hoards of locals left on foot with huge buckets precariously balanced on their heads or back on boats we watched from our beach chatting with a young boy about the daily life in Mozambique.
We took a stroll back along the now nearly empty beach and back into town, Jez picking up a Vilunkolos Football tee as we spotted the fish we'd seen earlier now at the market.
Back at camp we set to cooking dinner, a heap of small prawns (Jack had bought), our huge kingklip, salad, potato and lots of very different tastes to accomodate. Somehow, we pulled off a delicious dinner. And I think everyone was satisfied.

Tuesday (10/8/2010)
Back on the truck on route to Barra just north of Tofu. The weather had turned now windy, overcast and relatively cool. We travelled a road undergoing construction… hold onto ya seats, making it a slow bumpy trip in sections butoverall we made surprising good time. We pulled into the comparably luxurious Barra Lodge with thatched beach chalets, its own restaurant, bar, games room, curio market, quad bike, horse stables and dive centre. After a run down on the activities, we provisionally booked a deep sea fishing trip for the following morning but the forecast of 42km winds making it highly unlikely. All boat activities had been cancelled today and the winds likely to continue until the weekend our hopes of landing that big barra and diving with the whale sharks were diminishing by the second.
We checked out our chalet for six, white sheets, mosquito nets and a balcony with views of the ocean. After lunch we wandered down to the curio’s quickly scared off by their extortionate prices. We continued down to the beach, a beautiful long white sandy beach, crashing waves and a stinging wind. Legs stinging we retreated to the shelter of the bar to watch the sun set beneath the grey clouds.
That evening Jack and Richard cooked us a delicious traditional African meal of beef curry and pap. We passed the evening away learning about our guides very different religious beliefs.

Wednesday
After listening to the crashing waves and the wind whip through the bamboo chalet all night, we knew had buckleys chance of fishing. But with the sun starting to peek through we convinced ourselves it sounded worse than it was and made our way to reception to find out the bad news. A quick call later, probably we hypothesized to our still sleeping fisherman, it was official the fishing was cancelled.
So with the whole day to fill we returned to the chalet for an early breaky and make some plans for the day. Deciding to check out our neighboring village Tofu we got some vague instructions from reception on the local buses, walked to the supposed pick up point and waited. Clearly impatient, fifteen minutes passed and we were searching of a quicker way to get into town. Option 1 was get a taxi seemed feasible but after another consultation with reception it was going to be a very expensive round trip. Option 2 get Richard and Jack to drive us, against policy regulations and risky should something go wrong with the truck on the substandard roads. Option 3 back to the waiting spot, this time there was someone else waiting so we at least knew we were at the right spot and we knew we had to be patient.
Thirty minutes later a combi (mini van) arrived and so did all the locals (from nowhere). Whilst we tried to negotiate rates, (apparently the standard rate didn’t apply) the locals had piled in leaving Eva and Chris stranded on the outside. Little did they realize another five people could climb aboard before our combi would be deemed full with twenty five people aboard. We waved goodbye and continued to the junction where we were able to jump straight on the next combi to Tofu. Jez made friends with some year nine boys in the back seat, checking out their mathematics. Before long we pulled into Tofu, a surprisingly tiny village with a curio market, lots of people fresh seafood, a restaurant or two and a row general supply huts. We stopped for a calming drink before hitting the market, with our souvenir or gift shopping opportunities becoming increasingly limited it was time to buy. After perusing all our options we settled in for the hard slog … bartering. During the process spotting a couple more paintings which caught our eye resulting in a double bartering effect. We walked out happy with our purchases and hoped their recipients would be too. As the tropical rain set in we joined Chris and Becca for lunch. After counting the last of our meticais (Mozambique currency) we agreed the seafood looked too good to refuse. After some more intense bartering we left with a huge crayfish and 2.5kg crab for the equivalent of six pounds. Back on the combi we made it to the junction just as the monsoonal rains began not picking up on the local boys mad dash for shelter seconds before. We eventually scored a lift we a holidaying Portugese couple right to our door. Back at the chalet it was Masterchef time as we cooked our crab and lobster. The crab just boiled and lobster boiled and then quickly fried with garlic butter. We crushed, licked and sucked the shells clean…. Delicious!
The rain set in we chilled out in our chalet with a beer and a round of uno .
That evening we ate at the buffet we a huge selection of fish, prawns, calamari, pork, beef, lamb (tasting slightly like goat) salads and heaps of dessert. With perhaps slightly ruined appetites following our late afternoon seafood feast. We watched the local Soweto band amaze the crowd with the music and dancing crashing for the night ahead another early start.

Thursday
Rise and shine! With over 500km ahead of us we hit the road just before 6am bound for the capital of Mozambique Moputo. The ominous dark clouds had had hit the road before us leaving parts of it a slushy mess. Long sections of road works, other trucks and buses, fighting couples, sudden downpours of rain and countless sellers (selling fruit and vege, prawns, cashews and a hideous smelling beer) on the road not to mention the huge potholes must have made it an arduous journey for our driver Richard.
We stopped for a quick road side lunch keen to get to Moputo in time to see it. But with lots of roadworks and heavy traffic it was four o’clock by the time we found somewhere to park the truck. Back in civilization (well nearly) we set off in search of an internet café to reassure everyone back home we were still alive. We grabbed some takeaway pizza from Mimmo’s and retreated to Maputo Backpackers our bed for the night.



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