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Published: June 11th 2018
I arrived into the large town of Vilanculos on the rusty chapa and decided to stretch my legs and walk to the hostel. Baobab beach had been recommended to me so I headed in that direction. A few tuktuks pulled up offering a lift but I was enjoying the walk! When I arrived I checked into my dorm and went for a refreshing swim as the tide was in and the water looked so inviting. I chilled for the evening and ordered food and met lots of other backpackers. Which was nice as I had spent most of the previous few days without seeing a single traveller.
The next day I took it easy. I relaxed on the beach, took a walk around the local area, did some laundry (exciting, I know. Amazing how stinky your clothes get after 4 days of travelling). I had lunch at a local little place which was basically somebody's living room around the back of their house. I had grilled fish with rice and salad and it was well tasty.
The next day I organised a trip to the Bazaruto Archipelago. This is what makes Vilanculos famous and why most tourists visit. The
archipelago is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel of turquoise sea. It has clear turquoise waters that are filled with many colourful fish, manatees, turtles and dolphins. So it's a popular place for diving and snorkelling. It is a national park made up of five islands, each one containing many bird species such as fish eagles and flamingos. I was keen to go out there and see what all the fuss was about! We set off after breakfast and I was in a boat with a lovely Italian family and a Swiss German couple. When we first arrived on the island of Bazaruto we went to explore the sand dunes which were spectacular. They were also pretty steep so they were a challenging walk. After the sand dune walk we went snorkelling on the nearby '2 mile reef'. This was an amazingly beautiful reef with some of the most colourful coral and fish I have ever seen. We saw bright blue sea stars, sea cucumbers and bright purple and rainbow coloured angelfish. We then headed back to the island and enjoyed a delicious lunch cooked for us by the local dudes - barbequed fish, rice, salad and veggies
(this was to become my staple diet for the next month). Of course we had the obligatory siesta and then jumped back on the boat and visited the nearby smaller island of Benguerra. There were more lovely sand dunes here although not as steep as on Bazaruto. We then headed back to mainland just as the sun as was beginning to set and I felt super content 😊
The next day I took some time to explore the town and local market.
As a note on the side, and as many of you may have experienced, travelling solo as a woman can sometimes be trying. Especially in big towns and capital cities. Random men (but never women) on the street will come up to you and start taking to you, asking your name (they will ALWAYS remember your name, even when they see you in the street the next day) where you're from, where you're staying and what you're doing in their country. By now, I am well used to it and have invented a little story for myself. I usually tell them my name is Penelope because this confuses them as they can't pronounce it. I say
I'm from Ireland as they usually won't have heard of it before. I normally say I'm staying with my husband in our house around 30 minutes away. I tell them I'm here for work (if I say I'm travelling and want to see their country, they don't understand what for and why a woman would do this. That's why I say I'm here for work). This, along with a ring on my left finger, usually stops the questions and they slowly tend to back off. Athough it's slightly inconvenient that I have to pretend to be a different person, it saves me a lot of hassle overall.
Anyway, at the market I picked up a few seasonal veggies and fruits such as sweet potatoes, green beans, garlic, tomatoes, papaya and passion fruits. I also had lunch at the market; the classic: yep you guessed it! Grilled fish, rice and salad. All for a measly 100meticas = £1.20. It rained in the afternoon so I went back to the hostel to chill with some English dudes who were also staying at the hostel. They were streaming the royal wedding whilst also drinking Pimms and eating party rings and jammy dodgers.
They invited me to join them, so I did. Obvs for the food, not the wedding.
For the next of couple days, the weather really didn't perform. It rained. A lot. So all one could really do was chill in the shelter of the hostel and read or write their blog and such like. After that the weather improved again at which point one could enjoy the beach again! A few of us paid another visit or two to the markets to have some beers with the locals and to pick up some fresh prawns to barbeque at the hostel.
The next day I was headed for Tofo! Tofo is close to the town of Inhambane which is one of the oldest settlements on the coast of Mozambique. Tofo itself is known for its beaches, azure waters, diving and surfing. I had heard from many others who'd travelled Mozambique that it was a super great place to chill for a while and so I aimed to get to Tofo and spend at least a week or two there to fit in some diving and also try some surfing!
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