After spending 3 days getting into Mozambique and then making our way past the border guards, we headed to Gorongosa National Park at the southern end of the Great African Rift Valley - in central Mozambique. So we had to Mo-zam-boogie if we were to make it by sun down. It was an incredibly long day on the road, and we didn't make it by sun down. We traveled many dirt roads and then ended on a road that looked like it was going through puberty - more pot holes than I have ever seen in my life. I might have walked faster. Six weeks on the road was closing in, and it was apparent with most of our crew - and we had a LONG way to go. The campsite at Gorongosa is very well maintained but we didn't have time to explore so we stayed overnight and were off in the morning to the coast.
Four hundred kilometers and ten sore asses later we were ready to stop driving. I saw a sign for the beach town of Inhassaro and after a meeting on the side of the road the group agreed to check it out. It would be another hour to Vilankulos and we needed a break. The first place we stopped was the beer store to get our sundown supplies. Then off to what seemed to be the 'touristy' part of town - which was absolutely quiet. We pulled into the first lodge and immediately felt out of place, and out of budget. The proprietor politely confirmed our suspicions and told us about a place farther down the road which might suit our rag-tag, dusty group a bit better. And that it did! The campsite was just by the ocean and there was even a pool. We were in.
The coast of Mozambique was absolutely stunning and the water a crystal clear blue. We were on day three and decided to spend our last 2 days in the country in Tofo Beach. We were lucky with a campsite and I spent almost an entire day by myself in the sea relaxing and stretching from many days on the road. At 5am on the morning of departure from Tofo, a Land Rover got stuck in the sand. We pushed, we pulled... to no avail. Finally a few stronger guys from the lodge helped us get the car out and we were on our way to the South Africa border. We didn't get far when we hit our first of 2 flat tires. We had 660 kilometers in front of us and 12 hours to get there - the border closed at 6pm. We ran out of gas, had two flat tires, and made it to southern Mozambique around 9pm, clocking 16 hours on the road. One more night of camping was in our future before we made it home. It was a rough one, and I awoke in the middle of the night in a leaky tent on a deflated air mattress in a huge puddle of water. Much meditation and a dip in the sea was needed that morning, so I took my time. Thankfully, South Africa let us back in and after approximately 2,300 km we were happily in Sibaya.
Every trip poses its challenges, from closed borders, to flat tires and food, gas, or water shortages. But if you are on an expedition, you also must rely on luck. It is a chance to see the world and reflect on your life ~ drill down to what matters to you. Unfortunately, I witness few people exhibiting gratitude for the opportunity and too many displays of entitlement and insensitivity. Phrases like "Oh my goodness, this is so cheap!" exclaimed right in the face of a shopowner after purchasing a coke - someone who lives in a country with a GPD of approx $250 per capita. Even when people are trying to help, they can often make matters worse - aid gone wrong. Malaria nets provided to people around Lake Malawi sounds like a great idea, until they are used to provide income to the family through fishing and the lake is over-fished and people are still getting malaria. Is a bag of toys for kids in a small village a nice thing to do, or does it create a stereotype about white foreigners all having money, providing gifts, and paying more for produce? What is the place of aid in this world? What is given and what is being taken away? It seems more questions than answers were found on this particular expedition, but Mozambique, I shall return!
Combining a passion for travel, the desire to make a difference and a love of maps, MaggieMaps was born. A place to share stories, resources, and a way to inspire and support others in realizing their individual travel dreams.
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Unless otherwise noted, all prose, poetry, maps and photography posted on this blog are Copyright 2013 Maggie Maps
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