The Road to Nampula

 Posted by Elizabeth at 4:03 pm
May 312011

Driving to QuelimaneAfter leaving Gorongosa we again endured the bumpy dirt road out of the park to the main road, although they had started to grade some of it whilst we were in the park, so hopefully it will improve. We then spent the morning avoiding potholes and people. There are so many people sitting, lying, walking and riding bicycles on the road that there is rarely a section of road where there is no one around (which makes loo breaks a little challenging). To add to the driving challenge the road is full of potholes so you spend your time weaving around people and potholes, often driving on the wrong side of the road. (I knew that time on the Playstation would come in handy one day!) Thankfully there aren’t that many vehicles around and those that we have seen are mainly trucks and the minibus taxis. I think we saw one other traveller the whole time. At least we rarely have to dodge cows and goats anymore.

As you leave Caia, which is a very small, non descript village, you cross the river via this enormous bridge that looks so out of place in the middle of rural Mozambique. Wayne thinks it is the most modern thing in Mozambique. The toll is 100 Mtc ($3.20), but given the few cars around it will take forever to pay for it. If only they spent the money on the roads around it instead. As we were paying the toll there was a knock on the passenger window and there stood a guy in military uniform. I wound down the window and said “Hello, how are you?” and the answer was “hungry”. To which I replied “me too, I’m hoping we stop for some lunch very soon”. There was no reply from him and we continued on our way.

We stopped around lunchtime about 1km after the bridge at Cuacua Lodge. They have basic campsites, just a patch of dirt with heaps of shade and a bbq. The amenities though were spotless and the water very hot. You can also use the hotel pool, but it is a bit of a hike back to it. There were only ourselves and another couple camping, so it was very quiet.

From here we headed towards the coast. As expected, the days and nights areDriving to Quelimane getting warmer as we head north. It is hard to believe it is winter sitting here in shorts and short sleeve shirts, even at night time and not even needing to get in your sleeping bag at night.

The road from Caia to Quelimane was pretty good, although you still have to avoid all the people. Quelimane is a reasonably big, busy town. We tried to find a supermarket but didn’t have any luck, so instead we had to slowly pass the small buildings and peer inside to see what they sold seeing as our Portuguese is pretty non existent, although I am learning some words. I managed to find a bakery and with sign language and writing numbers on the counter managed to buy 4 bread rolls and a loaf of bread for 21 Mtc, a grand total of 68 cents! The only other thing we really needed was diesel which we found easily enough. I even managed to ask where the toilet was in Portuguese AND they were spotlessly clean!

We left Quelimane for Zalala Beach. The road out is a one lane “tar” road that passes through rural villages and coconut trees. It was a very scenic 45 minute drive, well for me at least, Wayne was too busy dodging potholes, people and bicycles. There is supposed to be 2 campsites there according to our GPS. We found the first location – hmmm pretty deserted although beautiful spot amongst pine trees on the beach. Neither of us felt quite safe enough camping there. We couldn’t find the other one, however some young boys followed us and showed us what looked like it used to be a restaurant and bar. We could camp there in a semi enclosed area with access to toilets (flushed with a scoop of water) and views to the beach. There was no water on tap for a shower, although they did bring us a huge tub of clean water which we used with our own hot shower so we were fine. The place itself was kept clean, but there were unfinished bits that with a reasonably small amount of money I am sure you could fix and have a really nice business. The afternoon was spent relaxing with an audience of 3 young boys (the ones who had shown us the place). Conversation was a little tricky, but we did manage to find out a little about them and they were only too keen to help us if we needed them. We ate reasonably early and ventured into our tent to read and have an early night as we had a long day ahead of us the next day. Not long after we got in the tent we could hear someone outside. One of the guys that worked there laid a reed mat down on the sand next to the low front wall, put some poles in the ground and hung a mosquito net. He was obviously our security for the night as that is where he slept.

The road to Zalala BeachZalala BeachZalala Beach

We had an early start this morning as we knew we had a long drive ahead of us. The road is actually pretty good wide tar the majority of the way, although there is a really bad section about 10km north of Mocuba until the junction that goes to either Gurue or Alto Molocue. This stretch took us about an hour Driving to Quelimaneand is mainly poor, corrugated and potholed dirt, with an occasional patch of severely potholed tar thrown in. There were still the inevitable people everywhere to be avoided and driving takes 100% concentration. We did some shopping along the way, buying a lovely large pineapple for 25 Mtc (80 cents) and 10 bananas for 10 Mtc (30 cents) all from the comfort of the passenger seat. We could have bought: gravel, chairs, doors, tomatoes, bamboo poles, moonshine, cassava, oranges, wooden beds, charcoal, sweet potatoes, live chickens, wood and that isn’t even including the hundreds of other things available when you pass through a village.

We are staying at Complexo Nairucu just outside of Nampula. So far it seems ok and there is one other couple staying here. They are from Holland and travelling for 3 months, although a few years ago they spent a year travelling in Africa.

Tomorrow we have a couple of hours drive and we should be on the coast which we will meander up for a while.

© 2010 2Taylors Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha