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Week 22: Mozambique: All along the Indian Ocean

Our second week in Mozambique was split between picture perfect beach days and yet more rain…the rainy season is now definitely (again / still / did-it-ever-leave / are-we-bringing-it-along-with-us ???) upon Eastern Africa, and we savored every moment of sunshine and clear skies! The 35° midnight heat was though interfering a bit with our sleeping patterns, until we were introduced to the absolute joys of a Chinese box fan…our new favorite addition to Aardvark 😊 Knowing that we are nearing our return to South Africa, our plan was to make the most of the last part of our “beach holiday”…and the campsites / neighbors / weather all played along to give us a complete rundown of both the best and worst that Mozambique had to offer – at times it felt like paradise, and at times like the twilight zone! Back to our travel stats so far: • Total days travelled through Africa: 149 • Total distance driven from Cape Town through Africa: 21,265km o By the time we get home, we should’ve done about 25,000km • Total borders crossed: 12 o We are planning to cross back into South Africa in the coming week via Komatipoort, for lucky border crossing #13 And then the Aardvark stats for Week 22: • Best drink: The “naughty” milkshakes at East Africa Safari Lodge 😊 I had the chocolate-amarula-frangelico-nutty one, and Irene the pineapple-malibu-vodka special…the best (and also first) milkshakes since we left home! • Best food: Definitely our Sunday lunch braai – a fresh grilled kingfish with a mango and passionfruit chutney, potbread-scones made over the fire, and a tomato-avo-cashewnut salad…divine! • Best view: We watched the full moon rising over the ocean from our picnic blanket on the beach, listening to classic 80ies music, going for a night swim and then dancing in the moonlight to Madonna 😊 We spent a lovely third day at Goody Villas in Inhassoro – it was really a special way to ease into Mozambique, camping on the grass next to the ocean and sharing crayfish bisque recipes with the lovely french neighbors in their camper! We did a looooong beachwalk in the morning to go into town for fresh veggies, and stumbled upon a great local restaurant/bar…where the Boss Lady (we never caught her name, but everyone referred to her as The Boss) made the best Portuguese ½ Chicken and Prego Peri-Peri Rolls that we had in Mozambique…along with a cold 2M beer or two it was easily one of the best spent afternoons at a local bar that we had in a while whilst watching local soapies in Portuguese…one really doesn’t need language! The morning of day 144 we reluctantly packed and slowly continued on the road south… the plan was to go to Vilankulos to see if we can arrange a dive / deep sea fishing trip. Alas, the weather didn’t want to play along, so ended up having a cold beer at Boabab Backpackers before we took a 10km sand track to Villa dos Indico – a lodge and campsite just north of town. After yet another “detour” courtesy of Madame the GPS that resulted in some more bushrash for Aardvark, we got to our overnight spot… a lovely infinity pool overlooking the ocean, but hot as hell campsite at the back of the lodge…so after tossing and turning in a pool of sweat the whole night, we were out of there super early the next morning! Destination: Morrungulo – a campsite that I went to in 1997 with the family and had very fond memories of. And it sure didn’t disappoint – Morrungulo Beach Camp was our absolute favorite campsite since the we left the north of Tanzania!! Just picture long open white beaches, warm turquoise water, a campsite under trees literally 5meters away from the beach, fresh fish and crayfish sellers every afternoon, and a hammock strung between two palmtrees for a nap…easy to understand why we stayed for three nights! In between we watched the full moon rising over the ocean (not once not twice but three nights in a row, albeit the almost full moon for 2 occasions), went for long leisurely walks, and generally just felt as if we happened to stumble upon paradise! Our neighbors, Mike and Lizzy, were also a treat, and we spent hours swapping stories and campsite recommendations and just general joy…nothing like being greeted by a friendly “Good morning neighbors – we are going to town, do you need anything?” smile! After a blissful time spent on the beach, we woke up on day 148 to soft rain falling on Aardvark’s roof…the rain eventually caught up with us again ☹ we headed towards Inhambane and Tofo, very excited to go and dive Manta Reef…but our luck was still out…water and weather conditions were still against us! So after a very unsuccessful Tofo experience (with zero campsites, and some very dodgy guesthouses), we thought to cut our losses and go towards Zavora Lodge and Campsite – a stop that came recommended on the DriveMoz site (one of numerous social media groups that on the whole gave us awesome advice…but not this time!). So after a looooong slow 25km detour from the main road, we arrived at the campsite…and promptly turned around…false advertising is definitely a thing! The next highly recommended campsite called Sunset Beach Lodge & Camp was still a good 145km away, and it was already fairly late in the afternoon - but we decided to rather brave driving in the dusk than staying at Zavora! So back on the road again…we encountered one of those rainstorms where you can only see about 5meters in front of you, and there are rivers of water on both sides of the road that one should avoid at all cost if you don’t want to go skidding through the puddles! Luckily Aardvark is a beast…and 2h30 later we arrived at Sunset Beach Lodge just as the last daylight faded away…Per all recommendations this is a nice campsite, but most probably only in season when the bathrooms are being cleaned regularly…at least the view from the pool deck was beautiful and the beer cold! Our requirements for a campsite are (1.) safety and (2.) cleanliness, so after a lovely night’s sleep under our new box fan, we packed Aardvark up the next morning (again in a slight drizzle), and headed further south…luckily one can afford to be a bit more choosy in Central / South Mozambique! Our next stop was literally 30km down the road at the East African Safari Lodge – the name was quite apt given our route over the past 6 months! We drove through their gates, and just marveled at the overall look and feel (you know that typical December-holiday-just-let-your-hair-down-happiness vibe?) – this place we will happily return to (hat-tip to UWH Annette who recommended it to us). Even though they didn’t have camping facilities, it was actually a treat to stay in a small chalet and watch the rain fall down in layers…a perfect excuse for a lazy movie afternoon, and some giant R&R’s in their restaurant overlooking the beach a bit later! It was also the spot where we eavesdropped on a couple of conversations around us, which instantly transported us straight into the Twilight zone…rather ask us in person 😊 We are now dangerously close to the South African border (less than 6hours away), and will most probably make only one more stop before we head back to the Republic. So next time that I’m writing this blog, it will most probably be with a content heart, knowing that we are back home! Till then. J

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