Mozambique is a country we really looked forward to and it did not disappoint. We journeyed through the central lands of this big country and found many pleasant surprises along the way.

Mozambique

Quick Summary

Time in Mozambique: September 15 - October 6, 2010

Route: entered through Zimbabwe into Chimoio, up to Zalala beach (near Quelimane), then the inland highlands around Gurue, back to the sea on Mozambique Island and Chocas beach, followed by a scenic drive to Malawi via Nampula, Ribaue and Cuamba  

People: our good fortune of meeting interesting people in Zimbabwe carried over into Mozambique and we befriended many locals, expats and fellow travelers of varied backgrounds; the average people on the street were quite interested in chit-chatting and regularly invited us to photograph them so it’s a shame our Portuguese wasn’t good enough to have more meaningful conversations as these were the colorful Africans we’d been looking for... and the children - what a wild and happy bunch, especially in front of cameras!!!

Food: best we had in Africa mainly because of the abundance of cheap, fresh seafood on demand on the coast (sea bass, rockfish, crabs, prawns,...); but it’s best if you cook it yourself as the restaurants are generally not good; delicious bread rolls are also readily available even in rural villages but, shockingly, fresh produce is scarce despite the very fertile land (we’re told we missed the mango, avocado and citrus fruit seasons)

Roads: Mozambique has a reputation for truly awful roads and police so we almost skipped the country for that reason alone; but the route we took was actually mostly paved, fast roads that were easily manageable (except the stretch from Nampula to Malawi); the real challenge is avoiding the omnipresent stream of pedestrians, bicyclists and snakes that “share” the highway with you (can’t be avoided even in the most rural areas)

Distance covered: 2,659km (1652 miles) all of it driving in TianMa

Highlights: the fresh seafood, new friendships, Chicago deep-dish pizza, white sand beaches and turquoise seas, sunrises, tea plantations around Gurue, Cajo’s restaurant and family in Nampula, the “ruins” of Mozambique island, surprisingly friendly cops, strolling villages and chatting with villagers

Low-lights: the filthiness of the cities, loud inconsiderate calls to prayer from the mosques, learning of the political situation (Mozambique is headed down the wrong path), lack of fresh produce, crime in Nampula

Impression: we loved photographing the landscapes and people of this beautiful and colorful country; pleasant, relaxed and inviting (both the land and the people); there’s a rich history here but it is not heavily promoted to tourists so you have to dig a bit to find it; we were thrilled with the route we took because of it’s ease of travel and driving (partly planned, partly luck), variety of landscapes and freedom from the resorts and overrun destinations in the south of the country; unfortunately, the wildlife has been all but exterminated, the forests are on their way to being chopped down, there is overpopulation and the country is sliding into a 1-party dictatorship so we hope they reverse this (otherwise you should go now while it’s still good)