Portuguese East Africa

Mbazwana is heaving when I leave the hotel at 9am: long Monday queues for cash machines, food-laden people pouring out of the supermarket, market stalls set up, the sellers busy attracting buyers. Its much easier then I imagined to get towards the South African border post at Kosi Bay. After about an hours travel we stop at Manguzi, where there’s another vehicle the short way to the abandoned looking border posts. Most of the South African immigration team are sitting in the shade on a bench; I disturb the guy stuck behind the glass of the office from his reading of the newspaper.

Mozambique is beautiful from the beginning. A cloudless azure blue sky is only interrupted by green hills, which in turn are only broken up by the white sands of the tracks that wind around each other the 11 km to Porto d’Ouro. There’s no public transport so a brick lorry takes me to the town.

Though Porto d’Ouro is a lovely place to spend some days in resting, drinking, swimming and surfing, truth be told I’m a little bored by 5pm and ready to move on to Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, early next morning.

The road is mostly sand based. It was clearly tar at some point; every so often we’d drive onto a ruined black strip full of holes that was harder to travel over then the rutted but smooth sand surface. We pull into Catembe at 10, and I buy a ticket for the ferry for the short hop across Maputo Bay.

The first surprise is Maputo’s skyline: sky scrappers galore giving the place a very modern feel. But its back to ‘real’ Africa, frustrating Africa. The internet cafe has nao energia, the pavements are so smashed up they’re almost impossible to walk on, and I’m unable to enter the National Art Museum because I don’t have a banknote small enough.
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