Date: 21st August 08
Location: Vilanculos, Mozambique
Weather: Scattered light grey clouds, light onshore wind and warm. 28°c
Status: Ben – ready for the off, Colonel – prepared as ever, Rach – ready to go!
Up early at sunrise, packed down the tent and repacked the Colonel as for the first time in a few weeks they’ll only be two of us riding up the coast for a while. Managed to take some of the weight of the poor Watkins family too as they’ve been hauling a load of blankets around since the days when the evenings were chilly, not sure quite why they still have them now, but as its absolutely no problem to have them onboard as we have the space and they’re only light!
Departed from Baobab Beach and headed into the town with Bre and Ammon on the rear bumper, dropped them at the market and said an emotional farewell to Bre for the third time……was still horrible to have to say goodbye but this time we know its only for a week as we’ll see each other once we get into Malawi so less facial waterworks occurred!
Drove up through the town and filled with fuel then headed to Smugglers camp at the end of the town, where on arrival we wish we’d stayed as it was much better equipped than our home for the last few days! Used their wireless internet to update the blog and receive emails and then sat down and enjoyed a Full English Breakfast, my first since staying with the Taylors a few months ago!
Back on the road and for the first 100kms to Inharasso the road was exactly as I remembered, broken tarmac and potholes with trucks and busses the only means of transport using it. After an hour we got to the Save river and impressive suspension bridge paid the toll which was listed in the old value of the currency as 2,000Mt….but they actually only wanted 20Mt thank goodness!
My memories of the next section of the road from eight years ago was one of horror and fear and I often described it to people as one of the roads I’ve ever had to travel, bumpy, terribly potholed and broken tarmac beyond belief…comparable only to one in Senegal! BUT as with lots of Africa things have improved since as the dear old Chinese are here in force and have removed the old road and re-laid a new one meaning out trip north was smooth, fast and easy all the way to the junction at Inchope some 400kms away.
As I pulled onto the Beira road my phone rang and it was Bre telling me that Kees had arrived at the camp where we’d been staying so again we’d missed each other by a few hours! His plans are very similar to mine, minus some zig-zagging for mountains, so once we finally meet up again in Malawi we’ll plan the route and timings ahead on our journey back to Europe.
Our last 110kms into Beira brought memories flooding back from the previous trip to watch the eclipse with Owen, Pete and Kathy. Ahhh what a shame again Mr TD you really have missed out here. Stopped for half an hour whilst a big crane blocked our path to haul a rolled truck out of the marshy land below the road, and then entered the outskirts of the town.
We made for Biques camp right on the beach which is a little run down camping spot with and awesome restaurant. The buildings surrounding it still bear the scars of the war although some have now been restored and stand out like sore thumbs with their brightly coloured façades and fresh plaster.
Pitched the Colonel on the beach and raised the tent, then made for the restaurant and ordered their seafood platter as it was SO dam good last time around. I remember texting my mother last time to tell her how much was on the plate and it only costing £11….well Mum nothing has changed! The same size portion and the same cost, although this time I did share it with Rach.
Bed after watching the highlights of the Olympics….I can’t quite believe that the UK is third in the medals table, well done UK!
End of day location: Beira, Mozambique
Distance covered: 546kms