Travel Through Mozambique on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Mozambique on a Harley (22/9/00 - 30/9/00)
Distance 1495 km (199655 km to 201150 km)

This is part of the Seventh section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from  South Africa or read our previous visit to Mozambique
 

22/9/00 Border crossing easy but payment of $US 2.00 each for immigration documents and the same for vehicle document process. An immediate change in the black populations attitude towards us "whites" as travellers. The effects of the apartheid era still fresh in the way South Africa's white and black populations treat each other. Other Africans not having been through the same history are more open, genuine and friendly towards us.

23/9/00 In travelling you only meet people for a very short period of time and whilst it is easy for us as the motorcycle is an obvious talk point, for a backpacker (unless he/she is good looking) they run the risk of travelling the world in oblivion to other travellers. Some people turn local, taking on India's ashramy's ways, others grow dread locks, some carry a guitar but the Australian whom we met this morning carries a didgeridoo. We have seen this before but they usually don't know how to play it properly. At 8.00 am to connect at breakfast out of the leg of an old pair of jeans came a well worn didgeridoo which almost talked on its own, its owner having used it to connect, particularly with locals, in 58 countries over the last 12 years of world travel. And as you can imagine quite a character in himself. Wandered the streets of Maputo admiring the old Portuguese architecture, appalled at the communist style concrete housing blocks and the degeneration of the city's roads and sewerage services.

24/9/00 450 km north to Tofu, over the Limpopo River, the scene of the devastating floods earlier this year. The road is good but the bridge building goes on. A couple of minor detours and a bailey bridge the only uncompleted roadwork's. Every grass hut along its shores rebuilt, not six months old, the concrete shops of Xai-Xai still empty and the plastic aid agency tents still resettling the homeless. The highly fertile river flats that bring life also take it away. Clocked over 200,000 km on the odometer today, with the obligatory photo.Bush meat sold by the roadside

25/9/00 Woke this morning to a blood filled mosquito inside our tent. Due to the length of time we are travelling we are not taking any anti malarial medication. Since the floods Mozambique has had an enormous increase in malarial cases. With or without medication the worry is always there. A quarter of all children in Africa die before they reach 5 years old due to malaria. If they don't die a semi resistance seems to be obtained. I am sure we will get more mosquito bites. Perhaps they won't be carrying malaria. Met up with a Norwegian couple and their son travelling on motorcycles, one with a sidecar, for four months in Southern Africa. Moving slowly they are holiday/travelling. The MZ with chair was imported from Norway and the Yamaha XT600 bought locally after their previous purchase only lasted 500 km. Surfed all day at the lovely beach.

26/9/00 WhereSecond time around the clock, 200000km are you from? Australia, blank reaction. You know the Olympics, blank look. Despite Mozambique having just won its first gold medal ever at an Olympics the people in the rural areas have not heard of them or Australia. It's not surprising as most westerners don't know where Mozambique is either. And while we in the west complain about higher fuel prices for petrol, the price here is dearer than in Australia and about two thirds that of Europe, in a country where incomes are one or two dollars a day. 350 km to Vilanculo, detouring around washed out bridges and over corrugated asphalt. To move off the bitumen is to head into deep sand. The whole of this part of the country seems rock free, built on sand. Passed land mine clearing teams, a remnant of the almost 20 years of civil war. They were working less than ten meters from the main road pegging out small sections and meticulously combing the ground. If you need to go to the toilet, don't step off the road edge too far.

27/9/00 We are slowly getting back to the relaxed pace of life in Africa. Watching theOur traditional grass house for a couple of nights women gathering, waiting for the tide to recede, with their spears of three prongs of sharpened steel attached with bark strips to the wooden fishing pole. When the tide was right enmasse they moved onto the still shallow flooded sand bars that stretch almost to the offshore islands and shuffling with their feet they locate crabs beneath a covering of sand to spear. Young boys gathered clams. We Bought some, boiling them fresh and ate them with with rice for lunch. Vilanculo is a place, rare, that tourism has provided moderate facilities where you can watch the locals live a lifestyle they have done for generations.

28/9/00 Africans speak loudly, usually at the top of their voices. This can be annoying particularly when you want to watch the world go by quietly in a peaceful setting. It is better understood, when explained, that only by speaking loudly so that everyone can hear, are you free of accusations of spreading rumours or gossip. We hired a dhow (small single sailed boat almost the same as the Middle East's feluca) to get out amongst the fishing boats. WithFlooding still about large tides the fishermen net the deep channels between sand bars at low water, laying out and drawing in the nets by hand.

29/9/00 450 km to Chimoio, mostly good roads, except where the flood plains soaked the road base so the asphalt crumbled to pot holes. Here there are still stagnant waters left over from the floods last March. Trees with their roots lying in water too long are dead and village huts, long ago abandoned, still partially submerged. The cost of everything in Africa continues to astound me for such a poor continent. Except for South Africa the continent produces nothing but raw materials. There is no transport system to move produce around the countries and as such the people only produce the basics of what they need. Any manufactured product has to be imported and is as expensive as in western countries. The next rung up from survival level seems unobtainable, yet the land is totally under utilized by western standards.
 

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