Our first stop on our way north was actually east, to Mozambique. It was never a match that was meant to really work out, as Mozambique is known on tourist circuit for its beaches, and if you’ve been reading here you know how well we do with beaches. Lovely and all, but it doesn’t take us long to tire of them.
But what really defined our experience in Mozambique was hassle. The hosts at the hostel in Maputo could not bother to stop texting on their cell phones to talk to us. The cost of the flight we planned to take to the north doubled (from $200 to $400) once they added their taxes not previously mentioned. All the buses were scheduled to leave at 4:30 AM or so, only they usually didn’t leave until after 6, so you spent hours sitting on a crowded bus waiting after getting up so early. And better yet, the taxi to the bus station who’s high cost had been explained by our hostel hosts as being a far distance and complicated drove five minutes down the road, turned once and stopped. I think we could’ve walked if it hadn’t been 3:30 AM. On the bus, instead of putting people’s luggage above or below the bus, they stuck it in the cab with all the people. In fact, cramming stuff on the bus was rewarded, as anything put below cost extra. So space was at a high priority. I won’t even complain about the bus breaking down, since that just comes with the territory going overland in Africa, but this did mean filling the next already full bus with another entire busload of people. And to top it off, the whole country was relatively expensive for a relatively low level of quality. Our glorious bus experiences cost us $25 for a 8 hour ride (which with breakdowns and whatnot ballooned to 12 hours). Very comfortable luxury buses in South America (or buses in South Africa, or Malawi) were substantially cheaper. Basic places to stay ran nearly $40 for a double.
For all the hassle, we did have one very nice experience in Vilankulos, one of the beach towns along the coast. We went on a dhow safari out to the Bazuruto Archipelago, a series of five islands a few miles off the coast. We enjoyed a great sail out to the island and spent the day snorkeling on the mainland side along a beautiful coral reef cliff face teeming with fish, then walking along a sandy beach shore on the seaward side. We were served a delicious kingfish lunch and swam in a warm lagoon. It was an idyllic relaxing day away from the mainland.
So while every place has its highlights and lowlights, we just didn’t find Mozambique worth the hassle. The hassle just outweighed the reward, and we’ve found other nearby countries much better as far as reward for the effort. But hey, we never would’ve known it if we didn’t go, so now we know. And I guess now you know too … at least what we think.