Archive for the ‘Mozambique’ Category

Lesotho and Mozambique (Apr 1 – 18)   3 comments

Lesotho


Leaving Cape Town we head towards Lesotho on a large bus that takes us to Bloemfontein, about 2 hours short of Maseru (the capital of Lesotho). Once in Bloemfontein we catch a mini-bus, or combi, that takes us straight to Maseru and drops us off right outside the border. Once through customs we catch a taxi to a large parking lot with more combis waiting to take people all over the small country that calls itself the “kingdom in the sky” because of its high altitude.

We waited for about two hours for our combi in the litter filled lot, all the while being approached by women with buckets on their heads and men with large boards trying to sell us various items for which we have no use. Interestingly they all have the exact same items for sale – fantastic business plan. Finally our combi arrives and we pile in like sardines and set out on our four-hour journey with our bags in our laps.

That afternoon we arrive at the town of Semonkong and found our lodge and the great view well worth the trip. The next morning Magan and I took a couple of horses for a ride through the bucolic countryside. We rode over the rolling hills and through a large meadow covered with tall golden grass. All along the way we were entertained by the sound of cow bells around the necks of the herds of cows and sheep. Our first stop was the large 192 meter Maletsunyane Falls that sat engulfed in a large gorge of deep green grass and dark jagged rock. For the remainder of the trip we rode around taking in the sights of the terraced hills with rows of blond wheat climbing up their sides. At each turn there were people walking (and riding) with horses and mules carrying large bags of rice or corn and large plastic crates full of beer. The hills were punctuated with stone roundavel with thatched roofs.

The remainder of our time was spent hiking around and enjoying a part of africa that seems to have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. While in Semonkong we met a very nice family from Cape Town who befriended us. They introduced us to biltong (a type of jerky) and mealie pap (traditional South African food) and shared a nice steak and sausage dinner with us. The next day they gave us a ride back to Bloemfontein saving us the cost of a ticket and considerable hassle. I hope we are fortunate enough to meet more people like that on our travels.

—————————————————————————-

Mozambique

Wanting a brief vacation from all the traveling Magan and I decided to head for the tropical coast of Mozambique. Since this is Africa the journey there was anything but easy. The bus from Pretoria to Maputo was comfortable, but the follow on trip to Inhambane was long and crowded. Our small van packed with Africans seemed to stop every 15 minutes either to pick up new passengers, talk to the locals or get inspected at one of the ridiculously numerous police checkpoints. After a night in Inhambane we took a short ride to Tofo where we spent the next few days.

Tofo is a nice quiet town where the warm Indian ocean meets large and virtually empty white sand beaches. With warm sunny weather and water so clear you can see the bottom even if you can’t touch it we were able to unwind and relax. Even though we were often approached by locals selling bracelets, cashew nuts and sea shells it was still a great experience.

Despite Mozambique being a poor country it was rather expensive. I am not sure I understand their sense of (or lack there of) business. While traveling we would see businesses cluttered together selling the exact same things. Every couple of miles there would be multiple stands all selling either oranges or cashews or another common item, but often nothing else. Even on the beach there are many people selling bracelets but no one selling towels, sun screen (all tourists were white), snorkel equipment, sun glasses or any other common sense item where they could form competition with their rivals and  Perhaps make some money. Oh well, TIA.

Advertisements