From the southern part
of the country, we are now going north
6/1 It turns out the price we
were given last night was in ZAR,
MZL: Three times as expensive. The short walk down to
the beach make up for it. It is the most perfect beach,
and we have it for our self. At least the few kilometres
we can see to each side. We do some walking, but save
the swimming for later.
On out way out to the main coastal road, we pass some
huge bulbs with amazing fruit stands. The small stands
along the road sell corn-grinders in wood for some time,
then firewood and charcoal followed by huge clay jars
and pots. One larger village we pass through, have all
The straw huts along the way are scattered along it, and
meters. They farm coconuts and papaya, but here are next
to nothing live animals.
We only pass three larger villages today, with banks
and a few proper shops. We do a stop in Massinga, to see
the tiny shops and the market. They are far from keen
on being photographed, but their goods are so motive
rich. Some have real technical gear in a shop made of
twigs and grass. Many sell clothing and shoes, kitchen
gear and spare-parts for cars. A few cages with hens,
but no meat. A brand new plough for oxen, dishwashing
bowls in colourful plastic and weird mixes.
An hour later, we spot a Baobab tree;
Adansonia digitata among other trees, on a
farmers field. That causes for photos. It is Gry's first
wild Baobab, and she enjoys it. Fifty kilometres
further, and we find a small forest with them. The
biggest are around four meters in diameter, but all are
so beautiful trees. From here, they pop-up in groups
from time to time.
other plants like some beans with slim and long
fruits, colourful grasshoppers and the most evil fruits,
resembling partisan nails.
We pass a few huge trucks, and huge busses passes us on
the narrow road. A few small busses pick-up people along
the road, and a few 4x4 use the road as well, but it is
quiet. We only pass six radar controls, and none bothers
us. In some stretches, the road is full of pot-holes, and
the shoulders have worked their way towards the middle.
Next stop is at the first warning for elephants. The
next sign is for sheep, and that, we have not seen!
Around the sign, some real spiny Cucurbitaceae fruits
are found, along with a few other interesting plants.
few times, we pass open areas, which are swamp, formed on
ancient bays of huge rivers.
When we have a lunch break under a huge tree, some
magnificent bulbs hide badly in the bush. Some workers
sit in the shadow, crushing rocks with hammers. A
single river is full with water, which seems so strange
in the green but very dry area.
At three, we arrival in Inhasso,
which on the map appears as a larger, costal city. It is
at the coast, but it is only 30 houses, among them two
banks, but not really any shops. On two gravel roads
leading along the coast, ten resorts and alike are
found. We find a campsite in the end of one, and check
the water. Perfect beach, 28C water and a gentle surf.
Before we head in, we check, if we really have seen the
entire city - and we have!
Back to work and read until the water draws at five. It
absolutely perfect! Crystal clear, warm as it gets and
we got several kilometres of nice beach to our self. Dinner at a
nearby resort; pizzas, which are great! We could prepare
food our self, but one can of tomatoes, beans, corn and
alike is 100 MZL, a pizza 200. And no dish wash
afterwards. We can always cook,
when we can't buy dinner. Straight to bed when we get
Someone is sleeping late,
and the payment of the camp take an hour more. I get to
see the fishermen draw huge nets into the perfect beach,
catching small amounts of tiny fish. It is nine before
we start the driving. The road leads a bit inland, but
remains real lowland for the first 300 kilometres. We do
a few stops to admire baobabs and enjoy a cup of tea. Gry find some chilly-like cucumbers, and several other
plants look interesting.
The houses we are passing are mainly rondawels with straw-roof, and no domesticated animals at all. Once, I
see a man carrying a dead monkey, another place, a boy is
offering two tortoises to the passing cars.
Again today, we pass huge mounts, which I, despite they
are up to six meters tall, and 10 meters wide, guess are
termite mounts. Numerous butterflies crosses the road,
sometimes, we can count 30. The settlement turns more
and more scares. In some stretches, they sell charcoal,
in some, the boys try to block the road to sell peanuts
or something looking that way.
In one area, everyone is selling fuel in cola bottles
and even in ten litre plastic containers. I predicted,
we have to fuel in the afternoon - and not by bottles. I
stop right after one filling station, but don't bother
to turn back. That turns out to be the last in the 150
kilometres to the Chimanimani National Park, which
is the goal for the day. We only have fuel for around
200, when we get there, and I hate my self. The signs
showed to a town just before the park, but as the gravel
road got more and more narrow, hope ran out. The city
was around five huts - no filling station! Luckily, we
are told that further down the road, we would be able to
buy diesel, and we can drive in this park, without
co-driver having to push us 150 kilometres back for
As we get to a big bridge, we have to
stop. We have to buy a ticket for the bridge, and a
police officer is asking about our trip. He look a bit
disappointed and surprised, when he stands with empty
hands, and have to let us drive on. The bridge spans
over a huge, almost dry river.
On the other side, the military is harassing
but despite him asking, if we have something for him to
drink, he decline our light flavoured water.
The same scenario plays out at the next bridge, and as
the soldier ask, I just say; Sorry mate, NO. Again, we
leave behind a disappointed man.
Soon after, a group of White Storks stand close to
road. I know stopping will scare them off, and drive on
- with two real bad photos. We passes through a single
larger village, but don't stop. Soon after, we turn down
a gravel road for 50 kilometres, and reach a parallel
road. Then we can see the mountains in the distance.
Already now, the area is significantly more lush. Even
the grass is green here. Banana plantations, corn, gum tree plantations and fruit trees, but with exception
of the gum trees, only in small fields.
The winding road, leading up and into
the mountains offers some fantastic views, and we have
to do several stops. From sea level, we reach first a
plateau of 500+ metres, then the area with the park at 700
meters height. The huge hills are partial farmed, but
not intensive at all, and it seems like only a few
people are living here.
We reach the earlier mentioned gravelroad for the Chimanimani
The last four kilometres are down a rather challenging
road, and I start to fear, what the trails in the park
will be like. This trail is either fine, loose sand or
like a dry, rough riverbed.
As we pass a river, we have to get out to take photos. When
we return to the car, a uniformed guy is waiting. He
looks real strict, but loosen up fast. He, and the three
colleagues at the three tiny huts only speak
but apparently, they know someone who speaks English.
Moses is brought, on the back of a motorcycle, and speaks
a brilliant English. We spend an hour filling out forms,
and it seems like the guys never tried it before. And
calculating the price (2*400+2*200+1*300) is a huge task
for them. But the prices
are right, and they don't ask
They show us a campsite next to the beautiful river, and
arrange for water for the bath and toilets. When a poor
guy starts caring water from the river, I tell him: We
will just bath in the crocodile-free river.
In front of their office, which by the way was big and
surprisingly modern, I spot a tiny Anguidae - or alike: Legless
reptile, not a snake. It is seven centimetres long, only
1,5 millimetre wide. It looks like a silver chain.
At the river, Euphorbias with orchids on, are the first
to meet us. The park have 90 endemic plants and a wide
biodiversity - and spread in heights. Here are bulbs and Kalanchoes along with herbs from the moist areas and
a caudiciform Ficus.
It have become way too late, and only I get to do a fast
walk, while Gry prepare dinner. As it darkens, we head
for the river to bath. I could stay in the water for a
very long time without out freezing - it is above 28C.
Back in the dark to work with 150 photos and diary - in
a swarm of insects, but it is too warm to have the door
I finish up before ten, and count on an early work in
the morning. The entire area is covered in ants, and
some find their way down from the trees to the tent -
but only outside. A few mosquitoes and moths swarm
around, and toads and leaf frogs voices are heard from
the river. The stars are tinkling from a moonless sky,
and the heat have lowered to a pleasant
8/1 We are up early to enjoy
the coolness of the night. A fast breakfast, and we set
out for a walk along the beautiful river. Huge boulders
make both way and obstacles. Here are many flowering
orchids, interesting trees and bushes, bulbs and
succulents. Gry discover an aquatic spider, and go all-in
to get a great picture. Then we find an unknown plant
with some fantastic hooks for climbing.
After an hour, the sun breaks through, and the
temperature raises drastic.
of us get too hot, and we return to camp. The guys have
found a map, and I decide on a road, leading right
through the park, heading towards the mountains at the
Zimbabwe border, hoping it will lead to some Afro-Alpine
The mountains offer better and better views, and we can see the
rain on the peaks.
We are driving
at around 700 meters
height, but the mountains are more like 2500 meters.
This park offers flora from tropic to African Alpine,
but not without a lot of walking, it seems. This part is
bush-land with quite some trees and a massive, green
blanket of grass and herbs underneath. It is so clear;
here are no grassers at all!
Well, a small herd of cows are found at a river crossing,
else, we only see birds and toad-agamas along with the
blue-tailed geckos. Some large bulbs have enormous, red
fruits, Convolvulaceaes, Vitaceaes, Fabaceaes and
Lamiaceaes. Huge flowering Bauhinias are all over.
A few creeks cross the trail in deep ravines, but have
are no ponds.
After fifteen kilometres, we turn
around. The main event on the return is a absolutely
huge skink. It is at least 60 centimetres, and it have a
short tail. It
lives on a barren rock - but have a crack
way too close. I see another, while I inspect the area,
but it is too fast as well. Here are Aloes, Euphorbias
and some bulbs with fruits.
Back at the camp, we chat with the guys, and tell them
which awesome piece of nature they have. Then we head on
towards Rotanda and especially the gasoline station. On
the way, we pass a tiny plant with huge, succulent
flowers and black fruits. It almost look like a
parasitic plant, but it has leaves.
It is a long gravelroad - especially when you are
watching the needle showing less than a quarter of the
last, 60 litter tank. Rotanda is getting a new gasoline
station among the 30 huts. And that means the old one
has been torn down. That was a 40 kilometre de-tour I
could have done without.
At least, we still have gasoline to at least 150 kilometres - I
hope, and we set the GPS for the next bigger city we
should pass through; Chimoio. When we pass two local
lorries with drivers, I
ask them for the nearest diesel. They kind of point each
way but they do agree; 150 kilometres - at least. Chimoio
should be the best choice. Their road directions alien
with the GPS, but add a dam.
We meet the dam, and despite it is not big, it is still
impressive. It is a concrete addition to a natural
granite wall. The lake looked great, and so do the
river, leading away from the dam. The road turns gravel
again, but after quite some time, huge gum tree
plantations and a huge Chinese factory indicates
civilization might be around the corner. With less than
20 litres of diesel, I'm
forward to it!
From a distance, it seems to be a huge city, filling the entire
mountain range. Some large factories and quite some huge
trucks indicate a lot of activity. Chimoio is the fifth
biggest town in Mozambique - and not really big at all.
The first station do not accept credit cards, and I'm
sure we have not cash enough. The next does, and we buy
121 litre diesel. My co-driver has been suspicious
quiet today, and I figure she have an overheated body and
flue will benefit from an afternoon in an air
conditioned room. It is not twice as expensive as a camp
site, but clean and nice enough.
After she is taken care of, I head
out in the "big" city. It is not big at all. In one end,
a primitive market is found. Lots of clothing and shoes,
and I park next to a traffic inspection police officer.
I don't find anything but motives - and lots of them.
Then I let the GPS lead me to the centre of town, or is
it just a ruin with a dump-site in front? In the other
end of town, another market is found between the
railroad and the "fancy" shops. At first, people don't
like to be photographed. An approach to break the ice, is
to start chatting and complimenting and soon I have to
leave with girls running after me, demanding I
photograph them. And the boys are not much better. I get some of
the women to laugh as much, they almost fall from their
chairs. And I get some good photos.
Back to take Gry to dinner - which is not the success I
have expected. The cook can only speak Portuguese, and
despite both he and we try, we do not end up with the
kind of food we were looking for. But the price is
ridiculous; what a can of good beans costs.
Back to the room and work to the sound of the music from the bar, two
stories down on the other side of the alley. It is
actually not that bad, just a bit loud to sleep to. It
is only a bit passed ten, when I'm finish with the
essentials for the day.
We are a bit ahead the plan, mainly because the
towns we planned to see turned out so small and
un-interesting. We can take a break here, and save a few
days for the Kalahari or....
9/1 After a good night's sleep, we are witness to
a short shower in the early morning. Black clouds
promise more to the mountains in the distance - where we
is up and running on most cylinders again.
It is a smooth road to Manica, a real cosy mid-sized
town. We pass the market and I talk Gry into a walk.
People are so smiling and charming - when the ice is
broken, and we get loads of pictures. We get our
pictures taken too, by the locals. Thinking about it, we
have only seen the few tourists at the hostel in Maputo and
the couple of Canadians at the beach. No wonder the two
pale Danes make such a fuss.
Gry find some bananas and mangos, which cost next
to nothing, and are so tasty! The market and shops
around have everything from hair-extinctions over toothpaste to
ox-ploughs. Men with sowing machines, all household in
plastic, spare tires, chains, huge soaps for cloth-washing and much, much more. We do several loops,
and end at the railroad, with a view to the cathedral on
the hilltop. Gry is a bit overwhelmed by the loud,
drastic gesticulating and laughing Bihrmann - but have
to admit; it works: We do get in contact with the else so
closed locals, and get permission to photo them.
The road turns into gravel right after Manica, and before the poor cop
at the city limit sign gets
to say anything, after
having stopped us, I ask for directions to Penha Longa.
We are on the right track, it is just 3-4 kilometres down the
road. After 25 kilometres, we ask some banana plantation
workers, and they also say three kilometres. We pass
many women, carrying huge bundles of firewood or water
containers on their head, or all kind of goods. The area
is partly farmed and real fertile.
After 35 kilometres, we reach the little village Casa Gaswa, and we see the first sign to
Penha Longa - partly
washed of a big boulder. The gravel road has turned
real narrow, but the aware co-driver spots a tiny
sign, showing off to Penha Longa Pmv. We ask some
workers, a bit in, and we are on the right track. A newly
painted metal gate closes the road, and a real charming
house, covered in flowering plants, sits on the nearby
The workers only speak Portuguese, and don't seem eager
to receive guests. When we explain, we got our own tent,
and will prepare our own food, we are let in to Penha Longa. 700 MZL,
and we can drive to the campsite.
It is through a old gum tree plantation, and the trees
are like telegraph poles, just ten times taller. Then
three stems are placed across the road, and we are not aloud
to drive any further. And "no, we can't carry the tent
We end up camping at the entrance, but get a small
guided tour up to the former impressive mansion. It is
undergoing restoration, and the pool do hold water. It
must have been the home of a real wealthy colonialist,
with a interest in botany.
The entire area is dominated by terraces and creeks,
build by billions of head-sized rocks. Here are still
numerous foreign plants, but the local plants are gaining
ground. A green pond have the aquatic frogs; Xenocipus laevis, and many insects can be found around it.
We leave the car, and go for a hike
to the waterfall and beyond. Ferns, Begonias, African
Streptocarpus, Impatiens and
many more. A young local, upper-class couple look so
more wrong in these settings than us, but nice to see
they appreciate the wild.
When we pass the camp for the second time, we make a
reading/working brake. I would like to hike to the real
close peaks - but know how challenging it will be.
Next tour leads us the other way. Gry discover a tiny
snake on the trail, and we get some pictures, before it
panics. We walk among the tall Eucalyptus trees, and
despite they are a cultured and invasive species, it is
hard not to admire them.
After a long walk, we end at a scattered village with
tiny fields and a few goats. We get permission to photo
some locals, which I remember as massively laughing. The
photos show an real grumpy and serious granny. On the
way back, we meet a small herd of cows and the four
young herdsmen. They hide behind the cows, and in fun,
they are afraid of Gry's camera. We see some awesome
views of the surrounding hills, and the sun decent behind
one of them.
Gry prepare some delicious dinner from next to nothing,
and well fed, I start to work afterwards. It is not as
cold as I have feared, but the dove- and fleece jackets
are handy to have. Strangely enough, here are no
mosquitoes, but quite some fire-flies and bats.
I work to ten, and manages to be finish - well, kind of.
The night is filled with the sound of distant music,
bats, crickets and other insects on a background of the
many waterfalls in the area. The moon and stars are
gone, and the night is dark - real dark! Fireflies
dance, and lead the thought towards shooting stars. We prepare the
tent for rain - just to prevent it.
10/1 That didn't make it.
First, it started to drizzle, then we got the full
force. At least,
the tent keep us perfectly dry. The
water reserve is down to five litres of drinking water,
and we could do with some fresh fruits. Manica is on the
road, but we fail to find any shops, selling water.
Then we head for the border crossing at Machipanda/Forbes.
It is a nice way, heading towards the mountains. We
reach the border at nine, and the exit from Mozambique
is quick - Mozambique-time.
From here, the journey continues
I have only seen the southern part
of the country, and quite frankly; I wouldn't bother
seeing the north. It is run-down, filled with trash and
crocked cops. It is hard to find wild nature, and it
seems like most wild animals have been shoot. The other
countries around it, are so much more appealing and easy
accessible, and cheaper too. We have driven 2500
kilometres, I have only take 750 photos
- less than I can make on a single day.
1/6 of flight
9 day 4x4