Day 214 - 216 Mozambique : Chimoio - Inhassoro

 Day 214 Mozambique

Trip Distance 401km (249m) Total Distance 24207km (15045m)
Road Condition 90% tar 10% dirt diversions  
Time to travel 4 hrs 1.5 hrs  
Cost of diesel M25.75(£0.57)    
Istraelle de Manenuis

M350 (US$14) - Clean toilets and showers, private boma with braai facilities.  Recommended.

At around 11pm last night the aircon had stopped cooling the room and, too tired to take a trek up to reception, we opened the windows to the cool night air (and subsequent mozzies) and tried to go back to sleep.  Eventually we did but, in hindsight, we should have got up and asked to change rooms.  So we got up at 6:30am grumpy and bickering with each other immediately.  2 nights worth of bad sleep and the prospect of another 400km was doing our psyches a world of bad! Neither of us were fit for human consumption.  Nonetheless, we had to just take a deep breath and get going.  After packing Sully up, we made off for breakfast at the hotel restaurant (included in the room price) and with tummies full of spicy baked beans, softly fried eggs and fresh Portuguese bread, a flask full of boiling hot water from the kitchen and in a slightly better disposition, we set off.  With the dulcet tones of Phil Collins Greatest Hits, Best Hits and World Famous Hits burbling in the background, the kilometres passed quickly. 

Despite it being Friday 13th, we did not encounter anything untoward and, in fact, the transitos (local Moz traffic cops) reknowned for their ability to extort vast sums of money from visiting tourist for minor infractions of the law (like not enough reflectors on the rear bumper - 4 red ones required, breakdown triangles not visible inside cab of car - 2 required, having a tow hitch but no tow hitch sign on rear even though you aren't towing anything - yellow triangle on blue square required, charging you for speeding when doing 54km in a 60kmph zone trying to tell you it's a 50km zone - speed limits are 100kmph open national roads, 60kmph in towns and villages UNLESS otherwise stated) blatantly ignored us. 

Then we arrived at Rio Save and needed to cross the bridge - quite impressive it was too a_DSCN0550 .  As we stopped, an armed soldier (very low rank, nothing better to do) decided that he wanted to search our vehicle.  Of course, not being in the best of moods, I demanded to know what for and both of us refused to exit the car.  So he opened the front doors, leaned over us and had a rummage around what he could see.  Not much!!  He pointed at the cubby fridge between us, "What?".  "Fridge," I said.  "Food?" he enquired.  "Camping stuff," I replied.  He was a bit thrown by this but we have used this response a couple of times now and they kind of dither about a bit and then tend to back off - why?  I have no idea but when we don't answer "yes" to the question "food?" they seem satisfied that there isn't any food....... dunno????? 

Just as a little aside here, the cubby fridge has been worth it's weight in gold as far as curious police/soldiers/anyone in uniform goes because they tend to think that that's the only fridge and we gloss over the fact that there's another 50l of fridge lurking in the back, humming away and cooling all manner of delicious food - we always vaguely point to the back behind us and say "camping stuff".  It's worked for us so far (please imagine me at this stage touching wood, crossing fingers and doing whatever necessary to ward off any evil!!)

And just as suddenly, we were across the bridge and arriving in Inhassoro.  Graham and Sue, who we had met in Liwonde National Park, had fairly raved about Istraelle and told us NOT to miss it at any cost.  So here we were.  But there was no room at the inn!  Turns out that the celebrity version of the TV show "Survivors" is being manufactured and filmed on the island and all the accommodation in Inhassoro is being taken by the millions of crew.  Sigh, what bad luck.  But Marietjie, the love that she is, squeezed us into a very private boma with it's own bathroom and we camped there.  It's worth mentioning at the moment that the number of places to camp in Mozambique is extremely limited as licenses for camping are being revoked (not enough tax revenue, evidently) so most of our stay in Moz has been in lodges.  To be fair (up till now!!) it's been really hot so quite a relief to stay in an airconditioned room.  Along the same lines, Istraelle no longer has any camping - just chalets and lodges.  We were an exception because of the lack of any available accommodation.

We got Sully set up, spent some time cooling off in the pool and then back to the boma.  Cooled by a lovely sea breeze, we stoked up the Ethiopian oven (a braai just big enough for cooking for the 2 of us that we picked up in Ethiopia would you believe it? for £0.75), lit up the fire and enjoyed a pot of Boston Beans (my version, anyway) made up of slowly frying onions, loads of garlic, green peppers, potatoes and celery in oil olive, then adding chunks of smoked ham bought at Foodworths in Lilongwe, Malawi (have I mentioned their food is FABULOUS), a can of baked beans, some HP sauce and a tiny touch of sugar.  And our bowls wiped clean with warm, crunchy Portuguese rolls. YUM!  By the way, if you want to make these, you can substitute the ham for bacon.  A little later, Henry and Marietjie popped over for a drink and we chatted on into the night.

1 delicious night's sleep later, we woke up to the morning sun streaming into the tent.  Another day resting, walking on the beach which stretches forever into the distance with huge sand dunes on the left and the encroaching sea on the right, cooking, eating and reading.  But by the afternoon the weather began to close in and clouds, that we have seen gathering on the horizon ever since Malawi, made their presence known and it started to spit.  As soon as it started though, it was over and the sky cleared again.

Sunday morning arrived to a clear sky but by lunchtime it had closed in again and we spent a cool, wet afternoon in Inhassoro.  The wind had really picked up by Sunday night but we were fairly protected in the boma, so the worst passed us by.  We had decided that if the weather looked like it was set in for the time, that we would head off the next day (Monday) and make for our next stop at Morrongulo.