Robert Munro
/ Rob Munro


Mozambique in August - September 2006.

We camped by this police station in Alto Benfica on our second night - bit cramped but it didn't cost us anything and avoided paying a bribe by buying the police chief and his deputy beers at the local bar.

A small shop and a long road. Still plenty of people on bikes in this remote area - 4 on this one alone.

After 3500 kms we arrive at our final cycling destination - the Ilha de Moçambique.

The fort on the northern point of the island.

Stone town - the island was an old Arab settlement and once the largest city in Mozambique.

From Ilha de Moçambique we caught transport north. At first we were on a fairly nice bus - we spent a bit of time carefully making sure that our bikes were stowed in a way that wouldn't damage them. They seemed ok then just as we were about to leave the conductor threw 4 live chickens into the luggage compartment and quickly shut the doors. The chickens were obviously a little freaked out by the journey and while our bikes made it through they were a little, well, indignant. As we got nearer the Tanzanian border the transport was more sporadic - the last picture above is us on the back of a small truck which you can't actually see in the picture above for all the luggage and people piled on it.

More than anything else I'll miss the food in Mozambique. Every single meal was delicious and so fresh that we were once even asked to select which animal we wanted killed.

We've enjoyed learning the very basics of the languages in the various regions we've passed through (probably more than 50) but in Mozambique it was most common that people chatted in Portuguese. Rather than learn a colonial language we decided to adopt Portuguese personas instead, growing dodgy handlebar moustaches to fit the part. Meet Pablo, Pedro and Raûl. It was a bit too dodgy for some as Pablo was initially given a 'refused entry' stamp when we tried to cross into Tanzania.

From 5am we waited at an intersection near Palma for transport to the border for 4 hours. Nothing came. We asked at the village and people told us 'maybe tomorrow night'. So it turned out that we had some more cycling to do after all - just 40kms. As it turned out it was 40kms of mostly soft sand and we ended up pushing our bikes most of the time - this is the main road linking Mozambique and Tanzania!

As if the road wasn't remote enough we decided to avoid the soft sand by taking a small trail by the side of the road that looked like it would meet up again soon. It didn't. We ended up riding on trails that were nothing more than long grass crushed by the last passers by. And the last passers by didn't seem to be people - every now and again we'd come to a jarring stop as our front wheel dropped into an elephant's footprint that had dried in the mud. It was a bit of a worry - if their footprints could hurt us we didn't want to bump into a herd and see what 20+ actual feet could do.

We spent a couple of hours of unsuccessfully trying to find a trail back to the road. About an hour after the sun gave up on us and shrugged over the horizon we finally pushed our bikes through a long marsh for 40 minutes or so to find the road again. You'll never see people so happy to be back pushing bikes through sand. We made it to the border, the Rovuna River, well into the night having spent more than 10 hours travelling with almost no breaks to cover just 45kms - a tough but fitting end to the journey.