Motoring Through Mozambique
Trip Start Jul 25, 2006
165Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
One of the amazing things about this trip is the constant meeting of incredible people who then impact my life in any number of ways.
I had decided to not go to Zimbabwe. Any news I could find was all bad, and all horror stories. While not afraid of my personal safety (I consistently heard how friendly and wonderful the people were, even in this crisis), I was nervous about figuring the situation on the ground in the first few days, changing money on the black market, how to get around, etc.
Enter Danayi. Danayi is from the U.S., but her father is Zimbabwean and mother is Jamaican. She spent about 4 years when she was young in Zimbabwe, and was returning to visit her father and his family in Harare. She invited me along, taking nearly all the nervousness and uncertainty out of the decision.
We caught the ONLY bus that still stopped in Harare. Don't misunderstand me. Many buses go through Zimbabwe on their way to South Africa, but they gas up before and don't stop for anything once they cross the border. Things are not as they once were in Zimbabwe.
Our bus was about four hours late showing up in Blantyre, and as a result, most people had given up and left by the time it arrived. Seven of us climbed on the bus, and after another wait, we started off.
Malawi and Zimbabwe do not actually share a border. To get there, we needed to drive through an area called the Tet Corridor in Mozambique. After an annoying stop at the border where we were forced to pay $30 U.S. for a visa for about a three hour across the top of Mozambique, we continued on our way.
If anything, this part of Mozambique felt even more poverty stricken than rural Malawi. For the first hour, we saw no signs at all of any type of grid; water or electrical. After about an hour, we came to our first real town, and everything changed. Riotous colours were splashed on all the buildings and creativity was the order of the day. Mozambique is one of the few countries in the world where Portuguese is the national language, having been a colony of Portugal for many years. It seemed an interesting place, quite different from any other part of Africa I had been, and I regret not being able to get off the bus to explore the area.
When we arrived at the border, it was 6:20 pm and pitch black. The power was out on both sides of the border, and the guards had closed up shop and gone home.
It was a long, cold, uncomfortable night sleeping on the bus.
More later on Zimbabwe, but feel free to check out the photos taken from the bus window of Mozambique.