Back to Pemba and the turds

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
Trip End Jun 12, 2006

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Flag of Mozambique  ,
Sunday, March 26, 2006

Month 4 starts today and it's Mother's Day in the UK, unfortunately no e-mail here or phone service to wish her a happy Mother's Day. Finished my book, Jane Goodall's autobiography, A Reason for Hope. She talks a lot about her life and thoughts about the world and how it will cope with all its problems going forward. A very though provoking read.

After an early morning stroll to the port, Steve, Roberto and I headed out to the fort. Absolutely fascinating. It had been built in 1791 and had later served as a jail. Like the rest of the town this place was also falling into disrepair, but this added character to the place. Many of the canons were still around and they were mostly still attached to their original wooden frames and wheels. Steve spotted a young Green Mamba sliding across the floor next to us at one point.

The currency in Mozambique is called the Metical, I'm not sure where this name come from as I've never heard of it before. Some young kids were selling some older coins from the Portuguese era that we bought. They had Portugal on one side and Mozambique on the other.

Later we headed out to an old cemetery, it was during the walk that the rain started again and we got soaked! There went my last set of dry clothes. Back at the hotel all my other clothes were getting laundered and hung on the washing line. Unfortunately the ladies who laundered them were all sat around drinking beers and didn't have the good sense to bring them off the washing line once the rain came!

I have to say the Mozambique people I've met so far have to be the laziest I've met on my travels so far. For example at dinner time when we'd ask for the salt pot they'd give you a look of disgust like you'd asked them to jump off a bridge and they only after asking for a second time you'll be lucky for it some come after maybe another 10 minutes. By this time, if you eat at my speed, you've obviously finished most of your dinner.

Talking of dinner, we got some fantastic Giant Prawns that evening. Chatted with Roberto about his Anarchist believes. He made a lot of money through capitalism buying property in Spain. He uses this money to but property overseas and fund guerilla groups in places like Southern Senegal and Paraguay. He had a few other strange ideas including support for Mugabe, but a lot of his argument seemed to contradict each other.

New day and it rained overnight - all the clothes are still damp. There is so much moisture in the air here. My clothes still stink, I don't think I got the usual excellent job done from the ladies here washing my clothes. I guess that is a lesson not to pay up front in the future.

We'd arranged with another Spaniard, Antonio, who was going back to Pemba by motorboat and 4WD to get a ride with him. A South African had said the road on the mainland was impassable due to all the recent rain, we could have also taken a flight but this seemed like it could be another great adventure. Roberto was all smiles and proudly announced the Spanish can do it. I was going to reserve judgment until we arrived in Pemba!

After waiting on the docks for close to 3 hours it turned out the Spanish couldn't do it after all, they couldn't even arrange the boat to the mainland! Poor Roberto looked a bit embarrassed by the whole situation and both Steve and I were annoyed with him as he hadn't really told us the whole story. Antonio then came and told us about a large boat that was in the docks that had a 95% chance of leaving later that evening. I took this with a grain of salt and worse was by this time we had missed the daily flight. Steve went for a wander to find out what other option there were and found a Dhow boat that was leaving in about an hour. He managed to get the 3 of us a ride for the bargain price of $4 each.

We took down our wet washing that was hung all over the port area, much to the amusement of the locals, and headed for the boat picking up some food and water along the way. Unfortunately the island shop lacked gin!

Steve commented that Ibo was the most desperate looking place he had been to on all 2 years of his traveling! I have to agree with him, but at least the people here have plenty of food, with the fish from the sea.

The wind was really up on the sea and the Dhow was flying. Our captain who seemed like the nicest person you could ever want to meet seemed a lot better sailor than the Muppets who had brought us over 3 days earlier. We all had a lot more confidence.

We passed back through the mangrove trees, they seemed to be full with what looked like mistletoe. We also saw a group of about 10 dolphins swimming in the bow and some flying fish, maybe Garfish or Barracuda.

Rather than getting stuck on a sandbank and caught in the tides this captain had the good sense to stop just after sundown. We camped just off the beach and the crew set up a windbreak with some plastic sheeting and used some other sheeting to waterproof a mud hut for us just incase it rained.

Steve did a beer run with one of the crew to a small village that was close by, unfortunately there was not a beer to be had in the whole of the village.

Next morning we were scheduled to leave at 4am and I think I provided Steve with one of the funniest moment of his trip so far. At 2:30 the captain woke us to ask us the time. Steve and I both told him in Spanish but he didn't believe us and insisted on checking my watch. Half asleep still Steve said I said something along the lines of 'Na na na na' when he checked it and it was actually 2:30. We were up and on the boat by 3:30 and flying again with a nice strong wind. Sunrise on the Indian Ocean was at 5:25 and we spotted a few more dolphins along the way.

We arrived back in Pemba on the fisherman's beach at about 9am. The locals use all the beaches in the area as their toilets and it's not uncommon to see 5 people lined up on the shoreline taking a crap. We were sure to watch our footing while walking back up the beach. We also had to cross a pool that must have been the scummiest water I've ever seen! I followed quickly behind our captain and in his wake as he pushed a lot of the more solid looking scum aside!

Once we had negotiated this heath hazard and a few fisherman huts our captain led us through some rundown housing and up a very steep hill to Pemba centre. Roberto had asked me a few times in the last few days, in rather a condescending way why my bag was so large, like he knew better. Going up the hill I realized why his was so light. The poor guy was knackered and we had to stop for him on a good number of occasions while he caught his breath.

After ordering sandwiches and coffee, using the ATM we headed back to Wimbi Beach and Russell's Place where we met 3 Americans, James and the 2 ladies he was chaperoning.

They had two of their backpacks robbed from the Russell's Place dorm rooms as someone was in the room sleeping and as 2 security guards were wandering the grounds. The guards had been threatened with job loss unless they could locate the passports and miraculously they did get returned and were dumped outside the main gate in a plastic bag. All seems a bit too suspicious to me!

Remarkable Antonio had also returned and managed to navigate the road. He had ended up traveling all night and I'm pretty glad we weren't stuck in his pick-up doing that trip at nighttime. He had some young girl in tow with him and I won't bore you with stories of his sexual exploits on the island but I think a lot of the local guys from the island were unhappy with him and that his remaining time on the island was going to be short.

Roberto managed to piss Steve and I off again by paying for some drinks for Antonio and his friend and decided that he would use the couple of dollars he owed us to finance these drinks. He said the drinks were for all the help that Antonio had provided us. What a cheeky git, the guy had been a nightmare. To add to this Roberto had spent the last few days bragging about how much money he had in his bank account, he had even called us over in the Internet café so we could check out for ourselves!

Champions League footy that night. Benfica earned a 0-0 draw with Barcelona. It was a great game.
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freestyltoes on

The one and only beach you chose to come back is Paquitequete Dhow & Fishing village - yes it is a mess. Hang on there is no Poo on Wimbi Beaches and all along the coast plus should be more adventurous to get the taste of Africa, inside the bay you will find it clean. It is a bit harsh to label the whole of Pemba Town when you have a five star hotel on the coast. We have arranged with the Dhow to drop us off at Wimbi.

Get your facts from Kaskazini Tourism Information they will tell you the truth.
Russel's Place has always had a history with theft over many years. The people in Pemba is upset that their business get affected by this and the Russel's staff will always be there. There is Pemba Dive & Bush Camp that offer the same service and has a clean history. When you walk in there you feel the atmosphere of safety that you can leave anything lay around and we did. Also free transfers are given in/out of the Bush Camp or to Pemba Dive Center at Wimbi beach.

The Bush Camp also has an Information Center & Wifi Internet café, plus the staff are very helpful. There are some people in Pemba that are trying to make your holiday special.

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