Last Mozambique Post I promise!
Here are some tips for getting to the beautiful beaches of Mozambique from Malawi.
If you’re driving, the first step is to make sure you have everything that a policeman could ask to see. Here is the list of things we thought we would need based on word of mouth and the Mozambique Government website – we were only ever asked for the Interpol document and our passports.
- Third-party insurance bought at the border
- Interpol Document from Malawi police stating that the care belongs to the owner and is not stolen
- Immunization card
- First aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Sticker on car that indicates car’s origins (we had a homemade MW sticker)
- Reflector tape on front and rear bumper
- Driver’s license
- Reflector vest
- Reflector triangles
Traveling south – the border crossing was relatively painless – we changed money at the border and had no trouble. We later changed money with a guy in the street in Chimoyo and in between counting it and handing over the metical (the Moz currency) he made a hundred dollars of it disappear. It was a very expensive magic trick. Impressive as it was, we would have rather had the $100. I’d stay away from currency dealers anywhere except at the border.
We stayed in Chimoyo on the way down – leaving Blantyre at 5:30 am and getting there around 3:00. We could have pushed it and tried to make it to Inhassoro but a traveling companion’s atm card got stuck in the machine, keeping us in Chimoyo. All the guide books say to stay at the Pink Papaya – it was full when we arrived, but the proprietress was lovely and recommended Safari Lodge just up the street. It was cheap and safe and had air conditioning.
If you’re hungry: about an hour south of Chimoyo they sell cashews on the side of the road in little packets. I highly recommend them! There is little stand outside of the turn off to Vilankulos where they sell homemade hot sauce. Also highly recommended.
Once in Vilankulos, I recommend the Casbah restaurant – we went there twice. We stayed at Beach Village, which has a really great set-up, nice chalets, a pool, a bar, but the management was awful and there is no real attention to detail (for example there is a restaurant but no tables – you always have to eat at the bar.)
We took Dolphin Dhows for our snorkel trips – it was a great experience but they don’t serve alcohol so I would recommend bringing your own beer. We also did our sunset cruise with them – it was one of the highlights of the trip and only $10 a person.
You have to go to the Mozambique Bakery – it’s a big orange building right in the middle of town. Depending on what time you go, there might not be a big selection, but if you camp out long enough they start bringing out trays of freshly baked goodness – hot out of the oven and well worth the wait.
The Tourism office has a very friendly staff and a great map of the town.
There is an amazing gallery/store on the north end of town past Agria Negra and Casa Rex. It’s not well marked but you can ask about it at the tourism office. They have beautiful hand crafted works of art, woven baskets, paintings, wooden bao games, etc. It is absolutely worth a visit.
Traveling North: The Shoprite in Chimoyo is on the main road on the southern end of town. It’s much cheaper than the Blantyre Shoprite and has … get excited … wine from places other than South Africa!
On the way home we stayed in Catandica. It is a nice little town with a clean, cheap hotel (painted bright orange) right on the main road. The food was good and there was air conditioning. Because it’s an hour or so north of Chimoyo our second day of driving was easy.
There is a nice little cafe in Tete called Le Petit Cafe. Also, note that you have to pay a toll to cross the Tete bridge heading south, but not north.
And finally, I know many people who have had trouble with police in Mozambique, but we had a fine time. I think we were really lucky, but smiling a lot doesn’t hurt! And try out your Portuguese phrases. Watch out for speed traps – we got a (well deserved) speeding ticket in a tiny little trading center in the middle of nowhere.
Most of all, eat LOTS OF SEAFOOD and Enjoy!