Vilankulo is a town in Southern Mozambique which is named after the late chief Gamala Vilankulo Mukpke and many people in the town still borne Vilankulo as their surname. It’s known for its stunning white beach and surrounding islands. I didn’t bother going to Bazarutto island as I really wasn’t that interested in a mediocre snorkelling trip and gawping at some villagers for a steep price of £50. After all the travelling recently it was nice to do nothing around my camp site, and just spend time in Mozambique, not money. I calculated that I’ve slept in a tent for around 40 days of this trip so far and still no symptoms of dole back.
It’s known that many people in Africa don’t like being photographed unless they’re getting paid. I’ve realised that with a wide angle lens you can rip off the subject by directly pointing the camera somewhere else and capture them on the side, genius. To get to Tofo you need to catch a ferry to Inhambane from a town called Maxixe. It was at the port where I saw KFC and couldn’t help myself, this ultimately resulted in missing the last public boat of the day. This led to the farce of using another boat where the price was ‘pay what you want providing it’s more than anyone else’.
Praia do Tofo is another beach further South. Here you can eat nice food and do expensive activities such as snorkelling, diving and ocean safaris. All I done was practice a little bit of yoga and tried to avoid fist pumping the many beach boys. A beach boy, is a young man who performs a pointless job such as selling shit souvenirs and braiding hair. They’ll pretend they want to be your friend but somewhere down the line all they want is your money. A lot of them have gullible foreign girlfriends that might be in Tofu for a season doing a work placement who will quite happily pay for their lazy lifestyle, effectively making them gigaolos. The best way to deal with them is to be short with them as whatever they say ‘they’re not your brother from another mother’.
A bee-eater is a species of bird mostly found in Africa and Asia. As the name suggests, they mainly eat flying insects such as bees and wasps. The stinger of the insect is removed by repeatedly hitting it on a hard surface. Around the garden of the lodge there were a few swallow-tailed bee-eaters. It’s a shame they don’t eat mosquitos, still waiting for that day when I wake up with Malaria.
The nearby town of Inhambane has a slightly Mediterranean feel. The Church of Our Lady of Conception is the oldest building in town constructed in 1854 by the Portuguese. It was on the way here that Mozambique’s chapas never fail to amaze me, how come there’s always room for one more?
My final 3am start and long distance bus in Mozambique took me from Tofu to Maputo and took 10 hours, and certainly offered one of most spectacular views from any public transport vehicle I’ve ever had.
I only spent 24 hours in Maputo as my visa was about to expire and I’d heard rumours of dodgy police trying to bribe tourists for not carrying their passports or walking on the wrong side of the road. This is a problem throughout Mozambique and a few bribery attempts had actually happened to me. The best thing to do is hand over a photo copy of your passport, if you give them the original they metaphorically have you by the balls. If they say a photocopy isn’t good enough just simply plead ignorant and talk at them in English, more often than not they’ll give up when they realise you won’t pay up. It’s pretty pathetic really how the entire police force does nothing but exploit and bribe people and does nothing to prevent real crime.
Mozambique has been one of the most challenging countries I’ve ever been to with regards to language, getting around, corruption and bureaucracy. I think that sometimes you need to really challenge yourself the see what you’re actually made of, and Mozambique has certainly done that. On the way to the Swazi border while leaving Mozambique it seemed almost fitting that in a private vehicle, there was time for one last flat tyre, almost summing up my month here. Oh yes, it’s been good to spend some time in Mozambique.