Date: Wednesday 8th June 2011

Ola! We've been in Mozambique for just over a week... and its been epic! The hospitality has been very much like the weather – very warm – and we're loving it!

Now about the weather...

Now I must admit that one of the major contributing factors to doing this trip, for me, was the Cape Town weather, to be more specific, winter. As much as I love the Mother City, winter sucks. So to all my friends who are now experiencing this most cherished time of the year, know this: when its cold, and raining, and gloomy... I, am in paradise! Its hot, the drinks cold, and the beaches.... terrific!

We left the home of the Govan's in Maputo last Tuesday. A few kilometers after saying goodbye and wrapping up of our Portuguese TV interview, the road surface morphed from tar into thick soft sand. The novelty of cycling fully loaded in sand was short lived, but so to was our difficulties as it wasn't long before a friendly local by the name of Joseph offered us a lift in the back of his bakkie. Without so much as a second thought we said yes and within an hour or so were out of the sand roads and back on the EN1, the national road heading north up the coast from Maputo. Rest assured as soon as we reached tarred road we were back in the saddle making good progress for our night stop in the town of Bobole and accommodation at the local Masjid (kind of like a Mosque). We were told that after the evening prayer we were welcome to sleep inside. The first thing I noticed as being distinctly different from that back home, was the call to prayer: here there were no loud speakers to amplify the sound, just a man simply calling out in a very loud voice.

The cycling has been much easier in Mozambique, in fact come to think of it, since Lesotho its been real good. We encountered a few hilly areas on our route north from Maputo but nothing really significant. The roads are usually flat, straight, and in excellent condition. Traffic on the roads has also not been heavy. All in all making cycling in Moz a relative pleasure.

On Thursday lunch time we reached the Limpopo River bridge, where on the other side waited a warm reception from the community of Xai Xai. This was a good day. We were welcomed by members of the municipality, and new friends in this town. A town that we would unlikely have stayed in had we chosen a motorised means of transport. There's so much good to say about this town and its people, its actually hard to start. There's the fact that have bounced back from a devastating flood not too long ago (in the year 2000 if I recall correctly); the unbelievable closeness  and involvement of the community in the town; the amazing hospitality we received from all there;  a donation over R7000 to Hear Us from the town's Hindu community, …. we were asked to stay a few more days for a bigger reception on the weekend, something we really would've liked but alas we needed to keep moving and so we regretably left Xai Xai the next day also around lunch time.

With a few more contacts from our new friends in Xai Xai we were able to find accommodation for the next two nights until finally we arrived in the town of Inhambane on Sunday at sunset. After a long day and our highest daily mileage yet (approximately 140kms) the bay of Inhambane was a much welcomed sight. With the arrival in any town comes the prospect of food and we weren't disappointed by meals provided by more new friends at the Ponte Final Restaurant. Again, the hospitality did not end at just meals (which was amazing sea food once again), it also included a house to stay at in the town of Inhambane as well as a camping at Fatimas Backpackers in Tofu Beach, which is where I'm typing this blog from.

Now if you're wondering what this is like, I'll do my best to describe a little. We're right on the beach! Its hard to miss the working world when you're in place such as Tofu. Being “winter” (its warm enough at night to sleep outside of my sleeping bag) its not terribly busy though we have met a few people here who just make this trip awesome! We've got a “negotiation strategy” with the locals when it comes to buying things like nuts and stuff on the beach – its a lot easier to negotiate when you've got time on your hands. Jiten in particular can spend several hours on one such deal. Its a lot of fun! Time is certainly something one can forget in this place. We've done just about nothing here – Jiten and Imraan talk of going diving, snorkelling and deep sea fishing... as of day two in Tofu little progress has been made by either of them. One cant blame them though, its so much easier to just sit by the beach, or under the trees in the soft sand, surrounded by palm trees in a place with a very much island like feel to it... and do nothing! Having been here once before in early 2005 and snorkelled with the whale sharks and dolphins, I have no intention of taking part in any of the “adventure” packages on offer... I'd much rather just relax and just enjoy the awesomeness of being here.

So with that in mind I think its time for refill and perhaps a quick meeting with the team back on the beach. I'm also running low on cashews so perhaps a new round of negotiations is in order

Stay safe!