No problems did I say? Actually just before Dobela there is a river and as it was dark when we arrived, we couldn’t find the natural rock ’causeway’ across and then there were the hippos, crocs and Zambezi sharks everyone had been meaningfully mentioning. But, Mozambique moves in mysterious ways and Alfons, the camp chef, waded through, said ‘Noa Problem’ and walked in front as we bumped and grinded through – don’t try this at high tide (or anything else than a Defender). A little way up a tunnel through the indigenous forest and there they were, Tony and Brigitte and guests just settling down to a sumptuous supper – perfect timing. Our stuff was taken up to our tents and the welcome which ensued indicated that they had mistaken us for honoured company instead of the travelling journo bums that we really are underneath this facade of swamp slime and 3 day’s worth of beard.
View from dunes, Ponta Dobela
Ponta Dobela and Azul do Mar are special. Need I write more? Well I suppose if parking your 4-wheeler on the curb at your local Mall is your idea of heart-stopping adventure (now don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against 4×4’s) then perhaps Dobela is for you but only if you have an awesome sense of humour. Serious divers and birders and slackers will love it and you can take the self-catering route but that means you will bring back all your tins as Brigitte is a one-woman juggernaut of note when it comes to filling that ‘inner glutton’. So far so good, my can-opener was still buried deep within the farthest corner of the Landy’s cavernous back covered by FAKAWI’s (gotta do something about that name) motherly canopy. The dives here are virgin and so you get to name reefs and if you bring along canoes you can also explore lake Piti, which really puts Kosi Bay to shame. (Not that I’ve ever been to Kosi, you understand).
Two nights at Dobela were just enough to know that next time it must be at least ten, and bring the little kids (cover them well against mossies at night), they will love it. And so back north through the ‘impassable route’ and on another ferry (this one had a saloon with TV and clean toilets, but cost Mt150,000) back to Maputo where we retrieved our boat from the Polana and headed north along the EN (Estrada Nacional) 1 to Inhambane and pleasant PensÃƒÂ£o Pachica where I sat and wrote this while watching the tide ebb and flow and the dhows come and go.
Our vehicle was a Landrover Defender 130 TD5
But before I got carried away and fired-up the TD5 and headed to Tofo just 25km east of here, I did think that it was time to ask you all to allow me to thank Landrover South Africa for loaning us an amazing vehicle (I wander what can stop this thing?), FAKAWI Pretoria for the canopy, the more I have used it the more I realise it’s a work of art, and all the other people who have made this trip to Mozambique’s newly opened game reserves possible, especially my long-suffering wife, Karin and Daniel my four-year old who is a real Landrover fan, but next time can we please have one with the spare wheel on the tail-gate, as that is where Danny insists they should go.
Mozambique’s Parks revisited: Days 4 – 6
Bamboozi Backpackers has a strange aura surrounding it on satellite photos
The Inhambane peninsula is rimmed with around a dozen good holiday spots and, as we were so close to Tofo, we democratically (they listened to my sage advice) decided to take a night away from our flimsy itinerary to stay at Bamboozi Backpackers which is just 2km north of Tofo (note to budget travellers: there is good public transport throughout the day between Inhambane and Tofo). James ‘Tales of the South Seas‘ Michener would have loved Bamboozi, and what with good-looking people from all over the world and one of the best settings for a bar/restaurant I have seen during my earthly wanderings, Bamboozi did seem suspiciously to be like paradise. Call something ‘Paradise’ and kiss it goodbye and it was with a renewed impression that ‘all things are transient’ that I ate an awesome ‘lulas’ (calamari) stew, watched the reddening sun over the mangroves and listened to proprietors Des and Jackie’s tales of their constant struggle to keep on the right side of the authorities.
Another newcomer to Tofo is a professional dive shop called Diversity Scuba run by Joanne, Gary and Pete who are from the UK but learned their diving in Malaysia. Gary and Jo were in Jo’burg buying goodies for their wedding which would take place in Tofo the following week, and I chatted to some of their clients who were still wide-eyed from their encounters with giant Eagle Rays, dolphins and Whale-sharks.