(See panel on malaria tips)
Malaria prohylaxis is advised, and check with your doctor or pharmacist which may be the better option for you (there are side effects, and some treatments weaken as the parasite adapts to them). I've had malaria four times and don't wish it on my worst enemy. But I've also taken my fair share of malaria pills, and don't want to get any more crazy than I am now.
So this is what I have learned.
So, I cover up at about six at night with a light tracksuit bottom (no matter how hot it is) and try to get to bed in a mozzie meshed bunglaow or tent before nine. This way, I eliminate most of the problem, and touch wood, I have been malaria free ever since doing this, but that's me, and its no compelte guarantee. Pregnant women and others who may be additionally vulnerable, should get specialist advice and medication.
You might want to plan your travel to include the Kruger Park, or one of the other amazing nature reserves along the way.
Getting through the border is a time-consuming hassle, and I feel most sorry for the miles of trucks and queues of drivers ploughing through the bureaucracy.
Just smile and get to know the local people ( the queues are a good place to chat and learn stuff about the route, possible delays, porcupines, and interesting places to see on the way.)
We went snorkelling, and the dive masters were professional and caring, and took us out to a nice curve of reef not far from shore. On the way we saw dolphins, and some humpback whales in the distance.
The snorkelling, just floating around looking down at swimming jewels and the lacework of sunlight trickling over the sandy seabeds, was a great relaxation for me and my partner Thelma, who had never snorkelled before. For me it feels like I'm in a space capsule without gravity, and with just twenty metres or so of cool ocean holding me gently up as I drift around looking at pretty stuff. Snorkelling has to be one of the best stress banishers of all time for me. Look, scuba is also great, and you get to stay underwater, but it is quite a schlepp to suit up and do all the scuba paraphernalia.
We took the Maputo Corridor from just south of Johannesburg. The Corridor is a fancy
name for the highway link to Maputo, Mozambique's capital and main sea port, to the
sprawling cities of South Africa's interior.
The road is good to very good most of the way to Maputo, and you can use a normal two
wheel drive sedan. There are a few tolls along the way. If you want to get to some of the
resorts around Inhambane, however, you'll need a four wheel drive to get through the
beach tracks. Or, you can fly in, and there are several flights a week from Johannesburg.
The resorts will do an airport transfer for you. Once out of the city, the road opens up and
you travel through South Africa's high veld grasslands.
After about 250 km, you'll reach an escarpment, and the high plateau falls away to
what is called the Lowveld. The scenery and winding passes, some with a few tunnels,
are all enjoyable, except for occasional heavy traffic.
In the Lowveld, things get hot and steamy. The outside temperature rises noticeably,
and so does the humidity. You will have decended around four thousand feet from the
cooler highlands. The Lowveld is mostly Africa's typical thorn tree bushveld, and is home
to the great Kruger National Park and wild animals( see an upcoming Wild Place guide).
Along with the heat comes the malaria mosquito, so be prepared. The winter months
are the lower risk months ( April/May through August in southern Africa) but in the rainy months of summer (November through February) travellers are more at risk.
This has some ancient buildings, but is under marketed and needs to be made more of. It is worth remembering that the Portuguese were the first explorers from Europe to round the Cape, and make landfall along the east coasts of Africa, as early as 1498.
The Portuguese were once the colonial rulers here, and in the 60's, a war to end Portuguese rule commenced. The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique took over once indepenence from Portugal was agreed, in 1975.
The Mozambicans, with the excpetion of some of the officials, are a warm, friendly and happy people by our experience. Industrious even in subsistence farming villages, and proud of their beautful country.
Finally, you arrive at the unpretentious but sign riddled turn off to the Inhambane lodges and resorts, and this is where some of the beach tracks start. But its all worth it. There is a vast sweep of bay, a promontory, and another curl of bay, with beaches as long as your dreams.
Inhambane may be a bit overtraded in resorts by now, and that's the downside. But the upside is a festive atmosphere, scuba and snorkel diving options, other water based activities, lots of lounging around under coconut palms and near swmming pools, and the dark cool blue Indian ocean.
AFRICA WILD TRAVEL
After two days of lounging around, jogging the long beach to the point, sleeping late, eating all sorts of nice, mainly Portuguese dishes (espetadas amongst them) we started getting itchy feet, and went into the old town.
Other wild places guides in Mozambique are : 2. Vilanculous, Bazaruto and Benguerra, and 3. Niassa Reserve and Pemba.
Watch this space.
1 November, 2016
This Weeks Wild Place: Inhambane, Mozambique
The road through and by Maputo is mostly characterless, and Maputo traffic is certainly not as pleasant as watching a herd of buffaloes crossing a sandy road. Once past, the coastal plain spreads out, and the coconut palms, beaches, rivers and estuaries wave at you. So do the traffic police. There are a number of travellers who say they've had to pay bribes to get by, and certainly Mozambique doesn't seem to have a squeaky clean reputation in this regard. However, we were stopped, but no bribes were requested or given, and we were politely on our way. Luck of the draw I guess.
Its a long way to Inhambane by vehicle( 970 km), and you should break your journey at the beginning of the coastal leg, if you didn't break it with a stay over in Kruger Park.
After Maputo (about 460 km to go) are a number of beach chalets, off the beach B&B's along the coastline here, and some are rundown and cheap, and some are rundown and expensive. Others are nice. Check first on the internet,rather than lurch into a dive at 11 at night.
As you move up the coast, the country opens out even more, and there are villages, many of them selling woodcrafts, fruits, veggies, fish and other good stuff, mostly at good prices. I personally stay away from the prawns that have been lazing by the roadside for a while.. But the woodcrafts in some villages ( seems to get better the further away from the city they are) is really good. Also, coconuts in season are a must.