AG African safari: This is Africa

By Kylie Piper 7 November 2013
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AG Society administrator Kylie Piper and her group find their way into Mozambique.

AG Society administrator Kylie Piper and her group find their way into Mozambique.

the morning, we headed towards the Mozambique border. We had been prepared for our first border crossing with stories of full vehicle searches, hours of waiting and an ‘anything goes’ policy for every border from here on. So we were pleasantly surprised when given a cursory glance and an apology by the officials that all they could offer us to drink was warm beer as we waited in the heat for our passports to be checked. 


With our convoy in tow we entered a dry and barren Mozambique. The area near Kruger has been designated for a proposed national park, but the area is dotted with villages containing mud huts and small fenced pastures for agriculture. The buildings are covered with paintings and decorations and the villages are spotless, the ground around the entrance to each home seems to have been swept clean. The grain storage structures are impressive two storey buildings that hold grain in the top and seemingly everything else ever thought of below!

We drive through Massinger Veljo, a small village near the Massinger Dam. A group of young men outside the tiny makeshift shop greet us on arrival, and soon a gaggle of small children arrive. The older children are at school for the day and we see a few of them moving tables under the trees, out of the sun. A ball appears and chickens and dogs scatter as a game of catch begins between members of our convoy and the children who have come to greet us.

Our trip into Mozambique takes us south-east towards the coast. The plan: to catch a ferry to our camp site north of Maputo. Unfortunately, not all often goes as planned in Africa and we arrive at the ferry to discover that it has broken down. With no way of getting to our destination we head towards Maputo in the hope of gaining some accommodation closer to the capital.

A local gives us directions for a shortcut leading to a detour that is an unexpected delight. We drive through more than 30 km of dirt road, through villages and green fields, past children playing soccer and others working in fields. The land here is fertile and full of possibility. We pass by market stalls and always there are women carrying all kind of miscellanea on their heads. The metre-wide trenches (which one of our group refers to as “corrugations”) that cross the road along the route remind me that this country had been at war up until very recently.

We end our journey on the ocean shore and the Maputo fish markets. Scores of people sit behind buckets of fish, selling the day’s catch in the afternoon sun. Colourful boats litter the harbour and the smell of seafood is more than apparent, but the cool breeze of the ocean is a welcome relief after the day’s drive.

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