Bosman's Bush Telegraph - 7 June 2000
Forget everything you have heard or seen about Mozambique on TV - this place is definitely worth a visit! So far we can only comment on the southern part of Mozambique as we have not progressed very far north yet, but hopefully the conditions will not deteriorate too much as we make our way up the coast. We have spent the last 4 days in Ponta De Ouhro which is an absolutely idyllic spot just across the border from Kosi Bay. Its a short hop from Durban and definitely in reach of those of you who live in Johannesburg and are looking for a long weekend away. Don't expect much in the way of infrastructure but prepare yourselves for the most gorgeous beaches, warm ocean and magnificent landscape.
The contrast between South Africa and Mozambique is vast and manifests itself as soon as you cross the border - the tar road literally ends at the border post and the road on the Mozambican side is little more than a 4x4 track. The area has experienced some heavy rain recently but was mostly unaffected by the cyclones that hit Mozambique earlier this year. In addition, the locals have done quite a bit of road re-routing and have built alternative routes where there are large pockets of water so getting to Ponta is relatively easy. Crossing the border was an interesting experience. Communication was virtually impossible as everyone speaks Portuguese. Our vocabulary is limited to the occasional "Obrigada" and "Por Favor" so we found it near impossible to converse with the local customs officials. We were however able to turn this to our advantage when we handed the official a R100-00 note to pay for our entry taxes and were solemnly handed two batches of R52-00 each as change. We actually made R4-00 out of the Mozambican government - can you believe that! We were also able to smuggle Zoe and Nic's dog, Peppe, through the border undetected.
There are some fantastic scuba diving spots at Ponta and Nev, Nic and Zoe all agreed that diving here was as good if not better than diving at Sodwana where they had dived earlier in the week. The three of them did what sounds to have been the most excellent dive at a place called Pinnacles - in fact, it was so good that they ended up going down about 45 metres to check out the enormous potato bass that live at that depth. This type of diving is not for the faint hearted (hence the fact that I remained very much on terra firma!) but there are lots of soft-core options available at Ponta as well, including super snorkelling, fishing and surfing. If nothing else, it is enough just to walk on the beach and take in the exquisite views.
If you are planning to visit Ponta you will need to take all your food and consumer goods with you - don't count on finding anything at the local supermarket except for a rather sour shop assistant. The array of fresh fruit and veggies was extremely dodgy and guaranteed to cause salmonella poisoning if consumed. Poor Zoe was forced to stretch her imagination to its limits to come up with creative vegetarian options! The highlight was definitely the hot Portuguese loaves, baked in an oven in a nearby village and delivered in trays every morning. Also, expect to fight off droves of mosquitos (mostly the malaria carrying variety) - so take along plenty of Tabard or Peaceful Sleep. We found that drinking copious amounts of Tassenberg made our blood suitably sour (not to mention our moods!) and seemed to keep the mozzies away.
Zoe and Nic have headed back to Zinkwazi this morning and we are headed up to Maputo. We will be sad to see them go as we have spent three great weeks together and it will be quite odd for Nev and I to be on our own again. We have been told by a couple of people in Ponta that the road to Maputo is in fairly decent shape having only reopened a week or so ago. We have been told that it is only really accessible by 4x4 though. We will keep you posted. I think that we will have to rely quite heavily on our GPS as the Mozambicans do not seem to believe in road signs.
Wish us luck and please send lots of emails. I hope you have all checked out our website - if not please do so - its at http://home.mweb.co.za/ne/nevbos.
lots of love