Truck Day 11 – Maputo to Inhambane (Barra Beach)

We’re up at 6am to pack, eat from the hotel’s sumptuous breakfast buffet and board the truck for an 8am departure. It’s made a great change to have a stay at a fancy hotel at the beach after so much time in the Bush, just a shame we didn’t have more time to explore Maputo. This morning we’re headed for the Inhambane District and Barra Beach, a distance of 450km and a drive scheduled to take around 7 hours. The roads are so so along the coast but there’s a concern regarding the number of potential police stops that we may potentially encounter en-route. It’s a long day on the road and we pass many villages and plantations of coconuts, cashews and sugar cane. We stop in Xai Xai for diesel for the truck, an ATM for Mozambique currency, Meticals and a lunch stop. At the garage a guy rolls his window down and asks where I’m from. I explain London and travelling on the Nomad truck with an eclectic group of international travellers. He asks where we’re headed and how long we’re in Mozambique. Inhambane and 8 days. He advises we’ll need GPS in order to find our destination it’s off the track – very relieved Parra is driving and not me. He finishes by thanking us for visiting Mozambique and to enjoy our stay, I feel very humble.

We eat lunch on the road, KFC, not my favourite but we need to keep moving as it’s almost impossible to set up to prepare lunch by the side of the road without attracting a large crowd of curious and hungry locals. What we’ve seen of Mozambique so far is beautiful, the people are friendly and wave at the truck as we pass by. There is a strong vein of poverty in everything we witness as we travel through the country and we’re all careful to not show out with money, cameras etc etc. We’re off the beaten track here and it’s important to maintain a degree of respect as we begin to discover Mozambique. Homesteads are neat with stacks of firewood, rows of vegetables and small groups of cows and or goats. Subsistence farming is the way of life for the majority here. Repeatedly we see whole families including young children cultivating the rich red soil with rudimentary hand tools. The general populace works hard to survive and make a meagre living.

Mozambique has a total population of 32m and is the 36th largest country in the world in terms of land mass. As an equatorial country it has a tropical climate with almost no difference between the seasons. The daylight hours vary little, and the temperature differences between summer and winter are also lesser. Depending on the season, the average daytime temperatures range between 26 and 31 degrees. In some parts of the country the temperature raises up to 37 °C. In the colder months and depending in the region, the temperature lowers down to 15°C in a month’s average.

We’re headed for long palm lined beaches for two days of chill and plenty of opportunities to swim in the warm Indian Ocean. We arrive just before sunset and take a walk before a traditional Mozambique dinner with Matapa (a rich green sauce made with cassava leaves, shrimp, peanuts, and coconut milk), coconut rice and barracuda with a few local beers. It’s all delicious, we’ll sleep well tonight.

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