Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Day 9 Mapai - Zongene

From Mapai we were heading South East towards the coast of Indian Ocean on good tar road. It was early in the morning and not a single car on the road. We had to find ATM today, because to pay in South African rands was not a good rate. Until Mapai if you cross from Pafuri into Mozambique, there were no ATMs. After about 50 km from Mapai the nice tar road was blocked by big heaps of sand, concrete blocks or trees, every few hundred metres something on the road. We took unpaved road next to it:
We saw people selling charcoal, broken down cars
we gave lift to one guy whose car was broken on the road, he had to get to next village to buy spare parts. Lots of abandoned building from Portuguese era:
Until town Chokwe the road was nearly empty, just some small villages here and there, but getting closer towards the coast, the scenery starts buzzing and lots of things happening around, markets, car repairs, etc
From Chokwe we went down to Macia. Road to Macia:
There we found ATM, got some cashew nuts on the side of the road and tried out our first Mozambican beers: 2M and Manica:

From Macia we headed to Bilene which was a holiday spot for mostly South African tourists. All mozambicans speaks English here, we got SIM card on the market here. Got some data on our phones and we were online again :) Along the coast you can find fancy lodges everywhere:
We took small sandy road to Zongoene:
The villages here looks beautiful under coconut palm trees:
Some piglets on the road that Sinty had to get out of the car and chase them away :D
We got to Zongene resort where there is a campsite. It was a very nice setting and we were the only campers that night:
Went for a walk on the beach:

Nice swimming pool in the lodge:

Day 8 Fish Eagle Campsite - Mapai

This was the day when we were going to cross the borded into Mozambique! We drove from Fish Eagle Resort to Kruger National Park to the Punda Maria Gate. When we rung the park the day before we were told that we must stay in South African side in the park for 1 night before crossing into Mozambique at Pafuri gate. So we arrived at Punda Maria Gate and there another story of course :) We could go straight to the border and it was not necessary to stay the night in the park before going to Mozambique. So we spent half of the day in Kruger Park, saw some buffalo, elephants, zebras and lots of buck and antilopes:

Then we got to the Pafuri Gate at the Mozambican border. It was around 1 pm, to cross the border on South African side was nice and easy: "have a great trip, thank you very much!" But when we crossed into Mozambique, that was another story:/ At the immigration everything was very easy and quick, just filled in a small form, got our visas stamped. But then at the customs they gave us hard time:/ We had our 3rd party insurance and we had to pay 30 day import duty tax for car which was 300 rand. (???) Then they searched the car and wanted more money - 300 rand for 7 beers we had in fridge!!! We knew they just want Boa Festa money and we don't have to pay anything! So we just refused to pay took our papers and drove away...
The road to Mapai is sandy, goes alongside Limpopo River, which at the time was dry.

Small villages, huts made of mud or wood and donkey carts.

Some car stuck in the sand:

The difference between South African side enormous. It took us few hours to get to Mapai-Ngala. There we went to Limpopo National Park gate and found out we would have to pay 610 rand to get in the park and camp there. We already paid entrance fee into Kruger Park so that would be silly. No thank you! :) So we went off. We crossed the Limpopo River (70 Rand)

and found a place to camp 20 km away in town Mapai.

Very basic campsite - guys will give you some water for shower, long drop toilets. We cooked our dinner and went to bed early. Our braai area:


and campsite:
Travel Map

Day 7 Sunland Baobab - Fish Eagle Campsite

In the morning we went few kilometres to Modjadji town were there was cheap diesel, so we filled up there and also our diesel tanks on top of the roof.

We headed towards Giyani and then turned off North. There were some roadworks and people dancing while waiting at the lights:

This day we didn’t travel far because we wanted to get into Kruger National Park early in the morning, so we camped 1 hour drive from the park and just chilled near the dam and swimming pool. Sinty was updating the blog and Stephane planned route into Mozambique. 

There were signs that there were crocodiles in the dam, so we were looking forwards to see them :D

The weather was hot - 42 degrees, and this was our view for the day:

Day 6 Pretoria - Sunland Baobab

In the morning we said goodbye to our wonderful hosts and went to Tanzanian Embassy to pick up our visas and we were on the road again :) We are heading North towards Pafuri border crossing with Mozambique. The weather is getting more and more humid and greener, trees bigger:

Some places around here you can see signs saying that the food you eat are provided by the farmer as there are so many white farmers being killed in South Africa:

We got to Polokwane city which is a busy place where you can find everything. Lots of huge and fancy shopping malls, so we did our last shopping before getting to Mozambique.

After Polokwane terrain becomes more mountainous and the sky seems to be lower:

We found very nice camping, near the biggest baobab in the World! (website) It is 1700 years old and 47 m circumference! There was even bar inside the tree! We were the only campers here, had some beers with the farmer, braaid the dinner. It was a very nice place to stay.

Day 5 Pretoria

In the morning we went to Tanzanian Embassy to apply for our visas. It was very rainy day here, thunders and lightnings till afternoon. This is the beautiful place we stayed at:

And the view:

In the afternoon after the rain stopped we decided to tour around the city and went to Voortrekkers Memorial.

From there you can see beautiful views of Pretoria from top of the koppie:

Inside the memorial there is a museum where you can learn a lot about Voortrekkers - how they lived and where they travelled to and a lot more. We are not really museum people, but we must admit, this one was worth visiting, we were impressed…