Tuesday 25 June 2013

The End of the Game

Mercado Central, Inhambane, MZ
After nearly ten months away from family, friends and Switzerland, I'm back in town. I've left for my adventures on the 26th of August 2012 and was back on the 24th of June 2013. That's the longest period of time I have spent out of Switzerland.

When I left I wasn't sure at all at about what I was going to do. Now it feels great to have lived through this amazing adventure. Yes, it has been kind of an adventure. Starting with the Divemaster course, I didn't know where I would land or whom I would encounter. It comes out I have met some great people at Tofo Scuba and Tofo in general, and some less great ones. But then, you can't be friends with everyone I guess.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Mt Meru

Arusha National Park gate
I left Iringa in a bus to Arusha. The bus comes from Mbeya where it probably should leave around 6 and pass Iringa around 10. As it happened, and as it is usual, the bus only arrived around 11. Then instead of the scheduled 14 hours, it took 16 hours to get to Arusha. We got there around 3 the next morning.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

16 hours in a stuffy bus

Ok it was a big bus, so it was much more comfortable. But let me tell you, 16 hours in a bus where you can barely see out of the small windows is still too long. And then the seats are still pretty squeezy. But I made it to Arusha around 3 am (departed from Iringa around 11am). So I guess I can't complain.

The next and last big African bus ride will be from Arusha to Dar-es-Salaam. But that's for another day, after my trek to Mt Meru.

Saturday 8 June 2013


In Iringa I spent a night in Wihanzi Guesthouse which had been recommended to me by Pat & Tom. Once I found it, namely after having been way too far down one road, it happened to be really close to the bus station. The only problem was communication, as I don't speak Kiswahili, and the staff doesn't speak English, or any other language that would help for that matter. But I inquired for Ruaha anyway, as I saw a notice for budget travellers.

Monday 3 June 2013

Another fancy bus ride

TIA you say? Once again it's proven that even when you get used to do one thing a day; get ready to spend almost a full day in a bus or even worse, a minibus; get up at 6.30 to catch an early bus around 7 – 7.30; planning to wait an hour or two until the bus departs; expect to be 300 kms further around 6 or 7 hours later; you still end up discouraged when the bus finally starts its engine to go nowhere.

a bus
Let me explain. I got up at 6.30 that morning to catch an early bus that should've let me arrive in Iringa around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, with plenty of time to go find an internet access and get organized for the following days. But then, after an hour waiting in the bus, the driver finally started its engine to warm it up before leaving. They usually do that about 15 minutes before leaving (no exact science though). But it soon became apparent that the engine didn't want to cooperate, and it turned off all the time. That's the lack of maintenance. I really want to tell them, but to what avail? Anyway, after trying to get out (with a police woman on board) we stop again in a side road in town. Then another bus comes along and stops in front of us. I thought this one was there to help us. Our driver kept trying the engine again and again. A lot of people were talking and arguing outside. I kept on reading my Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf. After another long time we managed to take the bus to the police station, which astonished me a bit.

Friday 31 May 2013

Simambwe village

Pat and Tom invited me over to the village where they are working as Peace Corps volunteers. We took a dala dala or minibus taxi. It was one of the medium sized ones. About numerous stops to fill it up with passengers and about an hour later, we arrived on top of a hill where we had to get out. Simambwe is located on the main road between Songwe border (from where I came crossing over from Malawi) and Mbeya.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Welcome to East Africa (Tanzania)

I asked Elious from Ecolodge if he could organize my motorcycle trip back to Monkey Bay. He later told me it was organized, so I didn't give too much thought about it, although I knew I had to be in Monkey Bay at latest at six. For security I took the driver's phone number. The next morning I woke up at 4.30 and was ready at quarter to five. At that time I called the driver to see if he was up and running, but got the operator's standard message which says the correspondent isn't available. So I waited and called again around five. He then answered and said he was on his way, but arrived only about 20 minutes later. When asked why he was late, he answered he was fixing the tyre up to 8 the previous night. At 5.30 we finally left for Monkey Bay. I wanted to leave at five in order to be comfortable on time and not to have to rush as the road wasn't all good and full of potholes. But that went to the monkeys. We sped along on the tar road and I was even more scared than on the way in. We got to Monkey Bay in one piece just in time for me to catch the bus. I only lost my bottle of water on the way. Small price to pay.

Sunday 26 May 2013

Kayaking Lake Malawi

First pic-nic spot
After two days of sitting here like a duck on a stone, I decided it was time for me to do something again. The loose stool having lasted less than two days, I remain only with the great fatigue and the weird skin feeling. The fatigue isn't better if I do nothing and sleep. Actually, doing something sparks my brain and I feel less tired while I'm at it.

First things first, I organized my lift to Monkey Bay for the next morning. A motorbike taxi should pick me up at five in the morning. Although this remains to be confirmed. From Monkey Bay I will take the bus to Lilongwe, but only up to Salima, where I probably will have to change and take another one for Mzuzu (pronounced Moozoozoo).

Thursday 23 May 2013


About five days after arriving in Mufasa Rustic Backpackers in Monkey Bay I left it for Cape McLear. Marc, the Spanish guy who travels from Alexandria to Cape Town on a Yamaha Ténéré 600, went there a day before and came back to say he got a good deal with a place there with diving and kayaking included. So I decided to join him there for the dives the next day.

Going out for a dive in Lake Malawi
QB the current manager at Mufasa and José the night guard helped me out to get a transport to Cape McLear. They told me the best was to take one of the motorbike taxis. I showed them my big bags and told them it will probably be too much luggage, but they said no it's going to be fine, they have space to pack the bags upon. When the bike came, I saw the small space, and wondered how the driver, me, my big Travel Trekker, my backpack and my camera bag were going to fit onto it. Unfortunately nobody took a picture, because it was a sight. The helmet obviously didn't fit me and I would probably be better off without it in case of an accident.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Pour Zinet

Africa is beautiful. There are many black people here. They are nice. But they want money.

C'est assez court comme ça mon Zinet chou ?

Cape McLear, Malawi

Friday 17 May 2013

Lilongwe to Monkey Bay

I woke up early, around 5 am. I tried to sleep some more until my wake-up call at 5.40 but I couldn't. So I finally got up around 5.20. It didn't take long to prepare myself and my stuff. A quick brushing of my teeth, closing my bags and taking everything out of the dorm. The taxi driver was already waiting outside and we promptly left for the bus station. At some point I realized I had forgotten my toasting bread in the reception area of the backpackers while leaving. Too late.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Chipata to Lilongwe

The confusion was total when I wanted to organize a taxi for the taxi rank or the border in the morning. But first things first. The “planning the next day” way of traveling has its downsides when you forget to think ahead in case some buses only drive on certain days. So it happened that I got back from South Luangwa on a Wednesday with the bus running on Wednesday. No need to say it was gone when I got there to check for the next day. The next bus would only be on Sunday. So I would have to travel by shared taxis and minibus combis.

Sunday 12 May 2013

South Luangwa

Video by Marc Viaplana

Marula Camp & Lodges is held by Mike and his wife, a couple of white Zimbabweans. It's located on the river, in walking range of the gate of the national park. It is strongly recommended NOT to walk because of the wild animals roaming freely around the different camps. The river is infested with crocodiles and hippos, and it is thus strongly advised to stay clear of it.

Thursday 9 May 2013


Dean's Hill View Lodge
Chipata, with its small town atmosphere and its strong Muslim and Indian influences, looks and feels like an old African town from the last century. Most shops are owned by Arabs or Indians and close early around five. If you turn off the Great East Road before arriving to the shopping malls, you will find the modern world only after looking well. Well, you will still see mobile phones and other electronics for sale, but the town itself doesn't look modern at all. There is no ATM or supermarket in Down Town Chipata.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Wall-E and Eve in Kafue National Park

That Friday morning I finally checked out of Kalulu again and said goodbye to Mark and Tina and others. Tim would be leaving for Ethiopia and then Vietnam where he is teaching English the same day. Tina is a girl working at the backpackers doing all sorts of cleaning tasks. She is really nice and always wears a smile on her face. I had arranged a taxi to take me to Leopards Hill Road when I arrived in Lusaka two days earlier, but the taxi driver's phone was offline for the last day and I couldn't contact him. He didn't show up either, so I eventually checked outside the doors of the backpackers to see if there was a taxi. As there are always some customers needing a taxi, there is mostly one waiting outside. He said he would drive me to Crossroads for KR 50. I told him it was further and offered to pay him KR 80, as much as I had negotiated with the first taxi driver. It's the first time I actually put a price up and not down.

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Mosi oa Tunya with the Wild Bunch

Before walking to the falls
The following day I didn't see Eve and Andrea until evening because they left quite early. I started the day with laundry and then had some toasts with honey and tea for breakfast. I spent most of the day at the backpackers taking care of the laundry, lounging by the pool reading and playing ball with the English people who had come along for the football game the previous day. They even had me play some cricket for 5 minutes in the small compound. Around six thirty in the evening I saw Mitra, Eve and Andrea who were back from their Chobe day trip. They saw a lot of elephants, a lion, hippos, crocs, a rhino or two (if I remember well) and so on. We then all went to Cafe Zambezi for dinner. It's not the cheapest place, but they usually play salsa music and have good food. They have a mix of local and Caribbean dishes interspersed with classic western culture meals. They have salsa classes there on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in which Torsten takes part. When we got back to the backpackers our now almost “traditional” cuddling session followed. Mitra took part as well and we chatted for quite a while. The girls were planning to go to the falls the next day, and invited Mitra and me to join them.

Sunday 28 April 2013

A Wallet as Big as Texas

Wall painting by Zig Zag
Coming “home” from the football game with the Lubasi orphanage kids, I planned to give my clothes away for laundry. So I put everything from my pant pockets onto the bed and covered it with my sleeping bag so I could quickly change clothes and give the laundry bag to the lady who would take care of it. I went to the lady, she weighed the bag and said it was KR 25 per kilogram. Do the math for 3.5 kgs. Instead of giving her the laundry, she sold me a washing paste for KR 5 (about USD 1). I took it and went back to the dorm to get the KR 5. Only, my wallet wasn't on the bed. I wildly searched on the bed, in the sleeping bag, under the pillow, around the bed, on the shelf next to the bed, in the pants in the laundry bag, in the bag itself, in the backpacks, in short, everywhere. I couldn't find it. When I left it on the bed, I didn't notice anyone in the dorm. Now there were two girls chatting on a bed. After I rummaged through my stuff a couple of times, ran erratically in and out and around the dorm and said “shit” a couple of times, they asked me if everything was alright. I told them I lost my wallet, and that it probably had been stolen. What was weird though, was that my passport, my phone and other things were still under the sleeping bag on the bed.

Saturday 27 April 2013

Livingstone, Zambia

After 3 nights of chilling out, chatting to people, going out and generally not doing much in Lusaka, I took a bus to Livingstone. There I would be meeting Torsten whom I met in Tofo in January. He dove with us a couple of times and he came to my snorkel test. Apparently we met another fellow, Matt, but only after I had emptied my snorkel. I don't remember anything from after that point.

Road gang
I asked Shawn, the manager at Kalulu (which means rabbit in the local language) about the buses to Livingstone, and he told me I had to book. New information, as the previous I got, was that I could just show up and buy a ticket. He tried to call one company which they always use, but they didn't answer. As it was getting late I decided to go the following day. Shawn told me he would call them again and book for me later in the day.

Friday 19 April 2013

Zim Zam Zoum

In the Intercape luxury coach from Harare to Lusaka I met Sam the tour guide who was going to get a six month contract for walking safaris somewhere in Zambia, Resh* the Indian guy working for an international company and Thomas* the German guy working for the same international company for about 6 months. Thomas was still in his studies as a lawyer, and was doing a practical for the time being. It was a night bus leaving around 10pm so we didn't talk much then. When we got to the border around 4 am, we had, once again, to wait for the post to open at 6. I barely slept on the bus, and I couldn't sleep while waiting at the post. Inside was uncomfortable and outside was a bit cold.

Just before 6 Sam came to me and told me they sold coffee at the bar at the gates, so we went and I bought a cup of tea. I quickly swallowed half of the scalding hot cup of tea because the coach was ready to drive into the border aera.

Thursday 18 April 2013


Zimbabwe national flag
With the last three weeks of traveling Zimbabwe still fresh in my mind, with names like Innocent, Privilege, Blessing, Pain, Talkmore and so on in my mind, with things seen, read and experienced, I can say full of emotions, that I still don't know what's happening around me. How did these people get by when a monthly salary couldn't buy a loaf of bread ? How did they keep their optimism, their friendliness and happiness ? Can you imagine Switzerland, or any European country, experiencing an exponential inflation like they've had here in Zimbabwe ? It might happen you say ? I don't think so, because we're “first world” countries where any other big power will step in and help us out of the worst. Whereas Zimbabwe didn't have anything valuable for the big powers to step in for. HIV is still a big problem in Zimbabwe, but people tend not to speak about it too much, or at least not in public. You can even get circumcised against HIV. If you think about it, it's not worse than South African President Jacob Zuma saying on national news that he took a shower after having sex with young girls to prevent himself from getting AIDS. Where is this going you say ? Why is this post called “Harare” you ask me? I don't know, I just wanted to summarize briefly before going away out of the country.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Chinhoyi Caves

Sleeping Pool Cave
Finally, after all this time in Zimbabwe, I got to visit these famous caves I had heard are beautiful. Initially, I wanted to go straight from Vic Falls to Harare, but you have to go over Bulawayo, so I took the train back to Bulawayo. In Bulawayo someone gave me the incentive to first visit Great Zimbabwe and the Eastern Highlands, so that's what I did. And then I went to Harare, I arranged my visa for Malawi, and the day after, went to visit the caves.

It's one and a half hours drive northwest from Harare by minibus taxi. I woke up at 6, and was at the road just before 7. I chose to go in a bigger van (like those airport shuttles) and was seated in the front seat between the driver and another passenger. The uncomfortable part was only that I had to move away a bit for the driver to be able to change gear. I got to Chinhoyi around 9.30 and stayed around there for about an hour. I waited to see if the sun would shine more into the cave and reach the water, but the cave isn't orientated that way.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Alpine Lowe Travel Trekker II 70

In July 2012 I toured all the sports and bag shops I could find that would have trekking backpacks. I was looking for an improvement on my old backpack which is still in really good condition, but unfortunately not spacious enough. It's other disadvantage is that the bag has one opening on top and one in the bottom. I was looking for a more modern view with mid or side opening.

Alpine Lowe made the Travel Trekker II which opens like a suitcase. You get instant access to the whole length of the bag. Although you still have to dig underneath your stuff for access to the bottom, at least the bottom is not as deep down as in a traditional backpack.

Friday 12 April 2013

3 Swiss in Nyanga

Connemara lakes and World's View

I slept quite early this night, and woke up just before seven. I had plenty of time so I watched an episode of Southpark before going out to breakfast at 8. I had packed my bags the previous night. Watching out of the window, I saw the weather hadn't improved from the previous day, and it seemed to be quite fresh. Nevertheless, I decided to be optimist and put on a short. At 8 I went out to the dining room to join Claudia and Marco for breakfast. They had already made tea and I brought out and prepared the toasts. Once we had finished, we finished packing, brushed our teeth and left northwards in direction of Nyanga.

Thursday 11 April 2013

3 Swiss in the Bvumba Mountains

Burma Valley
In the morning we prepared toasts and got some tea from the guesthouse and looked sadly at the heavy clouds that had built up during the night. While we ate our breakfast the guys came to bring in the Toyota Sprinter that was to be ours for 3 days. The owner wrote an affidavits with my name on it before giving us the keys. Although the car wasn't new, it was in a pretty good shape (for African standards anyway). The tires were pretty worn out though.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

3 Swiss in Zimbabwe - Intro

I came back to Mutare and Homestead Guesthouse from my failed attempt at camping in the Bvumba Mountains when I met a couple of tourists in the lounge of the guesthouse. After hearing them talk a little bit I felt they were probably Swiss Germans or Germans. Asking them confirmed my “suspicion” of them being Swiss Germans from around St. Gallen. We got along quite well and started talking about our different traveling. After a while we finally exchanged our names anyhow. We were so preoccupied by other more important things that we forgot about the simple courtesy of asking for and telling names.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Saturday 6 April 2013

Expedition Great Zimbabwe

Hill complex

Before my second night at Lily's place in Bulawayo I visited Hillside Dams with Matthew and went to town for him to catch his bus to Johannesburg. I walked around with Kenneth, one of Lily's 6 kids, inquiring in every coach office to see if they any of them went to Masvingo. But the answer was always negative. Kenneth showed me a small bus, or minibus station, where I could catch a ride to Masvingo on the way to Matthew's pickup point in town. I went to have a look there and learned that they go to Masvingo and that it would cost me USD 10 without any extra charges for my big luggage.
Coming back to Lily's later that day, after walking the whole way, I told Margaret about my new plans for Masvingo (instead of Harare). She was surprised I took her advice to go to Masvingo first, and from there to Mutare or Harare. She told Lily, her mother, and when she came back she told me I should leave quite early for Masvingo, so I could go to Great Zimbabwe the same day. I would have to bring my own food as camping and dorm is self-catering only.

Thursday 4 April 2013

By train from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo

train station Vic Falls

On my last day in Victoria Falls, I went to the train station in the morning. It wasn't early, around 10 maybe. I wanted to buy a first class ticket to Bulawayo, and ended up with a second class ticket. My mistake for being lazy. But for my defense, I had to say goodbye to Claire whom I hung out with for a few days. She flew out to Windhoek (instead of taking the bus). So I had my second class ticket which cost me USD 10 instead of the USD 12 for the first class.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Mosi oa Tunya – The Smoke which Thunders

Zimbabwe, 30 Oct. 2010 - 1st April 2013

Here I was again, at the glorious Victoria Falls on Zimbabwe-Zambia border. I didn't even go to the Zambian side because I didn't want to pay a Zim visa again.

Here a few pictures comparing my two visits, one end of October in 2010 and the one now beginning of April 2013.

Oct/Nov 2010

Saturday 30 March 2013

Khame Ruins

Taxi rank, Bulawayo

On this Saturday of Easter weekend I decided to go and visit the Khami Ruins, which lay about 20 km out of Bulawayo. Eric, an American I briefly met when I arrived in Packer's Rest in Bulawayo, told me he hired a taxi to get there and back which cost him a total of USD 120. That's quite a lot of money to visit some old ruins. I thought I'd try to get there by minibus commuter.

Friday 29 March 2013


The Matobo's is a park with a large number of rounded boulders which resemble bald round heads from which the name comes from. At a site now called World's View by Cecil John Rhodes, founder of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), his remains lay in a stone grave with two of his fellow companions of the time.

Thursday 28 March 2013


With a nice mix of colonial style houses and “old” modern buildings, Bulawayo has a specific charm. The citizens are quite laid-back and the atmosphere is quite and gentle. I experienced no harassing from street or crafts vendors. I walked around the city quite a lot and visited the Art Gallery and the Natural History Museum.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Gabs – Leaving ZA or a boring day or two in Gaborone

Robert brought me to the Caltex stop in Midrand where my Intercape bus would be stopping and let me board. Before that, while still at their home in Kempton Park, we made plans for the close future. Laurentia's sister Lucretia told us about Soweto and that I should visit. There are organized tours. Laurentia and Robert never went to Soweto and told me it would be nice to all go and visit together. By the way, Soweto stands for South West Townships.

Tlokweng Road, Gabs
During the previous day I sent and checked the Couchsurfing requests for Gaborone. It seemed a better prospect than to go the only backpackers that looked good on paper, but was a bit out of town (about 12 km). More so, Couchsurfing is always a good way to meet new people and have good local advice for visiting and sightseeing.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Back to Jo'burg

I bought a City to City bus ticket from Hoedspruit to Jo'burg after having contacted Laurentia to see if it was OK to crash a night or two at their place. She said she'd ask her husband Robert, and a little while later answered positively. The bus ticket was for the next day, and so I drove one last time to Hoedspruit with Katryn and Nelri. They left me when the bus arrived. I climbed into the coach and asked the driver if he could drop me off in Midrand, because it was much closer to where I had to go than the train station in the city centre. The driver told me to relax and take a seat, which I did.

Sunday 17 March 2013

Field Guide course

When I sent word to Katryn that I would be glad to accept her invitation to visit her and Nelri in South Africa, she told me that her daughter (Nelri) was going to start a field guide or nature guide course in a short time. She asked me if I wanted to join and after some considerations (course contents, price, etc.) I accepted. Finally Katryn joined in the fun, so we're now all doing it.

Learning to handle a 4x4 in deep sand
When I arrived in Hoedspruit, Katryn and Nelri brought me to the person who would be our instructor to discuss the matter and see if I would do the course. I told him I probably wouldn't do the exam because I most probably would never use the certificate. Moreover, to use it you need to do a one week rifle course first. Which could be quite interesting, but for another time. He accepted, but said he would throw me out if I slowed the two other guys too much. The course contents is quite intense and there is a lot of information to know.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Flying over the Lowveld and other travels

Flying over the Lowveld with this tiny aircraft called a gyrocopter was a special and amazing experience. Katryn, my hostess, got a message on her Blackberry community group conversation that one person was going to fly from Hoedspruit to Tzaneen the following morning. He was looking for a passenger because he'd rather fly with some company than alone. That's how I found myself to be responsible for hauling the whole crew out of the game farm early morning on Katryn's birthday. We left around 7.20 for the civil airfield in Hoedspruit.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Lowveld of Limpopo Province


When I was still finishing my Divemaster in December in Tofo, I met these two ladies whom I now live with for a few weeks. They were in holidays in Tofo and Nelri, the daughter did her Open Water course and Deep Adventure dive. Her mother already was a diver, but was not so confident underwater. They went to Manta Reef (one of the world's most popular reefs) where there is usually close to no current. That day though, the current was quite strong and it didn't help Katryn's confidence to rise. So when she wanted to join Nelri for another deep dive on Giant's Castle, which is a drift dive, Katryn hesitated before she did. I offered her to come along on the dive so I could take care of only her. There was still enough space on the boat for me to do so, and this she accepted gladly. Afterwards she offered me to visit them in Hoedspruit, which is in the middle of Big 5 game country. Kruger Park itself is less than 40km away.

Monday 18 February 2013

Maputo to Nelspruit

After seeing my luggage all together, I once again decided it was really too big, and that I should probably loose some objects. I don't seem to have that many things when it's out of the bags, but once packed it just seems that the seams of the bags will let go.

I took the Intercape bus with 2 isreali girls who came in to Base Backpackers yesterday evening and Sean, the American from San Fransisco. The isreali girls were doing some diving in Tofo with us, and it was funny to see them again in Maputo. We then met Miguel, a guy from Portugal travelling in Southern Africa.

Saturday 16 February 2013


Saturday craft market
Maputo is a city where you pinch your nose while walking its streets. It stinks, there's trash and filth everywhere and it's hot. I heard that back in the day, before the Portuguese left, it was nice and clean. Now there's a huge contrast between old half-collapsing and very modern buildings. Big companies like Vodacom, mcel, and Galp and all the banks have shiny new buildings and offices. But most of everything else is left to the ravages of the weather.
One nice thing is that there is a lot of trees and quite a few parks in the city.

Friday 15 February 2013

On the road again

So here I am, on the road again. Today I travelled from Tofo, Inhambane to Maputo. I kind couple of germans who were staying next to Tofo, and half of whom was diving with us, agreed to take me down here in there rental car. They dropped me off at the Base Backpackers, which is apparently better than Fatima's Backpackers here in Maputo. I definitely don't hear much good from Fatima's customers.

All is well, and I'm moving again ! Yay!

See you on my next adventures to South Africa.

Saturday 2 February 2013

Mission Visa - Conclusion

2000 km of minibus taxi travelling
5½ border crossings (4½ of them including Swaziland)
3'700 mts in transport fares in Mozambique
439 Rand in transport fares in South Africa and Swaziland
1'250 Rand for 3 hotel nights
1 new beer picture
countless hours in minibus taxis
countless other spendings

Thursday 31 January 2013

Mission Visa - Ending Phase

Swaziland countryside
Thursday, the third day on the road, and the second out of Mozambique, I woke up a little dispirited in my hotel room. The whole day I thought it was Wednesday, so I didn't think about telling Véronique I was having troubles to get back into Mozambique. I wasn't hungry so I dressed and left for the bus station without breakfast. I found a bus for Mbabane quickly, and we drove off quickly as well. The ride cost me R 15 and about 30 minutes in time. I jumped out of the bus a little before the city center after having asked where the Mozambican embassy was. It actually was located on a hill in the outskirts of the city to where I walked back. I was there quite early, and a few other persons as well. We all waited until the embassy opened at 9:00. When it finally did open, the official quickly took care of me, but said he was sorry he couldn't help me out that day because they were waiting for visa stickers from Maputo. I should come back on Monday. I later learned that Sunday the 3rd was to be a holiday in Mozambique and that the embassy would most likely be closed the next Monday, like the one in Nelspruit.

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Mission Visa - Phase Three

I stamped in into South Africa which was quite easy as I remembered from two years ago. The only funny thing, is that at every border crossing, the officials always ask what my car registration number was. Why would a white guy come here without a car. Once on the other side I found an ATM at the petrol station to which I walked from the border post. There was a small supermarket as well (and plenty of other stores) from which I promptly bought a few things. After 5 months spent in Mozambique, it felt absolutely wonderful to be in a proper supermarket with “modern” products. The only supermarket in Inhambane is a chinese held store which has a lot of cheap chinese crap.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Mission Visa - Phase Two

So I almost had my passport back. The missing part was a visa. I bought a mts 700 ticket at Fatima's for the bus to Maputo, which would be leaving the next morning at 4:00. At 3:30 I was up and running and waiting for the bus at Fatima's. It got there about 45 minutes later. The drive to Maputo was uneventful but long and slow. It's not a particular Fatima's bus like I thought it would be. It's an express bus from Inhambane to Maputo, meaning it wouldn't stop as much as a small chapa. At first there were only two mulungu (white) girls. But then it gradually filled up with local people whenever we stopped to pick some up on the way out of here. We drove past Inharrime which I remember from our trip to Muguambe with Black Jack and Martin. At some point I bought a refreshment, which should have cost mts 25, with the smallest bill I had – a mts 100 note. Another lady bought one with a mts 50 banknote. The kid who sold the drinks ran off to some other people to get some change, but while he was busy getting change, the bus drove off. That was some quite expensive drinks.

Monday 28 January 2013

Mission Visa - Phase One

By that time I had finally finished my dive master course and had planned to go down to Maputo to announce that my passport was lost or stolen. Lack of luck or good luck, the road in Xai-Xai had been washed away by the floods, meaning there was no land transport to Maputo for a while. Flying without passport was out of the question. Instead I called the embassy on Monday morning. The call brought me one step closer to depression. They told me they could issue a new passport, which would take two weeks to get here, but that the visa would be handled by the local authorities. I told her about Abdul and the whole situation I was in (being two months late as well). She said they would be calling Abdul, which they did, and gave him until noon to hand them my passport over. Otherwise, I would have to sort out my visa problems myself and would probably have to pay a substantive fine of mts 1'500 per overdue day (about CHF 30.-). This would get expensive if I had to pay the whole amount for two months overdue.

Mission Visa - Introduction

When I got here I met this guy called Abdul. He's a friendly type and seemd to be involved in quite a few local projects. His neat rasta haircut is well kept and he looks very decent in all aspects. Some time later I learned that he helps people out with their visa situation.

The visa system for tourists is so that you can get a single entry 30 days visa which you then can extend, or a 90 days multiple entry visa. Arriving here, I had to replace my 90 days multiple entry visa made in Geneva by a new single entry visa because they said it had been falsified (someone had really scratched a number and I suspect it's the Mozambican embassy in Geneva in trying to correct their mistake). With the multiple entry visa you can only stay 30 days at a time in the country, and then you have to leave and get back in again. With the single entry visa, you can go to the immigration office to extend it. But this only works twice. After that you have to go out of the country. If you use this method you will have more difficulty in getting a new visa at the border, and may have to go to a Mozambican embassy in one of the neighbouring countries.