In the next few days we hurriedly prepared for the next leg of the trip which for us would be about three weeks. First stop would be a camping trip with my parents and sister at Morrungulo, Mozambique. Its a long drive, almost a thousand kilometers from Harare so we set off early with Me, Soph, Annie, my sister Louise in the lead and my parents following on later. There were no problems on the Zim side, customs, immigration so far so good. Then having got our scrap of paper with all the stamps and signatures on it we approach the border gate. “Have you gone through police clearance?”, “No, where do I do that?”. She points across the road where a couple of guys are sitting under a tree. “Yes, those guys”.
I walk over and hand over our documents. He tells us that unfortunately the letter typed up and signed by my dad, authorising me to use his vehicle, requires a police stamp. I tell him nobody told me about any stamp. Ah sorry, you need a stamp. Uncomfortable silence. I offer to wait three hours for my dad who is on his way. Uncomfortable silence. He realises that we are not going to pay a bribe and gives up, “Agggh, you may proceed”.
Somehow the Mozambique side was much more busy, a hectic whorlwind of running back and forth, filling in forms, showing documents and handing out cash. I do not fail to note the sign informing that over the counter visas for any nationality were just US$25 and not the exorbitant US$110 that I had paid at the embassy. They also seemed to take as long as handing over the money and getting a stamp, not the 4 hours wait that the embassy had warned us of. Eventually we cleared the border and were in Mozambique.
The difference between the two countries is immediately obvious. Although the people look much the same, most don’t speak a word of English, speaking only their local language or Portuguese. It is also very obviously less developed than Zimbabwe, even with Zim in its current state. Just about the only modern buildings, and by that I mean buildings more complex than single room huts, are those built by the Portuguese before they were expelled from the country, and are almost always completely derelict. The difference in architecture, old decaying feel of the buildings and the foreign language all combined to make my photographic eye very itchy, however we didn’t have time to stop and take photos as we had another ten hours or so ahead of us.
We had a quick stop at the supermarket to get some goodies, and also changed some money with one of the notoriously shifty money-changers. Despite our vilgilance he managed to bamboozle us and would have gotten away with our bucks had it not been for Sophie’s recount, some shouting and some very quick reversing. Soon we are on the road again, going along at the omg-even-worse-than-Australia speed limit of 100km/h. Unfortunately unlike Zimbabwe with its $20 speeding fine, it seems the Mozambique government’s biggest income is from speeding fines and they are not to be trifed with. Each little town with its picturesque, dilapidated shacks and casas requires a slow down to 60, made even worse by the fact that we didn’t have time to slow down to a complete stop and take photos. There was a lot of drive-by photography on this trip.
Soon the GPS was telling us there was 60km to go. Almost there! It was at this point that the road, which had so far been decent, began to deteriorate. It was not long before the potholes were such that it became easier to drive along the dirt on the sides of the road than the tar itself. This lead to interesting situations where the locals would be walking along the tar, while the traffic drove by them on either side. Eventually at about 9pm we arrived at the campsite, a nice grassy area, shaded by coconut palms and scattered with coconuts. In the middle rose a two story, palm thatched hut or baracca, complete with a powerpoint which provided a few hours of power per day. My parents arrived safely a couple of hours later.

In the next few days we hurriedly prepared for the next leg of the trip which would be about three weeks. First stop would be a camping trip with my parents and sister at Morrungulo, Mozambique. Its a long drive, almost a thousand kilometers from Harare so we set off early with Me, Sophie, Annie, my sister Louise in the lead and my parents following on later. There were no problems on the Zim side with immigration or customs. Then having got our scrap of paper with all the stamps and signatures on it we approached the border gate. “Have you gone through police clearance?”, “No, where do I do that?”. She points across the road where a couple of guys are sitting under a tree. “Yes, those guys”.

I walk over and hand over our documents. He tells us that unfortunately the letter typed up and signed by my dad, authorising me to use his vehicle, requires a police stamp. I tell him nobody told me about any stamp. Ah sorry, you need a stamp. Uncomfortable silence. I offer to wait three hours for my dad who is on his way. Uncomfortable silence. He realises that we are not going to pay a bribe and gives up, “Agggh, you may proceed”.

Somehow the Mozambique side was much more busy, a hectic whorlwind of running back and forth, filling in forms, showing documents and handing out cash. I did not fail to note, with extreme irritation, the sign informing that over the counter visas for any nationality were just US$25 and not the exorbitant US$110 that I had paid at the embassy. They also seemed to take as long as handing over the money and getting a stamp, not the 4 hours wait that the embassy had warned us of. Eventually we cleared the border and were in Mozambique.

The difference between the two countries is immediately obvious. Although the people look much the same, most don’t speak a word of English, speaking only their local language or Portuguese. It is also very obviously less developed than Zimbabwe, even with Zim in its current state. Just about the only modern buildings, and by that I mean buildings more complex than single room huts, are those built by the Portuguese before they were expelled from the country, and are almost always completely derelict. The difference in architecture, old decaying feel of the buildings and the foreign language all combined to make my photographic eye very itchy, however we didn’t have time to stop and take photos as we had another ten hours drive ahead of us.

We had a quick stop at the supermarket to get some goodies, and also changed some money with one of the notoriously shifty money-changers. Despite our vilgilance he managed to bamboozle us and would have gotten away with our bucks had it not been for Sophie’s recount, some shouting and some very quick reversing. Soon after we were on the road again, going along at the omg-even-worse-than-Australia speed limit of 100km/h. Unfortunately unlike Zimbabwe with its $20 speeding fine, it seems the Mozambique government’s biggest income is from speeding fines and they are not to be trifed with. In addition, each little town with its picturesque, dilapidated shacks and casas requires a slow down to 60, made even worse by the fact that we didn’t have time to slow down to a complete stop and take photos. There was a lot of drive-by photography on this trip.

Soon the GPS was telling us there was 60km to go. Almost there! It was at this point that the road, which had so far been decent, began to deteriorate. It was not long before the potholes were such that it became easier to drive along the dirt on the sides of the road than the tar itself. This lead to interesting situations where the locals would be walking along the tar, while the traffic drove by them on either side. Eventually at about 9pm we arrived at the campsite, a nice grassy area, shaded by coconut palms and scattered with coconuts. In the middle rose a two story, palm thatched hut or baracca, complete with a powerpoint which provided a few hours of power per day. My parents arrived safely a couple of hours later.