So Mattias, Manuel, Ronya, and I left our hostel at 6am were able to find the back of a truck, which we shared with a very large dead fish for the 13km’s to Inhanbane. From there we headed to the pier and hopped on a small boat heading across the bay all while a massive rainbow shone above us. After that it was a few more hours in a minibus to Vilankulos. Mattias, Manuel, and Ronya made the rookie mistakes of getting jammed in the back, while I was able to snag the front row, which has much more leg room. Suckers!
Vilankulos is known for its beautiful islands and boat trips around those islands. So we got quoted from our hostel at $70/night for a day trip, which sounded a bit expensive to us. So we walked down to the beach where the dhows are negotiated a rate of $100 to get taken out for the day, lunch included. With 2 more german girls hopping on it would only cost us a more modest $17/person for the trip. We agreed to meet at 7am the next morning.
Of course before we could leave the skipper had to go the market and get our food to cook. There’s always something! Turns out we were also taking some of the locals who lived on this island with us as well, which was fine, it added to authenticity of dhow experience. We all waded in the ocean, hopped in and were off. The dhow is a single-sail boat that has no motor. The wind wasn’t very strong so we were off to a slooooow start. Like barely moving. I guess it will be a VERY relaxing boat trip. But after a while the wind picked up slightly, letting us move at something faster than a snail’s pace.
After about two hours, Ahoy matey! We had reached land. The island was gorgeous: white sand beaches, sand dunes, and an inland scrub forest. And we basically had it all to ourselves. The locals went one way to their little village and we went the other way to explore a bit. It’s always cool to be in a place this beautiful, but also to be the only ones there. After going for swim we embarked on a journey around the island, which would be much hotter and longer than anyone anticipated! I was glad I had my towel with me, which I used to cover my head and shoulders, desert bedouin style. A few hours later we finally stumbled our way back to where the dhow was anchored, and thankfully our lunch was being grilled up.
It was much more than we had expected! In the morning when we asked what was for lunch our reply was rice and tomatoes. But there were grilled fish fillets, potatoes in a tomato/onion/garlic chutney, rice, and pineapples. Really good stuff. We did a lot of eating and very little talking. Then we had a couple more hours to relax and swim, and then it was back to the mainland. Our dhow had a bunch of new passengers as well as a bunch of fish to be sold in the market. The breeze was a bit stronger in the afternoon and we made it back in only an hour or so. Very solid day!
The next day was a relax and do nothing day. I had some time to wander around the villages and the market, both of which are quite photogenic. But they’ll yell at you anytime you try and take a photo in the market. Photography can be challenging in Africa sometimes!
We decided that we did want to visit some of the other islands, and to do that we did indeed have to pay for the legit boat tour, with you know, a boat that has an engine. So we all coughed up $65 or so for a tour of bazaruto island, which is the most picturesque island of the bunch, as well as a snorkelling excursion. And it was very nice! On one side it’s all sand dunes with sand bars wrapping their way out into the ocean, which of course makes for lovely photos. So we had some time to climb the dunes and take a dip in the water before going snorkelling. The snorkelling wasn’t really all that exciting, but the boat ride was! Some sore bums all around.
We ate a very similar lunch to the first one, also delicious, and then had more time to chill on the beach before heading onwards. We stopped at one other sand dune island for a bit, and then sped off towards home. Another really nice day on the islands. We had one more chill day, and then we were all heading back towards Maputo. The bus left at 4am, so we thought: might as well just stay up all night until the bus leaves! Well this maybe wasn’t the best idea, but it did lead to an interesting night! We played drinking games until 11 and then headed to AfroBar, a place that is supposed to popular with locals and tourists alike.
Well there weren’t many tourists there, but we certainly did make a lot friends with the locals! Some people took their turns doing dances on the stripper pole they had there, not me of course, I would never do such a thing :p. We stumbled home at 2:30am, took a little swim in the pool, packed up our stuff and somehow made it to the bus station on time. It left at 5am, and let’s just say I slept well! Ronya let me sleep in her lap the whole time, which was a perfect pillow, so if you read this, thanks Ronya! I got off the bus around 1pm to break up the trip with a beach stop while the rest of the group would have another 5 hours back to Maputo. And that was basically it for Mozambique! I stayed one night on the beach and one more night in Maputo, where I met up again with Ronya and Manuel, and that was it! Time for South Africa!