The Urban Wanderer

Crossing Borders ~ Bridging Cultures ~ Traveling Responsibly

The day we were nearly arrested in Mozambique!

CAF80D05-48CE-4D8C-BB68-6A44AADCDC3DThis post was originally written on March 11, 2020

After leaving Eswatini (Swaziland) we crossed the border into Mozambique. After years of civil war Mozambique is fairly untouched. Tourism hasn’t hit this country, which makes things so much more authentic, but also a little bit interesting.

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Our first night was in the capital city of Maputo. The traffic is insane, where during peak periods a road that typically has 4 lanes (2 lanes in each direction with a ‘meridian’ in between) suddenly becomes 3 lanes in one direction where we are now in the single lane and cars are coming towards us on our side of the meridian! Does this make sense? Explaining this seems impossible!

The city itself is chaos. As we walked to see the famous train station that was designed by Gustave Eiffel we walked past people selling everything from cloves of garlic to underwear. The streets are riddled with garbage and you have to watch where you walk because the gutters on either side of the road are filled with garbage and bubbling sludge. We definitely got our share of stares as we were the only group of tourists that we could see.Things work at a different pace as well. When we went to eat dinner we had to wait for about an hour and a half for our food to arrive (our orders were things like salads or cheese sandwiches). We were warned that this would be the case so when we sat down we knew we were in it for the long haul.


Maputo’s Train Station

Needless to say we only had one night in Maputo and soon enough we were off to paradise where things are peaceful and the nature is stunning.

Our first stop has been Tofo. We drove for about 10 hours to get here, but when we saw the crystal clear waters of the ocean we all knew it was so worth it. We are staying in cool little beach huts that are made of grass and bamboo and the roof is completely thatched.

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A few of us girls have become really close (along with our guides) so last night after dinner we decided to go swimming in the ocean under a full moon (and don’t worry – I made sure to give everyone a second full moon…mine just might be a tad brighter). After being jostled around for quite some time in the beautifully warm ocean we decided to turn it in for the night. As we were getting out of the water we could see a couple of people walking towards us. As we got closer to shore we could see that they were actually police officers. They were not happy with us and at first accused us of smoking. Clearly we were drowned rats and could not have a cigarette on us. Suddenly two officers became three and then four. All of a sudden Lucy decided to play Red Rover and barreled past them until she was abruptly stopped. (She had no clue that they were the police!). They grabbed one of the girls by the arm and wanted us to come with them. They didn’t speak a lick of English and clearly we don’t speak Portuguese so there was a lot of motioning and gestures. We decided to keep walking and ignore their demands. I mean at this point we didn’t know for sure if they were even legitimate police! Once we got to our hotel we got someone who spoke the language to come and help us. The police followed us to our hotel and there was a major discussion about how we broke the rules. I have to admit that part of me wanted to get arrested as it would make for such a great story … and I will never forget our friend from Leeds say ‘I’m f&$’n gutted you didn’t get arrested’ as she watched the commotion happen before her eyes. After lots of back and forth and many apologies from our guide they finally left us alone. They told us that we can’t swim after dark however after talking to other local people today we are told that is not even a rule and they clearly just wanted to get money out of us. We had a good laugh after and took our own mug shots.

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This morning we had another life altering adventure. We did an ocean safari. We are soooooo lucky because it happens to be the right season to see whale sharks. They are the biggest fishes in the sea and unfortunately have become endangered. We spent 2 hours out in the boat finding pods of dolphins and one giant whale shark. I had really incredible encounters with the dolphins. At one point I was literally swimming next to them where I could reach out and almost touch them. Probably only one meter away. There were dozens of dolphins. It was absolutely incredible. Words can’t even express how magical it was. I’ve swam with the dolphins before in Zanzibar but this was nothing like my last experiences. There were just a few boats out today and we came so freaking close to them. The whale shark took me to a whole other planet. He came swimming towards me so I got to see his big wide mouth. I was right on top of him and the width of this amazing beast was jaw dropping. I literally was speechless and just wanted to cry in happiness.  It’s so crazy amazing how incredible our planet is. I wish I had photos to show you, but I am sure your imagination can create the beautiful images that I got to experience!

If you are interested in taking a tour that covers the places on my adventure check out G Adventure’s Mozambique, Kruger & Swazi Discoverer


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