Upon crossing the border back into Mozambique we found ourselves acutely aware of all we wanted to accomplish in our 30 days, and began planning them out under an avocado tree in Maputo. We had returned to the city to purchase a few final supplies that were surprisingly unavailable in South Africa. In the land of meat, big trucks and infinite things to buy, nobody was able to sell a roof rack small enough to fit our junior truck. In Maputo, it took 2 hours to find and install one. With a map in hand and boxes on the roof, our truck looked prepared to adventure up to northern Mozambique.
First stop was with Mike and Lil, a South African couple we met in Nelspruit who had built a successful family lodge in Mozambique 15 years ago. Having since sold the lodge, they now live on a beautiful farm amidst the sugar cane in southern Mozambique. They had invited us – perhaps mainly Josa – for a visit. Our one night visit quickly turned into three as we listened to their stories about the Mozambique, the coast and where the country and their lives were headed. They reaffirmed all the potential held by Mozambique, giving some excitement and optimism after our first month of bureaucracy.
When we eventually left, we headed off to see a potential property that Bryce had found online back in Toronto. It was just a short drive from Mike and Lil’s and while we felt like it was a longshot, we figured it was worth a peek.
… it was excellent (and this isn’t just because their campsite had an outdoor shower).
After a few days driving around the piece of land with an ex-military turned rare biome researcher, we were bursting with excitement. Rather than continuing the drive up to the North, we rerouted to the beach to crunch numbers and draft up a business plan. With ideas swirling, it was time for the logistics. And so, for the past month and a half our days have involved hours researching and writing combined with long beach walk breaks.
The beach also ended up being a land research opportunity. Mozambique’s coast is rapidly drawing international attention to the country, with the clear blue waters, endless quiet coastline and incredible scuba diving (or, so I hear). While towns like Tofo and Ponto d’Ouro feel remarkably like South African colonies at the moment, I imagine it is only a matter of time before the rest of the world figures it out. And until then, you’re able to enjoy a “busy” day on the beach with no more than 40 other people. Perhaps if the bush doesn’t work, a coastal project could be an easier entry point into Mozambican tourism. We’ll see!
The remainder of the month isn’t overly bloggable. After a few weeks we were sufficiently full of prawns and squid, and were tired of being covered in sand. We had met a couple of permanent travelers in Tofo a week before leaving who were headed in the same direction. The four of us and Josa remarkably packed into our truck and began the slow drive back to Nelspruit for more South African time. Derek and Lisa’s enthusiasm for fully stocked grocery stores after months in small towns of east Africa gave our drive a little extra momentum.
Having barely crossed the border without Josa being detected, we arrived back in Nelspruit. With fast wifi we have been based here finishing up the business plan, battling a nasty bout of malaria, and exploring the city’s nature reserve. There were rumours of a leopard roaming around it but in spite of walking with Josa the leopard bate, we have yet to see more than a handful of birds (and Bryce’s malaria has thankfully cleared). Next stop is a slow drive down to Durban through loads of national parks for a travel and tourism trade show. After what feels like ages tied to computer screens, a return to some nature will be more than welcome.