African style travel to da beach

Vilankulo Travel Blog

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Dhow travel

Another day of travel, but it proved to be one of the more memorable ones.  As we were eating a leisurely breakfast outside the hostel, a large flock of flamingos flew across the bay, skimming the water gracefully.

We headed for the Pier and just as we were approaching, one of the local boatmen accosted us and offered to take us over to Maxixe.  It was a dhow (a sailing boat), and even though it would be slower, would be better that being a sardine in one of the little ferries that chug to and fro across the bay.  So we waded out to the boat, where his mate grabbed our rucsacs.  They punted out from the shore, set the sail, and we were off.  After all the noise and diesel fumed boats of Asia, this was a real pleasure.  The sunlight sparkled on the waves, our skipper hummed and sang - a man happy in his work - and all was good in the world.

  After the obligatory bailing out, and a bit more punting, we arrived in Maxixe, and our boatman walked us around to the local transport hub, so we could catch a chapas to Vilankulo.

We were given a price designed to fleece us, and even though we tried to bargain, we didn't have much option.  So we sat in the van for an hour, waiting for it to fill up.  Lots of people walked around selling everything from fruit and snacks to toothpaste and kitchen knives.

At last we set off, jampacked.  As usual the bus stopped every now and again to drop people off or more often to squeeze people in.  At one point in the journey, our minivan (designed to hold 13 passengers plus driver) contained: 18 adults plus driver, 6 babies, 1 chicken (live and occasionally squawking) and an amazing number of sacks, bags, boxes and suitcases.

An uncomfortable but entertaining four hours later and we arrived in Vilankulo.  No sooner had we pulled to a stop when a local boy poked his head through the window and asked which backpackers we wanted to go to.  Fo rless than 50p he showed us the way.  The hostel was full but we found room next door in a rustic rondavel.

We hadn't eaten since breakfast so went in search of food.  We happened upon a lively bar and were accosted by a group of South Africans who were working in Mozambique building a pipeline.  They spoke to the bar owners who arranged for us to have some food.  The choice was fish or chicken.  Thinking about the poor chicken on the bus we went for fish, not really knowing what we were going to get.  It ended up being a fantastic meal of grilled fish, homemade chips and salad.  Washed down with a few beers - wonderful.

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Dhow travel
Dhow travel
photo by: pearcetoyou