Beira Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Our ship was docked in Beira for 4 days unloading grain the UN had sent to Zimbabwe, Zambia, and some of the other landlocked African Countries and I was able to go ashore almost everyday. We toured around town, bought sim cards for our cell phones and generally behaved as tourists. The cell phone companies do not permit you to call the US though but I was able to keep in touch with my new Kenyan friends as we had just left Mombasa, Kenya after a 12 day stay there. Of all the places we visited on this "all around Africa" trip, Beira had the least amount of tourist type shops and sales of souvineirs. It does not seem that Beira is a big tourist destination. It is a very historic port though.
Many of the buildings reminded me of soviet era mass produced buildings of Ukraine and Russia, poured concrete slabs set in place by tower cranes in a unusual way by US standards. There were a few pickup trucks with heavily armed soldiers in the back riding through town and I was told there were issues outside town in parts of the countryside. But other than that, we saw no armed guards except at the major stores such as large grocery stores and convenience stores. We felt reasonably safe at all times.
Although the national language is Portugese, we were able to find someone to speak English most places and the members of our crew that spoke Spanish could get their idea across in that similiar language. All of the large shops had at least one English speaker as did the money changers at Barclays Bank.
The taxi drivers were for the most part friendly and I made friends with one older guy who I hired to just drive me around looking for souviniers and see the sites in the evening. I was trying to find a stuffed animal with the name of the location on it for my daughters collection but could not find anything like that in Kenya or Mozambique. I did find hundreds of very high quality carved wood animals, masks and other local lore for unheard of low prices by US standards. There were some really fun bars/clubs on the beach front and many many very pretty ladies. My taxi driver finally found us some individual sellers of carved wood animals that were of very high quality.
Our visit there was a very interesting one for me historically. I had been studying the area of former Rhodesia, now Zambia and Zimbabwe and Beira played a significant role in shipping by rail from the Port of Beira to the inland armies during the wars. I was able to see much of the now defunct railroad system although we not allowed to photograph in the area of the port or rail yards.