On the borderline of corruption and crimes

Hello, Bonjour and Bom Dia from the golden beach in Mozambique. I decided to leave Kruger after 6 nights and an early game drive to hit the border at Komatipoort. This border crossing wasn’t without trouble and unnecessary cash payments. 

The South Aftican side of the border was straight forward but after receiving my gate pass the Mozambiquan side was a hustle and bustle with about 10 people smashing against my car window telling me to stop as they need to sign my pass. I wasn’t too sure about that but after a while I gave them my pass and in that moment it was clear that this wasn’t the most clever thing to do. They charged me 280 ZAR for the car insurance which actually is correct but the other 420 ZAR I payed where just a total rip off. Annoyed, I went to customs to get my visa for another 850 ZAR and my entry stamp. At least the guys had done all the declarations for my vehicle already. So I just needed the last signature on my gate pass, which I got this time from an official police man (blue uniform) and drove off. I just wanted to get out of this chaotic place. Welcome to Mozambique!

As I hit the tar road I relaxed but I was still wondering how many road blocks I would need to go through. I hoped it wouldn’t be many as I really wasn’t in the mood to mess with the corruption here. During the next 4 hours  I was mostly on roads in good conditions and luckily I passed 2 road blocks without any complications. The police officers waived me through, not even interested in my car. The last 6 km was on deep sand the only road leading to Ponta Malongane and my destination, the Tartaruga Maritima. A gorgeous tented camp in the bushes right next to the sandy dunes and the unbelievable long, empty beach with its turquoise water. It was just about looking as if I had found my paradise on this travel route – a lovely place without any other tourists, but amazing landscapes! I have to say I was very relieved to arrive here, find everything easy and the staff just adorable and helpful. The place is a self-catering lodge and I was very happy I decided against all fears to take some vegetables, eggs, milk and amazingly well tasting steaks accross the border, which by the way was an easy task; no one was interested in my fridge.

From the deck at the beach I even spotted a whale in the distance enjoying himself in the ocean. The beach is just incredibly long and beautiful; it allows a walk to Ponta do Ouro the next village which is about 7 km southwards. Ponta do Ouro is more touristique with little shops and restaurants and even one ATM, where I wanted to get some cash as all my cash got ripped off at the border. Unfortunately the ATM didn’t work, the next ATM is in Bela Vista, which is about an hour north and on a toll road where cash is needed. So, I tried different options but nothing worked, in the end I just let time pass at a small bar until magically the ATM started to give out cash again. This is Africa!

The little market in Ponta Malongane is really beautiful and I decided to take a stroll and look around. Everything is hand-made by the people of the community, I could even watch them sitting on a little stool carving gorgeous things out of wood. It’s a lovely place not very touristique and full of nice people trying to earn a living. Of course I couldn’t resist and came back to my tent with plenty of nice souvenirs, that barely fitted in my suitcase.

My new lessons learned during my travels in Mozambique:

  1. Don’t pay more than 280 ZAR for car insurance – at the Komatipoort border lots of unofficial official guys will come for you to make you pay more than needed;
  2. Have enough cash with you – border crossing with visa might be expensive and there is no ATM in Ponta Malongane;
  3. Enjoy a magnificent view of the ocean – you might spot some whales from the kitchen lodge of Tartaruga Maritima!

Cheers to wandering the world and the wonders of our lives – bye bye, salut and adeus ∞

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