I tried to think of a way to write this post so that it comes off as entertaining and insightful, not too boring to read, but also letting you know details...what I came up with is that I just need to post a ton of pictures, so that is what I am going to do.
|This was what our walk home in the evening looked like|
The first leg of the trip consisted of the four of us meeting up in Gabs and then catching a bus down to Joburg. For informational purposes to my fellow volunteers or travelers, let me make quick note that there are a few ways to do this: Intercape leaves-6am, from Kudu gas station at Main Mall, arrives around noon/ 1 o’clock and costs about p230.
TJs leaves at 8am, from the rank, arrives around 2pm, and
costs p200 (no longer an option.) There is also a regular combi system that leaves from the
rank whenever they fill up and costs p200. We took the Intercape because it
seemed like the easiest option, and after a quick stopover in Pretoria, got to
the Joburg bus station around 1pm.
|Chad, Boo and Aimee, starting our|
vacation off right!
|Chad and I enjoying a beer|
The whole tour was hilarious, it cost R65, and we got a commemorative glass (that came filled with beer), and two vouchers to get drafts at the end of the tour on a deck that has some pretty cool views of the city.
It was a great idea, and we had a really fun time. It truly felt like the first real step in our vacation and as we raised a glass over a bowl of peanuts, we toasted to what we knew was going to be a fabulous trip.
We caught the night bus from Joburg to Maputo at 10pm at night, big double decker, air conditioned, wonderfulness. We used Intercape again and I think it cost us about p310. Leave at 10pm, wake up at 8am in Maputo! Maputo is the capital of Mozambique, we were staying the night at Fatima's, and since we got in so early, we wanted to do a bit of exploring.
|Aimee was pumped about the seafood|
fish market, and pretty much toppled over each other to look at everything and haggle prices (another thing you can do in Moz that you can’t do in Bots.) We ended up buying a half kilo of crab, half kilo squid, half kilo calms and half kilo of fish, which we turned around and brought to one of the restaurants to cook up for us. I highly suggest anyone traveling here do the same, they cook it up for you and charge by the kilo and if you are any good at all with negotiating prices, you will end up saving yourself a lot of money.
We sat under a canopy and enjoyed the hustle and bussle around us, as plate after delicious plate of aquatic amazingness was brought out to us. You would have thought that we hadn’t been fed in years based on how quickly we devoured everything.
|Bags hanging in the market|
|Our awesome curry prawn calamari!|
|Peace Corps will teach you to sleep|
The water was AMAZING! This was my first time in the Indian Ocean, and there wasn’t even a slight shock when we went in, it was just warm, and salty and welcoming. We splashed around for a bit, put our packs back on and started huffing it down the beach towards our lodge.
|the view from a much more expensive lodge that we did not stay in|
|$5 fancy drinks at above lodge|
|Tofo craft market|
|y'all have no idea how badly|
I flipped when I saw this at the
|Me checking out a mussel|
The meal was awesome, we had mathapa, rice, crab, mussels, salad, bread and beer. Bernardo’s family was a pleasure to be around, and watching Bernardo work was also pretty wonderful. We ate in a frond woven, open air, outdoor hut, and left feeling completely full, and a few belt notches larger.
#2: The second night we were in Tofo we were all hanging out on the porch at Bamboozi that overlooks the beach. We were drinking some of the local Tipo Tinto Rum (you get 500ml for MT60, or $2, and I’m pretty sure it kills at least a few brain cells.) At some point in the night someone mentioned that there must be a car on the beach, because you could look down and see what appeared to be tire tracks. We didn’t pay much mind until we were starting to wrap things up. It was then that we realized that the thing leaving the tracks was not at all a car, and was in fact, still on the beach. We all raced down from the porch and found to our delight a GIGIANTIC LEATHERBACK SEA TURTLE!
After that you must be wondering what #1 is going to be, I mean, how the heck do you beat seeing a turtle on the endangered species list, up close and personal?
You get up close and personal with something bigger J
#1, on Claire’s Mind Blowing Stuff We Did on Vacation is...I swam with TWO, HUGE, Whale Sharks.
|Peter's camera was broken but this is what it looked like|
(plus a hyperventilating, flailing ginger chick)
|You can't see him, but there is a whale|
shark under us
This was the part when I almost crapped myself. A huge, 6meter whale shark is swimming directly at us, and
in the briefing it had been
made clear that these things are big, so they aren’t going to move for you, you
have to move for it. We all scramble to get out of the way, and I attempted to
talk myself down from hyper ventilating. Peter said we could swim along
with them as long as we could, or until it dives back down deep. This first
foray into the water I have to say that I was a little freaked so I probably
surfaced too soon, but as soon as I did I see Peter pointing at another
spot in the water not too far from me and yelling that he sees another one.
|In my mind though, I like to think I looked like this|
I can’t remember if they collected and dropped us again or if I just swam over, all I know is that when I looked down again, the first guy had circled around, and the new whale shark friend was hanging out. At this point I have two 6-7meter whale sharks in my line of sight. It is overwhelming, you both want to cry and giggle, and even though you know logically that these giants of the deep aren’t going to eat you, it is still shaped like a shark, and it is hard to override your biological reaction of “holy ball sac, this thing is going to eat me and I need to get out of the water right now.” After the third dive in though, you get used to it, and by the last go around I swam next to one for somewhere between 15-20mins.
|Cultural Center in Inhabane (we took|
a day trip there.)
|Cool old theater in Inhabane|
|cramming into the combi|
|Looking for humpbacks|
For those of you that actually made it to the end of this post, thank you for reading! Hope all is well, wherever you may be.
Hugs and smooches,
p.s. for info purposes: we took intercape back to Joburg, and then took the last combi from Joburg to Gabs. I do NOT recommend staying in the neighborhood that the Joburg bus rank is located in for any longer than you have to, and unless it is early in the day, you are risking it with the combi because if it doesn't fill up, it won't leave and the Bots border closes as 12pm (it takes about 5hrs to get there from the rank.)
|you have no idea how many times we|
had to try this to get it right