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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
For our final night in the country we find a fantastic wild camp on the boundary fence to a private game park. I keep looking through the fence hoping to see something big walk past, though nothing cooperates.
Early the next morning we roll into the border post and quickly complete the formalities on the Swazi side, getting stamped out in less than two minutes. Before I can drive through the boom gate the plain-clothes policeman wants to inspect the VIN of the Jeep to make sure it matches my paperwork, and he’s a little dismayed when I say it does not have an engine number. After some back and forward he walks away saying he will have to ‘check with interpol’, and I struggle not to laugh.
He’s back in five minutes and we continue on our way.
On the Moz side the border is a sleepy affair, and though a couple of money changes and “fixers” won’t leave me alone, it’s not a difficult border. Inside we each pay $75USD for our one month visa (at this border it’s possible to pay the equivalent in USD, Mozambique Meticals or South African Rand), and in twenty minutes we have stamps in our passports.
At the next desk over I fill in a form for customs, who issue a one month Temporary Import Permit for the Jeep for free. Outside I walk over to a dealer and pay $20USD for one month of mandatory third party insurance. Chatting to the guy there he says it’s a good day to enter the country today – because it’s raining there won’t be any police on the roads to bribe me.
Soon on our way we aim towards the capital of Maputo, enjoying the new sights around us as we go. It turns out cell data is insanely cheap in Moz (About $1USD per GB), and buying a SIM card in an English/Spanish/Portuguese mix is entertaining. Unfortunately the ATMs won’t let us get out more than 5000 mets ($100 USD) at a time.
In Maputo we wander the city and see the impressive statues, churches and an extremely impressive fortress on the water. It was built by the Portuguese in the early-18th century and has a ton of interesting photos and displays depicting the history of the country in both English and Portuguese.
At night we take in some live music, and on the way back to the hostel I’m stopped by a pickup fall of Police. They demand to see my passport, which I don’t have. It’s an offence for a foreigner not to carry their passport or a certified copy, and it’s clear these officers want money out of me. I flatly refuse and they try to get me into their pickup. I walk away and they don’t follow.
Mozambique is a huge change to the last couple of countries, and I’m excited to explore more!
The beach is calling.
I feel certain African country number 23 will be a good one!