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Plaja, muste Tsetse si un scorpion in pantaloni/ Mozambeech, Tsetse Flies And A Scorpion In My Pants

Su Shi

256 vizualizări

Mozambique 24-31/05/2012 


Praf african la micul dejun? Da, multumesc. Drumul - solicitant, singuratic; peisajul - fermecator, cu enigmatice culmi rasarind ca niste insule din orizontala savanei. Ajunsesem la limita sudica a celui mai mare sistem de falii din lume, care se intinde pe 6400 de km, pana in Cornul Africii si Iordania.  

African dust for breakfast? Heck to the yes! Test our Anakee tyre on some dirt? We got what we were in for. The rugged, kind of lonely road boasted fantastic scenery tho’: rocky outcrops, koppies and pinnacles rising up sheer from the flat countryside. We had arrived at the southern end of the longest rift system on earth, that stretches for 6400 km, up to the Horn of Africa and Jordan.





Poduri STAS, chiar si pe drumurile astea de tara. Am adunat multe zambete de la batranii care o ardeau pe prispa.

Nice bridges even on these dirt roads. Old folks sitting on their palm frond benches flashed their gums as we rode by. 


Am mers snur, oprindu-ne doar sa refacem rezervele de apa in cate un sat, in entuziasmul general. Schimbatorul de viteze era, stiam, calcaiul lui Achille: nu mai merge ca lumea de ceva timp. 

I was rocking the dirt, rocking the gravel, rocking the deep sand and the boulders. It seemed like nothing could stop me, I was Bikatron, carrying our sorry asses from village to village, stopping only to replenish our water supply in the cheer of the kids. The gear lever was my Achilles tendon, hanging loose for some time now, like an overworn pair of undies. 



Inevitabilul s-a produs mai tarziu, cand chiar nu am mai putut sa fac deloc frana de motor, si am mers asa, cu a patra, inca 30 de km. In satul in care am oprit sa improvizez ceva, multimea era pregatita pentru ‘white watching’, dar stiam deja ca oamenii astia sunt super prietenosi. E greu de suportat faptul ca mai mult de unul din zece oameni pe care ii vedem in pozele astea va muri in urmatorii cinci ani din cauza HIV. Majoritatea copiilor de pilda, sunt infectati in periada in care sunt alaptati de mame seropozitive. Astfel primesc, odata cu darul vietii, sentinta la moarte.

It happened all of a sudden. The gear lever was kaputt. Wouldn’t downhill, wouldn’t budge. I rode a good 30 km stretch in the 4th, but all this involuntary bunny hopping on that trenchy terrain couldn’t possibly have any favorable outcome. We stopped to do something about it in the middle of a village, knowing this would be the friendliest crowd. It’s hard to stomach the fact that more than one in ten people we see in these photos will be dead in five years because of AIDS. Most children get infected while being nursed by HIV positive mothers, receiving at the same time the precious gift of life, and a death sentence.




Caldura era sufocanta. Tot ce se putea face a fost o ajustare a schimbatorului, care pe drumurile astea nu a tinut prea mult. Speram sa ajungem mai curand la asfalt, si am rezistat asa, trebuind ca la intalnirea cu un sant sau cu o groapa, in loc de frana de motor sa opresc, apoi sa trec in viteza 1 cu mana. 

The bush was steaming. All that could be done was adjust the lever to a somewhat grippier position, which under those riding conditions would mean squat. So until we reached tarmac I kept stopping to hand-gear, then kick it off again. And again.


Cand campam, in primele zile fara dus avem un sentiment de a fi una cu natura. Dupa ce trecem de faza hipioata insa, o gama de mirosuri si senzatii tactile ne anunta ca trebuie sa luam atitudine. In Pemba era musai sa ne dusam, si poate sa ne intindem oasele nitel. Si in fond, unde erau plajele alea fara cusur? Orasul Pemba este un important port de marfa, situat in cel mai adanc golf natural din Africa. De curand a fost descoperita aici o rezerva de gaze naturale estimata a fi a doua, daca nu chiar cea mai mare din lume. Asa ca sunt multi expati din exploatarile offshore, preturi mari si mancare putina. 

When camping, the first couple of days without showering have an i-am-one-with-nature feel to them. After the trip in the HippyLand is over, it’s just an itch and bad smell affair all over. In Pemba, we desperately needed a place to shower and rest for a bit. And where were those famous Mozambique beaches anyway? The industrial town lies in the deepest natural bay in Africa and has been recently blessed/ cursed with the discovery of the world’s second largest (if not the number one) gas pocket. There’s offshore drilling and corporate brunching, prices are high and food is scarce. 


Dupa ce am verificat alternativa, ne-am decis sa ne instalam in campingul Pemba Bush Camp.

After checking out the other popular backpackers, we settled for Pemba Bush Camp


Rudi este din Africa de Sud, dar si-a petrecut adolescenta in Mozambique, unde tatal lui era Consul General. Cand s-a facut mare, a cumparat o plaja pustie populata de baobabi si mangrove, intr-un golf linistit din Pemba, si s-a asternut pe treaba. Acum cativa ani a deschis in acel loc un camping, unde un suc de casa din baobab, locul de gatar, spatiul de depozitare, bucataria, wifi (cand merge generatorul), trasul cu arcul, caiacele, drumetiile ghidate prin padure si baile de namol sunt toate gratis. Daca ai bani suficienti, Rudi gateste cina si bufetul all-you-can-eat de duminica. Noi n-aveam, dar motive numai de el stiute, Rudi ne-a placut, si ne-a invitat la cina.

Rudi was born in East London, but he spent his teenage years in Mozambique, where his father had been appointed General Consul. Found a nice piece of land populated by mangroves and baobabs, in a quiet bay in Pemba and started building. A few years ago, he opened a lodge on that piece of land. Lots of freebies to keep one busy there: welcome drink (homemade baobab juice); braai, chairs & lockable chest @ campsite; shared kitchen; wifi (when generator is on, 12 a.m. - 12 p.m.), kayak, archery, nature walks with Rudi’s son, and mud bath. If you can afford it, Rudi cooks great dinners and buffet brunch on sundays. We couldn’t, but, for some reason, Rudi liked us, so he invited us for dinner anyway.





Personalul, oameni blajini cu picioarele pe pamant, a fost un motiv in plus sa adastam cateva zile.

The down-to-earth, chilled staff were our kind of people, so we decided to linger for a few days. 




Am demarat vanatoarea de peste in satul Paquetequete. Am gasit de toate, dar nimic proaspat.

We started our fish hunt in the village of Paquetequete. Every species was there, rotting on ice in wooden trunks. Nothing was fresh. 


La 7.00 dimineata soarele era de cateva sulite pe cer. Am luat caiacul, si am vaslit pana intr-un golf unde niste pescari isi strangeau plasele. Comunitatile de pescari artizani din Mozambique se zbat sa isi castige existenta in aceste regiuni puternic afectate de pescuitul comercial. Pescarii ne-au chemat sa ii ajutam. A durat mai bine de 2 ore ca 13 oameni sa scoatem plasele, in timp ce doua femei incercau sa prinda orice ar fi scapat din navodul mare. Tehnica e urmatoarea: se intinde plasa, apoi de fac doua echipe care incep sa traga din doua parti. Fiecare aveam cate un cordon pe care il petreceam pe dupa solduri, apoi pe un nod pe franghia de la navod. La sfarsitul orelor de munca in soarele amiezii, abia daca am numarat peste de o tocana. Oamenii astia duc o viata frumoasa, dar foarte grea.

It was 7.00 in the morning and the sun was already high in the sky. We took the kayak and rowed to a bay where fishermen were pulling their nets. Small-scale artizan fishing communities in Mozambique struggle to eke out a living in remote areas with depleting resources. The fishermen called us to join the group effort. It took over 2 hours and 13 people to pull that out, while two ladies were sieving the shallows for any escapee. After laying the nets, the fishermen divide in two groups that start pulling from the sides. Each person wraps around the hips a cord, that is later attached to a knot on the net cord. Unfortunately these waters have been overfished, and our work in the sun barely yielded a couple of fish. It’s a hard, mostly subsistence existence for these people.


Din a doua zi aveam libanezul nostru de unde luam oua si paine. Am depistat si taraba cu peste proaspat langa plaja Wimbe. Intamplarea a facut sa ne iasa in cale un baiat cu un cos de paie acoperit cu frunze, in care avea creveti. In sfarsit putea sa incingem gratarul mult dorit.

After one day we had our lebanese vendor where we would buy eggs and bread, and even managed to find stalls with fresh fish on Wimbe beach. Then we spotted a boy with a basket covered in shrubs (actually selling prawns). We could finally have our feast.




Berile concurente sunt Manica si 2M. Dar nu sunt eu omul partinitor.

Manica and 2M are competing for the national beer title. I am not the man to discriminate.  


Ana nu bea bere, dar a descoperit un fruct de care era plin campingul: masanica. Un fel de merisor salbatic, fiecare boaba are un gust diferit in functie de culoare si de copacul din care a cazut. Pentru ca nu le culegi din copac, ci de pe jos. 

Ana didn’t drink Manica, but got hooked on masanica, a wild berry she would pick from around the campsite. It tastes of wild apple, each unique flavor depending on the color, and the tree the berry fell from. Cause you don’t pick these babies from the tree, but off the floor.


Am facut o plimbare prin padurea de mangrove si baobabi cu Kai-Uwe si Thomas, un DJ backpacker din Vienna

We walked among the baobabs and mangroves with Kai-Uwe and Thomas, a backpacking DJ from Vienna



Vedere din interiorul unui copac de 1800 de ani

View from inside this 1800 years old giant


Mustele tsetse au ciuruit-o pe Ana, care mi-a salvat barbatia spalandu-mi pantalonii, caci scorpionul ascuns in ei a intepat-o pe ea, si nu pe mine. Nota catre sine: a nu se mai lasa haine afara.

Tsetse flies fed on Ana, who took one for the team, and saved my groin, as the scorpio hidden in my riding pants stung her, and not me. Note to self, never leave any gear outdoor again.


Ca sa mai uite de intepatura, Kai-Uwe i-a propus Anei, si mie, o baie de namol. Ingredientul minune din acest mal care exfoliaza si hraneste pielea si parul? Excremente de crab. Ne-am distrat pe cinste.

To make Ana feel better, Kai-Uwe took us to a sort of natural spa. The main ingredient of the mud is crab poop, rich in sulphur and minerals that exfoliate and soothe skin and hair. It was greet fun.





Coridorul dintre Mozambique si Tanzania este deschis, si bacul costisitor poate fi evitat de cand cu inaugurarea podului Unitatii. Formalitatile se fac in Negomano. In dimineata in care ne-am strans tabara insa, a cazut probabil ultima rapaiala pana prin decembrie. Ne-am putut misca abia dupa pranz, dar pe drum am dat iar de ploaie, asa ca ne-am intors in directia Pemba, ca macar sa punem cortul pe semi-uscat. Antonio, un fermier din Nampula care s-a mutat in zona ca sa creasca vite, a venit in scurt timp sa ne informeze ca eram pe punctul de a ne instala pe terenul lui. Nu am fi preferat mai bine sa mergem la el acasa? (ne-a spus el) Asa ii puteam cunoaste si consoarta si aveam ragaz sa stam la un pahar de vorba. Spune si tu, cum sa refuzam asa o invitatie?

The corridor between Mozambique and Tanzania is now open, and the expensive ferry can be avoided passing the newly inaugurated Unity Bridge. Immigration & Customs are in Negomano. The morning we were set to take this route, Pemba was hit with the last rain until December. We left at noon, only to find rain on the way, so rode back another 40 km to camp in the dry. Antonio, a farmer who had moved from Nampula to raise cattle, arrived a couple of minutes later to let us know we were about to squat on his land. Wouldn’t we prefer to come to his house, instead? (he offered) We would hang out and get to meet his old lady, he said. Now, who can argue with that?


Ne-am ridicat casa in 10 minute. Am aflat ca lui Antonio i-au trebuit doua zile ca sa o construiasca pe a lui.

Our home was pitched in 10 minutes. We learnt that it had taken Antonio 2 days to build theirs.




Langa tarcul de vite incepe lanul de porumb. Proteine la drepta, carbohidrati la stanga. Totul cum nu se poate mai simplu. Casa lui Antonio si Francisca are doua camere: bucatarie si dormitor. Dar si-au zis sa ne tina de urat, asa ca au tras lavita de palmier afara. Ana a pregatit oua, paine, fursecuri si ceai. Francisca a gatit orez cu fasole fava. Faseli, pastorul lui Antonio, a dat o fuga pana in sat sa ii invite si pe señor Pumbolo cu sotia, prietenii cei mai buni ai gazdelor.

On one side of their mud hut lay maize fields and on the other the cattle enclosure. Starch on the right, protein on the left. Life couldn’t be much simpler. The hut has two rooms: a kitchen and a bedroom, but Antonio wanted to keep us company, so he pulled out the bed for a night under the stars. Ana laid eggs, tea and biscuits. Francisca cooked rice and fava beans. Faseli, their shepherd, went to the village, to get their best friends, señor Pumbolo and wife, to join us. What a great night!


Dimineata fagaduisem ca trecem sa il salutam pe señor Pumbolo. Aparitia noastra in sat, unde oamenii ne-au insotit pana la adresa, a generat un spectacol care l-a propulsat de buna-seama pe Pumbolo ca favorit in viitoarele alegeri pentru sefia asezarii. 

Ne-am petrecut restul zilei traversand o zona de o frumusete salbatica, la limita rezervatiei Niassa. Drumul era umed, si avea inca cicatrici de la camioanele care il traverseaza in sezonul ploios. Am imbucat ce luasem din ultimul sat de dinaintea postului de control.

In the morning we had promised to swing by señor Pumbolo’s house to say bye. Our visit drew a seizable crowd, instantly catapulting Pumbolo as favourite for the next village chief elections.

We spent the rest of the day riding across the stunning Forestry & Hunting Reserve that lines the Niassa National Park. The dirt road has very thick powder dust and heavy trucks had left behind many potholes after the rainy season. It was damp, and wild. We munched on whatever we had find in the last village before the reserve. 



Am vazut babuini, macaci, pasari, chiar si o caprioara cu posterior albastru. Era cazul sa punem punct zilei, si sa lasam trecerea de frontiera pentru maine. Maceta noastra cedase in Namibia, dar cu atatia copaci uscati in jur, nu-mi mai trebuiau scule. Am adunat lemnele gramada si am aprins focul, ca sa le dam de inteles leilor ca suntem pe zona. Eram oare in cel mai fain loc de campat posibil? Intinsi in cort, pe nisipul moale, am inchis ochii, si ne-am lasat prada caleidoscopului multicolor din spatele pleoapelor. 

We spotted baboons, macaques, birds, blue-assed duiker. It was time to get some rest. There were plenty dead trees lying around. Our machete had cracked in two in Namibia months back. But MacGyver was in the house: I tossed the wood and set it on fire to give a neighborly hint to the lions. Could that be the best bushcamp ever? In our tent we closed our eyes, and enjoyed the kaleidoscopes behind the eyelids.



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