After our night on the town we returned home at 3:30 am and set our alarms aiming to wake up half an hour or so later. What a fail that was! I was abruptly woken up by my cousin Tania at 4 am asking us when we were arriving at the Intercape office. Our bus to Xai Xai was scheduled to leave in 30 minutes! We panicked, hustled to call a cab and get our belongings together. As luck would have it our cab went to the wrong house and we missed the bus.
We went to the Intercape office to see if they could help us but unfortunately the next bus was a day later. The person we were dealing with told us if we were desperate to go the same day, we could head to the bus rank and grab a chappa. He kindly dropped us there (it was about a 30 minute drive) which saved us some cash because a cab would have easily charged us 300 to 400 Meticais/Mets.
Now we were already really exhausted from lack of sleep and the idea of travelling 3 to 4 hours in a minibus was not ideal so our enthusiasm hit an all time low when we discovered we’d have to sit 4 in a row in the chappa. 4! It’s cramped enough with the normal 3 per row. In addition to the 200 Mets bus fare, the conductor tried to get an extra 200 “luggage charge” out of us. Fortunately one of the passengers spoke English and insisted we only pay 100 per bag. So in total the trip cost us 600 Mets.
The journey was way too long and unbearable. It was hot, cramped and sweaty in that chappa. And I must say, Mozambicans do it different! There were 4 people in the drivers cabin but at every checkpoint the police barely blinked their way. A chappa that is supposed to carry 15 was stuffed with 20 and not a single traffic policeman looked twice. The only good thing about the trip was the stunning countryside we gazed at for hours. So lush and rich with greenery. It looked so thick you could fall into it like it was a soft bed, though in reality that would probably not be a good idea.
We got to Xai Xai at about 10:30 am and I was more than ready to emerge from the sweaty armpit of the “big boned” woman next to me. We called Tania and Rose who were waiting for us at KFC. Mind you they had arrived in Xai Xai at around 8 am and had been waiting for us since. The walk to KFC was tiring since we were hauling our luggage with us. The sun and dust had no mercy either. We met up all annoyed, hot and tired. We stocked up on food and boarded yet another chappa for the hour drive to Chidenguele which is where our beach destination was.
When Tania and Rose had negotiated with the chappa driver, as far as we understood we were to pay 500 Mets each to have the chappa to ourselves and for it to drop us in Chidenguele. Lo and behold the driver proceeded to pick up passengers on the way which sparked a heated argument. The passengers were only charged 40 Mets so we refused to stick to our initial agreement. As much as we were quite upset, the spectacle of us trying to voice our displeasure in English to a Portuguese speaking man must have been ridiculous.
Eventually we agreed that they would drop us at the lodge and we’d still pay 500 each. It was a good thing too because the lodge, Paraiso de Chidenguele, turned out to be a looong 30 minute drive from the main road. It was a hilly dirt road that seemed to never end. If we had not bullied the chappa driver into taking us, I have no idea how we would have gotten there without a car. Below are a couple of pics of the area we drove through. It is a village, however, there are quite a few lodges there taking advantage of the small lake and ocean. Upon arrival at the lodge, we were met with a view most people can only dream of seeing…..
The dramatic, uncomfortable morning was a small price to pay for that view! We excitedly checked into our rooms, changed and headed to the tables by the pool. Then commenced an afternoon of much needed beach bumming. We selected seafood dishes for lunch and soaked in some sun on the clean spotless beach. The ocean water was very warm and I spent a good 30 minutes playing in the waves like a 5 year old which resulted in lots of sand everywhere on my body-you name it, it had sand! At sunset we took a leisurely walk along the beach. Take a look at a fraction of the numerous pictures I took below…
I also took 2 short videos showing the lodge area and the beach, enjoy!
The lodge didn’t have many people there and those that were there were elderly white Portuguese tourists, some of which had self catering rooms, so aside from the Portuguese music playing from the stereo, it was fairly quiet by the bar in the evening. We made friends with the English speaking assistant manager and he told stories of how lively Chidenguele got during Christmas holiday seasons.
Soon we retired to our rooms, we needed some sleep to mentally prepare us for the chappa ride back to Maputo the next day. A short recap of that, including our last afternoon in Maputo, is in the next post.