Run away to Africa – Tete to Maturara

Tete

Tete was 120km away. She took me to Standard bank to draw money. All lodge staff in combe waited for me at the bank. They helped me to find the camp site in the lonely planet guide. This place was bad. Knocked down buildings. Fence around had so many holes in it the local kids just walk through the camp site to fish in the Zambezi River. Then there were the cell phone contractors that were erecting cell towers in the area. They had been basically living there for a few months. The showers did not have water except for a short time when I first arrived. Then there was no water. Ablution block had wooden pallets under the showers no doors, shade cloth around ablution block up to neck height. Thank goodness the rain stopped. The sand had splashed up on everything. Was afraid to leave my things to go do shopping for food. Eventually packed most important things in my backpack and rode out down the dirt road to the main tar road.

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I purchased some eggs and bread. This was a bit of a balancing act to ride with the eggs. Got the man at the shop to break tray on half and put one half on top and tie it with string so that they did not jump out when ridding. All this communication was done with hand gestures and English words that he did not understand. The bread man gave me a plastic bag with handles so that I could hook it on to pannion at back.  Well it is a very dirty little town. With hundreds of people walking up and down. All looking hard at this white man on a bicycle. Not something they see very often.

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Back at camp site boiled all the eggs in my cooker. However they landed up been a bit soft. Eat some of them with bread for supper. The rest put into cooker hoping to cook them some more the next day. However set out early next morning. So in the end did not eat the eggs. By the time I opened the cooker next it was well rotten and scrambled from all the heat and rough roads. My bags smelled like a stink bomb had been let off inside them.

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Route for that day was the main road to Malawi out of Tete. There were plenty of hills that went up in steps. A few hills outside of Moatize and there I found as a police road block at which they just waved me through. However just 100m down the road there was a lot of tanker trucks. One pulled out in front of me. I landed up been hemmed in. There was a cyclist on my right, truck in front and cement rainwater ditch on the left. The truck was going to slow and could not get my feet out of cleats in time. So I fell in the cement ditch. This made a hole in left knee. All the people around were very concerned for me. Truck driver in the truck up front did not even know what had happened. Halfway up the next hill I found a nice rock to sit on and take all the dirt out of the wound and disinfect it. A man on a motor bike stopped to see if I was ok. He must have seen what had happened. Wound was not as bad as the wound I got in Harare.

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Some way further down the road I came across an accident between two trucks that needed a crane to take the one off the other. This road is dangerous as the trucks come flying past each other in opposite directions. The road is so narrow that they almost hit each other’s mirrors in passing. For safety I rode on the oncoming traffic side of the road, so as to see what was coming. When a vehicle came I just cross over to other side. If vehicles coming from both directions then pulled right off road and wait for them to pass.

70km out of Tete I took a dirt road to Maturara. This was the sign post at the village I turned right at.

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This was off the beaten track. Here I could see how the trees had been cleared so that there was nothing left but burned grass. Here and there was a log along the road that had fallen off a truck. It is frightening how they have destroyed the forests. Most of the timber was sold to China. You often come across Chinese people that are making lots of money out of Africa. It is sad to see how the rest of the world gets rich from Africa and the local’s battle to survive. I was listening on the news the other day about this. The world gives large sums of financial aid to the suffering in Africa. However the exports by foreign companies are far more than the aid given to Africa. Makes you think. Africa could look after it self if they were clever enough. Or should I say there was less corruption in Africa.

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Anyway I passed village after village.

Passed a town called Necungas, which was just as the white Portuguese settlers had left it. Main street had a clinic (in use today), police station (in use) and houses with roves on just standing empty. Railway station not in use and old cattle handling facilities to load cattle on train. Tennis court with wire fence rusted to the ground. With the old club house having Resturante written on it. Resturante had curtains in the windows but very dirty looking and the roof looked like it was beginning to fall in. Around this ghost town was mud huts were the people live and have a subsistent life style.

After riding 120km for the day I knew that I would have to get a lift or would not have a safe place to sleep the night. I decided that camping wild was not a good idea because of the danger of landmines. So around one pm the only vehicle that I met traveling in the same direction as I was going came. It was a five ton truck that I waved down and asked for a ride. Negotiated a three hundred Metical price. I knew it was ok as to Maurara was another 180 km. I was to pay when they got me there.

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I climbed on the back with all the locals getting a ride. Well it was a hard ride bouncing around in the back. I was trying to hang on to my bicycle so that it did not get smashed to pieces every time it hit a bump, which was about every ten meters. Then I sat on my sleeping bag rolled up to cousion the shocks up the spin. We passed through lots of villages where he stopped to drop off people and pick up people at most villages. If you look at the picture you will see people sleeping on this bone rattling truck. They must have been very tiered. As we were all bouncing up and down all the way.

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This is a very rural part of the country where there is not many roads. All the way we travelled next to a railway line that had been renovated after the civil war. Here and there was railway carages that had been derailed from bombs that had blown up the railway lines. The bent railway lines were just lying there. Could open up a scrap yard with all the heavy steel. At one river crossing there was a military bunker that was dug into the river bank to protect the bridge during the war. Now it all stands deserted.

By sunset there came in a fine rain. Now there were only two passengers left on the truck, so they said we could climb in the front. Very friendly people. They just cannot speak English. Eventually the road got so slippery that we slid off the road from time to time and had to back up and get on the road again. Once we slid into a tree. All the culverts under the road were under construction or getting repaired so there were small detours round them through the river beds. One place we nearly did not make it out as the mud was starting to get bad.

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Muturara

We arrived at Muturara after eight at night. They stopped outside a poorly lit place. There was a lot of talking and looking for people. Later I found out they were looking for a sleeping establishment for me. Then they drove off and stopped at a place and spoke to a person. They said I must get out here, I can sleep here. This was an overnight sleeping place. Again got a bucket of water and bed to sleep in. This cost 650 Metical which was the most I had paid for a place to sleep on this trip so far.  Sat on the veranda/resturante of the establishment and ordered a half chicken and sadsa for supper. To round dinner off I sat looking out on the night with all the night sounds of a small African town. The host sat all the while next to me but did not say much as she could only speak Portuguese.

From Maturara to Beria there are no windows in the houses. It is just too hot and the rain does not normally drive hard. The window openings have mosquito net and sometimes burglar bars. Just a different concept to the glass windows we are used to.

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