Beira is a big city with suburbs and factory zones. Thought I was there but it was the out skirts, to centre of town is about 10km. Then there is the madness of uncontrolled traffic circles. It is a little run down as most places in this country. No street signs making it a little difficult to find the Hotels suggested by the travel guide. After going up and down town and choosing the second hotel on the list, I booked in.
O, how nice it was to take a good shower to wash all the mud off. Put on some clean cloths which made me feel like a new person. Then it was wash time and hung out washing in the shower. Now I was ready to face this city.
Took a walk down to the beach and found very brown looking sea water. Fishermen going through their nets and leaving all the small fish and shrimps on the beach. Then the hungry people going through the scraps to make themselves some food. What was left was left to rot on the beach. This left a nice fishy stink. It was very windy and the sea did not look very nice, so did not even put a toe in the sea. The little children were swimming in underpants and very small children with no clothes on. Adults were just watching the children swimming in the sea.
So walked along the marine parade and looked for a nice eating place. There was a big traffic circle with Samora Michael statue and a nice restaurant on the outside of the circle. Went into find what it was like, to find it quite expensive. So decided to walk back on the marine parade back toward where my hotel was. Decided on eating at the restaurant come bar with the same name as my hotel Miramar. This was as the sun was setting. Looked like quite a popular spot. There was even a big screen TV playing cartoons. Food was good and the price reasonable. Sat there and enjoyed seen the night life of the city. Watching how the locals interact with the sound of the see in the background was quite relaxing.
I walked back to the hotel which was only one block away. On the way there was a group of hoarse calling out to me. Telling me they can give me a good time. They were such a mix of different races that they looked quite scary.
Next morning woke up early to find it raining. Took a ride to Checkers a large grocery store that I was familiar with. Purchased food for breakfast and my trip to the holiday resort up the coast. I also drew some money from the ATM there. Back at hotel and eat breakfast and packed to move on. By this time the rain had stopped.
Took the road parallel with the sea and headed north. Finding the old light house stopped to have a look. There were ruins of holiday buildings of a bye gone era. There was an old life savers look out and a ship wreck on the beach. It is such a pity this town could be up graded to a lovely holiday destination if the right marketing and revamps were done.
On I went north passing the international airport. So at lease I knew where to come back to fly home. Got back on the highway out of Beira. Then took the small turning off to Rio Savane. It was sign posted by an old sign advertising the resort. Lucky had seen the sign when I rode into Beira the day before.
This road headed out into the swamplands where there were a number of farms. Found a modern dairy with Friesland cattle, another crocodile farm. The swamp ploughed with drainage ditches so that they can get some grazing and crops planted.
After about 10km just when I was planning where can I stop to take a break to eat and drink and have a good rest. There came a man on a bicycle and said ‘’come on’’. This gave me some wind in my sail. It always helps to have a person to pace yourself with. He was coming back from town after delivering his load of charcoal. I thought he was going to burn out. This gave me a boost so we were moving along at about 20km/h. He could not really speak English so we had a very broken conversation. After another 10km there joined another man on a bicycle he too was on his way back from town. He also kept the pace good. So after another 10km I started to get the feeling that this trip is getting too long so thought to try the same tactic as the first chap did to me. I said’’ come’’ and changed gear to higher gear and stood up. Picking the speed up to 25km/h. The first man dropped out but that was really because it was his village that we went through. The second man first dropped back 20m then came next to me and on we went. Just before the end of the road there was a village which he turned into. Boy was I worn out. I was so glad he turned off because I do not think I could have kept that pace any longer. Only then did I realize that these men on their bicycles are fitter than most cyclists because they ride to town a few times a week with a big load of charcoal. Using a one gear bicycle with thick wheels and carrying no water to drink in very high temperatures.
At the end of this dirt road I found a car park with a security guard and boom gate. Here the security guard raised a red flag. The lodge across the river then sends a boat to come and pick you up. After about fifteen minutes there came a small fishing boat chugging along.
They picked up my bicycle and luggage and wadded out to the boat. Water was up to the knees.
Landed at the lodge build on a sand dune at the mouth of the river. There was a Portuguese lady which could not understand me. She then called the lodge manager, couple which were Zimbabwean. The lady asked them to show me a tent site then they would do the paper work later. This turned out three days later.
Turns out this lodge is owned by a big overseas company. They had Indians running it and it ran down into a bad state. Then they placed this couple with a two year contract to pick it up. Some other guests said it is starting to come to its past glory. The baracas and tent sites are swept clean on a daily basis. Each site is picketed off with sticks so nobody will walk over your area. There are palm trees growing all over the lodge area. If you get up early you can pick up coca nuts that fell off the trees in the night and eat them. There are communal ablutions that are clean and airy. Good restaurant, plates are big and full. So you can take away the hunger from swimming all day and walking on the beach. There are also beach volley ball nets if you come in a group.
I spent six days here. Only thing to worry about is when to eat and when to swim. Not many people there during the week. On weekend people drive up from Beira and picnic on the beach. They leave all their beer bottles and papers on the beach. Then the lodge manager sends down the workers to clean up all the time.
Well let me leave some of the stories from the lodge for next post.