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Author Topic: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe  (Read 37633 times)

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Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #40 on: March 01, 2016, 11:57:55 pm »
Day 6 - part 2

I was making great progress having reached a crossing about two thirds of the way by 11:00. I had a decision to make at the crossing - I could either continue on the double track following the coastal dunes inlands, or cross the dunes to the Island Rock Resort and follow the coast up. Feeling strong and having a score to settle (in 2011 my mate and I had to turn back at the dunes as he didn't feel like pushing on - he had sum total of 10 day's of motorcycling experience and was on the Tenere heavyweight, so probably the right choice), I went for the dunes.

The coastal dunes and approach to them:

At the bottom of the dunes I took a breather before setting off up the dune:

And then I was off to Island Rock Resort about 7 km away. I have made it up the first dune fine, but realized quickly that the perceived strength was just an illusion caused by me mostly sitting down for the most of the day. As soon as I had to stand up and control the bike with my legs, I was loosing energy in spades. Also the clouds finally opened and the temperature jumped at least 10C. Pretty soon I was battling again and managed to fall down twice:

At the top of the first dune with the sea at the horizon:

The second fall was at the worst possible place on the steepest uphill section of the last dune right before a left turn dug out all over by 4x4s battling to get to the beach. By now battling in the midday sun I was almost completely out of energy and had to rape 690 up that slope clutching my way up with the engine revved up to the max. To the 690's credit, it made it up without any run-up, which I was very gratefull for as I didn't have another try in me.

Bar in the sight:

Luckily there was a bar open where I have refilled my camel bag and inhaled few litres of cold drinks. The kitchen was closed, but the nice owner lady seeing my sorry state made me a plate of french fries as I needed desperately to get salt down my throat. I asked about accomodation and they offered me some kind of basic chalet/room for a very friendly R100.

Island Rock Resort and surrounds:

I thought about it for an hour or so laying in the shade, but then decided to push on to Tofo. By now I have recouperated enough energy to push on and as it was only mid-day I was keen to finish at least one stage as I have planned it. The owner told me that the route I wanted to take along the coast is closed and I had to retrace back through the dunes, after which I would turn right back on the north bound double track I came on in the morning.

Going back at the turn where I fell - bloody 4x4 make it with boats in tow, I feel ashamed:

Back on track to Ihnambane - well first I got lost and had to ask my way:

Then I found it:

After about 10 km the track connects to the dirt road going all the way to tar in Inhambane

Whitey's having a conference on the road:

After another 20 km of dirt road I made it to tar and Inhambane:


I have arrived to Tofo at sunset. The place was overrun by tourists and I passed straight through the market and headed out of village to Bamboozi  resort about 2 km out of village - I was looking forward for nice quiet place and I knew Bamboozi is exactly that. Except, when I arrived there the place was abandoned and slowly falling apart. How the fuck you go bancrupt in place like this full of tourists with minimum costs is beyond me. Grudgingly I had to return to Tofo and try my luck in one of the many overbooked establishments. Eventually already in dark I had a luck in a Barry's Lodge right on the beach and settled in for a next rest day.

Tofo: getting to Bamboozi - passing the famous Fatima's backpackers:

And sadly boarded-up Bamboozi:

« Last Edit: March 02, 2016, 12:22:17 am by Xpat »

Offline Man from Nam

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #41 on: March 02, 2016, 01:14:32 pm »
Beautiful pics, do you use a Go Pro?
You are surely a very skilled sand rider. :thumleft:
Life is great LIVE IT!!

Offline Draadwerk

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #42 on: March 02, 2016, 02:23:45 pm »
Gooi some videos please - keen to see the sand monster in action v a 690  :thumleft: :pot:

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #43 on: March 02, 2016, 06:39:47 pm »
Beautiful pics, do you use a Go Pro?
You are surely a very skilled sand rider. :thumleft:


I use Drift Ghost S on my helmet. I do not take pictures but 1080p video and scrap pictures off the video back home, that way i have both video and pictures and can just switch the camera on and forget about it. Only the riding pictures are from Drift - hence their lower quality (it's fine when there is good light but in low light it goes down quick). The stationary pictures (better quality) are from Olympus EM1.

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #44 on: March 02, 2016, 06:41:37 pm »
Gooi some videos please - keen to see the sand monster in action v a 690  :thumleft: :pot:

Videos are lots of work - I use them now to scrap pictures. I may make some video later on, but not sure when - I haven't finished the video from my prior CS trip yet.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2016, 07:24:45 pm by Xpat »

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #45 on: March 02, 2016, 08:14:17 pm »
Day 7 & 8

In my optimistic original plan I expected to have the first rest day here in Tofo. As you know by now it didn't work out that way. The sand took its toll and I was now 4 days behind my plan and was starting to get reconciled with the fact that I will not explore Zambia on this trip.

Late or not, the rest day it was as I was keen to swim with the whale shark - I tried for years ago but we didn't manage to find one. So first thing in the morning I have booked myself for the trip scheduled for midday and then spent most of the morning on WIFI in the lodge bar, shoveling food and liquids down my gullet. This and prior days' shenanigans took its toll and by 11:00 I was really tired. So I called the trip off and decided to do it next day - thus keeping my delay for this trip consistently at 100%. That sorted I retreated to the chalet where I blacked out for the rest of the sunny day and woke up just in time for dinner - my kind of beach holiday. At the dinner I found out that the group that went for trip got really lucky having not only a whale of a time with shark, but also with two big manta rays. I had a hunch that that may not repeat two days in a row - but hey, I had a good nap! 

Next day, much more refreshed I booked myself for the trip again glad to get a spot - the place was overrun with South Africans of all denominations. Again I spent the morning preparing intensely in the bar and at noon walked into the dive shop office, where I was told that the trip is cancelled due to the swell at the ocean. Well, I guess that is what you get for being a lazy mother, but it's all good - at least I still have a reason to come back (apart from the fact that I have a score to settle with that stupid coastal double track).

Instead I went for a dip in the ocean and spent the rest of the day patrolling the water/wifi-hole in the lodge. Here are some pictures I squeeze into my busy schedule:

The waterhole in Barry's lodge and the main Tofo beach:

My chalets - I had to move for the second night as the first one was booked:

The beach again:

While the main Tofo beach was overrun by beachbums, the local ladies and kids were busy literaly scrapping the livelihood off the ocean floor on the adjacent beach out of sight of tourists (well except this one - didn't manage to find out what they were actually collecting, I'd like to think pearls, but probably not):

Stupid swell that killed my whale shark date:

Offline dirtyXT

« Reply #46 on: March 02, 2016, 08:29:24 pm »
Sounds like a good trip to me, glad you not pushing to a strict time frame

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Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #47 on: March 05, 2016, 10:25:22 pm »
Day 9

After two day rest I was ready to move on. The plan was Vilanculo about 200 km north as the crow flies. This was supposed to be the last day of the Moz coastal sand fun - after spending more than week blowing Moz beaches I was keen to move on to Zim.

The original plan to get there was to follow the sandy track following coast all the way from Maxixe (inland accross the bay from Inhambane to which I had to backtrack on tar) to Vilanculos. Somewhat wiser now, I knew that I will not make over 200 km in deep sand in one day - especially as it hasn't been raining last two days and the sun was up and ready for me. So I decided to skip part of the track and ride the first 70 km up to Massinga on tar. There I would turn onto a dirt road heading east to the Pomene lodge at the coast, intercept my track somewhere along the way and take it all the way up to Vilanculos. With the detours this would come to about 150-160 km, but part of it looked like good dirt so I thought I may have a chance. Again.

In Massinga I stopped to fill-up. I filled up only the rear and left tank - I had less than 200 km to go and I didn't want to carry unnecessary weight through the sand. Massinga was the hive of activity typical for an African town serving as a hub on the main tar road for the bush villages/homestead in the area:

Few km up the road I stopped at the turn-off onto the dirt road heading to Pomene:

The dirt road:

The whole coast from Maputo up was overrun by SA holiday-makers, at least judging by the cars. About 70-80% of the cars had SA plates, it was actually rare to see Moz plates once you moved off the main road. Now, I know Mozambique is the prime destination for stolen SA vehicles. But hey let's be positive and assume that these were genuine South Africans ejoying their well deserved break. Like this merry bunch from Gauteng:

Or this fellow Gauteng gentleman:

Some more (plenty actually) pictures of the road down to Pomene:

Came accross little town or two along the way:

Looks like neat little bike shop - considered stopping to get replacement rev-meter for 690, but it didn't bother me that much so I just pushed on:

Some more holiday-makers, these almost look legit Dutchies carrying their home with them wherever they go:

The crew building the new road - the road was getting more and more basic as I was getting closer to the coast, from a good dirt close to tar back to basically sandy double track further on:

As I approached the coast the sand turned red:

Soon after this I hit my track and turned north - to be continued in next part.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2016, 10:52:37 am by Xpat »

Offline adamktm

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #48 on: March 06, 2016, 12:36:39 pm »
Sub......been waiting to hear how the 690 went
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Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #49 on: March 06, 2016, 11:07:50 pm »
Day 9 - part 2

I have connected with my track at about 11. It was hot and the sand looked quite dry and intimidating so for a while I considered continuing on the dirt road (by now also just deep sand track) few more km to the Pomene lodge on the beach, taking the rest of the day off and starting again early next morning. But then I had to admit to myself that this resting was becoming a bit of a plague, costing me too much time so I turned left on the track and set-off north to Vilanculos. That track looked pretty remote and was basically one big dune field, mostly running through coastal bush, in places passing little homesteads and fields and in places running through forrests.

Came here accross another road heading towards Pomene:

Crossed that one and continued north on my much less used track. Soon I came across a settlement where I stopped to check the direction. There were few guys sitting there, most of them already pretty greased - it was holidays, so they were busy drinking from early morning. One of the guys spoke kind of English, but wasn't much help getting confused by my question whether the double track I was on leads to Vilanculos. To be fair it was typical stupid 'first world' question. People here naturally look for the easiest route which in thes case meant to head back to the main track to Pomene I came on and take that to tar and then on tar to Vilanculos - so that was his advice. The notion that there is such a thing a bored white snob who despises perfectly good tar and is actually looking for the hardest possible route was understandably lost on them. So I thanked him and to their confusion continued on my track.

Note the bike in the settlement - this is at least 30 km of deep sand away from closest dirt road. I have suspicion that this thing is better in sand than my Dakar replica:

This picture nicely sums up the level of understanding between us:

I pushed on - these forests were great as they provided shade and the sand was covered by leaves and branches making for much more relaxed ride:

I was making good progress, but not good enought to make it all the way to Vilanculos still at least 70-80 km away. At one point I got lost and had to backtrack to look for the right track, a local guy came for a chat. He spoke perfect English - quite a rarity here. He worked in Secunda in SA and was home for the holidays. He told me that white guy has some kind of place somewhere nearby along my route and recommended that I sleep over there. I wasn't yet looking for an overnight spot and expected to bush camp further up the road, but the image of steak and cold drinks caught my attention and I decided to give it a try. I got and impression that the place should not be far ahead and set-off. At each settlement I asked for the place and was directed just to continue on. Eventually I reached village with the name the local guy gave me and they just waved me on some single track into the bush - I fully expected that I'm tere, but I've spent another about 10 km navigating overgrown single and double tracks looking for the place checking with every local I came accros.

Doesn't look so, but I was chuffed with my progress:

The single track:

And barging into somebody's courtyard to check direction:

Finally on the main track eager to get to the lodge asap:

But of course getting to the beach means crossing dunes again:

I have made it to the lodge just as sun disappeared behind the horizon. The place was a set of interconnected luxury challets overseeing the beaches and ocean - it was nice upmarket private deveplopment with not guests in sight. Didn't look like the usual lodge with bar or restaurant. In the main house I found the owners - a South African couple Eddie and Courtney, and asked if I can stay over. Sure, they said and set me up in the adjacent luxury challet with one of those freestanding bathtubes in the room overseeing the ocean, white towels and stuff. This was way above the places I usually stay in and I could see that it will cost - but hey, I didn't care for one night.

Once settled in I went to ask if there is any chance to get food. Sure, again they said and invited me to their house where Eddie first fed me 5 - 6 beers and then we had a dinner of fantastic chicken curry they have made. We chatted about many things, but the topic of the day was Eddie's spearfishing trip earlier that day. Somehow he and his pilot underestimated wind or swell or something, didn't take enough petrol and barely made it back almost getting swept out into the ocean. I'm not an ocean/sea person and am always surprised how easy can beautifull turquoise to my eye mellow water kill you.

After dinner they were heading for a party with some friends in another lodge up the coast and I was keen to hit the bed beat from the hot sandy day. I wanted to head off early in the morning so I asked how much do I owe them. Eddie just scratched his head and said that this is actually not a lodge but their private holiday property which they use for holidays with their friends, hence he has absolutely no clue what to charge so let's just forget it. Nice. So dirty and smelly from a day's riding in the African sun and sand talking in weird accent I have barged into somebody private house in the middle of Mozambican bush, and without batting and eyelid they lodged me, fed me got me somewhat drunk to enjoy nice sleep in clean sheets.

Of course I protested, feeling awkward about abusing their hospitality, but they persevered, so I got away with a free night in great company and in luxury accomodation. It is really nice to know that there are still generous and hospitable people like Eddie and Courtney out there.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2016, 11:10:58 pm by Xpat »

Offline dirtyXT

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #50 on: March 07, 2016, 09:41:52 am »
now thats a good story, the people you meet on trips...
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Offline funacide

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #51 on: March 07, 2016, 11:04:45 am »
Loving this report as usual Xpat.

Please keep it coming.

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #52 on: March 07, 2016, 11:11:30 am »
Thanks for the comments guys, they really help not least to move to the next page - there are too many pictures on this one.

Offline Takashi

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #53 on: March 07, 2016, 11:16:28 am »
Great ride report Xpat.

How are the roads around the Pomene area?
We are going there in 2 weeks time in the 4x4s.

I just want to make sure my tow strap will be able to pull the poor land rover going with... :pot:

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #54 on: March 07, 2016, 11:29:57 am »
I don't think you will have a problem in 4x4. If you look at the pictures in the first part of Day 9, you will get pretty good picture of what it is like - most of the road is good dirt, just closer to coast you will encounter deep sand. The last 10 km or so I didn't do but as it is on the coast I would expect you may need to cross a dune or two. But again I wouldn't expect it to be tougher than the dunes I did on Day 6 and those were negotiated by 4x4s - and with a bit of skill were no problem for them.

I'm sure you will need to lower your tyre pressures and know little bit what you are doing, but I wouldn't expect it to be too much drama.

Offline adamktm

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #55 on: March 07, 2016, 01:32:03 pm »
Loving the RR so far!
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Offline punisher

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #56 on: March 07, 2016, 02:29:26 pm »
joh   joh    dis be laaik a velly  naaice report
just wanna have fun , and ride ... and ....... ride

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #57 on: March 07, 2016, 09:30:17 pm »
Day 10 - New Years Eve

I woke up early, thanked Eddie and Courtney who even packed up some of the Chicken curry for the road and set-off. The plan was simple make it to Vilanculos. Eddie wasn't sure if I will be able to go on my track all the way to Vilanculos as there is some kind of conservation area that way, but worst case I would just cut back to tar.

I backtracked about 10 km accross the dunes, found my track and set-off. The track initially started as a single track, making me wonder about how far it is going, but eventually turned into the usual remote sandy double track:

Somewhere along the way I lost my track (there are many small inter-crossing tracks in the area) so I just followed the biggest one, which eventually brought me to a dirt road. I knew from its direction that it will probably take me back to tar, but I was a bit tired from yesterday so just went for it. As soon as I hit it my low fuel warning light came on - I just ignored it as I have done only about 150 km since the last refill and the fuel light is not reliable when you have petrol spread among three tanks. As expected the dirt road took me to a little village on the EN1 about 50 km south from the Vilanculos turnoff.

When I hit the tar I stopped to get some cold drink at the local spaza shop.

Mozambique - Vodacome country:

Refreshed I jumped on the tar to deal with the last 70 km. At about km 40 the bike stuttered to halt clearly out of fuel - WTF. I gave it some time started and made another km or two. This way I continued another 10 km where to my immense relief I came upon new garage at the turn-off to Vilanculos still 20 km away. To be honest I don't know what the consumption was as I didn't fill up completely at Massengena. But I have started with at least 18 litres, and have done maybe 220 - 250 km. Sure, I was riding about 120 - 130 kms in deep sand but still the consumption seemed too high as I was most of the time lugging it in 3rd gear. Well, I guess it will remain a mystery.

After that I made it to Vilanculos without any other glitch. I have never been there so I rode along looking for some suitable accomodation. Eddie recommended something called Smugglers, which I found eventually. They had a room available, but they were also clearly getting ready for New Years party - which they warned me about. Assuming it's going to be the same everywhere I took it - just asked them to give me room as far as possible from the bar. The plan was to partake in the celebrations as long as my fatigue will allow and then sleep it out next day. I will get to how that worked out in the next part.

Smuggler's courtyard:

Route covered in last two days:

Vilanculos was the end of the first main objective of this trip - to ride from Maputo to Vilanculos on the coastal sand tracks. As you've seen I have managed barely half of it and it took me 9 days instead of planned 4 (inlucing rest days). But given the sorry state I started this trip in, I was satisfied. Still I don't like to be defeated like that, so I'll be back to settle the score - probably at more appropriate time of the year.

In the meantime - should you feel bored or something - here is my little challenge to you: I will buy anyone who will ride the whole track unsupported (I don't care if you will haul kitchen with you or just credit card, but no 4x4 tailing you) a beer. I will attach the GPS track to the first post.

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #58 on: March 07, 2016, 09:38:13 pm »
OK, the GPS track file is too big to get attached on WD. I have to figure out another way how to link it - will update here once I find a way.

Offline popipants

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #59 on: March 08, 2016, 09:51:48 am »
I need friends like Eddie.
Building a luxury resort for you and your friends!!
Thanks Xpat. Awesome riding.

Some-one once posted that you use a lot of fuel doing sand riding for extended periods. Not because high revs but because your rear is spinning most of the time. You rear wheel ends up doing 300 km when in fact you only covered 130km.
I've been on the Jameson diet for a week, so far I've lost 7 days....