Tales of travel gone wrong – Maputo to Tofo

Going abroad and travelling the world is full of its challenges and quips. It is the most rewarding experience but it can also be the most infuriating, frustrating and the most memorable part of your trip. So let me paint a picture for you of a road trip that lasted 500 kilometres and nearly 14 hours.

We left Maputo at around 5 or 6 AM to get to Tofo which is located 500km north of the African Jewel’s capital city. We set off together, two full cars and two members of our touring group on a bus directly to the backpackers inn where we would be spending 5 days partying, eating and lying on the beach sipping cocktails that became as hot as coffee in 5 seconds. En route to an awesome time.

We were just about 230km into the drive, so close to the halfway point when we get a phone call from our companions on the tour bus:

‘Two of the tyres have gone and the bus has no spare tyres.’

This was the sentence from hell! First of all, what kind of bus departs for a 500 km journey WITHOUT any spare tyres what so ever!? Also, what dumb luck this driver had, that of all the things he had to hit he decided to pop two tyres in one go. So back we went, two cars full of everything the two bus companions could not carry to locate this bus. We stopped by the bus emptied out one of the cars who took the bus driver and two tyres forward another 50km to find a place that either sold new bus tyres or could repair the tyres to drive back 50 km and then put the tyres on to then carry on. This little section of our adventure took long enough as it was, adding 2 and a half hours to our journey time by waiting in the sweltering heat. But no matter, we were pleased as we saved the day and were known as heroes for the remainder of our time in Tofo.

Yet you would think that this alone would be enough of a deviation from our initial plan. Oh no, there is more to come. Having saved a bus full of people and been deemed heroes, we still had around 300 km to get to our destination – yes because we had to go backwards to find this bus and that in itself took a while. And during the festive season it was quickly pointed out to me that police officers like a quick financial fix to add to their merry jolly end of year. It is apparently quite common – I can testify as I witnessed it – for officers to pull up cars who are on their long journeys to spend the festive season at the beach or to visit family and fine them for speeding, incorrect overtaking – a variety of things! And so as to not fill out paper work they can quickly solve the issue by asking for payment and the problem for the driver will simply disappear.

What a phenomenal thing to do for the officers but just our sheer luck one of our cars go stopped TWICE! Paid his fine and then in the second time got his license removed! Said police officer told our dear friend he had a pending fine from a previous journey in 2013 which had appeared in the system and he would have to find a local authority and pay it within 48 hours then contact the officer 200 km away from where we were heading to to go and collect his license. This is all too much at this point for my brain to deal with and as this situation unfolds our dear companions on their now repaired bus zoom past us.

Now I am a true believer in fate and destiny and in this occasion the timing could not have been better. Mr Bus Driver is related to the Police man! Having seen us in distress and one of our own about to have his license removed Mr Bus Driver quickly rang his cousin who at the time was still with us and told him about our bus situation. Not only did our friend get his license back he didn’t have to pay a second fine!

Happy days! The heroes heroically saved by the original victims and we were now on our merry way to the backpackers inn. Nearly 14 hours later we arrived at our destination and it all seemed worth it to dip my toes in the warmest sand I had felt since the Philippines and to dive into the warm clean waters of the Indian Ocean.

No travel adventure comes without its ups and downs, however it is all worth it once you arrive there and these mishaps often make for the best memories. We for example got free drinks for 3 nights of partying thanks to saving the tyres of a bus that was owned by the backpackers inn we were lodged at. It was phenomenal and that road trip was part of a brilliant trip. What felt like a truly awful journey actually has turned out to be one of my fondest memories and stories from that trip and with this I move on from Mozambique to my up and coming city break.

Happy travels and reading!

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