I packed up the kitchen and the remaining clothing and toiletries. Ivor went for a walk and Michael downloaded emails (because we knew we wouldn't be able to very easily in Mozambique). We drove to the Kruger Park entrance again, this time intending to leave the park at Komatipoort.
We had a good morning's drive in the park and were very lucky to see lion again, as well as a large herd of elephant in the almost-dry riverbed. They were using their trunks and feet to dig down into the riverbed for water. It was fascinating to watch, particularly as the cows tended to keep their calves close by and teach them how it's done!
We also saw some Kudu close by the road, including a magnificent bull.
We left the park at lunchtime and then stopped off in Komatipoort where we bought supplies for the next couple of days and grabbed some food for the road. Michael entertained yet another group of Nyathi admirers, while Ivor and I packed up the provisions.
The three of us had bets on how long the border crossing would take. I won, with the closest time to 50 minutes. On the SA side they politely insisted on stamping the carnet as we exited, even though it hadn't been stamped in. On entry into Mozambique they told us to complete a vehicle importation document and then told us it was a 125,000 meticais fee. When we told them we already had a carnet, the guy helpfully threw away our form and asked us where he was meant to stamp on the carnet, which Michael duly pointed out. He didn't bother to write in any details and said we could go - so we did. We avoided all the 'helpers' who tried to insist that we use their guidance and were on our merry way...
The roads were a vast improvement since our last visit some 12 years ago. We stopped to help some locals who had broken down. Michael said the mechanical state of their cars was appalling and when we pumped up the one guy's spare tyre for him, he asked for it at 4.5 bar! Michael asked him if he did that because he carried massive loads and he was right. Anyway, Michael filled it to what he thought was reasonable, retrieved our no. 16 socket (which they had conveniently put in their car) and we set off again.
We arrived in Maputo in the dark. There are still quite a few slums on the periphery of the city, but it is so much better than when we we last here. The city centre was full of people and cars and it had a great buzz. We drove down to the esplanade and looked for the campsite which was supposedly at the beach front. After much searching we found what we knew must be the site, but it was closed. We went to 'enquire' at the Holiday Inn, hoping they might allow us to camp in their car park and while Michael was at reception a really friendly South African guy called Jason offered for us to overnight at his depot - Interwaste. He phoned his foreman, Graham, and told him to expect us some time that night.
So we went off and had some delicious pizza and one of the nearby restaurants and then headed off to look for Interwaste. It was a good 5 km outside the city and we had a number of 'false' turns up promising side roads before we found the place. Graham made us very welcome and offered us the use of his toilet and shower.
Michael and Ivor discovered how to pitch the Ivor's tent (borrowed from Paul and Joy) and we all settled down to a good night's sleep.
We left Interwaste at about 08h00 and made our way down into town. It's quite amazing how different a city look bys night and when you see it in the full light of day. The litter issue and run-down buildings were more evident, but the city was still lively and friendly. We sat and ate cold pizza overlooking the bay, while waiting for the 10h30 ferry to Catembe. The ferry was, as usual, fascinating. It is amazing how they managed to squeeze all the vehicles on. They used manpower to manoeuvre the one vehicle into place. We me a friendly French guy who said he'd seen us driving along the waterfront the night before and he gave us his card for his restaurant in Ponta da Oura.
We made our way down toward the Maputo Elephant Park so we could cut across and drive down the coast to Ponta da Oura. The road was fairly good and was being graded in sections, which was encouraging to see. When we eventually arrived at the park (with no help from road or information signs of any nature). We paid R40 each to go in and were told it was an additional R50 each if we wished to camp.
You definitely require 4x4 for the park. The first section was pretty easy going on soft sand and we saw a group of elephant at a swampy waterhole. It was great, because we could stop and get out the car if we wanted to inspect the dung beetles, which of course we did. The sun was shining and even though the breeze was cool, it was terrific to sit up on the game seat.
Then we started to hit very overgrown jungle bits which were a bit more challenging because of our tight fit, but of course most enjoyable and we soon had a variety of spiders adorning our windscreen. After passing through alternating stretches of green swampy savannah to foresty jungle, we reached the coastline.
I have never seen so many giant jelly fish washed up on the shore before - there must have been an average of at least four every ten metres. There were also loads of bluebottles too.
Sadly, the local ranger and his family lived there, alongside some camp clearings under the dune overgrowth, so it wasn't quite the desolation we'd been looking forward to. So, after taking a stroll down the beach and over the dunes, we decided to go further south in search of an uninhabited bit. It wasn't to be - we passed more habitation further along. Then the road got more challenging and began to combine jungle and swamp conditions which made it a bit trickier, particularly in the fading light and then one of the overhanging braches tore out the GPS antenna cable! So, we decided to head back to the original spot.
Michael convinced them that we should be allowed to camp on the beach and they agreed. Apart from a few short bouts of visiting, they pretty much left us to our own devices. I gave them some custard and tinned meat, for which they were most appreciative. We pitched Ivor's tent in the lee of Nyathi and then set about building a fire and I cooked up hot dogs for dinner (not exactly a gourmet meal). We spent the rest of the evening huddled around the campfire, drinking and being merry!