Mozambique September 2012
Unlike some of my railway trips around the world this trip to Mozambique certainly offered up plenty of opportunity for general photography.
We visited three main areas, Nampula, Beira & Maputo having traveled into Mozambique over the land border at Nayuchi in Malawi. All of our travelling, with the exception of our arrival into the country and taxi’s to/from airports, was done by train or plane. See Mozambique September 2012 in my Railway section for the gory details, including all the hotels we stayed in, how we got between places and details on train travel in the different areas. A summary is on this page.
We entered Mozambique at Entre Lagos and traveled into Cuamba on the back of a flat bed truck which cost MT250 each taking 3 hours. We managed to pay for this after exchanging our remaining Malawi Kwacha at the border, for a decent rate too.
Cuamba – Pensao Cariaco which cost MT500 for a single and MT650 for a twin. Rooms are small, with a shared bathroom, the shower in which we didn’t entertain. There was a big tub of water which we used to get clean. I wasn’t sure if the door actually locked either. The food was decent though and cooked fresh.
Nampula – Residencial a Mariqueira on Paulo Samuel Kamkhomba, a road leading away from the station. It cost 1750Mt for a room with a single and a double bed then a further 500Mt for an extra bed, which turned out to be a mattress on the floor. It did have hot water but not from the shower, although filling a bucket wasn’t a problem. It was clean and respectable enough and so it should have been for £49.50 per night.
Train travel from Cuamba to Nampula cost MT400 in 2nd class. We managed to buy these on the day by getting into the ticket office and being the first people to be served! Trains depart Cuamba at 0530 and Nampula at 0500, daily and have 2nd class on all days now.
Our flight out of Nampula, to Beira, was with LAM and booked via the internet from the UK before the trip.
Nampula was a relaxing place with not much to see but all the necessities were there, money changing, places to eat and decent hotels.
Taxi from the airport into “town” was MT500
We stayed at the Rainbow Hotel Mozambique, we managed to barter them down from MT6400 to MT6000 for a suite with two rooms, one with single bed, the other with a king, which is about £131, and checked in for two nights, paying by card, the whole amount up front. Breakfast was included and WiFi was free. There is a bit of choice in the nearby area but our first choice was full. Still, the Mozambique was decent enough, what you’d expect for the price.
Train travel from Beira to Moatize was aboard the newly introduced, once a week train run by CFM. It runs as follows (detailed timings can be found on the Mozambique Overview page):
Tuesday 1850 depBeira– Wednesday 1349 arr Moatize
Thursday 0700 dep Moatize – Friday 0303 arr Beira
2nd class tickets cost MT801 each. Second class is compartment stock with three tier sleeping berths.
At Moatize we traveled into Tete and stayed in the Zambeze O Paraiso Misterioso, right below the bridge over the Zambezi. It cost mT3000 for a twin room, with extra bed (which was a mattress on the floor taken off the bed base of the room next door). The rooms weren’t the cleanest and the shower was a farce but still it had hot water and was better than spending the night on a train again. Breakfast was included and the food was quite good, they have a varied selection on their menu.
Our flight out of Tete, to Maputo, was again with LAM, booked via the internet before making the trip. A taxi to the airport cost MT500.
We only stayed overnight in Tete and had no time for anything other than breakfast and away so I can’t comment on the place at all.
A metered taxi from the airport to to town cost MT1000. We think we were scammed with a higher tariff than we should have paid as our return taxi only cost MT500, not on the meter.
Tamariz Hotel – for three nights, which is just round the corner from the Turismo Hotel, which cost MT1500 per room, single or twin. It was a bit rough round the edges and I think the local prostitutes used the place (based on some money exchanges we saw taking place) but still it was cheap enough and did the job.
Hotel Turismo – for two nights, MT2800 for a room with double bed, AC, excellent double glazing that kept all the noise out, hot water and above all a clean room. Just what I needed at the end of the trip. Buffet breakfast was included. It was just like you;d expect from a hotel back in the UK, if only a little bit dearer.
Train travel in Maputo is easy and there are more trains here than Nampula or Beira. Full details are on the Mozambique Overview page. Tickets, for the Ressano Garcia line at least, are zonal, costing MT5, 10 or 15 depending on where you travel to. they can be bought on board or at the ticket office. As we only travelled on the Ressano Garcia line I can’t comment on any other train service other than to say that the Chicaulacaula train has first class compartments in its consist, and it was 5 hours late into Maputo!
Local train services have been changed very recently. Thankfully we had the foresight to check train times with the Station Master before doing any trains, which saved us from a really big mess indeed. His office is the first door on the left as you walk onto the platform to the right of the booking office.
Maputo had lots more to offer than Nampula or Beira and there’s plenty to see and do, including nipping over the water on a ferry to Catembe, which I passed up on in the end.
We flew home with Kenya Airways from Maputo via Nairobi. The flight to Nairobi was a code-share with LAM and our details hadn’t made it from Kenya’s system to LAM’s and we nearly didn’t get on it. It’s worth re-confirming your flight if you go the same way. The journey to Nairobi was excellent though, quite possibly the most scenic flight I’ve done. After our stop at Catembe we followed the Tanzanian coastline most of the way north, passing over Zanzibar, flying past Mount Kilimanjaro and seeing a whole host of other things along the way.