Life on the beach

It’s been two weeks now, since a civil war ruined all our travel plans.

Planning our overland trip across Mozambique, north into Tanzania, it was a car rental agent who mentioned it first:

“As much as I want the business, I have to voice my concerns – are you sure you want to cross the war zone? If you say you want to, I’ll rent you my car, but I really thought I should ask.”

What the hell was he talking about? A brief Google search later and all was revealed, indeed, there’s a silent civil war happening in the centre of the country – mass murders, criminal kidnappings, convoys of cars travelling with military escort and even then being attacked.

Of course, we couldn’t take the risk.

We were delayed in Maputo for the next day, re-planning our trip. We’d go to the next stop on the coast for a few days, move on to the second stop for a few more, then we’d have to drive back to Maputo and fly to Tanzania, we accepted.

So the next day we drove the nearly 500 kilometres to the coastal town of Inhambane, and took up our self-catering cottage on nearby Barra beach.

Life quickly fell into the rhythm of the beach. We’re woken early by the rising sun, we work hard through the day, finishing up early at around 3 or 4 to go and read on the beach, or go for  a walk.

By 4.30 the chill of the evening comes in, so it’s time to race down to the nearby village market to buy the fishermen’s catch of the day – fish, prawns, lobsters – to take home for the evening’s barbecue.

Evenings are spent sat in the dark, watching the glowing embers of the barbecue, our fish sizzling to perfection.

The sun sets early these days, by 5.30 the darkness is so all-encompassing it would be claustrophobic, were it not for the kaleidoscope of stars which seem to surround us.

We quickly realised we didn’t have anywhere to rush to, and the beach life is actually incredibly cheap. So within a couple of days we had extended our cottage stay.

Since then nearly two weeks have passed, with the same day-in, day-out routine. Quiet, relaxed, and accompanied by the rustling waves of the sea and the crackling leaves of the palm trees.

In all my life, I really never thought I’d find myself living on the beach in Mozambique.

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