Distance: 232km (Cumulative: 21 065km)
Moving time: 3:58
Average speed: 58km/h
Road surface: 91% Tar
Mocuba Mission Post - R30 p.p
Not official campsite, but friendly people
We got up by 07:00 which felt like a personal record and packed up. People were already started to line up around the fence to try and be our guide so we decided against the hike as we didn’t want the hassle of a guide. Being tired from the hike would probably also not be the best idea for a long days’ drive.
We left by 08:15 and set-off for the border. The first 10km to the M2 is all gravel, but the M2 is good tar. The M2 took us passed beautiful tea plantations still covered in mist with the amazing Mt Mulanje in the backdrop.
A few kilometers before the border we were stopped at a police checkpoint. After stating that we will cross the border they wanted to see our fire extinguisher and triangles. We had both items, but this was the first time we were asked to show it.
We reached the border at 09:14. At the immigration counter, we had to show our yellow fever certificates after the officer saw that we have been to East Africa. Someone then pushed in front of us and did some dodgy deal with the officer where he changed the stamp to a later date and money was handed over. He forgot to change it back so he also stamped the 30th of August as the exit date. Luckily Hugo saw it and the stamp was canceled before getting another one for the 27th.
At the security boom, the soldier wanted a cool drink or money. When old that we didn’t have either he said: “You could have made this easy, but now you will have to open the back.” This was no problem for us and after opening two of the canopy side panels the soldier also lost interest and let us go.
On the Mozambique side, all went smoothly despite the clearly drunk/hangover officers. We could even buy insurance right there in the immigration building. Mozambique is not included in the COMESA yellow card insurance. We paid the fixed rate of $20 for one month. We also exchange Malawian Kwacha for Mozambican Meticais. The first time since Zambia that we exchanged money on a border with money changers. It, however, went smoothly.
The guard on the Mozambican side also wanted a Refresco (cool drink) or money and basically, the same thing happened as on the Malawian side. After not offering anything we had to open the back and were then let go.
The road immediately after the border to Milange started off with a lot of potholes. We stopped in Milange and bought a Vodacom and Movitel simcard. The Vodacom simcard got registered with photos taken of Hugo’s passport and everything. The Movitel guy claimed that the card was registered which was not the case so only the Vodacom card worked.
Just outside Milange, we bought Mozambican Chips next to the road, which the guy didn’t heat up, but it still tasted OK. The road outside Milange was under construction, but at some sections, it looked like nothing had been done for years. Tall grass was growing through sections which already had crushed stones on it.
For 20km before Geral, it looked like they were actively building the road. After Geral, the road turned into a perfect South African style road with yellow markings for the shoulders and the same texture for the road surface and same signs and everything. We averaged 80km/h on for the last 140km to Mocuba. The N321 is also tar so there is no need to continue with the N11 all the way to the N1 just to get to Mocuba. On Google Maps the N321 looks like a small white road, but it is actually the main road to the border from Mocuba.
We got to Mocuba at 14:00, but were rather tired so we turned in at the Mission Post that we saw on iOverland. We asked some woman washing clothes if we can camp there using sign language and they just nodded. We opened the tent between some buildings and lied down for a while.
The lady manager from Zambia later arrived and said we can indeed camp there and gave us a key to a room with toilet and bucket shower.
For dinner, we went across the road to a bar where we had our first delicious 2M beer. We only later realised that the beer is perfect for us as 2M can stand for Two Monkeys. Using Google Translate we ordered half a chicken and chips: “Batata com ½ Frango”. The chicken was absolutely amazing. After dinner and a bucket shower, we went to bed and watched Netflix. It might be worth mentioning now that we have been watching a Spanish series, so it helps a bit with understanding some of the Portuguese.