Just returned from a weekend trip to Bilene, a beach resort about 190km drive north from Maputo…
Saturday: We set off around 10am for the drive to Bilene. After negotiating the outskirts of Maputo with throngs of people and chapas we hit the open road. Very smooth, very straight and very quiet. Easy to cruise along at 100kph and only a few small villages between us and our destination. The journey taking us about 2.5 hours we found a reasonable hotel to stay for the night and hit the beach. Went for my first swim in the Indian Ocean, although this is a lagoon it is connected to the open ocean. The sea wasn’t as warm as I was expecting, but it was by no means cold. The only down side of Bilene is that it is a popular weekend spot for South Africans and they like to bring their quad bikes with them and thrash around the village destroying the peace. This was compunded by the fact it is a holiday in South Africa this week so more people than is usual were at the resort.
The highlight of the evening was a powercut during dinner at the beach restaurant. This gave me my first truly dark southern night sky of the trip with the milky way directly overhead. It is a sight to behold and nothing compares to that completely light free environment. Fantastic.
Sunday: The whole purpose of the trip was to seek out a geocache at one of the lodges (see About Me for details of this hobby!). Sadly we couldn’t find it despite enlisting the help of the managers and half of the guests in the search. My first Mozambique geocache will allude me I think (there are only 6 in the whole country and this was the closest to Maputo). It then decided to rain on us during lunch, unbelievable! We still managed an hour on the beach in the afternoon before the drive home. Again negotiating the outskirts of Maputo was exciting, with me driving the wrong way around a burger roundabout at one point!
I think we will be able to make a trip to Xai Xai, the next provincial capital, one weekend. Now we know what the roads are like it is only another 50km further on from Maputo. Or maybe we will return to Bilene and rent one of the thatched chalets at the resort. A truly magical place.