We left Nacala Wednesday morning making our way to Nampula since the parts were due to arrive that night with DHL Express if all went well. The parts had already been cleared in Maputo by 7.34am that morning so things were looking good! The oil was leaking even more prolifically so we stopped every 50kms to top up one litre! The campsite was far out of town, 10kms or so, fine if you have transport but since we didn’t we opted for the Bamboo Inn feeling rather pleased with ourselves as the rain came down that night. What a treat to have an air conditioner, a bathroom en suite, a shower with hot water and clean enough to feel we did not even have to wear slops. The mirror was both a treat and a shock all at the same time! Once again our room was a storeroom come bedroom with all the contents of the Beast (the Landrover) as we waited and waited. What should have been a 2 night stop turned into 4 nights and nearly 6.... the bill climbed. We were glad the Thomas’s had pushed on down the coast towards Quelimane, we didn’t all need to be frustrated!
From Maputo the parts had disappeared into the ether. No amount of calls or e mails to DHL could bring to light what had happened and by Friday morning George and I were getting desperate. We did not want to spend the weekend there too, I felt like I was going mad after 3 days cooped up in a little room in that very hot town. Finally I worked my way up the ladder and got a senior person from DHL in Maputo and from there we began to get our answers. Our parcel had sat around for some time in Maputo, missed some flights and just before close of business on Friday, Passmore (our helpful man from Motorcare) called.... at last it had been delivered. We heaved a sigh of relief hoping that the mechanics pitched the next day without too much of a bubbalas! Being Saturday it was a half day job so things would be tight. By 11am we got a call to say the car would probably only be ready by Monday afternoon, the blood pressure rose and we were frothing mad! We found out that contrary to our request the landy had not been pre-stripped and they had only started to work on it that morning. We had spent 3 days sitting without transport and may even have transferred to the campsite out of town if we had known the car had not been worked on. Immediately we asked for the manager’s number and got onto him, he arranged that the guys worked overtime. We pleaded with Passmore to make sure they did the job properly and just before dark the Beast arrived.... at last the job was done! What a relief that we would finally be able to move south.
We left Nampula feeling uneasy and discovered along the way towards Beira that the Beast was still leaking oil, a litre for every 100kms, we were back to square one again.....UNBELIEVABLE! The Thomas’s had already reached Beira and wanted to leave after their car had been serviced. They were pressuring us to continue, they would make sure we were okay and we could get it fixed in South Africa a very long 4 day drive from Beira. We weren’t comfortable with that, it was too much of a risk and we were not in a hurry as the tenants in our house are only due to move out at the end of January.
Crossing over the Zambezi we got to camp after dark, it was a great place and James White had been recommended from Zimbabwe to Tanzania. We were so glad to have pushed through and had a very enjoyable evening celebrating being south of the Zambezi at last! We pushed on the next day taking the 213 dirt road to Beira as recommended by locals. This was almost 200kms of dirt, very enjoyable at first; the road followed the railway line through endless gorgeous dense woodlands, it was like driving through a green tunnel at times. Along the way we passed 3 broken down timber lorries full of huge logs, we have seen this everywhere in Mozambique....the land is being raped! Apparently within 3 to 5 years all the hardwoods will be gone, shipped off to China. Beira was full of open log warehouses and the 213 was strewn with the run-away logs. The last 60kms were full of corrugations..... dreadful! What started out as a beautiful drive turned into a nightmare, teeth grinding frustration mixed with anxiety over the state of our Noddy. We felt really angry about the bad recommendations and arrived exhausted in Beira hours later than we had anticipated.
Coming into Beira we went to Biques campsite it had mostly been washed away, all that was left was a small dump difficult to park 2 caravans on and the Thomas’s had pretty much already filled it! The Beast went in and the tent went up again to store the contents.... this was getting quite tiresome! Tuesday night was the farewell dinner with the Thomas’s at Biques restaurant, we have had many great experiences together and they have been a wonderful support in some of our most trying times. Thank you Steve and Paula! Due to our circumstances we need to part ways, given this they have decided to dash home (to Durban) for Christmas. We will be driving to Harare to join my family and then on to Johannesburg to pick up Cheryl (George’s daughter) en route to the Cape. This perhaps is the safer route in case we have further problems.
We waved the Thomas’s off on Wednesday the 14th of December, 9 months of shared adventure had gone in a flash and we were left waiting to hear about the Beast. Motorcare Beira had found a block in the tappit cover breather pipe, this has been causing a build up of air pressure that has forced the oil to leak out of the seals. I guess it’s not surprising after all the dirt roads we have done. We pray that is all that is wrong and we will be able to get back to the Cape with no further problems now! In the meantime at least we are by the sea, it was 41 degrees Celsius inland on the 213 but Beira has the humidity to contend with that makes it almost unbearable at times! Sleeping in this heat is uncomfortable even with a fan and heavy rains are forecasted so the humidity will continue to rise. I’m looking forward to Christmas with family and friends and sadly we will have to leave southern Mozambique for another time. We are now only 2300kms from home and have camped for 253 nights!!!