Traveling in Army convoy

When we were offered a little bag of deep-fried birds with a single birds-eye chilli, it dawned on me. I love living in the middle of no-where! Because living in the middle of no-where requires a good amount of travel. And road tripping in Africa is like turning pages of a book; every village, landscape and person you see tells a story.

Deep-fried birds

The challenge goes, can you capture that story on camera while driving at pace?

Sometimes our lightning fast digit action is rewarded with a photo that should surely win the National Geographic reward of brilliance? But most times we press replay and find a blurred and crappy composition type photo with a telephone pole directly in front of the subject we were aiming for. That’s about when we demand that our husbands stop the vehicle immediately and reverse at speed – usually done with a good amount of muttering and moaning – and hope like hell our photo moment is still there! And if not, the blame is almost always shifted entirely onto the driver for driving far to bloody fast! Surely he knows by now he has wife who likes to take photos?!

Army Convoy

For the last 2 months, we have been on the road. We’re in the thick of weddings and have been motoring all over the countryside! We’ve covered 3 countries so far and my little house on a little sugarcane estate is beckoning wildly! Lots of blogs – regular one’s – coming your way! Internet permitting! And in about 10 days time! We’re not quite finished with the road trip!

While I have plenty of stories to tell, the one bit I cannot ignore is the actual traveling itself! The roads in Mozambique are a feast to the eyes. During the war, (which ended 21 years ago) most of the population moved to the city centres and towns, or to the main road. And to this day, the road is where all the action is!

On Patrol

Due to the unrest in the country a couple months ago, there is a compulsory army convoy on the road which links central Mozambique to the South. The unrest started when the ex rebel contingent oiled up their guns and took out a few freightliners on the long and lonely road between the Save river and Muxungue. An army convoy was soon put in place to safely escort the civilian vehicles from one point to the other.

Truck Attack

A truck that was attacked while en route to Beira

Ever since the convoy started, the two towns have been buzzing with business. Food, drinks and many other services(of all types) are for sale at these 2 points!

Convoy Bus

Maximising the load capacity!

Fish mongers

Selling fresh and dried fish

Pad kos

Rat kebabs – usually available during the Winter months. Entire habitats are burnt to aid the capture of these rodents.

And where there are trucks/freightliners with nothing to do but wait, be sure they will not be able to resist the opportunity to make a quick buck! You are guaranteed to see fuel theft in broad day light. Below is a man syphoning fuel out the tank.

Syphoning fuel

Your one stop fuel theft shop

These syphoning depots are a common scene a long this particular stretch of road.

Most people just stand around and wait!

The Waiting

Our kids, however, lost all sense of humour by the time we reached hour 2 of waiting in the hot African sun for the convoy to start. Lucky for us parents, there were some friendly Mozambican children who gladly entertained!

Convoy entertainment

Soulful eyes

Eventually the convoy was off and we were led by an army tank of sorts that sped down the road at an average speed of 120km per hour!

Dust and potholes

We eventually got home at night after a 12 hour car journey!

Dusty Sunset

And I can assure you, on days like this, this quote says it all!
“No-one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” Lin Yutang

NOTE: The political climate varies from place to place. Currently (Jan 2014) there are regular attacks on the convoy.  FOR UP TO DATE INFORMATION ON THE THE CONVOY AND POLITICAL UNREST IN MOZAMBIQUE, please check the following websites: ****

1.) Travel safe in Mozambique (offers readers a calender of events of political unrest and attacks on the Convoy)

2.) Club of Mozambique (an english website that offers readers daily news, accom, current affairs and business info)

Dust blowing in the hills