Mozambique.. it’s maningue nice

Maningue Nice is a popular local expression that I heard many times mostly outside the capital city Maputo, “maningue” meaning  very, and no doubt that Mozambique is a “very nice” place to visit, but not as pleasant to leave, although all it’s natural resources the majority of the population leaves in poverty with less than $1.25 per day.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-21-09-07I travel through Mozambique for nearly a mouth, I flew to Maputo and then to Pemba (north of the country) where I started my trip.

🚌Pemba / Nacala / Moçambique Island / Nampula /Pebane / Quelimane / Beira / Vilankulos /Inhambane/ Tofo / Chidenguele/ Maputo 

I traveled from north to south always by local buses and small vans called chappas, what is part of the authentic Mozambique experience, and remember that here the journey is more important than the destination.

Even if you are doing a long journey, the bus will be chaotic packed with people, bags, animals, and everything else that you can imagine, and not enough sits for everybody, If a chappa carry 15 people, they somehow manage to fill them with at least 25 people and a few chickens 🙂

 

You can’t use a chap to  travel if you are in a rush, there is no timetables, and they leave when they are full.. and forget everything you’ve learned about road safety ….. and pray…. it is frequente to see drivers drinking and smoking while driving, there is no speed limit, the state of the vehicles is horrendous, and what does the word “seat belts” means, right?!

When you are traveling by bus, at least will never get hungry, because the driver will stop many many times in the middle of nowhere, and a dozen of people will appear with all sort of things to sell through the bus windows. Basically they do a 2 in 1, travel and shopping. So don’t push for me about the smell 🙂

If you asked me for 3 words to describe my journeys, I would say: slow, smelly and chaotic. Patience and tolerance is much needed for this long and sweaty journeys.

 

I stopped at the main cities, but traveled mostly through the rural areas, where people never had seen many tourists or speak much Portuguese, surprisedly communication was a problem, despite Portuguese be the national oficial language, not many people speak it outside the main cities. Mainly because Mozambique is a poor country where the access to school is very limited.

The Mozambique Island, was a former Portuguese trading-post on the route to India and it’s the only place in the country  part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

 


Maputo it’s different from the rest of the country, it’s a developed city with all the basic infrastructures, some preserved colonial-style architecture, it’s culturally dynamic, and with a rich night life. You can discover Maputo by walking around the Baixa, losing yourself in the streets. The city does have a lot of petty crime, especially once it’s dark, and tourist/foreigners are on the spot. I wouldn’t  recommend walking around the city after dark alone.

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It’s not uncommon to be harassed by  workers, drivers or even the police. A foreigner is likely to be targeted by police trying to extort money, so always carry your passport, and don’t  pay if you haven’t done anything wrong,otherwise you are giving them incentive to hassle the next traveller.

Mozambique has a  rich culture and much to offer if you like to explore, meet people, do outdoors activities and be in contact with nature. I  definitely recommend a visit and hope you enjoy it!

Be kind, patience and enjoy the small things in life…<3

 

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

🌱 Information and testimony about being a vegan in Mozambique – Vegan in Mozambique

Vegan in Mozambique

I don’t really want to demotivate anyone, but if you’re a vegan traveling in Mozambique you’re going to have a hard time.

1383915_10200673552109384_560808564_nAs you know they have a famous cuisine and are one of the best countries in Africa foodwise, but is all about tiger prawns, seafood, fresh fish and, chicken.

I traveled from north to south only by public transports and thought lots of rural areas, where there isn’t any infrastructures, restaurants, cafes, food stall or surprisedly not even many street markets. So you are asking the same question I did, where and what to eat?

If you are in a rural area, you need to rely on the local people and what they can do for you, but communication can be a big problem, because if they don’t speak Portuguese (what is possible and probable) they will speak one of the 43 languages spoken in the country (yes you read well 43..)

If you are in place that has a “restaurant” you will do all your meals there and again, struggling with communication, try to explain what you can eat and understand what they have. Maputo is the exception,  has good options, and its easy to find your way around.

Mozambique was colonized by Portugal in 1505, their cuisine has been deeply influenced by the Portuguese. One of the most eaten dishes is ncima a thick porridge made with ground maize and water, in my opinion just serves the propose of giving you energy.. it’s tasteless, but vegan 🙂

Here is a list of some vegan dishes that I came across:

  • Mucapata– rice with coconut, absolutely delicious, very common in Mozambique island.
  • Xiguinha – Made with cassava and cacana leaves, common in Inhambane province.
  • Pão – white bread rolls, you can find it in any market baked in wood-fired ovens in villages.
  • Matapa – made from stewed cassava leaves, ground peanuts, garlic and coconut milk, more likely to get it if you end up staying with locals.
  • Collard Greens in Oil – it’s a sauté of onions and collard greens.
  • Chamusas – triangle shaped pastries, asked for the potato ones.
  • Cassava with Red Sauce – sauce made with fresh tomatoes, green peppers, onions, garlic and  oil
  • Rice and Beans – its a very common dish.
  • Mucuane – with boiled cassava leaves, tomatoes, coconut milk, ask if is made with shrimp or Cashews.
  • Quiabo a Zambiana  Okra
  • fresh sugarcane juice
  • pão de sura – it’s a coconut sweet bread more typical in the Inhambane province
  • Cashews  – they have nut trees growing all over the place. You’ll see people selling bags of cashews on the side of the road and on the beach. they sell while plain, roasted piri-piri, roasted salt.
  • Fruits and vegetables– fruit and veggies are available at markets and on the sides of roads all over the country, depending on the season you can find good papayas, coconuts, mangoes. Avocados okra and collard greens are also seasonal, avocados only in season for a few short weeks. Others, like tomatoes, cassava or beans, are available year-round.  Green peppers, onions, and bananas seem to go through recurring phases.

    photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

🚌 If you are planning to visit Mozambique, or if you are just curious.. check the post about my trip – Mozambique.. it’s maningue nice 

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