A trip to
Mozambique. (October 2003)
We left home
(Greytown KZN) on Thursday 16th at midday and our final destination
was the beach resort of Paindane on the Mozambique coast about
508 kilometres north of Maputo.
It was a lousy
day, hot and dry with a strong north wind and temperature in the
high thirties. Near Seven Oaks a plantation fire was raging on
one of Mondi’s estates and the yellow water bombers buzzed
round the pall of smoke like angry hornets. The hot conditions
were a far cry from the headlines of the Natal Mercury that warned
of an “Icy weekend for the Midlands”.
We were thankful
for the air conditioner in the Toyota.
Greytown and Stanger we noticed a heavy bank of cloud on the southern
horizon, a sure sign of the predicted cold front. Shortly before
turning off on a short cut towards the Mandini Pulp mill the south
wind arrived with the velocity of a runaway train. It hit us with
a frightening force almost pushing me off the road. Within minutes
the overall visibility had dropped to a few kilometres and the
sky was grey with dust and debris from the cane fields. We passed
one farm and watched as the corrugated iron on a shed was being
peeled off. A large broken branch from a gum tree, that could
have caused a nasty dent or broken my windscreen, narrowly missed
us. Besides the gale force wind the temperature had dropped dramatically.
Empangeni we moved from the cold front coming in from the south,
back into the hot winds from the north, and within seconds the
temperature again soared.
of the drought being experienced was evident everywhere. In places
the sugar cane was dead, streams had little or no flow and dams
were empty or almost empty.
The bright green of spring was still a long way off.