Africa trips

Mozambique 2003 - Harold Churchill

Overlanding Trips

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.

Midway between 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.

Just before 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.
Weird weather!

The effects 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.

map mozambique