|Vilankulo is a small town with a very small airport|
Therefore I am going to declare that the number one thing you need to know if you are moving to South Africa (in my opinion) has nothing to do with safety and security as you would think from reading about the country. Instead, I think the first thing that anyone moving here needs to understand and accept is that you will rarely, if ever, be able to fully complete a task on the first attempt. Even though the Mozambique visa debacle technically has nothing to do with South Africa, the whole thing took place on South African soil so I am lumping the experience into my nothing is easy in South Africa rant. Things like renewing your car registration or getting someone to come to your house to fix something and other seemingly simple tasks usually require multiple attempts before you achieve success. It's always something. The system is down that day, you have the wrong form, they can't process whatever it is you are trying to do at that location, the electrician just doesn't show up and doesn't bother to call and on and on. If your hobby is completing tasks in a quick and efficient manner than you are likely to be repeatedly frustrated.
Besides the race against time to get the visas, the other topic of pre-travel discussion was whether or not Mr. Deep and I should take malaria pills. While there is no malaria in the part of South Africa where we live, you can get malaria when visiting other parts of the country and continent. We already had the pills as we filled a prescription prior to visiting Kruger, but then decided not to take them. Of course neither of us wanted to risk getting malaria but we have also heard bad things about the side effects. Ultimately, we decided to take the pills this time. The ones we had require you to take one pill per day with food for 11 days. At first we didn't notice any side effects. In hindsight I think that was because we were eating huge breakfasts every morning at the hotel in Mozambique and therefore taking the pills with lots of food. But then, after we returned home and started having just green smoothies for breakfast, we both started to feel sick and nauseous. It took us a few days to realize that it was likely the pills making us feel bad and so we suffered through the remaining days and started to feel better shortly after we finished taking them.
But I digress. We got the visas and flew to Vilankulo. When we landed at the airport we immediately saw that we could have obtained the visas at the airport upon arrival. We had received mixed information about this as several people had told us we could get the visas upon arrival. But, we also read information that said although you used to be able to get visas upon arrival that now you cannot. I would estimate that three quarters of the people on our plane were getting their visas created at the airport. And the line to create new visas was moving at a rate about three times faster then the line for those of us who already had visas which made no sense because the new visas required quite a bit more work including processing applications and taking photos. The person working the line for those of us who already had visas - whose job it was to look at the visa, type some information into a computer and then stamp the visa - was incredibly slow. He was seated behind a high counter which I couldn't see over the top of so I couldn't tell if he was even working on a computer or if he was just reading a book or texting with a friend or something.
Finally the visas were stamped and we headed to our hotel called the Dona Ana. The Dona Ana is located right on the beach and has amazing views of the Indian Ocean. As shown in the map below, Mozambique is a long skinny country with 1430 miles (2300km) of coastline. We chose to visit Vilankulo at the recommendation of a friend who used to live in Mozambique. I don't really enjoy doing research about trips so I am happy to take a recommendation from a person who knows and just go with it.
Vilankulo is a small fishing town named for an African tribal chief, Vilankulo. Since the Portuguese apparently don't use the letter k in their language, the name of the town can also be spelled Vilanculo. Portuguese is the official language of Mozambique but everyone spoke enough English and we did not have any trouble communicating.
|These guys are all fishing on the beach by the hotel. They are line fishing without rods or reels which is why their arms are all bent.|
|This is a wooden dhow boat. When the tide went out the boats would remain on the sand waiting for the tide to come in again.|
|Pretty landscaping at the Dona Ana Hotel|
In front of the hotel
|Another picture of the hotel|
Lots of boats and fishermen
|The dhow and a cloudy sky|
|On the dhow.|
|Mr. Deep's beer on the dhow. When in Mozambique the beer of choice is called 2M.|
|The chef cleaning fresh calamari|
|In addition to calamari, we also had barracuda for lunch.|
After the snorkel, our guide talk us for a walk around the island of Magaruque. The island is only 2.4 km long and up to 1 km wide. It is largely uninhabited although it contains a guest lodge of some kind.
|Mr. Deep and our fellow trip goers walking along the beach on Maguraque|
|Lots of camera shy crabs on the island. This guy was was trying hard not to have his photo taken but we managed to get a shot of him right before he exited the frame.|
|Lunch was calamari stew, grilled barracuda, rice, bread, bananas and salad. YUM!|