JZ's South African Journey: Madagascar, Namibia, Botswana & Mozambique 2012 travel blog

Friday, December 7th - Vilanculos to Massinga

It was the last morning to soak it all in prior to leaving. It was a very cloudy morning with storms out over the islands. We watched the storms rolling out to sea but never actually made it to Vilanculos. I will miss my beautiful multiple blue hues of the ocean water balcony views and my favorite balcony swing.

Our driver arrived in the morning to drive us from Vilanculos to Inhabane ( Massinga Lodge). initially I had a LAM flight booked for that leg but the flight was canceled and the airline never notified my travel agent or me of the changes...had Mark not booked his trip to Mozambique, I would have found out when I arrived at the airport today!! I contacted Fikirie to see if we could get my hand carved table for less...he walked to Casa Babi and we all smushed into this tiny Rav 4 car to go off to the market to make one last effort to buy this table! I was told by Sabrina and the other store manager what the price should be but the guys at the market would not budge charging $50usd extra...we drove there with the sounds of click, click, click all the way down the sandy bumpy road...Mark was definitely making up for lost time with his camera and tried to capture very moment on our way their.

Even with Fikirie I was not able to to get them to budge until the owner finally came to the store...I tried the same thing I did yesterday and handed them the cash for the price I wanted it for and Fikirie went for the product and it was done!! I got my table, now I just have to figure out a way to get it back home! Why do I do these things to myself?!. We dropped off Fikirie and away we go....a 2 hour drive to Massinga, but I know that means at the very least a 3 hour drive!

And, click, click, click, click were the sounds in the car for the next hour!! They really need to create silencers on those cameras!!! I better get some good pictures out of all of those pictures! I was in the back seat and occasionally I would look up and catch the driver giving Mark this strange look with squinted eyes for the "click, click, clicks"..it was quite funny. Priceless! And at one point I needed to remind Mark NOT to photograph the Mozambique police! Yikes! It was a paved road, thankfully, most of the way to Massinga passing a lot of the same type of small stick and straw huts with kids and women washing their clothes along the side of the road.

It was a 2 hour drive to Massinga and another 30 min up the off road to the cliffs of Massinga Lodge. On the way up to the lodge we passed small homes of the local villagers. the children and adults would see our car and smile and wave at us....it was such a switch from the villagers in Villanculous. it reminded me of the time I went through the villages of Rwanda...they were all so happy! Thirty-three peaked hut lodges are situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean...the views were absolutely stunning!! The palm trees and broccoli clustered green mangrove trees covered the cliffs with the waves crashing down on the beach. The lodge came highly recommended and we were looking for a bit of luxury relaxing on the last 2 days of our trips. And, then the saga begins...

We were kindly greeted my the manager, Paul, who showed us to our gorgeous lodge...it was an amazing king size bed overlooking en extended deck the entire size of our chalet with the ocean views below. There was a huge private room for the bathroom with a private claw foot tub and open rain shower draining on a wood deck overlooking the private plunge pool that over looked the ocean! Absolutely amazed with the size and decor of the private lodge and natural beauty of the area. It was then that tiny flaws of he lodge surfaced and Accumulated into a long list. When I entered the bathroom with Paul, he quickly whisked away a dirty shirt that had been left there as the bathroom had not ben cleaned properly. As we headed to the ginormous outside deck, we noticed we had pieces of a broken sun umbrella and we were the only chalet without a sun umbrella on our deck...not a big issue. Next, we checked out our fantastic plunge pool and to our disappointment it was completely filthy where I could write my name on the bench seat through the dirt....surely I was not about to go into there! Huge bummer!

It was raining on and off when we arrived and were taken via a golf cart to make our way down to the pool by the beach where they served lunch. It was a very steep switchback surrounded with palm trees to get to the pool. Evidently we were just making lunch prior to shut down. Food was included in our per person price at the lodge, but not drinks...they always offered 2 choices for food...a meat or a fish. It surprised me that they did not have ANY white wine served downstairs when I placed my order, but I kindly changed it to something they had stocked at the bar....not realizing that this would be a reoccurring issue.The tiny three prawn croquets with 8 French fries were good but barely enough to fill a growing boy's appetite...that would be Mark! A request for a few more was made to the waiter he replied the chef had already left and could not prepare more for us so we had to wait for dinner....we were to find out that this was just the beginning of their excuses.

Before I knew it...I saw a magical rainbow shining in the sky! that had to be a sign things would get better...or so I thought! The sun started to shine and we made it down to the beach...rough white foamy ocean waves crashed to the sand. It was low tide and a lot of dead jelly fish spotted the beach. The beach stretched for 10 km in each direction with nothing in sight. There were only 6 chalets filled at the lodge so we had a nice empty beach to ourselves. Ahhh, relaxation!!

After relaxing it was time to shower up for dinner. First, we encountered issues with the shower...the beautiful shower drained but it also leaked leaving a stream of puddles across the entire bathroom floor. Since we didn't have enough towels we weren't able to wipe up the water appropriately so we almost had a few wipe outs...time to request more towels however our walkie talkie was not working to get more towels from reception. ...at that time they seemed like just small issues....

We were eager for dinner, some more hungry than others...little to know we were to experience the most disastrous dinning experience...the bug brigade!! It had just rained so every bug that existed in Mozambique was out tonight AND soon to be whizzing their way into the dinning room. We started with a drink and we took them outside by the reception area where a small plunge pool stood overlooking the ocean. We started to admire the stars that were peeking out of the sky and the noticed Paul skimming the LAYERS of dead bugs in the pool. Big and small bugs, and mosquitoes the size of nickels started attacking us and swarming to the lights. We quickly dodged them and swatted them off our bodies in the few 10 steps it took to get to the dinning room. we sat down at our table and the moment came where the look of sheer horror filled our faces! The lit candle in a votive with sand had about 10 bugs in it. Then, we turned around and saw about 50 bugs crawling all over the wall behind us...some landing on our table in which Mark and I would smash on the white linen tablecloth. The white table cloth became speckled before you knew it....we needed a Bread crumber for the bugs that we squashed on the table! The bugs were flying into Mark's hair and I was busy swatting them off my body. The glass sliding doors to the dinning room became one sheet of black specks.....covered with bugs! The problem was that the servers and staff had to open and close those doors to bring in our food and take out our plates. More and more bugs came Into the dinning room because of this and often the guests, including Mark, had to get up and close those doors since the staff would keep it open. It was so bad that the staff took big cloth towels and started wiping down the walls with the overhead bugs! Mark and I received our appetizer and in Mark's dish there were several mosquitoes swimming in the sauce! We could not even sit still and enjoy the meal. They took the appetizers away to get us new ones and move us to another table away from the wall....this one was slightly better. But, we had to wait forever to get my appetizer back again and then another 10 minutes to get Mark's appetizer after I got mine. Because the bugs were so bad the servers started to use silver dome coverings to protect the food from the bugs...the staff was so bothered by the bugs they started dropping everything while swatting the bugs away from them. They dropped silverware on the floor, they dropped the big silver dome right next to me and it almost landed in my lap, and then even dropped the glass of desert that shattered to the floor. Eventually, it just became a comedy show as you just could not make this stuff up and just had to laugh in between the slapping of Mozzies. We thought getting a few drinks might calm us down but that was a chore to get as the lodge seemed to be under staffed. We quickly scarfed down our food and ran back into our lodge which was hopefully bug free!

Since we could not go outside and enjoy the ocean waves and stars from our deck due to the rain infestation of bugs, we opened our curtains and were absolutely amazed and in awe with the glorious sky we saw which was filled with stars! The stars shined like the bright city lights not needing a light. It was like being in the planetarium!! We just took the curtains behind us and put our faces up to the glass to just gaze in amazement....then, the most spectacular shooting star came flying out of he sky! It was the biggest and brightest shooting star I have ever seen! It was a bit of a magical experience and great ending to our comedy!

Then, as we climbed to to our comfy beds covered with a big mosquito net we noticed yet another flaw that had to be added to our list....a great big tear and hole in the top of our mozzy net....a lot of good that net was to us! We were both hoping for a much better bug and rain free day tomorrow!

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