We left Bilene reluctantly and with regret that we are leaving behind such incredible friends but we know we will see them again somewhere, sometime soon. Our convoy, Jorge and Teresa leading the way, Dudley and Gail sandwiched by us bringing up the rear, head towards Maputo. The road is fantastic and the kilos fly by. We stop for coffee and buy some more gorgeous fresh cheese that we had been introduced to before going on. Jorge has very kindly given up his morning to give us a bit of a guided tour of Maputo and we are so impressed at what we saw. There are tower blocks being constructed everywhere, the roads are very good and there is a real sense of growth and prosperity like nothing we have seen over the last three months. It is a place we will definitely love to spend more time in and this makes us more determined to return to Mozambique.

A visit to Maputo would not be complete without a visit to the gracious Polana Hotel where we enjoyed a gin and tonic before sadly saying goodbye to Jorge and Teresa and making our way to the ferry. The wait is an interesting one during which we could have done some weird retail therapy, I landed up giving money to a guy carrying a box with two very loudly protesting ducks in it. He assured me he would look after them for the rest of their lives, during which time they would live in extreme comfort, be pampered, be very well fed and eventually will die of old age. At least that is what I would like to believe he told me in Portuguese. Dudley almost bought Gail a new “genuine” Samsung mobile phone but resisted the temptation.

The ferry trip was great and looking back at the skyline of Maputo was amazing. There are tower blocks being constructed everywhere and we leave it behind us very impressed at what we have seen and knowing we will come back to this vibrant, thriving city. As we had lingered longer in Maputo than we intended we are cutting it fine and decide to head for a campsite where we will then make a choice…go on or stay put. Daring Dudley leads the way and we bump and grind our way on with the sun relentlessly and inexorably slipping down. We stop, discuss and decide as we only have 34 kilometres to go we were going to head on for Ponta Do Ouro, despite the fact we had been warned about the road (if you can call it that) up ahead. Gail and I are dubious to say the least but neither of us want to be a party pooper and all for one, one for all!

The sun has set and we glide our way along sandy roads, Graham is in his element and as we have two “trusty” (*+><}{{\.#?€*$) GPS’s no worries at all. We were also told just follow the power lines, this is perfect but in the dark it is nigh impossible to do this. Well with 12 kilometers to go things start to go pear shaped ….. there are literally dozens of sand tracks that weave a magical and very mysterious trail to Ponta. It is like being in a giant maze with every track being the right and the wrong one at the same time. After a few circles in the sand we see some headlights coming towards us at a great speed and Graham jumps out and waves the truck, loaded with crates, down. Dudley has gone down a track to see wether his “trusty” Nuvi will pick something up and has disappeared behind a dune whilst Graham has a discussion in fluent Portuguese (of course Graham can speak it like a local!) with the truck driver and I hear Ponta and see much waving of arms and pointing.

Graham scurries back to Jezebel and says “we must follow him, he is going to Ponta”… the truck has shot off like a bat out of hell and I am stressing as Dudley is nowhere to be seen. Lights appear, Daring Dudley and Galant Gail are back and after frantically sending them off to follow the fast disappearing red lights of the truck we are off! We weave our way at great speed, hurtling through thick sand and groves of trees thats branches kindly flick the dust off our cars. Left, right, up, down and round and round we go, three vehicles playing a game of tag until suddenly we grind to a halt. Our kamikaze truck driver has a puncture so all hands on deck, Dudley gets his spade, Graham gets some tools that might be handy and Gail and I get the beers.

You have to try and picture the scene, it is pitch dark in the middle of no frigging where, a loaded truck with a flat wheel, very soft shifting sand, a dodgy jack, two silver haired Adonis’s, a toothless Mozambican, two “we are nearly over this” passengers but hell this is supposed to be an adventure so we go with the flow. Graham and Dudley, both with headlamps on get stuck in helping a very ill equipped driver who unwittingly and a bit unwillingly became our Good Samaritan. The tables turned and he now had two Good Samaritans assisting him. Suddenly headlights cut the dark night and before we could react a bakkie with three AK47 wielding dudes hanging on the back pulls along side. We hold our breathes, is this the nightmare encounter you dread and with horror read about? Well in our case definitely not, after a very brief chat with our toothless truck driver they disappeared into the darkness. The four of us expelled deep breathes at the same time and took big swigs of our drinks. The joys of traveling!

Not long and we were hurtling towards Ponta and in no time at all we arrived dusty but in good health! We proceeded to get lost in no time at all and had to rescued by our landlady. The next day we felt a bit sheepish because there is not much to this little place but in our defense it was bloody dark and confusing. Gail and I threw together a gourmet plate of pasta, we poured great big glasses of wine, feasted and collapsed exhausted after a very eventful day.