GORONGOSA NATIONAL PARK

Morning 6 o’clock … Again 6 am … Portuguese Katarina and Lilianda go out on the road. We have a disposable path. First we walk to Vilanculo city center 2 km away. Vilankulos-Pambara-Inchope-Gorongosa will be our current route. Our first stop is Pambara. We go down on the road and wait for about 2 hours under the sun, then we settled in the big bus stop from Maputo.

The Express bus from Maputo does not stop, only the passengers are down and up. I’m asking when we will take a break. “No stop,” driver says, showing the toilet compartment behind the bus. As I will not use that partition in my life, it is not possible to cross the corridors, the people sitting on wood boxes, the chickens, the pineapple and the potato sacks.

I ask co-pilot to stop somewhere for toilet. The driver is stopping to the left in a convenient place. (Traffic flows from the left) The passengers are getting off the bus. I’m the only one who’s looking for a bush to hide. The ladies are squatting right behind the bus. Men are also about a meter away. In a matter of minutes everyone is gathering, jumping over the cargoes and sitting on their seats and the journey continues.

INCHOPE 

We’re descending in Inchope. The faces are changing. Despite being on the main road and crossroads, the poverty and uneasiness of the people are felt. The income from tourism in the coastal area has never been affected by the region, nor has it been affected by the civil war. Up to 3 months ago, there were three different groups in the vicinity fighting because they could not share the ground and underground sources. The state has sent the army. They call it “Military convoy”. This road, which has only one transport network, has been severely damaged. I also witness a lot of burnt buses. I have not seen a damaging asphalt road like this in my life, but luckily there is no cliff. There was a gap in the road in Nepal. Trucks, buses, and buses are constantly drawing zigzags to escape from deep pits of at least 30 centimeters wide by 3 meters wide.

Gida is a young man in his 25s. We sit next to eachother in the minibus. There is not a distance of about 30 cm between us either. The vehicles in Mozambique are much older and take as many passengers as possible. Folding seats have been added to those minibus that the Far Easterners actually designed for themselves. I counted, with the captain, 23 of us. In this sincerity, we do not have a long time to start a conversation with Gida, his brother-in-law and his nephew, Zekeriya, and the conversation between us is developing in the following way. I remind you that Gida is starting to go to a English language course.

I ask the family:

-Do you have a family?

-Me dad killed (He pretends to cut his throat with his finger)

-Your dad is killed???

-Yes, me dad.

-Why?

-Dont know.

-By whom?

-Yes.

-Who kill?

– Yes.

– I mean, why, by whom?

-Soliteri.

-Soldiers?

-Yes

-Soldiers killed your father?

-Yes

-Oh my God!

-Yes

-But why?

-Yes.

-Why?

-Dont know.

-Civil war? (I make direct contact with civil war)

-Yes

-Ta ta ta ta…? (I pretend to shoot with a machine gun, to make sure)

-Yes.

-Oh no! I m so sad.

-Yes.

For a while we look at each other and try to solve the situation.

-Me father mind go… (He draws circles around his hand)

– At civil war? (Did he lose his mind in the civil war?)

-No.

-Crazy father… Hospital… Timing timing timing and killed.

-Why?

-Dont know. 

The real story: Gida’s father has lost his mental health. For a long period of time (timing timing) he was treated at the hospital (what he called the solitary, in fact sanitation), but he was not healed and was suddenly told to die.

Zaceriya from Maxixe and his father go to relatives in Gorongosa. Zaceriya sits beside me, watching it with great amazement as if it was the first time on the road. Shy. I’m a little tickle, he’s laughing and laughing. I teach him hand shots game, I know he plays for recollection, because he try to see the outsides with each passing truck. I am crazy to see a child who looks so amazed around. Good thing they are away from technology. 

It is very dark. It’s late. Do I have to be scared? Why? I’m not the only one left in the dark. I am trying to go to our homes where there are dozens of people around me, children, men and women, who are stuck in a tiny vehicle. Since I’ve been to Africa, there’s something that’s been paying attention, because people do not fight on public transport. Despite traveling on bad terms, they are respectful, attentive, helpful and polite to each other. Especially the men know how to sit.

 

SAFARI IN GORONGOSA

On our first day at the park, we are attending the next safari tour. We meet our guide Irish Paul and Mozambican guide who called “eagle eye”. Paul lived in Dublin, and when he came to Africa for a safari on a vacation, he said, “This is what I will do.” He introduces the Mozambican helper’s guide as “My eagle’s eye.” Paul uses both the vehicle and the tracks on the ground, while Moz uses his innate abilities to look around and look for animals. Jeep has a blanket on every seat and drinks are ready. First we see a lot of antelope, impala. There are 99 lions in the park. It’s not difficult to determine the coordinates with GPS because it’s all in the electronics leash. The vultures on the trees are signs of entering the lions’ region. Two 8 month old lion cubs play between the grasses. The mother are definitely here somewhere. The jeep is open on four sides, I hope she is not leaving the place and jumping over us. About leaving the car, it’s even forbidden to get up. It annoys the click sounds of the cameras, not just me and the lions, but all nature. And it’s dangerous. The guide is warning. But the photographers do not give a shouting, they are pressed repeatedly in excited shutter, the flies are flying, the fledgling is going on. Even without that metallic sound, beautiful pictures can be taken. They also have to put muffler on the engine of the engine.

I will stay in their tent with Lili and Keti tonight. I’m camping for the first time. They are very happy to host me in their tent. I would like a sleeping bag and a mat from the reception. He says they can not find it. I’m asking someone else. Bringing a blanket and pool loungers. I spent my first tent accommodation with macaques around the tent in a national park of Africa. Monkeys walk around the tent all night looking for food. We got the food in the tent. It was raining all night. I warmed up in the tent, wore a few layers because I did not have sleeping pads, I did not even need a blanket.

We woke up at 6 in the morning. Every part of my body is aching. I could not sleep properly. I am a little hopeless about seeing the animal because of the rainy weather, but I still agree with the morning safari. We also see antelope, a few birds, impala, pigs. We go to the elephant zone, but they do not. In the end, the rain is accelerating, we are hugging the blanket.

I am packing my stuffs, after some coffee with my friends I hug and say goodbye. I rented a car for the transfer. If you do not have your own vehicle, you have no other options. Nearest settlement is Inchope. By the way, there is no market in the camp. The hotel has a restaurant, but because it is expensive the girls brought their food with them.

Transfer to and from the camp, 2 safaris, accommodation in a tent, entrance fee to the camp is 9.000 metikaj.

The transfer vehicle is a luxury pickup truck. I’m lying in the back seat right now, intending to sleep for 1.5 hours to the Inchope. I thought I was going to have a comfortable ride because the car was new, but I have forgotten how bad the roads are.

I’m m in a bus to Chimoio. Every time When I say no more scrap, I get worse. Some of the steering wheel’s parts are attached to each other with box tape. I will not talk about the car’s unclogged doors, the gear lever, the seats, the roof. And of course, again, 23 of us, except for the children in the hugs. I’m lucky I found the front. I turn to the back, there is a distance of no more than 20 cm between the expressionless faces, the shoulders, the legs, the arms are adjacent. I give it to Mozambique, the worst road in terms of transportation. People travel like Siamese twins.

Chimoio is very active, shopping city, because Zimbabwe is expensive, shopping is done here and offered in Zimbabwe. I am transferred to Machipanda. I’m going to the muthare border gate. Altitude is starting to rise. The mountains are green. The road is new, live. Chinese companies are building roads and bridges of Africa.

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