The Toast



Macaneta is one of the numerous long beaches possible to find along the Mozambican coast. It’s not our favorite due to the strong currents and windy conditions. Nevertheless, it is a great place for walking or simply enjoying nature – not forgetting how close it is from Maputo.


There are different locations on the same beach, one of them with a particularity: it’s situated in a tiny line of sand between the river Incomáti and open sea. The place is really special and also one of the areas suffering from the devastating effects of erosion. To be in such a place is all about being close to nature. In reality, don’t expect a lot more.


Years ago a local entrepreneur had the idea of using a few walls left from colonial time to open a restaurant and later a lodge. Today, the conditions offered by both are very basic. We were disappointed with the rooms and the service in general. One of the worse aspects of chalets with a straw roof is when the beds don’t have the usual nets. From the start and based in previous experiences, this simply means that you are going to sleep with all kind of bugs.


After a first contact with our provisory “home”, we went straight to the beach for a walk, a swim and a picnic of bubbling wine, crackers, chips and grapes. Our table was one of the cute traditional boats used by local fisherman.


We toasted to the winter season, hoping it’ll be better than summer. It is not by chance that we pick Macaneta to salute the coming seasons. Indeed, due to the ghosts of ancient battles, Marracuene area is known to be magical, a place of xicuembo (witchcraft). The lights of the lodge were already on when we started our way back to our room.


I arrived in need of an urgent warm bath. I opened the hot tap and waited. Nothing! Conformed, I stepped under what felt like icy water after sun exposition. Only later we discovered that the hot water was running in the cold tap, just to give you an idea of how basic the place is!


Dinner was served in the bar because there were only a couple of tables occupied. The next day was all about walking and swimming. By curiosity, one of chalets was occupied by guys traveling around Africa.


Late in the afternoon, Andy arrived with a different friend. The road wasn’t much better than the previous day. Tractors didn’t stop rescuing all the cars immobilized along the road. Once again, only Andy and a couple of lucky drivers succeeded. It was sunset when we arrived at the ferryboat and already dark when we crossed the river.


Andy was able to make everybody laugh inside the ferry, by implying that the man guiding the vehicles wanted to put our car in the water. Instead of immediately driving to the place indicated, Andy advanced in slow careful motions, doing the funny noises of a “terrified” person.


One of the naughty sides of Andy is creating panic among people traveling in “suspect” transportation. I think he does it as a superstition too. Perhaps he thinks that if he doesn’t exteriorize loudly his fear, the worst is going to happen. It started long ago with an airplane travel and never stopped. Months ago, he traveled by plane from Maputo to Durban. When people were called to the gate, he started to tell to anyone who could hear him: “I have this feeling that this plane is going to fall!”


Most of the people changed of color after such statement. But what Andy didn’t expected was that his experienced mechanic eye would discover a compressed can of a know soft drink used to substitute a screw on the engine propeller cover. He pointed to it and said: “I told you!” Everybody could see that strange African (???) way of repairing a plane. The pilot was told about the improvised screw and was so embarrassed that when he was checking the airplane commands by mistake he released the oxygen masks. I suppose I don’t have to tell you how the rest of that flight was…