Itinerary in Northern Mozambique

berlu created the topic: Itinerary in Northern Mozambique

  • Posts: 2

Hi Mike,

I will be spending two weeks in northern Mozambique in November and I am looking for advice on my itinerary.

I will be entering Mozambique at Cobue, crossing over from Likoma Island in Malawi, and I am hoping to reach Lichinga on the same day by chapa. I would then proceed as follows:
Day 2: Lichinga to Cuamba (by chapa)
Day 3: Cuamba to Nampula (by train)
Day 4-6: Mozambique Island
Day 7: Mozambique Island to Pemba (by chapa/bus)
Day 8: Pemba to Ibo (by chapa)
Day 9-13: Quirimbas Islands
Day 14: Ibo-Pemba-Maputo (by chapa + LAM flight)
Day 15: Maputo
Day 16: Departure

I am staying a long time at the Quirimbas to get my PADI.

Initially I was very enthusiastic about travelling by public transport in order to get a better sense of the country and its people, but having done more research on this, it appears to be more dangerous than I had anticipated - my concerns are first and foremost about personal safety and secondly about that of my belongings (camera etc). And are my concerns well-founded? Bearing this in mind, how could the itinerary above be improved?

I am also struggling to find the train timetable for the Lichinga-Cuamba-Nampula route and to get accommodation in Cuamba. Initially I was really keen to get the train, but it seems that one can also fly from Lichinga to Nampula for a reasonable price. That would save me a day, as well as the hassle of trying to get accommodation in Cuamba. Any thoughts? Many thanks in advance.

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mozman replied the topic: Itinerary in Northern Mozambique

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Hi there
Welcome to Mozguide, sorry for the delayed reply.
I will be spending two weeks in northern Mozambique in November and I am looking for advice on my itinerary.
MIKE: Doable, but I highly encourage you to fly Lichinga to Nampula. I use www.travelstart.co.za otherwise more than half of your two weeks will be in bus or train.
I will be entering Mozambique at Cobue, crossing over from Likoma Island in Malawi, and I am hoping to reach Lichinga on the same day by chapa.
MIKE: Possible, but unlikely due to the fact that any transport leaving does so around 0500.
I would then proceed as follows:
Day 2: Lichinga to Cuamba (by chapa)
MIKE: Doable, if you are lucky and get first transport out of Lichinga at around 0500 to Mandimba or Cuamba.

Day 3: Cuamba to Nampula (by train)
MIKE: Trains from Cuamba to Nampula depart at 0500 sharp and run on Thursdays and Sundays. Make sure that you get a 2nd class ticket - usually on sale from the station on the afternoon previous to departure.

Day 4-6: Mozambique Island
MIKE: You will have to cut this down to one day, or leave it out. A pity.

Day 7: Mozambique Island to Pemba (by chapa/bus)
MIKE: easily doable in a day.

Day 8: Pemba to Ibo (by chapa)
MIKE: Unless it rains, doable, but you may have to overnight at Quissanga if you miss the dhows or arrive low tide.

Day 9-13: Quirimbas Islands
MIKE: To ensure you make it back to Pemba for your flight you may have to depart on day 13.

Day 14: Ibo-Pemba-Maputo (by chapa + LAM flight)
MIKE: See above comment.
MIKE: Due to dhows running only high tide, Ibo to Pemba in a day is just about doable, but could take 8 hours all things working.

Day 15: Maputo
Day 16: Departure

I am staying a long time at the Quirimbas to get my PADI.

Initially I was very enthusiastic about travelling by public transport in order to get a better sense of the country and its people, but having done more research on this, it appears to be more dangerous than I had anticipated - my concerns are first and foremost about personal safety and secondly about that of my belongings (camera etc). And are my concerns well-founded? Bearing this in mind, how could the itinerary above be improved?
MIKE: Petty theft a concern, but if you are streetwise you should be OK. On the train you must make sure to get a 2nd class ticket and still hang on to all your belongings. The crowds at stations are exploited by pick-pockets and thieves. Good idea to fly Lichinga to Nampula.

I am also struggling to find the train timetable for the Lichinga-Cuamba-Nampula route and to get accommodation in Cuamba. Initially I was really keen to get the train, but it seems that one can also fly from Lichinga to Nampula for a reasonable price. That would save me a day, as well as the hassle of trying to get accommodation in Cuamba. Any thoughts? Many thanks in advance.

MIKE: Travel by public transport in most of Moz is slow, unreliable, uncomfortable and often dangerous (overcrowded, unroadworthy vehicles driven by often drunk maniacs.

Enjoy your trip

Mike

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berlu replied the topic: Itinerary in Northern Mozambique

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Hi Mike,

Many thanks for your reply & helpful comments. I have some follow-on questions, if you would be so kind:

- Unfortunately I cannot leave Likoma island a day early. My original plan was to cross by boat, get the chapa to Metangula and from there an onward chapa to Lichinga all in one day, which I realise is a bit ambitious. Where do you think I may have to stop? Do you think I may arrive in Cobue too late for the chapa to Metangula, and therefore have to overnight there, or do you think I might get as far as Metangula but not to Lichinga?
- I would be entering Mozambique on a Monday; the Lichinga-Nampula operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but not on Wednesdays unfortunately. If I get as far as Metangula on day 1 (Monday), would it be feasible to get a car to drive me to Lichinga on Tuesday early in the morning and make it in time for the 11am flight? As far as I am aware Metangula-Lichinga should take 2.5 hours by chapa, and presumably less by car?
- If I have to fly to Nampula on a Thursday, landing around midday, do you think I would be able to reach Mozambique Island on the same day?
- My flight from Pemba to Maputo leaves at 6pm, do you think that gives me sufficient time to cross on the same day?

My idea was to travel by public transport to interact with the locals more so than because of lack of resources, so if you think that a certain portion of my itinerary would be better covered by private transport, perhaps because it would save me a day or get me there safer, than by all means I would welcome your advice!

Many thanks once again!

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mozman replied the topic: Itinerary in Northern Mozambique

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- Unfortunately I cannot leave Likoma island a day early. My original plan was to cross by boat, get the chapa to Metangula and from there an onward chapa to Lichinga all in one day, which I realise is a bit ambitious. Where do you think I may have to stop? Do you think I may arrive in Cobue too late for the chapa to Metangula, and therefore have to overnight there, or do you think I might get as far as Metangula but not to Lichinga?
MIKE: Most, if not all, transport between towns in Moz will depart between 0500 and 0800. The Cobue Migracao (immigration) should open at 0800, and then with the delay getting a Moz visa I doubt that you would be able to leave Cobue before 9 and this may be too late to get transport. You may be lucky, but perhaps have to overnight Cobue. If you get transport to Metangula from Cobue, you will probably make it to Lichinga in one day as there is more transport Metangula to Lichinga

- I would be entering Mozambique on a Monday; the Lichinga-Nampula operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but not on Wednesdays unfortunately. If I get as far as Metangula on day 1 (Monday), would it be feasible to get a car to drive me to Lichinga on Tuesday early in the morning and make it in time for the 11am flight? As far as I am aware Metangula-Lichinga should take 2.5 hours by chapa, and presumably less by car?
MIKE: Anything is possible, but your big hurdle remains Cobue to Metangula. I would contact www.facebook.com/nkwichi/ via pm and ask as they have staff who travel to Lichinga every so often.

- If I have to fly to Nampula on a Thursday, landing around midday, do you think I would be able to reach Mozambique Island on the same day?
MIKE: Yes. So long as you are willing to take whatever is going that direction, whether open pick up, minibus or long-haul truck.

- My flight from Pemba to Maputo leaves at 6pm, do you think that gives me sufficient time to cross on the same day?
MIKE: Yes. First transport leave Ilha between 0400 and 0500. Be on it.

My idea was to travel by public transport to interact with the locals more so than because of lack of resources, so if you think that a certain portion of my itinerary would be better covered by private transport, perhaps because it would save me a day or get me there safer, than by all means I would welcome your advice!
MIKE: Difficult to get private transport on any of your route, and then it would be at extortionery rates. So thumb a lift, ask locals or catch the scheduled buses if on time.

Going to be an adventure, keep your wits about you.

Mike

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