Vila Save to Muxungue E.N.1 armed convoy update
mozman created the topic: Vila Save to Muxungue E.N.1 armed convoy update3 years 10 months ago
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24 Sept, 2013, 15h00.
I am now at Chitengo in Parque Nacional do Gorongosa, Mozambique, having driven north from Vilanculos this morning.
Even in Vilanculos the truck drivers gave me conflicting stories about the armed convoy between Vila Franca do Save (Save bridge) and 110km north to Muxungue.
It seems that yesterday, 23 Sept, there were convoys running but we drove into Save at 0830 expecting to see a long queue of vehicles waiting on the south side of the bridge for the 0900 convoy going north.
There was no queue and cars and trucks were crossing the bridge north and south direction as normal.
We paid our 20 Mets (R7) bridge toll and motored on north all the way Muxungue, Inchope and into Gorongosa Park as if nothing had ever happened.
There are still soldiers hanging around at Save, the Muari steel bridge (where one of the attacks happened in April, 2013) and in Muxungue, but no-one could tell me why there was no convoy and whether there would be one tomorrow, or at any time in the future.
Our route before Vilanculos was Pafuri - Mungazi gate into Banhine - Banhine Camp (being renovated, but currently no water at the new tented camp site) - Mabote - Vilanculos.
We did the north bank track of the Limpopo, Pafuri (Dumela) - Mapai Rio - Combomune - Mungazi etc. The track is quite overgrown and many possiblilities of getting lost. Mapai Estacao (Station) to Combomune is being tarred currently but only a few km of tarmac were open so we used the very dusty and corrugated side detour.
Combomune - Mungazi starts off very rough and would be a nightmare of clay and cotton soil swamps when wet, but then improves and quite easy going to Banhine camp.
Due to the still flooded pans that have to be skirted, the route from Banhine (Chigubo) to Mabote is quite confusing initially, but the Park Administrator showed us the first 20km or so in his Landcruiser and so we only got lost once for a few hundred metres after that.
Seems we were the first vehicle to do Banhine - Mabote for a while as there were two huge trees across the road with no visible detours around them so we made brand new tracks around the trees. At the steel Bailey Bridge somewhere, the abutments were washed away, and the bridge has been dismantled, presumably for repair and we drove on a very difficult detour through the river.
From there to Banamana and Mabote just the usual twee-spoor then easy 80kph (watch out for sand drifts) Mabote to Mapinhane.
Note that none of the fuel stations in Vilanculos accept any credit cards and only BIM in Vilanculos spat out Meticais when my VISA card asked for it.
Diesel MT42 per litre (R14) and petrol MT57 per litre.
A few police waved at us and through rose petals in front of the Pajero Sport as we roared by, but apart from that it has been an uneventful, but strangely profound adventure.
Off to Tandikwe to help capture buffalo bare-handed at Tandikwe tomorrow morning.