Tete must rank as the hottest town in southern Africa. Midsummer temperatures on the blistering banks of the Zambezi sometimes edge towards 50°C (122°F)! As the town’s only swimming pool, at the river’s edge next to the bridge, is usually empty, there is little in summer to recommend Tete as a stopover other than to eat an excellent meal atParaíso do Zambeze, refuel and buy fresh bread. To be fair, Tete does have the a comfortable Motel Tete and Sundown Guesthouse, as well as a surprisingly lively nightlife, while for the historically minded there are two interesting sandstone stockades, one located just upstream from the bridge and the other in town next to the military garrison.
Tete may never become one of Mozambique’s most visited places, but its location on one of Africa’s busiest transport routes lends it great strategic importance. Until 1992 bandits often shot at travellers and truckers taking the short cut between Zimbabwe and Malawi via Tete, even though Zimbabwean soldiers protected this so-called Tete Corridor. Today the road is in top condition – police with radar speed traps are now the most serious hazard. Note that a negligible toll is payable on crossing the suspension bridge over the Zambezi into Tete, and that this is a favourite place to trap drivers who dare to exceed the 15kph (9½mph) speed restriction.