Should I use convoys or are their alternatives?

mozman replied the topic: WARNING: Attacks on EN1 and EN208 (EN.7) restart!

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Hi Roland

there have been frequent attacks on the EN7 (also called the EN208) between Nova Vanduzi and Changara (on the Chimoio to Tete road in Manica province) so there are now armed convoys between Catandica and Changara. There are still convoys between Save river and Muxungue in Sofala as well as between Nhamapaza and Caia, but less attacks.

Renamo and govt now talking so perhaps this will end soon, but no way of telling, yet.

CONVOY TIMES (Best to be there an hour before these times, and expect suicidal drivers, erratic departure times delays en-route, cancelled convoys in the event of shooting or trenches and ave speed of 50kph.)

Save to Muxungue (Nova Golega). On the EN.1
0800 and 1400 northwards.

Muxungue (Nova Golega) to Save: On the EN.1
0600 and 1200 southwards.

Nhamapaza (118km north of Vila Gorongosa) to Caia.. On the EN.1
Best to be there an hour before these times, and expect delays..
0800 going north.

Caia to Nhamapaza (120km south of Caia). On the EN.1.
1200 going south.

Nova Vanduzi (33km from Chimoio) to Changara (90km before Tete).
0800 going north.

Mike

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jan2000 replied the topic: WARNING: Attacks on EN1 restart!

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Hi!
I'm planning to go from Vilanculos to Malawi next week.

Which would be best (or possible) route, considering I don't have a car? And the current safety situation?
1) EN1+EN6+EN7 Chimoio - Tete - Zobue (recent weeks the most dangerous route?)
2) EN1+smaller roads Chimoio? - Caia - Vila Nova da Fronteira
3) other options?

Or is Vilanculos - Malawi possible at all, on chapas/buses?

Have all the bus companies finished servicing routes north of Vilanculos? At least Postbus has?
Or do I need to go all the way back to Jo'burg and fly or go through Zimbabwe from there?

I do understand there is a certain risk going through central Mozambique, but whilst I am most likely to take it, which would be the best way to minimize the risk being shot or robbed?

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mozman replied the topic: WARNING: Attacks on EN1 restart!

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Hi, welcome to Mozguide and apologies for the slow reply.

Which would be best (or possible) route, considering I don't have a car? And the current safety situation?
1) EN1+EN6+EN7 Chimoio - Tete - Zobue (recent weeks the most dangerous route?)

MIKE: Agree that the Catandica - Changara convoys have been most targeted recently. Particularly buses and trucks. Latest I have is that two truck drivers were wounded 5 days ago. A very tense area at the moment.

2) EN1+smaller roads Chimoio? - Caia - Vila Nova da Fronteira

MIKE: My info is that the Save to Muxungue and Nhamadza - Caia convoys have not been attacked for over two weeks now. The pattern in the past has been that Renamo keeps moving so attacks are sporadic rather than regular. So this remains the best of a bad set of options except that do not go via Vila Nova and Marka (Nsanje) into Malawi, rather via Mocuba and Milange. Also try not to use a bus (yes some still operate on this route), but if possible hitch a ride with a smaller vehicle. In Mocuba Pensao Cruzeiro is central and OK for a night.

3) other options?
Good question. So for the benefit of others who may have this query, here are 3 possible OTHER ways of getting from Vilanculos to Malawi to avoid the danger zones, as far as is possible. Note these are not on most of the main public transport routes, but smaller chapas and pick-ups do operate, so slower but possible.
1). Vilanculos to Save to Muxungue to Buzi on the EN.1. Then turn towards Dombe and carry on to Espungabera where you enter Zimbabwe. Then Mutare - Harare - Nyamapanda - Tete - Blantyre.
2) Vilanculos - south to Macia then west so Chokwe, Guija to Chicualacuala and into Zimbabwe at Sango. Not much transport on this route, so see next option.
3) south to Maputo and get on the train to Chicualacuala runs Mon to Fri. More info at chicualacuala.wix.com/hotelestacao and www.cfm.co.mz/index.php/pt/zona-sul

Or is Vilanculos - Malawi possible at all, on chapas/buses?

MIKE: Yes but risky. Try to hitch a ride with a smaller vehicle. Buses are targeted as they may be used to move troops.

Have all the bus companies finished servicing routes north of Vilanculos? At least Postbus has?
Or do I need to go all the way back to Jo'burg and fly or go through Zimbabwe from there?
MIKE: quite a detour, but all things considered, perhaps the "safest" option. Zimbabwe quite volatile and unpredictable too at the moment. If you don't have dependents and favour expressions such as "fortune favours the bold", go via caia, Mocuba and Milange.

I do understand there is a certain risk going through central Mozambique, but whilst I am most likely to take it, which would be the best way to minimize the risk being shot or robbed?

MIKE: Robbery not really a problem, but a stray bullet a fairly remote possibility. Ironically probably ten times more people getting killed in road accidents, just to make you feel more comfortable!

Boa viagem e boa sorte. Please let us all know what you decide and how it worked out.

Mike.

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Bea Fofinha replied the topic: EN 1: Maputo-Beira

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Hey,
my friend and I are travelling in Mocambique. We have worked here 6 years ago, so we know the country already a bit.
Our plan is to travel from Maputo via Xai-Xai, Tofo to Beira by bus.
But because of the recent occurrences in Mozambique we are unsure about the safety traveling by bus along EN 1.
Could anybody give any information or recommendations about that trip and the safety situation nowadays.

Thank for help-Obrigada!

Bea

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mozman replied the topic: EN 1: Maputo-Beira

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Hi Bea and muito bem vindos em Mozguide!

The good news is that the 900km of the EN.1 from Maputo north to the Save river, which covers all of southern Mozambique's tourist areas, has experienced no violence and is as welcoming and friendly as ever.

The bad news is that to get to Beira you will probably need to use the Save - Muxungue convoys that are escourted by the police and military. There are still sporadic attacks, and while there has been a break in this area for 3 weeks from shooting, this is no guarantee that Bandits won't be back tomorrow. Another problem for you is that buses are usually the preferred target as Renamo accuses the govt of moving police and troops by public bus.

If you are determined to get to Beira, but don't want to risk the convoy, then you could try the route described in the message I received from a couple updating the Bradt guide to Mozambique. Note that this is from 2013, and of course the boat and tractor used may not be running, but it will be an adventure finding out:
"hey Mike,

Greetings from Nova Mambone! We ended up getting linked up with a boat of
materials headed Beira - Missao Machanga, leaving the very next day
(sat). 14 hours on boat (2am-4pm), 1 stop on Chilowane island, boat
terminated in Maropanhe, overnight on a mat at the church in Maropanhe
from where a tractor(!) took us+the goods to Machanga at 3am, arriving
around 7. River crossing in a little motorboat, and Mambone at last!
260mt for the whole affair.

Boat had life preserver rings, seemed in relatively decent nick, and
operators were all very helpful. Not sure if this is the standard
Mambone boat or not, but it was better than i had anticipated.

Staying with peace corps in mambone and all is well. You were
absolutely right in saying there is no 'viable' alternative to the
EN1. This was an enjoyable but arduous journey, and we got very very
lucky to find cargo going all the way to Machanga.

Cheers from Inhambane province,

Sean

2013/11/16, Mike Slater <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>:"

So Bea apologies, but I cannot provide you with peace of mind regarding safe travels north of the Save River. However, the latin dictum: "audentes Fortuna adiuvat" (fortune favours the bold - or in my case, the bald) has served me very well during decades of travels in "dangerous" places.

Go well, boa viagem

Mike

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jan2000 replied the topic: WARNING: Attacks on EN1 restart!

  • Posts: 2

Hi, thank you for the valuable information!
Based on that and other comments I have heard, I have changed my plans.

I would have tried your suggested option 3/1 via Zimbabwe, without greater backtracking, but as an European I would have needed another visa to cross through Tete corridor.
Direct option 2 via Caia and Milange was tempting, but because of many changes, unreliable public transport and possible hassle on the border,

I went only to Tofo (and passed Vilanculos), then came back from Inhambane to Maputo (8 hours in the bus), and I'll have a flight from Maputo to Lichinga, over the most dangerous area. From Lichinga I'll get to Malawi across the lake.

It seems to be difficult to find information about the situation. In Tofo I met a few people who had even not heard about the attacks and convoys and were about to drive up north anyway
Of course there are many people driving through these areas daily and nothing happens to them.
Maybe the risks are overexaggerated, because no one wants anyone to take too many risks.
Anyway, I do take the warnings, and avoid central Mozambique this time. (Though anything can happen anywhere, and Niassa is not totally out of tbe danger zone, but there I'll go anyway).

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