Kilted Kite Surfing

Saturday 21st June

Ruvula Sea Safari, Tanzania – Quoinga, Mozambique

We got up early to head into Mtwara again to fix a slow puncture and get a braii grill made up using the Crofton’s as a template. The clever South African circular design sits neatly on the spare wheel, but we got it for a bargain price after commissioning the local welder. While waiting, the locals roped us into helping dig a ditch for the water pipe which was trickier than it looked.

Full of fuel and supplies, we headed for the ferry which would take us over the border to Mozambique. We were greeted by a half sunken landing craft which set the tone for the rest of the day. As we waited on the beach for high tide, another vehicle joined us and four drunken German blokes fell out and proceeded to tell us about how great Scotland was, especially the chief executive of the Bank of Scotland!

Once loaded with vehicles, the ferry was even lower with water lapping around the wheels of the cars. The crew didn’t appear to have a plan as their efforts to bail the water using buckets wasn’t progressing very fast. Luckily, one of the vehicles had a brand new water pump in the boot which was utilised to start bailing out the water from the hold. What they had planned to do without this was anyone’s guess.

The next issue was powering the boat so we got our jump leads out to help get one of the engines going. It took another hour or so of shuffling the vehicles around to help move the weight away from the sinking corner before we were ready to cast off. There were a few nervous glances from the crew as the ropes were thrown away but all went fine until the captain ran aground half way across the river. The captain manhandled the controls for about 15 minutes before we were off the sandbank by which point the sun was setting.

Given the comedy of errors we had been subjected to, the thought of what could transpire on the water in the dark was a scary thought. Luckily we dodged the hippos and breathed again as we reached the other side of the river and Mozambique. The steep sandbank was going to prove tricky for disembarkation, but we followed the lead of the locals who hit it with such speed that one of them nearly got air at the top.

The 20 ton truck was not so lucky and so we got stuck into helping pull it out of the sand. Despite the weight of the Land Rover, it was no match for the loaded truck and so we hooked up our recovery kit to a truck waiting on the shore and directed the recovery operation. Things took longer than expected as someone punctured the truck’s diesel tank with a spade but it all added to the fun and games.

With no word of thanks from the truck, we eventually headed off in the dark to find the immigration and customs office up the road. Luckily they were still awake for us and we paid the various ‘overtime’ charges to get us moving.  As we made our way into Mozambique through the back door, as it felt, we realised that the local dialect was Portuguese, and quickly established that neither of us knew how to ask for a couple of beers, far less ‘Are you asking for a bribe you blatantly corrupt Mr Policeman?’

The idea of bush camping crossed our mind but were advised against it due to reports of land mines in the remote border area. Thankfully there was a football pitch in the small village of Quoinga where we set up camp. A local missionary came to say good night to us as we hit the sack after a long day.

The vessel
Queuing up
Drunk German friends
Pumping the water
Rooftop with Crofton's
Packing them in

Sunday 22nd June

Quoinga – Hashim’s Camp, Pangane

We said farewell to the Crofton’s after a quick game of football with the locals and headed for breakfast in Mocimbea de Praia. We chatted to a French midwife in her 40’s who was backpacking around the place and then continued southwards on some newly graded road.

Our next stop was a piece of paradise at the end of a 9km sandy peninsula covered in palm trees. Hashim’s Camp was a stunning place and totally deserted. We spoke to Hashim and he sorted out with dinner of fish and rice which we enjoyed after a game of chess.

13,412 miles

Monday 23rd June

Pangane – Russell’s Camp, Pemba

Some local fishermen joined us during our short run along the beach in the morning while the others taunted us. We decided to head onwards after lunch and get to Pemba before dark. Despite what we had heard, the roads in Mozambique were great – new tar with no people, cars or donkeys in the way – and so we made it to Russell’s Camp in time for dinner.

It was a slightly shabby campsite in comparison to what we had just left, but we enjoyed the food while chatting to a guy who was working undertaking seismic surveys for a Canadian oil company in North Mozambique. It was interesting to quiz him on the industry and it’s effects over here. We finally succumbed to the 80’s power ballads blasting out and headed for bed.

13,675 miles


Tuesday 24th June


We headed into town for some breakfast and cash, checked e-mails and then went to Pemba diving to hire some snorkelling equipment. The reef in the bay was in great condition with plenty to see. We also met the local legend, Brenda, who ran the diving as well as a campsite – Nacole Jardin.

She was a larger than life South African lady who described herself as an old sea dog. Her campsite was lovely and we enjoyed some archery with her giant son, Chai, who came to show us how to shoot the arrows properly. However, he kept missing the board and so, blaming the equipment, he left us alone as we could finally release the laughter we had been containing.

A nice couple of South African ladies, Jennifer and Belinda, joined us for a sunset beer by the fire. As crazy Brenda returned to the fire after a couple of beers, we made a hasty getaway to cook dinner.

Nacole Jardin
Nacole Jardin

Wednesday 25th June


Brenda treated us to a botanical tour of her ground after breakfast which was had a few interesting moments. There was a hollow 800 year old Baobab tree that the independence fighters used to hide in as well as plenty of mangrove trees and a mud pit.

Our short attention span was suffering so we made our excuses and packed up to head down to Il Pirata kite surfing ( ) which was 10 minutes out of town. It was a fantastic place run by a lovely Italian couple, Carlo & Susanna, and we were treated to some of the best kite surfing conditions we have encountered. There was a steady onshore wind and the reef 1km from the shore ensured flat, waist deep water.

As it was Mozambique’s independence day, the place was busy with a good bunch of ex-pats and locals who were sharing kite surfing tips as it remained a relatively new sport in the area. In true Italian style, they also served one of the best pizza’s we had eaten on the whole trip.

With morale at an all time high, we headed back to Russell’s Camp as we couldn’t bare another night of Brenda. Our energy levels soon faded though as we were joined by a couple of South African guys, Matt & Ryan, who we enjoyed a couple of beers with.

Thursday 26th June


We were up quickly to return to Il Pirata to progress our kite surfing. Once the wind eased slightly, we were back out there and enjoying perfect conditions again. Carlos was keen to offer some tips as he said no one had driven this far before to come kite surfing with him. After watching a couple of tuition DVD’s over lunch, we found ourselves regressing and so headed back to Russell’s for an early night.

Friday 27th June

Pemba – Bay Diving, Nacala

During the previous evening, Carlos had looked at our website and seen that we had our kilts with us. Therefore his first demand as we arrived the next morning was that we got out on the water with them. After brief hesitation, we obliged – never being the kind of guys to decline a good photo opportunity.

The kilts were donned and we had a great morning on the water. He even got one of his workers to clean them afterwards and they were returned in a better condition than when we arrived in the morning. We said our farewells after lunch and hit the road south again.

The drive to Nacala was longer than expected and we arrived at Bay Diving in the dark. On arriving at the restaurant, we saw Matt & Ryan again who were with a group they had been diving with. When we saw the 500g T-bone steaks they were tucking into, we knew we had to get ourselves a couple which we inhaled when it arrived. After all the energy we had used over the past couple of days on the water, we felt we deserved the chocolate cake as well. The evening continued into the wee hours with funny stories of everyone’s experiences of Africa and beyond.

13,957 miles

Hollow Baobab tree
Wasp nest
Andy up
Beach help

Saturday 28th June

Nacala – Complexo Monte Nairucco, Nampula

We made space in the back of the Land Rover for Matt & Ryan and headed to Isle de Mozambique to take in the sights of the old capital of Mozambique situated on an island. A local guide toured us around but the main attraction of the old fort was closed for refurbishment. Although close to a ghost town now, you got a good sense of the place and the power that used to be there.

After a long, drawn out lunch in town, we left the island and headed west towards Nampula. After a quick visit to Shoprite, we dropped off Matt & Ryan in town and headed to the outskirts to a campsite on a lake below a hill. With the temperature noticeably colder, we got the fire going for dinner.

14,174 miles



Click here to watch the video


















South Africa