Mozambique without bites
Jamie Logan is an Alfresco fan who works as a music consultant for a music publishing company, helping producers for film, tv and advertising to find suitable music for their work. Here she lets us in on her recent adventures in Mozambique, and reveals how she first came across Alfresco. Jumping at the chance to visit Mozambique
I’ve always had strong connections to East Africa, my dad grew up in Kenya and would tell me all the wonderful things about his life there. My first love was from Tanzania and introduced me to some amazing music and art and I’m also a huge wildlife fan, particularly of the Big Five (the lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) and have been keen to see them out in their natural habitat. So sticking with the theme, my boyfriend Mike grew up in Zimbabwe and his dad has since moved to the neighbouring country of Mozambique and invited us out to visit him, so of course I jumped at the chance. I had heard the diving there was second to none, the culture was vibrant, the wildlife abundant and the food impeccable. So why wouldn’t you go? Mike’s sister and her boyfriend came out with us and it really was the trip of a lifetime.
We only had two weeks so tried to cram in as much as possible. Just to name a few highlights, we spent three nights at Gorongosa National Park which was incredible. If you managed to catch any of David Attenborough’s “Africa” then you will have caught a glimpse of its beauty already. This park’s wildlife was virtually wiped out during a civil war, but over the past few decades animals have been reintroduced and the park successfully restored. Today it is flourishing; not only with a huge variety of wildlife, but the ecology of the park itself takes your breath away. One moment you'll be driving through dense bush, then all of a sudden tall grass, then open plains. The landscape seems to change every hundred yards, which makes for excellent animal spotting. A huge benefit to this park for me was how remote it felt, we had our own truck so from 6am until 6pm we were able to drive around unattended and didn’t see another car once. No photo-happy tourists, no other car engines scaring off animals, just us, alone in the bush. You had to work hard to spot some of the animals, but when you eventually came across them it made it all the more worthwhile. The elephants took a few days to find (a lot of deliberating took place as to whether the dung we spotted was fresh or not), and when we eventually found a group in the road ahead of us I was lost for words. Seeing this amazing majestic animal in the wild is truly awe-inspiring. If you’re keen to do a proper safari, then to me this is the place to do it.
Sailing down the Zambezi River at sunset It was amazing to board a dhow sailing boat on the Zambezi River and head upstream as the sun was setting. The boat’s captain Jan, who'd spent his life in Mozambique and built the boat himself, happily chatted away to us about his voyages. The Zambezi is stunning, hippos were poking their heads out of the water every now and then and if you looked carefully you could spot the odd croc making its way to the bank. There were even scare-hippos erected in the fields off the river bank in an attempt to keep the hippos away. All this whilst enjoying a cold Manika (a Mozambiquan beer) and watching the sun go down - it was a perfect African evening. Luxury and whale watching on Benguerra Island
We spent a few days on Benguerra Island, just off the coast of Vilanculos and enjoyed some real luxury. The island is unspoiled and you’re able to scuba-dive in the reefs, deep sea fish and horse ride around the island or just relax in the sun. On a day trip out deep sea fishing we were lucky enough to be surrounded by humpback whales and their calfs. Everywhere you looked they were coming up for air and the sound was amazing. I also managed to catch a Queen Mackerel which we later barbequed on the beach, so all in all, a good day out at sea! Spiced rum with raspberryade Of course the food shouldn’t go unmentioned. Due to the Portuguese influence, Piri Piri chicken is a staple and if you like fish you’re in for a real treat. It doesn’t come much fresher; I would recommend a prawn rissois for a tasty snack. We also became firm advocates of the local spiced rum “Tipo Tinto” which was heavenly. The locals drink it with raspberryade as a fancy cocktail, but just with coke and ice it was a winner for us. Needless to say we brought back a number of bottles!
One highlight which I cannot leave out was the number of people we met out there who were working on wildlife conservation. This is a subject I feel very strongly about and could rant on about for hours, so to meet people who are dealing with it first hand was an honour. We had the good fortune to meet Karen Allen who works with the Endangered Wildife Trust to protect Dugongs. She told us all about the history of the Dugong and that there are sadly only 250 left on the East African Coast Line. She is doing a great job, so do check out her work. We also met a number of rhino conservationists who told us some shocking issues that they are dealing with daily and that the best, safest way to re-locate a rhino is by hanging it from its feet from a helicopter. Who knew? Visit Tete: great for sundowners Lastly I will just tell you a little about the city of Tete where Mike’s dad now lives, as it is a crazy place to visit. When you fly in to the tiny airport you can’t miss the giant Baobab trees that cover the landscape and the wave of heat that hits you as you step off the plane. It’s right on the Zambezi, so it’s great for sundowners at the local bars (I recommend Café Del Rio), it is also an extremely friendly atmosphere, the place seems to be permanently buzzing. There has been a recent discovery of iron in the land, meaning that people are flooding in to mine. Houses and roads are popping up virtually overnight and because it’s still a building site in places there were no street names where Mike’s dad lives, so telling people our address was a tricky one! If you get a chance to try out the roads in Mozambique it’s a bizarre experience, there are huge potholes everywhere, meaning you end up doing a snake dance along the road with a huge truck driving towards you doing the same thing.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled to some amazing places, it’s really difficult to choose! As Africa is such a big love of mine I would have to say Mozambique so far, but I intend to go back next year and explore Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Malawi. I also went to Cuba this year and spent a few days in Havana. If you get the chance, please go. It is out of this world, like going back in time. The old American cars are like something out of The Godfather and the buildings are crumbling and beautiful. You can’t beat sitting out at a roadside bar sipping an ice cold mojito, perhaps smoking a fat cigar if you fancy, watching the locals share a joke and admiring the display of stunning cars. A target for mosquitos Mosquitos love me, I don’t know what it is that draws them to me but I’ve always been a target and because I have quite pale skin there really is no hiding them either. They shine like beacons from ankles and knees! My worst experience was probably when I was travelling around India. I'd been advised that mosquitos don’t like yeast so I could try taking yeast tablets to repel them. Let me tell you, this does not work.
Discovering Alfresco I worked with Sarah-Lou, Alfresco CEO, on an Alfresco film promo, helping her to find suitable music. This was a few weeks before I was due to go away and I mentioned to her what a brilliant product I thought it was and that I would definitely buy some. She very generously sent me some in time for my trip and I’ll never look back! Smugly bite-free with Alfresco
Well, I’d been told that there would be hardly any mosquitos as it was winter at the time, so not to worry about taking malaria tablets and as the tablets are over £60 I thought I’d risk it. So I really was relying on natural mosquito repellent. The first day we arrived my travelling companion’s ankles had already been attacked and I was smugly bite-free. Despite it being winter mosquitos were still flying about at night and I managed to escape any bites until the very last night, this though I have to admit was my own fault after having one too many Tipo Tintos and forgetting to re-spray before bed. So I would say Alfresco was really effective and it made a lovely change to actually smell nice rather than stinking of Deet. Thank you Alfresco! Useful links If you’re interested in finding out more about Gorongosa National Park or any of the conservation projects I mentioned, here are some useful links. Please do check them out. Gorongosa National Park: http://www.gorongosa.org/ Follow: @GorongosaPark Like: https://www.facebook.com/gorongosa The Endangered Wildlife Trust: http://www.ewt.org.za/ Keren Allen’s GivenGain page for defending Dugongs: http://www.givengain.com/cause/4798/projects/13031 Rhino Conservation: http://www.savetherhino.org/ Follow: @savetherhino