We arrived in Maputo, Mozambique with no expectations. We decided to visit Mozambique on a whim because Mike and I were in nearby Nelspruit, South Africa after a four-day safari in Kruger Park. It was so close that we couldn’t pass up the opportunity which would turn into something we’d never forget.
We were pleasantly surprised at how nice (for an African city) Maputo seemed to be. The former Portuguese city is located on the Indian Ocean, has some lovely areas and a lot to do. After a few days, we decided to take our lives and put them in jeopardy in a five-hour ride up to some of the northern beaches, supposed to be some of the most unspoiled in the world. At the “bus station” is where our ordeal started.
The main terminal for domestic busses in Maputo is a typical African maze of confusion. There were several busses headed in all directions, nobody could tell you which bus was going where. After a while, we figured we needed to go inside to buy our tickets. These busses looked like they would break down any second, making us indifferent to the miserable ride ahead of us. We would be crammed like tuna with as many locals as they could possibly fit into one bus. We thought, This is Africa.
As we made our way through the commotion and harem of people, we smelled something dreadful – a different scent – not “old”. I decided to investigate. I quickly found the answer. A dead man was lying on the floor, festering. I showed Mike the body. We decided to walk outside and regroup. I had never seen a dead body decomposing. It didn’t seem to bother the locals – they kept doing their business. He might have been dead a few days. We were disgusted, in a mild shock.
We opted against making the trip north. In fact, we wanted to get out of Mozambique all together. We headed to the airport, and got the next flight to Durban, South Africa.
I tell people I enjoyed Mozambique, at least Maputo – until we found the festering dead body. I still can’t get over how nonchalantly the locals acted. We were totally revolted. This is Africa.