Since it’s now spring semester in South Africa, we get spring break for a week starting Oct. 22. Most international students including myself charged past South Africa’s northern border, into Tofu, Mozambique.
Getting there was more challenging than we anticipated. We were told by virtually everyone, including the bus companies, not to worry about getting a visa for Mozambique ahead of time. However, our border bus driver felt differently.
He reasoned that if there were 11 of us, and it took us half-an-hour to process a visa application, then we’d be holding up the rest of the bus for at least five hours; however, he overlooked the technicality that visas get processed in groups. We had just taken a bus all night from Durban to Johannesburg, and we didn’t have many options besides getting on the bus for which we had already bought tickets. Luckily, the management at the station had our backs, and we eventually got on the bus despite the driver’s wishes.
Once we got to the border, the driver had his revenge. He said that he wasn’t going to wait for us for long, and when he decided that it was time to roll, I was one of only three lucky students to hop back on the bus and make sure that everybody’s luggage arrived okay in Maputo, our overnight stop about an hour past the border. The rest of the group arrived later that night after struggling to secure a minibus to meet up with us. Four of us headed off early the next morning for Tofu, another day’s bus ride away.
Once we finally arrived at Mango Beach, our hostel in Tofu, it all seemed worth it. We were right on the beach, the hostel rooms were cool little four- to six-person huts and the staff made amazing all-you-can-eat seafood dinners every night. First would be a rich, tasty soup followed by cooked prawns and then some crab legs or crab pancakes with a main course of grilled barracuda. Sometimes, when I’m by myself and my mind wanders, I find myself fantasizing and salivating about those dinners despite all of Durban’s great food.
The main problem with Mango Beach is its location. It is fairly isolated, and it is at least a 20-minute hike down the beach into town. This was fine the first day, when we all appreciated the beautiful beach walk, but it became boring quickly. It was downright terrible our last day, when we had to haul our luggage to the bus stop at the edge of town at around 4 a.m.
Then there was the group of about 20 Afrikaners that showed up at Mango Beach. Overall, the Afrikaners I met seemed to be South Africa’s closest equivalent to rednecks