Outside my country, South Africa, I have only been to Botswana, Swaziland, and Lesotho. I recently visited Mozambique, and it feels far more different compared. The most notable thing is that Portuguese dominates far more than English. It was quite hard to find people we (me and a friend) could ask for help as we navigated its largest city, Maputo. Other issues:
- There are too many people seeking to take advantage of foreigners, like overpricing much of their shit, and gradually lowering them when faced with protest. I suppose this shitty practice is found everywhere, but it's particularly rife there. At the border post, for example, you'd have 3-4 guys trying to score something by offering the service of guiding us through the border (fill this form, queue here for this, etc.), and would ask for something like R100 for that... ridiculous! Perhaps I should not complain given the great poverty the country suffers... only desperate people would behave like that I'm guessing.
- The condition of Maputo, the city we stayed at, is horrific. It looks like a very run-down Durban, and quite large as well. We didn't explore it as much as I would have liked, but it's such pain, given the language barriers, as well as hardly having any street names or markings on buildings. We were in bad need for a guide. Most of the buildings are in a very dilapidated state. A very rough guess is over 80% of them, though you'd find something gorgeous here and there. The roads are heavily congested and the drivers very inconsiderate... the worst I've seen. It's amazing there wasn't a traffic accident we've witnessed. Anyways, it was mostly not a pleasant city, and so many of the streets were damn dirty. It's fucked-up.
- The prices of stuff was ridiculous. One particularly egregious
example is the price of eggs as we saw in a franchise that also
operates in South Africa. A pack of 60 eggs went for M360 (about
R120)! That's about twice the price in South Africa. Accommodation
was expensive too... the place we got cost about M2200 and that was
the cheaper one we could get, but was yet disappointing:
- We were provided only a single pillow for each of us (separate beds in one room), and it didn't look pleasant for the attendant to get us another.
- There was just one parking space (WTF!).
- The bed I was on was uncomfortable. I was discouraged from complaining because it just felt like I was bothering the hosts, and I had already complained about the not-cold water provided in the room.
- The hot water was rather luke-warm, though it wasn't too much of an issue given the high temperatures of the city. In addition, the pressure of the water was quite low.
- I didn't like it when one of the senior workers asked us not to drink alcohol (in case we were planning to) because he was Muslim, and that it was a Muslim-owned place. Such arrogance!
This sort of thing really lessened the enjoyment of the trip there. I felt unwelcome really, and it made me miss my far-more-pleasant South Africa. I am sure there is far less crime there, but South Africa is not particularly scary either (in general). It also has far better and much cheaper places to sleep. We could very well have missed some great lodging places in Mozambique, that Maputo is just a shit place to be, and we should have avoided it, who knows. We didn't do much research on it really, and decided to take a chance. It didn't work out, but I'm glad we tried. I would like to go some other time (I hear there's great beaches), but with proper guides, perhaps via a cruise ship.
In the end, we just decided to cut our trip short, and went back home to South Africa.