Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sunshine Nut Company and More!!!

Today was one of my favorite days on the trip so far.  A woman who my mom works with, her brother owns a cashew company Sunshine Nut Company in Motola, Mozambique, which is about a 30 minute drive from Maputo.  He was nice enough to pick us up and have us spend the day/night with him and his wife to visit his cashew company and the orphanage that they are involved with.

First we went to Sunshine Nut Company and got to see the process of making the cashews and just how much goes into the freshness and yumminess of these cashews before they are packaged.  We got to meet the workers who all are extremely happy to have this opportunity to have such a great job and having such a caring boss.   We got to try the cashews hot out of the sunflower oil and they were delicious, best I've ever tasted.

Sunshine Nut Company is a fair trade company and 90% of their proceeds go back into the community, which is almost unheard of!  Of their proceeds, 30% goes to supporting farming communities, 30% to caring for orphans and vulnerable children, and 30% to creating new food companies! Please check the website  to find a local store near you that sells these cashews, its for a good cause and they are fantastic!

After this we headed to the orphanage and got to meet Corrie who started the orphanage years ago in hopes of housing 7 or 8 orphans.  She now has over 41 orphans living at her home that she couldn't bear to turn away, 60% of them are HIV/AIDS positive.  It was just amazing to see how big her heart is and how many lives she's saved.  She's an amazing lady.

We sadly had to say goodbye to all the children and Corrie and we went back to the house for a true home cooked Mozambique dinner, it was delicious.  Another inspirational young couple was staying with them as well who live in Mozambique.  They are opening an orphanage and are doing great things for the country, but they just adopted the sweetest, cutest, most well behaved two year old I have ever met.  His mother recently passed away from AIDs and she had asked this couple to adopt him before she passed.  Hearing their stories and what they have been through and the plans both families have for the future left me speechless.
yummy dinner
We've never experienced such hospitality during our backpacking adventures, we felt like queens.  After a great night sleep at their beautiful home we headed back to Maputo for a "9 hour" shuttle to the beaches of Tofo.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Making Our Way To Mozambique!!

Durban beach front
Today we found a place to stay in Durban and headed out for Sunday funday drinks and food.

 We were about a four minute walk to the beach, so we walked along the boardwalk where there was lots of activities, restaurants and people watching.  Many different cultures here in Durban made us feel right at home, which we loved.  We bar hopped, buying $10 bottles of yummy rose and got to relax and talk with some of the locals, everyone is so friendly here.  For dinner we got the popular Durban dish called bunny chow.
bunny chow

Border Line at 6am
The next day we hopped on a long bus ride from Durban to Johannesburg, about 7 hours.  3 hour layover in Johannesburg, then 11 hours  to Maputo.  This included waiting for the border to open for 2 hours, then we stood in line for 1 hour.  When it finally opened it took another hour to cross the border.  For traveling for almost 24 hours we handled it pretty well.
Mozambique We Have Arrived!!!
We got to Maputo and headed out to explore the town and grab some drinks and try to understand Portuguese, although most people think I'm Brazilian and assume I speak it.  We stopped by a cute little arts and crafts market, then had dinner at a popular local spot called Zambezia.  I got prego which is a popular Portuguese

art market Maputo

Maputo Streets

dish of steak fries and a salad. There wasn't too much to see in this town so we are planning our next moves for the next few days.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Wild Route

The next morning we woke up very early to drive the "Wild Coast route" and wild it sure was.  Beautiful landscapes and countryside much more of an "African" experience which we had been told and were looking forward to, but very crazy roads.  Constant sharp turns, potholes, dirt roads with people and animals walking in them.

Also we drove through small little crowded towns with live markets and auctions.  It was quite the challenge to drive of course about 2 hours to Coffee Bay, where we made a pit stop for lunch.  Then continued onto Port St. Johns which was literally just a layover on our way to Durban to return the rental car.   That trip in total driving was about 14 hours, which should have been a lot less minus all the obstacles, but a great experience.


It was an awesome experience seeing the locals in their traditional "garb".  It was crazy seeing them walk miles to where they needed to go, especially early Sunday morning all dressed up, walking miles to church.

How they lived and worked was incredible.

The next morning we safely returned our rental car we named Nala and our GPS we named Mufasa (obvious Lion King characters) after 6 fun days of driving the Garden Route and the Wild route over more than 1,016 miles !
sunday church

Self Drive Safari

After shark diving we drove to Addo which was about a five and a half hour drive where we stayed the night to wake up to head to a self drive safari.  It was a really cool experience.  We stayed for over 7 hours just driving around and checking out wild elephants, zebras, birds, ostrich's tortoise's, warthogs, kudu's and more.  We were kinda bummed we were searching for the lions, rhinos and leopards, but were told it may have been too hot for them today to come out.  Most of the time we drove in silence, but when we weren't finding animals we put on the "circle of life" song from the Lion King, which helped round up some animals for our viewing pleasure.

At night we did a braai (South Africa version of a BBQ) at the place we were staying.  This local guy showed us how to cook the meat on the grill and brush it with delicious spices and sauces he also had made sides to go along with it and we enjoyed a nice bottle of Pinotage to go with it.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Shark Cage Diving With Great Whites!!!

Woke up today in the train car and heading out to shark cage diving, went through a half hour tutorial then headed out to sea about 30 minutes to a popular area for great whites.  After about 40 minutes of trying to bait the fish, a huge great white about 14 feet appeared and they asked for volunteers to be the first one in the shark cage... guess who was first in...? Meeeee... then Adrienne.

They said the water was cold and asked if we wanted wet suits but we were so excited we just google'd up and jumped right in.  The first time we went under the water and looked at the bait in front of us in the cage the shark was about a foot from our face.  We came up from the water so excited and didn't even mind the coldness because of the adrenaline.

Our first time in the cage we stayed in for about 25 minutes and had some close encounters with one large great white.  The second time we went in for another 20 minutes or so we were right beside the bait and had about 4 great whites circling our boat and the cage.  Not many people can say they came face to face with a great white but I did!  Mouth, nose, teeth, eyes, fins, tail and all just a few inches from me!

 A few times it's tail would smack our cage and rock it with it's power.  It was probably the coolest thing I have ever done in my life.  It looked like such a peaceful, curious, beautiful fish.  It was amazing and soooo worth back tracking our route!