From Pemba we went to Nacala, to quickly check the development around the port. Once there and since we were so close to Ilha de Moçambique, we decided to spend 2 nights there.
Nacala is one of the most important ports of entry in Mozambique, currently serving mainly the north region. But with the interest in coal rising in Tete, the Nacala port is projected to extend its influence to the central region in the next years through the Nacala corridor.
The port of Beira plays a vital role in the central region, and the Sena line (railway connecting Beira to Tete) has currently been rehabilitated to serve the coal mines. But due to the limited capacity of the port and low water depth, this is viewed as a short term solution.
But how far-off is the Nacala corridor to become the solution? Historically there has always been a flow of goods between Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia, with Mozambique serving as a port of entry to these inland countries. The gradual deterioration of the railway line connecting Mozambique and Malawi has imposed a change from rail to road transportation of goods.
There is a tripartite agreement signed between the three countries regarding the operational framework of the corridor. There is a private consortium Sociedade de Desenvolvimento do Corredor do Norte (SDCN), from which the Brazilian Vale is the major shareholder, which holds the concessions for the infrastructure from Mozambique to the Zambian border. Theoretical all interests are aligned but limited agreement of operational details has raised some skepticism about the plan. The current political situation in Malawi will also not help. Is there a third solution on the table?
The truth is that the development of this corridor would definitely unlock the great economical potential of the region, namely the provinces of Niassa and Cabo Delgado in Mozambique, which as we’ve said before haven’t yet seen development as other regions.
In the afternoon we arrived at Ilha de Moçambique. There is plenty of offer to sleep and eat there, we recommend Ruby Backpackers. They can help you organize tours around. You can easily spend 1 day touring around Ilha but it’s really worth it to organize a boat trip with fishermen to visit the islands and beaches around.
This time we opted to visit Ilha de Goa and Varandas. Last year a 5 star Dutch owned lodge opened and its called Coral Reef Lodge. Though prices are a bit over the top, it’s an interesting option to have lunch outside of Ilha.
Ilha de Moçambique is a beautiful place, full of history and full of stories and we were really tempted to spend some more days. Still we had a trip to finish…
Next stop, Quelimane!