Beam Me Down, Scotty

This week's random co-ordinates chosen by the computer are:

15 15' S

36 30' E

First reaction

Is that a drain cover or a landmine?

Country and region

In the northern part of Mozambique, right on the border between Zambezia and Niassa provinces and 73km east of the border with Malawi.

Nearest Human settlements

There are quite a few tiny villages within walking distance. The nearest is Merripa, 2-3km to the north-east. The nearest towns are Cuamba (due north) and Gurue (to the south-east), both about 60km away.

Nature of terrain

Sparsely populated highlands: the view comprises rolling, lightly wooded hills with occasional rocky outcrops and green tea-plantations.

Altitude

About 750 metres.

Possible hazards

Be careful about walking off-road anywhere in Mozambique. Vast numbers of landmines have been scattered over the entire country.

Useful languages

Portuguese is the official language though only 25 per cent of the population speak it. More useful will be a knowledge of Bantu languages, especially the various dialects of the Makua-Lomwe.

Take me to your leader

Long-time president Joaquim Chissano.

Likely weather conditions

Pleasantly cool in the highlands. The rainy season has not yet started.

Reasons for hanging around

Gurue, set among tea-plantations at the foot of Mount Namuli (2,500m) is a pleasant town, with excellent walks in the hills nearby.

Getting the hell out of there

Walk 60km north-east along the dirt track through Merripa to a railway. There is a daily train in each direction between Cuamba and Nampula on the coast. Nampula and Liwonde are the nearest airports.

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