Taking the coach between the coastal cities is a pleasant and comfortable way to see a lot of countryside (north KZN coast, skirt the Drakkensberg, cross Swaziland, descent into Maputo).
Tickets are easily purchased ahead of time at the Durban terminus. Everybody recommends to use the Mozambique owned service rather than the SA owned one (easy to tell - it has a Portuguese name - something Azul as I recall). That worked for me, comfortable seats, refreshments, air conditioning, helpful staff.
Durban bus station is organised but you won't want to spend much time there as it has the same edgy feel as any major bus terminus in a European or North American city (even on a Sunday morning departure). Border crossings (two because of Swaziland - make sure your visa situation is sorted before travel) are relatively painless. Even the rest stops are interesting.
Maputo bus station is pleasantly chaotic and not too hassled, like that lovely languid seaside city itself (better than the somewhat bureaucratic 1970's southern-Europe style airport). I only got to spend two days in Maputo but it is charming and atmospheric though becoming a playground for South Africans so progressively losing much of it's Luso/Afro distinctiveness. Lots of great food, especially seafood of course. Loads of restaurants, bars and clubs (though Sunday night is quiet) and it will feel quite familiar if you have been to Lisbon, or indeed Macao. It is not compact but laid out with wide boulevards so not very walkable, but taxis are cheap and easy. And you have to love a city that has streets named after Trotsky, Stalin and Kim Il Sung!
Sorry to be a downer but I was very disappointed. I live in the Middle East and love it but Damascus is not worth visiting compared to, say, all of Jordan for antiquities, Oman for real Arab culture, Istanbul for atmosphere and visible history or even Alex for vibrancy. The historical area is small, not very well looked after, severely compromised by recent modifications. The rest of the city is like Bucharest circa 1987.
I am amazed that other people found it friendly; I found it creepy, sullen and resentful. I speak some Arabic and I am familiar with and respectful of the culture, so it wasn't me! Maybe because I have had much better Arabian experiences elsewhere (including food), that element was completely lacking for me but charmed others.
What didn't help on our first night there was two scary hours of detention by (presumably) the secret police - we never really knew who they were. Our apparent crime was looking at a map (a poor photocopy provided by our hotel, the very unhelpful and mediocre Meridien) to try and find our way back from the old city at night.
A pushy little cigarette seller had a gang of thugs quickly surrounding us when we didn't comply with his instruction to hand over the map. Pleas to passers-by fell on deaf ears as did calls to our hotel. I guess, as another correspondent said, many people are in the pay of the secret police. The fact that my friend was a gulf Arab automatically made us suspicious, apparently, and I guess this guy thought we were his payday.
We were physically restrained on the street, bundled very roughly into a car, brought to a building in an unmarked compound, left in a bare room where various people would wander in and quiz us over an over or just bark at us in English and Arabic without ever telling us who they were or why we were there, then finally turned out on the street after midnight.
Damascus is not without some charms (eg the market by the Ottoman mosque near the National museum, much better than the souq) but there are many other places more worth visiting. In Syria things can go suddenly wrong for no apparent reason and you have no recourse to anyone. Your lack of security is a fact which you can choose to ignore and it may never matter. But it just might.
Another scam that an acquaintance of mine (long-time Syrian expat) experienced in Damascus was with changing money. The official rate is ridiculous so everybody uses the money-changers who hang around the souk. When he did this, he was immediately arrested by 'police' who demanded a hefty payment ($300) to release him because this is offically illegal. The money-changer was not arrested of course.
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