A Travellerspoint blog

The strangest village walk I’ve done

4th November 2010

Our tour guide arranges a walk for all of us in the foothills of Kili. I am looking forward to exploring a Tanzanian village on the mainland, but begin to wonder how many explanations we will get when our guide seems to answer every question in Swahili.

We walk through an alley shaded by Jakaranda trees into the countryside. We walk through banana plantations, passing graceful women who carry about 25kg of bananas on their heads to market and older brothers on bikes and motorbikes who are bringing their younger brothers and sisters to school.

Everybody is friendly and cheerful. I seem to be saying „Jambo“ to someone every 30 seconds.

Our guide moves at a steady pace, so if I stop to take photos I afterwards have to jog to catch up with the rest of the group. This feels more like a march than a stroll.

Then we walk through a group of houses that look suspiciously like a village. There is a school, a butcher, even a shoe repair shop – and yet our guide marches straight through.

AH decides to investigate what is going on. All he finds out is that we will be turning right soon...

I am beginning to get a bit worried when our guide stops passersby and seems to ask them for direction.

We pass many right turns before we finally turn.

Overall, our march through the Tanzanian countryside lasts 3 hours.

All my questions remain unanswered:

Who is the black lady in the trouser suit and handbag, who would not have been out of place on the catwalk?

What are the villagers drying on the rattan mats? (It looked like sprouted millet)

Who lives in the nice houses just outside the village, and who are the black guys in the jeeps who are covering us in a cloud of dust?

Even if we had spoken perfect Swahili, I am not sure our guide would have known the answer. He isn’t from the village, but from Moshi, and what do townies know about countrylife?

Posted by TTraveller 04:10 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Camping in the rain

3rd November 2010

I wake up when cold rain drops splatter on my face. No idea how they got in, as it is only drizzling. Maybe through the mosquito netting...

I am glad to have AH to fix the problem.

Now we finally find out what the funny cape that comes with the tent is useful for...

And I can finally say that I got at least a glimpse of what it is like to camp in all weathers, without ever experiencing the extremes. (Note to self: Never camp during a rainstorm.)

Posted by TTraveller 09:22 Archived in Tanzania Comments (1)

African steak

3rd November 2010

We decide to eat dinner in the hotel restaurant rather than set up our own kitchen. (There is enough money left in the kittie.)

We are told that all beef, pork and chicken dishes plus kingfish are available, but many of us settle for steak.

We specifiy the way we would like it cooked. I want mine „medium“, AH prefers his „medium to well done“ and someone else wants his „rare to medium.“) And then there are different sauces to choose from. I want the mushroom and red wine sauce rather than a pepper sauce.

We place our order at 8pm. Soon there are promising sounds coming out of the kitchen (the bang, bang, bang of meat being tenderized), followed by the appetizing smell of fried onions.

Our food arrives 2 hours later. All steaks are cooked well done and slathered with the same sauce (pepper I presume).

I guess none of our instructions meant anything to the chef...

Posted by TTraveller 09:22 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Yet another long journey (to Moshi)

3rd November 2010

We leave at 6am, hoping to get to Moshi by 4pm, but somehow get seriously delayed until 7pm. It’s not always obvious what causes delays...

The journey itself is not unpleasant, just long. We pass field upon field of spikey sisal plants. Their green contrasts beautifully with the red earth, so I name the area „African Tuscany“.

The smell of burning charcoal accompanies us on long stretches of the journey. In every little village large charcoal bags are awaing collection. I wonder how soon soil erosion will become a serious problem...

I also love driving through the Usambara mountains and the plains that are surrounded by mountains.

We are playing „Spot Kilimanjaro“, which is apparently harder to spot than a leopard, despite its considerable height.

Just before sunset, its peak shows above the white clouds. There is very little ice left at the top, and I am not sure we would have been able to spot it if it had still been covered completely in snow.

It’s strange, seeing just the tip of a mountain that is about 6km high.

We are approaching Moshi, when we get into a serious traffic jam. We have to be weighed to cross a weighing bridge and so do lots of other vans and lorries. Trouble is that some lorries are standing diagonally across the lanes, so that no-one can move...

It is already dark when we look out for our hotel. A local lad finally leads us to a hotel with a very similar name where we can camp in the back garden...

Posted by TTraveller 09:20 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Back to Dar

2nd November 2010

On the ferry, AH gets talking to someone who is trying to get sponsorship for a bird protection project in Zanzibar. He only needs US$ 200,000: „I have already invested US$400 of my own money!“ I think someone hopes for more than your sympathy, AH...

The sea is a lot rougher and we are occasionally hit by a cold shower. No need for hair gel afterwards...

Our tents have been moved because of strong winds. I am really glad I didn’t have to sleep in a tent during a storm. Even tonight is very windy.

It sounds as if our fellow-travellers are packing up their tents, but when I look at my watch, it’s only 3am in the morning... The noise comes from a palm branch that keeps scratching against our tent...

For the first time I oversleep the next morning.

Posted by TTraveller 09:00 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

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