May 31, 2008 GMT
(mis)Adventures in Tanzania

Yes, the road is smooth

'You are very near now. Only thirte... kilometres and the road is smooth all the way.' (Easy for him to say sitting atop his steam roller.)

Thirteen/Thirty which was it? Smooth, we think he meant soft, infact we discovered he meant soft. After finally finding 'the Church' and turning 'light on the lough load' Tanzanias clouds were building for this afternoons deluge, we decided to skip finding the 'Star that Fell from the Sky' (meteorite crater) and return to the Mbeya Paradise Inn.

Wash Day

Tanzania is beautiful. Lush and green, fertile farms, tea and coffee plantations, rich cool mountains, hot humid coast all combined with friendly welcoming people. The Malawian catch cry of 'Give me my money!' is barely audible despite the poverty.

Drying Rice - Near Mbeya

The road from Mbeya to Dar took us two days stopping over in Iringa where we began to detest the word YES. A small word causing much frustration.

'Is this the road to Such-and-such?'
YES (clearly it wasn't)

'Is breakfast included?'
YES (clearly it wasn't)

'Is my hair purple?'
YES (You get the picture)

People often just agree with you as they believe it is helpful.... well it 'aint!

What a Useless Sign

After fighting the Dar es Salaam traffice we crossed the ferry to Kigomboni and Dars southern beaches to meet up with Bonny and Mike whom we last saw in Senga Bay Malawi.

Disembarking the Ferry to Dar's south beaches

Sunrise Beach Resort is located 7 kilometres from the Ferry dock and smack bang on the Indian Ocean.

Sunrise at Sunrise Beach Resort

Fishing Dhows at Sunrise

This idyllic location is spoiled by the cats who like to use your tent as a jungle gym putting holes in the fly and mozzi screens. Our poor wee tent has travelled for 3 years finally gets holes in it! Damn!

'Were goin' to Zan-zi-bar!'
Grant, Mike and Bonny - Ferry to Dar

Our first attempt to catch the ferry to Zanzibar was mared when Mike and Bonnies day pack, complete with camera, passports and ferry tickets etc, was stolen right from under our noses at the Steers Restaurant in Ohio Street, Dar es Salaam.

We were under the impression that it was an inside job, a bag napping ring, as we later heard that it is quite a common occurence in that restaurant. the management was less than sympathetic or helpful accusing us of leaving our bags unattended.

Bonnie and Mike headed to the Police Station, we returned to the campground and that evening the four of us drowned our sorrows over dinner, vowing to be more vigilant. Maybe we had become a little complacement after being on the road for such a long time.

'I've got a lovely bunch a coconuts'.... Load that bike up fella

It is called the Spice Islands, the Zanzibar Archipeligo. It has a long history of trade in spices, gold, ivory and human labour being the jump off point for the East African Slave Trade. It now has a new life in the tourism trade.

Inside the slave holding cell.
Up to 200 unfortunate people were held here secretly at any given time, forced to remain standing for days at a time.

Stone Town is a network of Omani Arab style narrow cobbled streets twisting and turning no wider than a laden donkey. In years gone by the town was brimming with the scent of a thousand exotic spices.

Watching us watching you - Stone Town

Markets - Stone Town

Today you are more likely to encounter a barrage of the scent of two stroke from the inumerable scooters (good thing for Grant as he loves the smell) zipping expertly throught he streets and hot oil for frying chipsis (chips) purchased by hungry school children at lunchtime.

Door - Stone Town

Customs House - Zanzibar

The smell of sweaty armpits of the many papasi (street touts) who want to be your guide, sell you a tour and take you to thier hotel/gift shop etc fills your nostrils.

Jules in Stone Town

On occasion you still get a whiff of spice when you pass by a restaurant, especially those who cater for the Mzungus (foreigners) - We can thoroughly recommend Silk Route for an amazing Indian meal.

Schools Out

We practice our Swahili on the school children 'Hijumbo' we greet, 'Habari' they reply 'Muzuri' we respond. A riot of giggles ensues, but that's as far as we can go as they run off to get home.

Stone Town House, or whats left of it

Cool rest stop - Stone Town

Swathes of colour surround from the bright khangas to the austere black worn by devout Muslim women. Paintings and carvings line the tourist streets becomming repetative and passe, but if you look long enough and hard enough you will find some treasure to take home.

Co-operative empowering women through training.
Handmade cushion cover workshop

Hiring a motorcycle, from the Dodgey Brothers, we headed out to explore some of the island country side.

Hire Bike - Zanzibar

Road to Slave Cave

Zanzibar Kids

Road Traffic - Zanzibar

Slave Cove

Sunset at Nungwi Beach
Grant, Jules, Mike & Bonnie

We had a great time with Bonnie and Mike, leaving them after a couple of weeks to wait patiently for their new passports.

MMMMM Hot Springs

About 50 kilometres from Moshi we saw the sign to Nyumba Ya Mungu Lodge. Only 15 kilometres down a dirt road. Being aware that lots of Tanzanian roads are less than roads we thought we would just give it a go. Especialy with the promise of hot springs at the end.

Surprisingly the road was good, if not a little further than indicated. As we bumbled along down the valley abundant bird life fled the sound of Piggy's engine and butterflies committed suicide on her screen.

The camber of the road was interesting at times, interspersed with rocky and sandy patches. As we hit the valley floor the temperature became noticable higher and following the signs to the lodge we were faced with a 'kind of' gravel track.

To the Lodge we go

Winding our way through the scrub we wondered if we were going the right way, then we would see a sign to the 'Rangers Station', 'Lodge and Campground'. We headed to the lodge.

Bumping over the rocks, twisting and turning, passing heards of goats the road ran out at the hydro electric dam bank.

No Lodge Here, but please sign our Guest Book

Did we take a wrong turn? What happened? Dismounting for a look around we were approached by a Massai man and his collegue. We asked about the lodge. 'No Lodge' was the response to our questions. We were presented with a guest book to sign and a very flash business card. Laughing, we remarked at yet another Tanzanina Misadventure.

Perhaps if you advertise a lodge you really ought build one!

Ministry of Works needs a little work

Strange Conversations

With a man on the side of the road
Man: 'I speak English, do you speak English?'
US: 'Yes, we are from Australia, Kiswahili is very difficult for us.'
Man: 'Are you speaking English to me now?'

Are you speaking English to me now?

With a Taxi Driver, Dar es Salaam had just experienced a 24 hour power black out
Grant: 'When did the electricity come back on in Dar?'
Taxi Driver: 'Yes, Manchester United won 6 to 5'



Leaving Malawi
* Immigration stamp out
* Carnet stamp put
* Very easy, very straight forward

HATARI means DANGER - sign in Mikumi National Park

Enter Tanzania
* Visa costs US$50.00 per person
* Ensure you have correct money. US$ ONLY accepted, it is important you have new notes as any notes before 1996 are NOT accepted. The newer, neater and crispier the better.

Boats at Nungwi

* Vehicle Carnet is stamped in, you will not need a Temporary Vehicle Import if you have a carnet that includes Tanzania
* Purchase vehicle insurance - yellow card (US$100.00 valid for 6 months, valid for all countries north (except Egypt - even though it is included) is your best option. It seems like a very strange procedure as the prices vary for Tanzanian Only insurance depending on what money you have. For example we could only afford the premium for 1 month but she gave us 2 months.... go figure!

Boabab Tree National Park - Road to Dar es Salaam


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