Day 215-225


TAN 3rd - 13th July 2007, Tanzania

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Day 215 3/7. Coffee Tree Campsite, Maranga, Tanzania
3°15.49'S 37°31.05'E. Miles today 77, Total Miles 19888
kilimanjaroDrove east this morning in the hope of a glimpse of the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro. It really was still very cloudy and I feared this search would be in vain. At the base, we pulled into the Coffee Tree Campsite, a small, very well maintained locally run place for $8 pp. Just when we thought we would be on our own once again, a rather large bunch of very excited middle aged South Africans turned up, all on a months tour through Southern Africa. Seventeen of them, actually plus six cars. The owner of the only Landrover amongst them, a chap called Willie, was sooooooo excited to see us and naturally he and Rob spent the rest of the afternoon bonding and marvelling over the wonders of Landies. Bless him though, he showered us with gifts of home-shot (?) and home-made Impala biltong and droewors he had hunted recently. Leaving them to unpack their palatial camping arrangements, Rob and I walked up to the gate of Kilimanjaro. Exhausting stuff, I tell you. Not a chance would we have actually been able to climb it. On the way down, Rob pipes up, "Quick honey, look to you right." There, covered in snow and peeking through the clouds was the majestic summit of Kilimanjaro. Yay!!!!!!! And we thought we were gonna have to settle for the picture on the beer bottles. Back at the campsite, the South Africans very kindly invited us for dinner and spoilt us rotten with garlic snails, grilled pork chops and mashed potatoes and lashings of beer. "Geesh, where did find pork chops?" I ask naively. " My girl, it's all brought with from South Africa, jam-packed in our five freezers. Just don't trust this local stuff, you know!"
Day 216 4/7. Kiboko Camp, Tanga, Tanzania
5°03.92'S 39°06.95'E. Miles today 211, Total Miles 20099
With the offerings of many more supplies of Impala bar snacks if we promise to visit them on our way home, we waved farewell to Willie and the rest of the gang. Silence looms. "Well, honey, " says Rob "Guess this is it, we gotta start heading south now, we've got a wedding to get to. We pull the Michelin Map out and gasp in horror. "Well. We'd better get going, cos man, we're a long way from home!" And so we set off south on more welcoming tar and made a slight detour to the coastal town of Tanga. We pullled in to Kiboko Camp (€3pp) where we could camp under some trees (actually IN the trees until the staff very kindly offered to do a touch of gardening and cut back some branches.) A quick wander around the town and a fantastically cheap and super cold sundowner beer on the lawn of the very posh, Mkonge Hotel, and we headed back to the campsite for dinner. The restaurant is quite famous for their huge portions and yes, while the portions were indeed grand, the food was nothing special. We met up with a couple of Dutch girls, who we had seen in Namibia, who are travelling the length of Africa in the Landrover Ambulance with their dog. They suggested that tomorrow, being my birthday; we should stop off at Peponis Beach Resort, 30km down the road.
Day 217 5/7. Peponi Beach Resort, 30km S of Tanga, Tanzania
5°17.20'S 39°03.91'E. Miles today 20, Total Miles 20119
landieNot the quickest 30km, we have ever travelled. The road is a little bumpy but Peponis is well worth the effort. A monstrous jungle like place, run by a South African family right on the beach and blessed with a great swimming pool. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! What a great place for my thirty……..something…ish…..birthday. Sausage sandwiches for lunch and everything!!! Followed by Garlic Prawns, Steak and Chips for dinner in their restaurant. Whoa, who's a happy little kitten, then?
Day 218 6/7. Travellers Lodge, Bagamoyo, Tanzania
6°26.03'S 38°54.23'E. Miles today 184, Total 20303
boat builderBack on some more tar and then a pretty nasty little road towards the old German fort town of Bagamoyo. The only place open in town for camping was the Travellers Lodge. A surprisingly posh set up with a huge garden where you can pitch your tent (for a price though at €5pp) Arriving quite late, we opted for a wander along the beach to the port to check out the fish market where Sting ray were the fish of the moment and to check out the boat builders. After getting severely wet in a sudden downpour, we dried off in the bar with a few African peanuts and a couple of beers and a glimpse of Wimbledon on the telly.
Day 219 7/7. Kipepeo Beach Village, S of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
6°51.09'S 39°21.71'E. Miles today 78, Total 20381
door boatUp early to catch the morning sun for photos of the old town. Wow, loads of beautiful old buildings all sadly in a terrible state but with heaps of old Zanzibar-styled, wooden carved doors. Twenty-seven million photos later, we thought we should perhaps make a move on, as we had to get to Dar es Salaam and further today. After discovering that Dar has some horrendous traffic, we opted for a self-discovered short cut through the back streets and found the complex called The Slipway. Geesh, are we still in Africa? A very posh expat set-up on the waters edge with amongst others, an amazing bookshop, The Pub restaurant serving excellent food, a superfast Internet Café and the tiniest Shoprite in history. On the way out of town and hoping to avoid more traffic, we took the Ring Road and low and behold, discovered Africa's largest Shoprite in the Mliman City Shopping Centre. So wish we had stopped here first. Drove on south for 10km or so to the beach resort of Kipepeo Village. (€3pp) We had heard it was terrible but quite frankly, we thought it was a great place. The huge beach is clean and perfect for swimming, flush loos, running water and the bar and restaurant were great.
Day 220 8/7. Kipepeo Beach Village, S of Dar ES, Tanzania
6°51.09'S 39°21.71'E. Miles today 0, Total 20381
beachWe were planning on leaving this morning and just popped over to our South African neighbours who had driven up from Mozambique to ask them a few questions. Well, three hours later we were still talking to them, so decided to join them, make a day of it and enjoy this great place. Rob was delighted he had some real men to talk to about trucks and Landrovers and of course us girls talked about dresses. Had a braai with some chewy steaks (am now starting to believe the guys with the five freezers filled with South African meat.) Long day tomorrow as we have decided to drive to our Serengeti substitute, The Selous Game Reserve, some 200km away on a supposedly terrible road.
Day 221 9/7. Selous Mbega/River Camp, Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
7°45.67'S 38°13.74'E. Miles today 143, Total 20524
Not too bad a road, quite sandy in places and just long. We were hoping to camp somewhere just outside the park, at a place called Mbega Camp. It's all a bit confusing but basically, you need to follow the signs for Mbega Camp but you end up camping at something called Selous River Camp. A whopping $10 pp and don't expect toilet paper but it is on a great spot right on the river with heaps of hippos belching away. In bed early, as we knew we had to get up at dawn to enter the park. No wild animals in our camp tonight, just a large group of 20 panic-stricken overlanders rescued from somewhere, all looking a tad dishevelled. We never did find out what happened to them. Pity, something on the lines of a plane crash would have made a great story.
Day 222 10/7. Selous Mbega/River Camp, Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
7°45.67'S 38°13.74'E. Miles today 117, Total 20641
selous bird BABOOOON wild dog
wild dogPointless getting up before sunrise as we had to wait at the gate for Mr. Slowest Gate Attendant in the whole world to fill out our entry tickets. (and that's after waiting for 30 minutes for him to arrive late for duty.) Ok, so it's not the Serengeti but we saw heaps of animals with the highlight certainly being a group of wild dogs in a dry river bed and the fact that we could count the number of cars driving around on one hand. Back at the camp and just a mere fifteen minutes after lights out, we heard that familiar branch crashing and an enormous elephant came trundling right past our tent. Seriously eye to eye stuff. Man, he was huge. Very scary to think that just minutes earlier, we were outside on our way back from the loo. After ravaging through our bin, and finding nothing other than a few beer cans, he wandered off. Awesome stuff. Hey, who needs the Serengeti!!!!
giraffe elephant humans
Day 223 11/7. Seaview Resort, Kilwa Masoko, Tanzania
8°55.65'S 39°31.30'E. Miles today 155, Total 20796
Trying hard to get some miles under way, as we hope to cross into Mozambique in the next few days. With a long day driving on bad roads, we finally stopped at Kilwa Masoka for the night at the Seaview Resort, which offers camping for (€2pp) A quick swim in the sea and a few sundowners and off to bed, with our own Masai guard by the way who slept right next to our tent. Interesting? Rob has banned me from reading any more wedding magazines. Panic had set in as I read their countdown list. "Six months before the wedding: Start having monthly facials!" What? Aarrrghh…panic!!!!!!
Day 224 12/7. The Old Boma, Mikindani, Tanzania
10°16.95'S 40°07.14'E. Miles today 187, Total 20983
old bomaMore driving on some appalling stretches of road. The Chinese seem to be out in full force and are re-building the road but for the time being, we had to bash our way through endless chaos. We stopped for the night at Mikandani, where someone suggested we try and camp at the Old Boma. As we drove through the gate and gazed up at this wonderfully restored old fort; it became obvious that this was clearly no campsite! Thought we'd try our luck anyway. "No chance," says the owner "but seeing as it's nearly 17h00, I can offer you our cheapest room for 50% discount, Bed and Breakfast. Oh, and we serve free tea and doughnuts on the terrace at 17h00, when you hear the bell ring." Oh, ok, twist my arm then. All this for a mere $40. "Oh and do have some freshly juiced ice cold passion fruit juice with my compliments, while the housekeeping put some fluffy towels and fresh oranges in your room." Compare that to the ramshackle of a room we had to take in Nigeria for the same price! Well, the wonderfully strong Tanzanian tea and mandazi doughnuts were amazing. Oh so very colonial just off the library filled with wonderful books on the Livingstone and Stanley antics. Seeing as cooking up a storm in their car park clearly wasn't an option, we had to sample their truly delicious Swahili Dinner Buffet next to the pool. Gin and Tonics all round, please. Lovely!
Day 225 13/7. Ruvuma River ferry 'dock', south of Mtwara, Tanzania
10°31.06'S 40°22.91'E. Miles today ?, Total ???
After a stupidly long hot shower and an amazing breakfast of fruit, eggs on toast, freshly baked bread rolls, jams and more delicious Tanzanian tea, we had to remind ourselves that this wasn't a dream and that more bad roads and the Mozambique border was awaiting us. We were going to attempt to cross over at the Rovuma River, apparently very famous for it's particularly unreliable ferry. Oh well, all part of the adventure, hey? No problems at the Tanzanian side. A most efficient lady sporting a scarily shiny gold frock with massive shoulder pads dealt with customs. Whilst confidently stamping away, she assured us that Tony Blair was indeed a wonderful man! The road ahead soon dwindled away into nothing. Now, where the heck is this so-called ferry to Mozambique???
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