Day 52 –
L: Last night had been no air-con because of some power problems and now there was no water. Steve went downstairs and they switched the water-pump back on so we were able to shower. I had woken up with a runny nose and started feeling a bit nauseous – what is going on with me?
S: I thought that we should take a taxi to the ferry, but Lesley insisted that she would feel better in the sea air than in a taxi so we left the hotel after trundling down all those stairs for the last time and having our coffee and 2 slices of toast.
L: This time it was me that was so grateful that we had booked VIP class for the ferry. Wow, the lounge on shore was like a show-room with at least 10 different leather lounge suites all in pristine condition.
Once on the ferry I was not feeling any better, I have never felt sea-sick, but I was not happy today. Steve had had his tablet and was now having to worry about me too. It was so much choppier on the return leg and I think that this pilot was less sensitive to the passengers.
When we reached the shore, we battled through the crowds and past all the people offering you a taxi ride and were so grateful when Hunter, our taxi-driver from before, took the suitcase from Steve and led us to his Protea Hotel car. It was a great idea of Steve’s to call him as we boarded the ferry. Thanks, Dear.
So, we arrived back to fetch our car. Our friends, Duncan and Jane, had also left to Zanzibar for the weekend, so we unplugged the electrics and left again. We stopped off at the Spur for a quick burger and picked up a bit of meat and veg from the supermarket.
S: We had heard that the Bagamoyo bridge was now open (after the last rain storm had destroyed it) so we set off that way. Once again, we are traveling at the 50 km/hour speed restriction and there are no boards to tell us when we can pick up speed again so we just rather play it safe even though we have only once spied a radar gun today…….
The 80-odd kilometers that we did seemed to take forever, but we arrived at the campsite, Travellers’ Lodge and booked in at USD12 each. We were taken down onto a lovely grassy area with not much else, no braai-site or anything and decided to have a look at what the bathrooms were like. L: Awful. There are 2 toilets and 2 showers and guess what – no hot tap and one of the toilets seats are broken and the other toilet does not flush.
By now Steve was ready for us just to check in to one of the chalets, but I was not happy to pay the price so we spoke to the manager, Nick, who was not very concerned and got our money refunded.
S: We drove the few kms to The New Bagamoyo Beach Resort. The area set aside for camping is nothing special, but it has a braai area and some wooden picnic tables. We were shown to the bathroom which is one male toilet and shower and one female toilet and shower off the gym area, but what a difference. Thank you. We are amazed at how so many resort owners or managers treat their campers so shoddily. We don’t expect 3 star treatment, but clean ablutions are not too much to ask, surely?
L: By now it was really hot and humid so we walked the short distance to the beach and had a refreshing swim with me hoping to have the sea-water open up my nasal passages. I had a good giggle when Steve turned around and got an eyeful when a young lady bent to pick up her towel and revealed everything that the tiny little yellow triangle of material, the size of a samosa, did not cover.
The entire time on the beach, the security man kept guard. We had heard at the previous resort that there were security issues at night, but did not think it was this bad, but it was nice not to have to worry about our bags on the beach.
S: Back at the campsite, we had not bought wood or charcoal so I hauled out the little braai-pack that Judy and Adam had given us in our “going away” pack and that worked a treat to braai some beef fillet and cheese and tomato sammies.
L: Steve did supper and zipped and flipped the tent while I caught up with choosing the photographs for the blog and took it easy with my snotty nose and headache. We have been bitten a lot, by mosquitos here tonight which we have not had for a while.
We had a whole crowd of children and one adult arrive after our supper. There was a lot of hustle and bustle while Paul and his 4 boys plus 2 extra boys set up camp for the night and cooked their supper. We got chatting when Paul when he needed to use our lighter to start the fire. He has done a few trips to the Serengeti and surrounds and is of the opinion that going into the Ngoro Goro crater is an unnecessary expense as you can see all the same animals during their migration across the Serengeti plains.
It had been a long day so we climbed into the rooftop tent hoping that all the boys would quieten eventually. It was after 11pm before they went to bed and then all the music from the hotel started. It was really loud, but we tried our best to block it out, even resorting to ear-plugs. The music stopped at about 3am and then the chanting over a loud-speaker from the mosque started. Sleep was hard to come by as by dawn, the dogs, cats and roosters had all joined in………
Day 53 –
L: We dragged ourselves out of bed, tired and frustrated and had breakfast – no, not 2 slices of toast!! for variety, we chose cereal and tea, ha ha.
After 20 minutes, and 3 of the cleaning staff in the shower trying to regulate the water, I suffered another cold shower!! Ok, I am awake now.
S: Immediately after leaving the beach resort we stopped at the Mango Tree Lane that was planted by nuns from the Holy Ghost Mission in 1891.
We took some photographs and then negotiated the back streets of Bagamoyo until we reached what is known as the new Bagamoyo road. It has recently been built and is a pleasure to drive on. There are still occasional road works and some of the narrow road still remains where it passes through a wet marshy area which was impassable for awhile after the rains. L: I was so excited to see all kinds of different birds in and around the water-lillies of the ponds including a yellow bishop, but knew that it was impossible to stop.
S: We were going away from the coast and soon turned onto the main road north climbing steadily as we traveled inland towards the town of Mombo.
L: The Dar Express is not just a name for the bus company, these bus drivers are impossible and we are now sure that they have a timed competition to see who gets there and back first, not caring who they force off the road in the process. It is exhausting driving these roads and even though Steve is doing the driving, I don’t dare to nod off as I am afraid that Steve will miss some obstacle as it is a long, slow day to get anywhere on these roads.
We only stopped briefly a few times and so it was a relief to realise that we would soon be at our campsite, but not before driving the narrow, winding, steep pass up the mountain. All in all we climbed to 1 400m above sea-level after leaving the beach a few hours before.
The pass is stunning and about what I would imagine Switzerland to look like if you closed your eyes to the poverty and squalor of some of the homes. It is so green and we were so thrilled to round a corner and see the lovely fast-flowing waterfall.
S: The busses, mini-busses, occasional truck and scores of motorcycle taxis keep coming at the most incredible speed around the sharp and often blind corners. Scary stuff. There are a lot of people on the pass, walking, sitting or chopping big boulders into little stones for the local industry. It was a Saturday so a lot of young children were chopping too and one man with three little girls under the age of 4.
L: We arrived at Irente View Cliff Lodge and saw a man on this very rickety outlook over the cliff, but didn’t want to chance following him out, high above the gorge as the wooden structure was vrot!! (rotten). I stayed at the car and it seemed an age before Steve came back down, but with the best news. The campsite was not great and the bathrooms “not up to our standards” so he had negotiated a good rate to stay in the lodge. USD50 and what a treat. It is luxurious compared to our stay in Stone Town even with a TV and a thick, fluffy blanket. I got straight into the bed as I was not feeling great. S: With Lesley feeling the way she was and us also being rather high up it was not a good idea to camp. She needed some decent rest and close access to a bathroom.
L: The only thing that got me outside was a strange snoring noise which I discovered was a couple of crows on the roof above us.
The sunset, once again, was amazing and this view so high up is breathtaking.
We had booked to have supper too as we didn’t have cooking facilities although Steve made me tea on the gas. Supper was very good. We both had a beef dish and it was really filling. We both had a glass of red wine, which came from a box and cost R32 each glass, but it went down well.
Steve watched a bit of the soccer while doing the expense sheets and I wrote a bit of blog and then it was early to bed. What a pleasure, it was so quiet and very comfortable.
Day 54 –
L: We dragged ourselves out of the comfortable bed and I went to shower first and could not get the lever to stay up on the bath/shower tap system. When I called Steve to try and help, he brought the toilet brush to wedge in……eeeeewwwww!! Revolt, so I stuck with putting my head under the bath tap.
Breakfast!!! Oh, where do I start. Cornflakes with hot milk, coffee with hot milk. An entire side plate of all the local fruits including mango. Eggs, anyway you want with toast and jam and freshly squeezed fruit juice. All included in the price which is what a night cost in Zanzibar with the small breakfast.
As we were packing up, I noticed that the night-watchman was now washing our filthy, muddy car with the dirt of 53 days stuck to it. Poor guy it took him forever and we hardly recognized our car when we went to pay him for the great job he did. The staff was fascinated with our “home” on wheels and thought that we were joking when we said that we had a stove and fridge in the back.
We set off down the pass and I noticed a sign that read Irente Orphanage and School for the Intellectually Impaired so we actually could have dropped the rest of the blankets off, but they were deep in the boot and we had already decided to visit the orphanage in Arusha we were directed to by Matthew earlier on our trip.
We bounced along the roads with the lovely view and were so grateful that there weren’t too many cars and busses today.
S: This road that we took up and down the mountain is 35 km long, it is tarred and rather narrow in places with many bends. The first part has many places where only one car can fit through so you have to be on your guard for the taxis and busses that come flying through. Rather intense stuff.
Once we got to the main road again the road is new so it was a pleasure to drive on, but we eventually caught up with the road works and then the original old bad road.
At one point we nearly got taken out from behind by a bus overtaking when we were all slowing to go past an accident scene where a small bus had left the road. The overtaking bus must have been doing over 100 km/h and the police just stood and looked at it. They seem to be a law unto themselves, something like the taxis in South Africa.
Approaching Moshi we caught sight of Mount Kilimanjaro and Lesley got all excited. L: of course!!! It is amazing and looks so tiny in a photograph. S: The only time I had seen it was from the air when we were coming in to land at Nairobi many years ago. Near Moshi we refueled and once in the town we had to drive around trying to find an ATM that would actually dispense cash. After the fourth try we finally found one. This town is the jump off for anyone wanting to climb Kilimanjaro and the airport is between Moshi and Arusha. L: And noooo, I do not want to climb Kilimanjaro, I like my nose, and my fingers and toes.
At last, after nearly 8 hours in the car, we have completed today’s trip of 342 kms and arrived at Maasai camps Camp. Janet, the manager welcomed us and said that camping was USD8 per person so we checked in and drove to our site. The bathrooms are clean and the site is grassed with a shelter, braai and picnic table.
We have met Mark, one of the 30 young Bristol, UK school children here on tour and things are really lively.
We enjoyed our T-bone steaks that we have had in the freezer for a while with a baked potato and onion and some relish. A milestone moment – we have just finished braaing with the last of our charcoal from Mozambique, of 4 years ago……..Remember that, Keanan and Sharon and co, you can see we usually use wood for our fires.
Time for my bed, it is a bit chilly near the snowy Kilimanjaro and we are back up above sea level about 1 200m up again. We are going up and down so quickly in these hilly areas, it leaves me a bit light-headed.
What a lovely day it has been, seeing that huge mountain. When we came close, I was not sure of what I was seeing. There was so much cloud cover at the bottom and then I noticed about 4 or 5 vertical stripes of (cloud) which was actually the snow so I said to Steve – “am I seeing what I think I am seeing……..Kili????” As all of Tanzania call it.