Among wazungu

Aug. 9, 2012 (day 449) Tanzania

Having a travel blog may come handy in many ways. Sometimes in a form of unexpected meetings when the word about one's travel precedes the traveller himself. Many weeks before arriving to Moshi I was contacted by Magda, a Polish teacher from the International School there.

There are not many Poles in Africa, so meeting them is a must. This time it was also a great pleasure. Magda and Paul welcomed me in their lovely house, shaded from the sun by huge trees. The holidays were still going on, so we spent time together with their two smart daughters.

Moshi is quite unusual town for East Africa. A white face does not draw attention there, as the concentration of wazungu in the area is exceptionally high. The mild climate of Kilimanjaro foothills makes it indeed a good place to live for people coming from colder countries.

Delicious Polish food on my plate and a handful of useful things for further way are the samples of great hospitality I experienced from my Polish-British hosts. That was especially pleasant after the long, dirty ride of last weeks. Saying goodbye was not easy, but there was still a lot to cycle before the coast and the major rest from cycling which I had planned.

From Moshi I left towards Lake Chala, which lays on the border with Kenya. The surrounding bush bore many traces of elephants crossing it previous days. The animals, however, were not there anymore.

Unfortunately, the only road leading to the lake without crossing illegally to Kenya was occupied by a campsite. It would be not so bad, even despite the high price, but even having a look at the water would make me pay entrance fee. There are some conditions I cannot accept and a deal was impossible. I turned back and soon camped on a huge, dry meadow.

Clouds made views more attractive

Clouds made views more attractive

If someone wants to see a really dangerous African road, Arusha-Dar is a fine example. Being a part of a longer route connecting the biggest cities of Tanzania and Kenya, it attracted crowds of trucks and buses. While the drivers of the former were crazy as usual, the latter again seemed to be driven by brainless idiots. That made me leave the asphalt and turn on a dirt road behind the mountains.

However uninteresting it looked at the beginning, the route became a pleasant experience. Many times the birds from the Mkomazi National Park made me stop (during the day) or wake up (in the night) by their incredible sounds. Soon after the dry bush turned green due to the presence of mountain streams, first coconut palms appeared.

Under baobabs

Under baobabs

On the other side of the mountains

On the other side of the mountains

Along the main road sisal is the king. Its' huge fields might not look very interesting and do not help stopping the terrible headwind, but provided great places to hide during next two nights. When they finished, I entered into fruit paradise of Pangani river valley. Orange and mango trees lined the road and friendly locals shared with me more than I could eat.

Sisal dominated the surroundings

Sisal dominated the surroundings

Closer to the ocean – mist

Closer to the ocean – mist

Mango reappeared again!

Mango reappeared again!

The port town of Tanga looked like a neutron bomb exploded nearby. Hot afternoon, add Ramadan, and there was almost no one on the streets. The ticket office of the ferry line, located in a wooded shed, was open though. A sight of four people inside filled me with hope that despite the second sinking within a year, some ship might be still going to the island.

“The ferry is suspended until further notice”, was the reply to my question about next day's service.
“Really? What happened?”, I asked, pretending not to know anything about the recent happenings.
“We have a problem with the boat. It may last for a month or... or not.”
The useful thing was an information about a fishing harbour nearby, where a local boat was supposed to take passengers to Pemba. It was the same way I wanted to go, in order to visit the Yacht Club of Tanga.

Second life of old tyres

Second life of old tyres

The club was empty when I came and sleepy guards helped me call some people who did not provide any viable solution. I was about to hop on the bike when three boys arrived to the club. The sight of my bike drew their attention and after a short talk I was already invited to camp in their garden, while we swam in the ocean.

Their father appeared soon. From the first sight I liked Karl, a retired pilot from Germany, who had worked for missionaries deep in Africa some years ago. Half an hour later I was sitting by a table together with his wife Christine and the boys. They promised to help me to look for a boat the next day, while the night I would spend in their guest house.

Asking friends yielded no results and I finally decided to go and try my luck in Pangani, but Karl and the boys assisted me on the first kilometers to a fishing village of Sahare. We quickly learned that there was a boat going between the main land and Pemba, but it would depart the next afternoon.

Another day passed with my wonderful hosts who cared about me and told many stories from Africa. Spending time with someone living far away from mainstream is usually interesting. I enjoyed that a lot, but the evening finally came. Together with Karl we cycled to the port where he waited patiently until a small dinghy transported me safely on board.

Comments:

mama
mama
6 years, 4 months ago
Serdecznie pozdrawiam wszystkich Twoich nowych znajomych. Europejczycy tak głęboko w Afryce to na pewno ludzie ciekawi. Ja mam jedno pytanie - czy baobab naprawdę może być taki gruby, że da sie w nim zamieszkać? Powodzenia i dalszych ciekawych spotkań!
Michał
Michał
6 years, 4 months ago
Jeszcze nie widziałem baobaba, w którym dałoby się spać na leżąco. Ale zawsze można zasiedlić dwa a pomiędzy nimi rozwiesić hamak.
arkosław
arkosław
6 years, 3 months ago
zdjęcia przedstawiają naprawde ładne tereny. O wiele lepiej niż sobie wyobrażałem dotychczas afrykę. Jak zrobisz kiedyś wystawę zdjęć z podróży to chętnie wybiorę się na nią. Przyjade oczywiście rowerem :-)
Patrząc ńa ten stragan z obuwiem stwierdziłem, że od dziś na japonki będę mówił afrykanki...
Życzę dobrej drogi i wiatru w plecy.
magura
magura
6 years, 3 months ago
Czytam, czytam, oglądam i nadziwić się nie mogę, że tyle tysięcy już kilometrów przemierzyłem w Twoim towarzystwie i jeszcze nie skomentowałem ;-) Tym bardziej, że poleciłem podczytywanie wersji anglojęzycznej własnym studentom jako trening.
Choć moje wypady na rowerze nigdy nie przekroczyły dwucyfrowej odległości to jednak czytam Twoje opisy z wypiekami, zapartym tchem i nutką zazdrości. Magiczna to opowieść i pozwala przenieść się w miejsca, do których z wielkim prawdopodobieństwem nigdy nie dotrę. Jednocześnie tak wspaniale jest oglądać Afrykę oczami niemedialnymi, nie pochłoniętego tysiącem migawkowych ujęć wazungu, ciągle w pogoni między miejscami z folderów, ale kogoś kto miejsc tych istotnie doświadcza i przeżywa. Za to osobiście dziękuję.

Powodzenia na dalszym szlaku!