Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tanzania's National Elections

I have hardly ever seen television during my African Adventures. Usually a news junkie, i have not heard any World News since being in the centre of it all in South Africa for the World Cup.

Nonetheless, during my stay in Moshi at Buffalo's i find the Tanzanian elections making the headlines. Voting for the elections begins tomorrow. There has been a bit of frenzy this week with political parties involved in last minute canvasing with political rallies, marching bands, dance troupes and vans driving through the streets almost continually blaring distorted messages political messages and music.

Whilst not expecting any change of government, BBC World point to the uniqueness of Tanzania. Despite being home to over 100 separate tribes, unlike nearby neighbours, Rwanda, Kenya and Somalia, voting is not controlled by tribalism. Indeed those interviewed for the News Bulletin were quick to point out, whether Maasai, Haya, Chagga, Bantu et. al. there is a very strong sense of Tanzanian identity.

Fortunately violence has not played a part this year, unlike elections held in 2000 and 2005, although i am told that tourist numbers have been particularly down this month with fear of trouble. Next month marks the high tourist season and it is hoped by the tourist industry that the slump is over.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Moshi

Moshi is some 20kms from the foot of Africa’s highest mountain – Kilimanjaro which is 5896 metres. The mountain towers over the town, but as i write it is currently shrouded in cloud. Seeing it from the bus however and it looks both beautiful and imposing.

Moshi is THE place to organise your tracks of the mountain, but with fees in access of over US$1000 i refuse to prioritise this excursion. I do meet John from Mamuya Safari who offers me and all readers who quote my name an all inclusive US$900 deal, but it should be reminded that porters and guides should be offered a 10% tip.

The town is full of touts desperate to take me on day trips – including local village tours, a photo-shoot of Massai villages (human zoo springs to mind), waterfalls and coffee plantations. One of the more seemingly trustworthy guides is Bobby who can be contacted at 0756 457265. Others just want to sell me handicrafts. With elections on Sunday they are desperate to get money at the moment, although next month is the high tourist season so i have no qualms in saying “No!” a lot.

I hear also of rip-off stories - watch out in particular for Eric/Gonzales who is about 5 foot 11', bearded, slightly built and has a strong English accent, who stiches up tourists either by not delivering the goods or turning them over to the police. Two Argentineans needed to pay off Tsh400,000 each for a US$10 deal for their freedom. Scary!

The compact town has quite a lot to offer including at least three bustling markets and some quality eateries.

It is also quite clean with on-the spot fines of Tsh50,000 for littering. Environmental officers patrol especially around the bus terminals.

Most of the travellers’ centre lies just to the south of the bus terminal, the largest in Tanzania i am informed. I am staying at the perennial backpackers, Buffalos on New Street which has clean and comfy rooms at Tsh17,000 non attached and attached rooms for Tsh20,000/25,000 singles/doubles. The rooms have fan, satellite TV and include breakfast.

Slightly cheaper options include Haria Hotel, Kindaroko, Korini Guest House and Kilimanjaro Backpackers Hotel, but they all have noisier locations and for the difference i can’t be bothered to move.

For a historic stay you can check out the somewhat dilapidated Coffee Tree Hotel close to the roundabout just north of the bus station. It was here that Princess Elizabeth received the news that her father had died and she was now Queen. The rooms of Kilimanjaro can be enjoyed from the fourth floor restaurant. Both Kindaroko and Newcastle Hotels also boast rooftops with a mountain view.

Mount Kilimanjaro from the top of the Coffee Tree Hotel

Opposite Buffalo is the Indo-Italiano, the most popular (and expensive) eatery in town. The food is good, although due to its popularity service can be slow at times. They do quality pizzas from Tsh7,000 and mains from betweenTsh10 -14,000.

The new Kunywa restaurant up the road is somewhat cheaper and has good samosas, as does the Taj Mahal on the main thoroughfare. The latter also does local and Indian favourites and more local orientated prices.

Quality coffee can be enjoyed at the Masid Riadha Coffeehouse opposite the mosque of the same name for just Tsh200 per cup. Needless to say i am completely wired.

The area south of New Road by the clothes market - know as the Swahili Ghetto is not safe to walk down during the day or night.

one of several mosques in town

the local Hindu temple

For several travellers Moshi is much loved, but for me the place is simply another tourist trap with con-artists and touts trying to make a fast buck. It is too sad when you are not in a position to trust any of the locals - it's simply not for me.

Unfortunately my next port of call is Arusha - the hub for tourist touts.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tanga to Moshi

Whilst Tanga is a generally laid-back town, walk anywhere close to the main bus depot and all hots up.

Fortunately i book up the day before. I'm told the journey is some four - five hours so i have no qualms about boarding at 10am for a 10.30am departure with Airbus.

It is already extremely hot and i have had a 30 minute walk with my luggage so sweat is pouring off like a sauna from my face as i board. I wait, wait and wait and then wait a bit longer as temperatures continue to soar made worse as there is no air-con on the bus and there is absolutely no wind coming through the windows.

We finally depart at 11.15am and the road conditions are quite good. However we have our first breakdown within the first hour as the driver and his three stooges spend a hour or so tampering with the undercarriage. Nonetheless everyone pretty much waits patiently by the side of the road and aimlessly watch on.

We are told to re-board and the bus continues onwards for another hour and a half, but the bus is clearly behaving erratically with short bursts of speed before violently vibrating and slowing down again. By 2pm i am hungry and bored but fortunately we stop of at Lushoto for a quick bite and rehydration time.

The mountains are on the right hand side and there is a more arid feel to the lushness of what i have seen for the most part of Tanzania.

By about 6pm the cone of Kilimanjaro rises before my eyes with glaciers hanging dramatically off the summit. It's a beautiful sight to behold.

However, just as we enter into Moshi at 6.30pm clouds descend and the mountain-top vanishes in an X-Files kinda way.

The bus ticket costs Tsh10,000.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tanga

It is reassuring to be back on the Mainland or at least to the wallet.

Tanga is a laid back town with a small market and cheap accommodation and restaurant prices. There is not much to keep a travellist here but does offer some good food options.

The Food Palace offers good quality curries and kebabs for Tsh5,000. Patwas offers fresh fruit juices (from Tsh1,000), lassis from Tsh2,000, snacks from Tsh1,600 and mains from Tsh5,000.Next door to Patwas is Rusharoho’s Swahili fusion restaurant with mains from Tsh5,000 – Tsh6,000.

For a caffeine fix you can do worse than the Cafe Espresso coffee shop. Their samosas are pretty tasty too.

I’m installed at New Upands Hotel with rooms with net and fan for Tsh10,000, but the water supply is erratic.

From Tanga i am heading to Moshi close to Mount Kilimanjaro. With costs over US$800 to climb the Africa’s highest peak, i am just going to take a few photos before continuing towards the Serengeti.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pemba to Tanga

I have no desire to double back to Zanzibar or Dar Es Salaam so i take the weekly ferry from Wete (on Pemba)to Tanga (on the Mainland). It costs Tsh30,000 for non-residents, departs promptly at 9am and takes five hours. There is a simple canteen on board selling snacks (including quality samosas). There are immigration checks and customs to clear both in Wete and Tanga.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pemba

Step onto Zanzibar’s “second island” and leave those tourists and their bandwagon of touts behind. The island is quite beautiful and very peaceful. After the tourist insurgence of Zanzibar, i don’t see another mzungu during my stay.

There is some rivalry between the two islands; most of Pemba’s inhabitants are from Omani descent with a far more cosmopolitan population on Unguja. The friendly locals on Pemba laugh at the hecticness of Zanzibar and boasts a crime-free island, although on my journey out of the island i have my mobile and flashlight snatched out of my bag.

friendly locals request a family and friend portrait

Although it lacks much of the history of Unguja and the lavish architecture, this hilly island is verdant with all kinds of fruit and vegetable crops growing in the fields.

Nonetheless, there does seem a suspicious uniformity on accommodation prices as well as prices charged for meals.

Arriving into Mkoani late at night i turn left outside the port and head up the hill to Panorama Beach Lodge (tel no. 024256166). It is spanking new with bungalows at US$35+ per room, but i take a dorm bed at US$20 all including a hearty breakfast. It is shiny and clean and i have it all to myself. The food is also good with meals costing Tsh10,000. It is next door to the Jondeni Guesthouse with identical prices for rooms and food.

view from Panorama Beach Lodge

Boats can be rented for US$20+ to visit neighbouring islands, and there is little else to do as the village is somewhat dull.

Moslem school-girls on the way home

I move through the island heading north taking a brief stopover in Chake- Chake which is the main hub for the island. It is the nearest town to the internal airport and has a busy market place and a couple of ATMS. Regular dala-dalas run regularly throughout the day and cost Tsh1,000.

Masha, a friend from Stone Town has recommended me to Verani Beach Resort on the North Coast. From Chake - Chake open-sided dala-dalas leave when full to Konde in the northern tip of Pemba. It costs Tsh1,500 and takes about two hours.

The journey onwards is somewhat tricky. I end up hitching a ride with a local police officer with a Vespa for the 10km journey. Motorbikes seem to charge a standard Tsh15,000 whilst a car/taxi/truck/dala-dala for Tsh20,000. The journey is beautiful and goes through a nearby National Park with monkeys chasing through the vines of this primary rainforest.

Verani Beach resor
t is a locally owned and run guest house. It is somewhat basic with no electricity. Bungalows are US$45 including breakfast, but camping is also available. Meals can be ordered in advance for Tsh10,000.

beach-hut at Verani's

The waters sparkle along the beachfront which is a combination of rocks and the fine white sand.

the beach at Verani's

There are several dive outfits on the island that can also run snorkelling trips, but i am informed that the dive-sites are challenging and not for the unpractised recreational divers like myself.

The port town of Wete is somewhat ramshackle. There are at least two guest houses here including Sharouk and Umbrella.

If prices were cheaper i would have happily extended my stay, but the island seem to have priced themselves out from the long-term budget traveller.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Out and About in Pemba

Sceptical that i will be on-line whilst hanging out in the Zanzibar Archipelago.

Hope to be back soon - watch this space.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Election Time in Zanzibar

On October 31st Zanzibar goes to the election polls. I get a chance to meet a Political Analyst lecturer from a Washington University who is covering this year's election in the US.

The current ruling party has been in power since 1964, but this is the first year that at least locally, the opposition have a chance of success with a popularist local candidate standing as Chief Minister.

It is also the first year that there has been no violence. Rasta Dulla tells me his brother was shot dead in the 2005 Zanzibar elections, and even on sleepy Pemba there was mass beatings dished out by the army. In 2000 violence was even more a part of the course.

The manager of my current guest house on Pemba tells me with humble pride that he has been selected as a local councillor candidate for the opposition party and indeed i see his poster all over the walls of Mkaoni.

Noone predicts any change nationally. The ruling CCM party bribe, cajole and outspend its rivals and control much of the media anyway.

my landlord on Pemba and member of the opposition

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Slow Boat to Pemba

Pemba is the “other" island of Zanzibar and lies some 50kms to the north of Unguja.

Fast ferries run every day from Zanzibar but will cost over US$40. The local slow-boat is US$21/US$26/US31 for basic/reserved seat/ 4 birth cabin. Payment must be made in US dollars. It departs every day except Mondays at 6pm and arrives in the following morning at 10am.

Like it’s counterpart in Dar Es Salaam, the port is hassly and touts persistently step in your way. Check out the boat tickets for yourself and save yourself a few extra bucks.

Ying jokes that i am a tight-ass, but i defend myself. Long term travelling requires budget measures, especially when a wage-check hasn’t arrived for some 30 months.

I thought i’d got yet another bargain by taking the overnight slow-boat to Pemba, but it kinda backfires.

I board the boat at 6pm with a 9pm departure scheduled. By 9.30 we are still in Zanzibar dock, but the lights go out. As indeed does the air-con in the “Tourist Cabin” of which I am the only tourist. We’re soon sweating like hyperactive pigs without deodorant.

By 1am we’re still in dock, but the electricity returns. At about 2am, panic breaks out. Women are crying and the babies and luggage are passed through the port-holes – i am told the boat is sinking. I wait for the crowds to subside before taking my bags up the stairs and off the boat. There is nothing else for it, but to head back for another night at Hotel Marine.

Returning next morning we are invited back onto the boat at 8am, but don’t actually set sail until midday. Fortunately there are two canteens on the boat where snacks and drinks are available, including a free pilau rice meal.


Unfortunately the toilets which clearly haven’t been cleaned since the previous day and the smell emanating from the Gents is completely shocking.

The boat docks by 8pm and i am delighted to flee. Although only half the price of the fast ferries, i kinda regret my choice in vessel.

POSTSCRIPT: This ship was later to sink in September 2011 due to over-loading. It resulted in the drowning of 197 passengers making it the worst maritime disaster in the islands documented history.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ketchup From James

Whilst i play about in Pemba, my Main Man of the Sea sent me some of his gorgeous pics from our classic midnight photoshoot of Ibo Island in Mozambique. Really interesting pics James - thanks for sharing on ALITD. If this doesn't tempt you for a visit to this magical spot, nothing will.



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Paying Hommage to Freddie

No visit can be complete to Stone Town, Zanzibar without paying homage to the childhood house of Farok Bolsara aka Freddie Mercury.

Born is Stone Town on 5th September 1946, Freddie grew up in the house until at the age of nine he was sent to India to attend St Peter’s boarding school just outside Bombay.

Not surprisingly it is now a Craft shop.

Freddie's childhood home

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jambiani

Towards the south east corner of Unguja lies the pretty white-washed village of Jambiani. The village is quite spread out across a 8km pristine white beach with turquoise and azure waters straight out of a Zanzibar travel brochure. Unfortunately the coral gardens are about 2 – 3 kms off the beach at the large breakers.

Even though the beach is quieter than usual at this time of the year, there are still plenty of touts around, selling jewelry, their restaurants, outrageous coconut sellers and a plethora of boatsman trying to sell boat trips to the reef and morning dolphin viewing. Both these trips seem to run to about US25 per head, but I can’t bargain below US$10 and give them a miss.

an outrigger in crystal clear waters

Based at Kikidini’s Cottages it is a sublime spot and currently run and owned by a local woman, Mnoga. Her two cottages are available at Tsh30,000 per night with a monstrous breakfast. This is definitely one of the cheapest in town – most seem to be around the US$50 mark. Zanzibar is certainly not cheap.


There are plenty of bars and restaurants scattered along the beach – most charging around the Tsh15,0000 per main course, but I found a few good cheapies scattered around.

My personal favourite was the Garden restaurant with excellent chicken curry and grilled fish for about Tsh7,000 per main. They also do crepe desserts. The local restaurant opposite the post office is very cheap, and although the mishikaki (shish kebabs) was poor, the fish was good and they have reasonably priced fresh pineapple juice. Mohammad Hussain on the footpath between Kikinini’s and the Jambiani Guest House also does cheap and good fish and chips. Equinox offers local and international dishes for around 10,000 a main and is another locally owned outfit.

a solitary Moslem woman adds colour to the beach

Daladalas (local buses) leave Stone Town from the central bus stand around 10.30am and cost Tsh1500. Return buses depart 10am, 2pm and 4pm from the southern end of town.

Masai jewelry seller with a huge hole in his ear

sunset over Jambiani

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Zanzibar Town

Lying in the Indian Ocean off the mainland of Tanzania just six degrees south of the Equator lies the Zanzibar archipelago. The famed “Spice Islands” are actually Unguja and Pemba, and it is the former that is referred to Zanzibar.

Ferries leave Dar Es Salaam regularly every day. I opt for the Sea Horse – the slow-boat (and therefore cheaper option – foreigners pay US$20). It departs opposite St Joseph’s Church at 12.15pm. The touts surrounding the ticket office are robust to say the least! Just say “No!”

Arriving on Zanzibar is like arriving into a new country with passports stamped and immigration and health cards required.

The Arab and Indian influences remain prevalent throughout the city and Islam influence predominates throughout

For the first time since Cape Town during the World Cup finals I feel swamped by tourists and by the ubiquitous tourist touts. No doubt about it, these guys have gotten it down to a fine art with guided tours offered in Spanish, Italian and even Russian.

This place should be a highlight of the trip, and was probably amazing 20 years ago. It still is, but like Venice, it has been irreparably tarnished by mass tourism, and I am part of the problem.

Stone Town in the heart of the town centre is rightly a World Heritage Site. The labyrinth of small streets and alleys are fascinating to stroll round, although huge swathes of the shops are now geared to expensive arts and crafts boutiques and other tourist paraphernalia.

the best preserved buildings are the boutique hotels

ornate door designs predominate throughout Stone Town

spooky traditional tribal mask

There are some terrific museum options, but I plumb just for the National Museum, the Palace Museum and the Slave Market. I only get a student price for the museums which is excellent – detailed, informative and with some cracking views over the city from the Library.

the top of the National Museum

view from the top of the National Museum

The Old Fort has been turned into a menagerie of craft shops. There is also a pub and a stage with live performances several nights a week.

No visit can be complete to Stone Town, Zanzibar without paying homage to the childhood house of Farok Bolsara aka Freddie Mercury.

Born is Stone Town on 5th September 1946, Freddie grew up in the house until at the age of nine he was sent to India to attend St Peter’s boarding school just outside Bombay.

Not surprisingly it is now a Craft shop.

Freddie's childhood home

Accommodation options vary from around US$25 to several hundred for a night. I check out both Malindi Guest House (tasteful olde worlde rooms from US$35 unattached) and Malindi Lodge from US$25 both including breakfast. The former boasts an authentic Thai roof-top restaurant. Hotel Marine gives me a 25% discount and has free wifi.

Eating options are also plentiful, generally good quality and expensive. I do splurge at the Silk Road Indian restaurant for high quality samosas and a chicken biryani.

The night food-market opposite the National Museum offers slightly cheaper options but be prepared to bargain hard with some of the stall holders, notoriously the kebab barbecue vendors. Here you can find the “Zanzibar Pizza” which comes in both savory and fruity varieties. At TSh2000 a piece this has to be one of the best options in town.

During the day te town feels very safe, but i'm recommended not to carry valuables after 10pm and to take taxis at night.

I come away from the town somewhat disappointed, especially comparing it to Ila de Mozambique which is almost hassle-free and a working town non-reliant on the tourist trade. It appears to be the Venice equivalent of Africa – you can see the beauty and attraction of the place, but mass tourism has taken away its soul.

Sultan's Palace - now the Palace Museum

another passing dhow at sunset

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bagamoyo

Some 70kms north from Dar Es Salaam lies Bagamoyo. From 1887 Bagamoyo was the capital of German East Africa. It transferred to Dar Es Salaam in 1891 and has been in decline ever since. Nonetheless it is a great place to stroll around with a few examples of colonial style architecture, and again a history of slave trafficking. Whilst 50 of the slaves ended up working in the spice plantations of Zanzibar, others ended up in central and North America.

slave posts outside the old slave market

The first Roman Catholic church in Africa was built in 1872 and missionaries bought slaves their freedom. It was here that Livingstone’s embalmed body was initially brought to before taken to Westminster, London via Zanzibar.

oldest Roman Catholic church in Africa from 1872

Next door to the church is the Christian Mission which has an excellent museum (Tsh500/Tsh1500, student/non-student entrance fee). It chronicles the history both of the town and the Christian mission with some quality artefacts if somewhat squashed in just three rooms.

I stay at Francisco’s Inn (single/doubles with attached bath and breakfast for Tsh20000/25000) and recommend the stone House International restaurant close to the fish market, boasting banana milkshakes and “the best burgers in town”.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kigaboni

Masai warriors patrol the beach

It doesn’t take long to leave the bustling streets of Dar Es Salaam and escape to some of Africa’s most attractive beaches.

From the waterfront, between the Zanzibar boats and the fish market runs the Kigamboni ferry. The journey is less than 15 minutes and costs Tsh100. From here head south for some 8kms (Tsh4000 by taxi) to some outstanding white beaches.

I start off staying in Kipepeo Village and Campsite established by an Austrian couple. They provide a mixture of accommodation options, from camping, basic shared facility bandas fromTsh21,000 to more deluxe cottages from US$50+. They also have a bar and grill on site which ias a little pricey with most main meals totaling Tsh13,000. Thus I transfer for the second night next door which is Tsh15000 with attached bathroom and self catering facilities. Another food option with very reasonable prices is the RV restaurant in the village.

An island off the mainland in front of the beach offers bandas and snorkeling. It can be organized via Kipepeo but it is much cheaper to ask any of the local fisherfolk.

Lulu’s bar is very popular with the locals with dance-shows and karaoke-style sing-alongs.

At night the ocean is filled with lights from a swathe of fishing boats.

a jogger at dawn

I am warned several times not to carry valuables on the beach including money-belt and camera.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Swahili

We are all multilingual, not least myself, and without even knowing it even before arriving in Africa, I had a few words already.

My cool paternal grandfather passed on his love of Tarzan movies to me, so words like simba (lion),and bwana (white master) are already familiar. But these aren’t gonna really help me too much as I spend the next few months kicking around in Central Africa.

Jambo is the usual greeting offered to non-blacks offering a choice of two responses
1) Jambo – I’m good, now talk to me in English
2) Sijambo – I’m good and I am prepared to try my luck in Swahili.

Not surprisingly however, i am still well into the first category.

Nonetheless i am determined to progress , I know how to recognise, use and respond to Hujambo and Hubari - How are you?, to thank – asante, and ask for a minibus and guesthouse – daladala and guesti respectively.

The numbers are tricky, but i endeavour to use the Swahili language guide in their Africa book to assist me. Slowly slowly i fear. My goal is to sijambo a greeting. Whether or not i understand the reply is another matter entirely.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dar Es Salaam

from the waterfront

Apart from Cape Town, i generally don’t like African cities, and normally i stock up on supplies, find a couple of choice restaurants and skedaddle.

Not in the same league as Cape Town, nonetheless Dar Es Salaam is really quite good. It has a compact city centre, some friendly and very helpful locals and a few attractions to offer a passing travellist. It also boasts a great melting pot kinda feel. Africans, Arabs and Indians collide their cultural and religious backgrounds in good harmony, a mix of architectural styles from colonial to post-modern, and of course some interesting cuisine options.

Landmarks Around Dar Es Salaam






The National Museum is a must see, with some truly quality exhibitions, including Tanzania’s fight for independence and freedom, natural history, ethnography and the skulls from the cradle of civilization dating back some 1.75 million years ago from Olduvai Gorge in the volcanic north of Tanzania. Ii is open daily from 9.30am – 6pm.


African sculpture in wood

skull dating back 1.75 million years ago - the cradle of civilization

A walk along the bustling waterfront offers stall dining experiences as well as to the fish market. Even for a non-seafood eater it is an interesting sight with swathes of sardines, tuna, mackerel, barracuda, octopus, squid, prawns and even sailfish. Wearing my sandals was not a sensible choice however.

around the fish market

My favourite restaurant find has to be the Red Onion, located at the Haidery Plaza opposite the YWCA. This rooftop restaurant probably isn’t the cheapest Indian restaurant in town, but the chicken tandoori was exquisite. Chef's Pride on Chagga Street is a longstanding backpackers' favourite with a huge menu. Whilst several of the dishes appear to be unavailable, what is available is good.

herbal medicines for sale on the street

Staying in the YWCA offers the cheapest central option, but unfortunately a somewhat noisy one too. At TSh10000 per person in a double or triple for it’ll do perfect. It is best to book ahead.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mbeya to Dar Es Salaam

The train for Dar Es Salaam was due on Wednesday 1pm, although delays are quite common with the train’s starting point in Zambia. By 4pm the Station Master comes up to the notice board and writes that the train is now expected at 4am. Kristin from Birmingham England befriends him and gets his number before suggesting we head back to the Holiday Hotel and get updates later. The Station Master texts her about 8pm informing that the ETA is now 7pm and we agree to share a taxi back to Mbeya station at 6am. At least we are in more comfortable surroundings.

Arriving in to Mbeya station for my third time, we are now reliably informed the train will be in at 10.20am. The smell of 300 sweaty bodies is almost over-powering inside. Sure enough by 10.30 the train pulls into the station - some 19 and a half hours behind schedule.


Second class is more than adequate although i do note that all the international travellers have opted for first class. Less than three hours into the journey and the engine breaks down. Another engine is called for, but takes some three hours to arrive. It at least provides an opportunity to stretch the legs and take The Beast out.

We eventually hit the rails again, but Dar Es Salaam seems a long way away. There is a restaurant car with some reasonably priced although rather bland food is served up.

He scenery is fairly dramatic. First there are plains with a mountain backdrop, before passing through Selous Game Reserve where I spot antelope and warthog along the track. A couple of hours before our arrival into Dar the parched landscape becomes lush and green.

a happy vendor

We eventually arrive into Dar at 1.30pm some 23 hours behind schedule. If you are in hurry or need to make a connection this journey is not for you and you are better off taking the 12 hour bus. However, despite the delays, for me this journey is awesome.