North Tanzania

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Coconut palms are indigenous to Indonesia - along with sugar cane, bananas, and mangos (the New World is responsible for papaya and pineapple). A feature all along the coast from Northern Mozambique, I was surprised to see the odd grove of them hundreds of kilometres inland, clustered along underground water courses, having read somewhere, obviously misleadingly, they thrive in salty soil and sea breeze conditions. I had left behind me Dar es Salaam on the lush tropical coast, and it was refreshing to head inland as the countryside began to take on a more barren aspect.

What did seem to thrive here was sisal - tough little plants stretching in rows for miles. Up to the late 1960’s, some of the sisal plantations here were the largest in the world. The rail line I had been following, now largely unused, used to have ten trains a day collecting the product. One farm I was told had two hundred kilometres of rail (it also had its own surgery and doctor).

These huge plantations had been nationalised in the late 1960’s as part of the process of ‘agricultural collectivization’ under the leadership of the ‘Father of the Nation’. Julius Nyerere had a reputation as one of Africa’s greatest statesmen, and was admired for his integrity, modest lifestyle and devotion to equality and human rights. But his economic policies based on the Chinese communist model of nationalising the economy’s main sectors, including sisal plantations, and forcing the population out of the cities into villages, is now generally accepted as misguided and a failure.

The Usambara Mountains
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Four or five hours after leaving Dar, I turned off the main road at Mombo climbing immediately in a series of hairpin bends into the Usambaras, the mountain range that had flanked the route the past hundred kms. Within fifteen minutes the change in temperature from the hot plains was noticeable, and further on I had to put on another shirt under my jacket. The bracing air was welcome. In an extraordinary change of scenery from the parched plains below, the steep landscape was now taking on a Himalayan aspect - the slopes terraced into tiny fields, thin ribbons of shining streams tumbled down the mountainside, little settlements clung precariously to ridges. The road traced the sides of an increasingly narrow gorge. High above, Soni Falls plunged dramatically over a precipice.

My destination that day was Lushoto, the town chosen by the early German settlers to escape the heat and dust of the plains below for the holidays. There was only one road in terminating at Lushoto and it was a delight to ride, continuously switchbacking through this magnificent, dramatic scenery. Coming out of one bend, I was stopped at a checkpoint, two policemen and a policewoman. It was clear they were bored, or more likely trying to impress the woman. First there was the usual ‘Mzungu’ (white man) test - the basic Swahili greetings: Karibu, jambo, habari, nzuri, blah, blah - and asking me where I was going (“Where the f*** do you think I’m going?”), before getting down to the important questions about how fast my bike went and how much did it cost. Having had their entertainment, I was allowed continue. Sometimes I am not as tolerant and accommodating as I’d like to think.

Though the town of Lushoto didn’t appear of any particular consequence, the greater Lushoto valley at the bottom of which it nestled, supported 100,000 people. In the hour or so I’d ascended, the surrounds were just so different from the rest of the country I’d passed through. Craggy mountain tops disappeared into the mists. Stands of massive blue gums flanked the roadside, the sharp eucalyptus fragrance lending an added freshness to the air. With an abundance of water, intensive cultivation was in evidence everywhere. And even at this altitude clumps of the ubiquitous banana were bursting up wherever I looked. Everything was just so... fecund!

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On the outskirts of town with great views of the surrounding peaks the
Lawns Hotel, described in the guide book as an “old, colonial-type hotel with large fireplaces” looked an interesting option. I realised the price would likely be beyond my budget, but was keen to experience something like it, and was prepared to go for their camping option, enjoying the facilities and bar of the hotel. As it happened the receptionist came down from her first quote of $30 (“How much you want to pay?”), after I enquired about prices at the neighboring hotel, to $8 - including breakfast! The comfort of the room and, and as we were at 1500m in altitude the cosy wood panelled bar with a log fire made it very appealing, the best value accommodation I’d experienced on the trip so far.

Roadside Cuisine
It was reassuring having my own bathroom handy as I was beginning to get warning signals following my roadside lunch earlier that day. Entering a village on the main road a few hours after leaving the capital, I pulled over at a truckstop - very basic. With my negligible Swahili, and they having no English, I eventually got served the standard fare of ugali - the brick of maize meal - and meat cubes in sauce with a little stewed vegetables.

Invariably the meat is so tough I end up with a stack of chewed gristle left on my plate (if my teeth can’t chew it, I won’t consign it to my long suffering belly!). The meal is eaten local style, moulding a piece of ugali with the right hand into a golf ball, dunking it in the sauce, then pushing it into your mouth trying not to smear or drop any. My difficulty is less with the safety of the food - after all it is cooked at a certain temperature - but the hygiene standard in the washing of plates and serving utensils. Regular practice is to dip the dirty dishes and cutlery into a murky dishwashing bucket, and give it a wipe with a filthy rag before stacking. When I left, a woman was scrubbing a pot with some dirt from the ground outside the leanto.

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Medical Volunteers
That evening I chatted with three Dutch medical interns, two girls and a guy, on a break from hospitals in the Tanzanian hinterland near Lake Victoria. Their experience wasn’t positive. The main frustration appeared to be the lack of interest shown by the nurses, the two girls having to do their work as well. I wondered was that because of the interns’ gender. As well as the predictable lack of facilities and overcrowding, they described how most of the patients will already have consulted a traditional healer first, before coming to the hospital. They described cuts in the abdomen onto which a herbal concoction would be rubbed. Their severest scorn was reserved for the spiritual healers. “If the patient is ‘possessed’, they would just be chained to a tree in the village until the bad spirit left!”

Mother Teresa and Bono
Browsing through some back copies of Time magazine in the bar - my catch up on international news - I read of the publication of Mother Teresa’s diaries, which detailed her forty years of serious doubt and ongoing crisis of faith, an extraordinary admission. In an interesting interpretation, the journalist noted what an inspiration it was to the faithful, that “even a saint has to deal with doubt... And to continue to do what she did!”

And in an impressive and eloquent essay, geared towards his audience (‘Time’ readers) using their language and values (conventional establishment), Bono argued how for historical, ethical, and economical reasons Europe couldn’t stand by and ignore Africa’s health and poverty issues - that it is a reflection on all of us as human beings.

Breakfast the following morning included real coffee from the nearby slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, omelette, and - joy of joys - an unlimited supply of fresh toast and real butter! The first time I’d had butter since a packet of Kerrygold I’d splurged on in a South African supermarket.

Irente View
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An enjoyable walk through the surrounding mountainous countryside brought me to the edge of the Usambaras and Irente View, where suddenly you come upon a 1000 metre drop to the Masai plain below. It is spectacular. I had half heartedly enlisted the guiding services of 18 yr old Elvis, more to support the local economy than from any perceived need. How difficult could the walk be? I was delighted I did as of course I got a lot more than being shown the way. Elvis was new to the role - he was part of ‘Tayodea’, a local youth initiative - and must have been told to “keep talking” as he continued with a stream of tidbits of information. “This is an ‘Angel Wings’ plant. Those men are building a house. These are Eucalypt trees.” And then, “What is your football team?” He supported Chelsea, along it seemed with most of Africa that I could see. I imagine because its star players include a number of high profile Africans.

I had read of the Lutheran Irente Farm and was keen to sample the food they produced. We climbed the winding farm track past tree sheltered fields, an ancient still functioning Massey Ferguson, sheds and farm outbuildings, to be greeted at the farm shop by an elegant and softly spoken lady in her forties. Amanda was from the area, but when I complimented her English, she smiled informing me her father had been English. Sitting at a large open air gazebo looking down the valley, a bucolic scene below of healthy cattle grazing on green grassy slopes, myself and Elvis were served the best bread I’d tasted in Africa, butter, cheese and chive flavoured quark from their Friesian cows, jam and juice from their fruit trees. It was simple, and pure quality. All for a couple of dollars. I had a nosy at the basic though comfortable chalets - this place would be such an attractive retreat.

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Further Opinions on Aid...
Also visiting the farm for some local produce were Alan and Anne from New Zealand, on a short break from their volunteer jobs near Arusha, a few hours away. Anne was a teacher by profession, Alan was attempting to rescue the last remaining farmers cooperative in the country from being dissolved through bad management and consequent lack of support. It was proving to be a difficult task. “There are actually no written accounts - the directors would not have been accountable in any way for the cooperative’s income.” In response to my questions about the value of well intentioned efforts from outside to ‘sort out’ local problems, and what would happen once his presence was gone, he agreed it was all about the local farmers supporting his suggested procedures. “I’m trying to get the farmers to take responsibility themselves,” he suggested. “A Danish aid agency have already tried to sort out the co-op, sent in consultants who spent a while here, and produced a report five years ago. I found it, unused, locked away in a drawer.”

I listened to their opinions on the effectiveness of international aid, Alan pointing out that 45% of Tanzania’s National Income was made up of aid money. Neighboring Kenya had apparently been in that situation but for a few reasons, not least international aid being withdrawn due to the blatant corruption of the government of Daniel Arap Moi, that figure is currently reduced to 3%. “Kenya as a result has a thriving economy. After South Africa and Nigeria, probably the most vibrant on the continent.” And I was to read in the ‘East African’ newspaper that Tanzania had just become the first country in East Africa to allow ‘Blue chip investment’ - the government guarantees it - in the country’s utilities, such as electricity. This means local financial institutions, insurance companies and banks, can now finance the country’s infrastructure, making it less dependent on the World Bank and foreign aid.

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Greeks in Tanzania
Back at the Lawns a grizzled looking, white haired, pony tailed ‘mzungu’ in check bush shirt, weathered legs sticking out of threadbare shorts into heavy boots, was unloading his beat up Land Rover - or rather issuing a continuous stream of instructions and comments to the staff in Swahili. This I took to be the hotel’s proprietor, ‘a football loving Cypriot who is quite a character’ according to the guide book.

Despite the appearance and image, I found Tony to be quite a reserved character. He opened up a bit as I asked about the hotel. “My father got it at a throwaway price. It was in 1969 when many of the British were running away. They were afraid they would lose everything with nationalisation. The hotel was well known for its lawns and we’ve tried to keep the gardens tidy.” They were immaculately groomed. An elderly gardener, squatting, was cutting the grass verge…

‘Outside I can hear a sound which is also achingly familiar to me: someone is trimming the grass outside with shears. They chatter and stutter in the never-ending colonial quest for the perfect lawn, which is, of course, a reproach to the disorderly lives and vegetation on the outside.’ Justin Cartwright - Masai Dreaming

We got chatting about his heritage. There is quite a Greek presence in this country, he informed me. “We were mostly involved in sisal plantations then. About fifty families used to live around Mombo,” the town on the plains below where I had taken the road up the mountains. Tony was enthusiastic about the prospects of that useful plant, that through a combination of failed nationalisation policies and a growing availability of cheap nylon ropes, had seen its production drop over the past decades. “The rope is better than nylon. It doesn’t slip. And for cosmetic surgery it is preferred now to silicone implants because its not synthetic, its bio-degradable,” he explained with the conviction of an evangelist. “Sisal suits the dry plains here, all it needs is a bit of rain now and again. And its virtually maintenance free.” He added that the price was now standing at $800 a ton, a very attractive price apparently.

Back to the Masai Plain
After descending the Usambaras, I was anticipating catching my first glimpse of the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, rising behind the town of Moshi, visible I was told for a few hours on the approach. It wasn’t to be seen and I suspected the whole thing was a hoax. Moshi, the main jumping off point for climbing Africa’s highest and the world’s largest free standing mountain, is also the centre of Tanzania’s coffee growing industry. All around the town vast plantations of the prime Arabica bean blanket the area. I read that most local farmers get about a tenth of the price the coffee commands once it gets to auction in London.

I found Moshi a pleasant town. At the Coffee Shop I stopped for a coffee, and bought another few packets of the Irente Farm granola - similar in taste to my mothers crumble (with lots of butter!). There was a noticeable NGO presence, evident by the number of white Land Cruisers, the number of white faces - volunteers - and the noticeboard in the Coffee Shop plastered with ads for apartments, second hand cars, and household items for ex-pats. The writer Paul Theroux – I’m not a fan - observed that the ‘agents of virtue’ as he dismissively describes aid workers, conveniently seem to base themselves, not in remote parts of the bush nearer to the poor, but in the more pleasant and ‘civilised’ towns where a certain lifestyle with European comforts can be maintained. But that’s very cynical.

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Confessions of an Overland Driver
Twenty five kms beyond the city of Arusha on the road to the Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park, I found the Meserani Snake Park, a favoured stopping point I discovered for the many overland trucks on the well trodden Kenya - Tanzania game parks route. Four engaging, challenging, (and eventually frustrating) years of my life were spent driving overland trucks in Asia and South America. So a nostalgic few hours were spent with the drivers present - the shaven headed Australian Dave (about my age it was refreshing to note!), the gregarious South African ‘Skunk (also shaven headed), and Koroma from Kenya (with his goatee and pony tale lending him an African swashbuckler’s air).

In my time the average length of driving career was two years before the novelty wore off or, more usually, burnout took its toll. I had hung up the steering wheel eight years ago. Koroma had been driving for
seventeen years which meant he’d actually started before I had, and amazingly was still enjoying the life! His secret was he had his Kiwi wife and their infant travelling with him as his team, and spent half of the year in New Zealand. Enjoyable guys - which couldn’t be said for all drivers in my experience.

An occupational hazard was that fragile egos got inflated, and sense of self importance exaggerated, by the attentions of passengers just flown in from a sheltered and pampered home environment. Now they were under the care of the ‘Expedition Leader’ - to give us our correct title – to be sheltered from the hostile and ‘uncivilised’ environment outside of truck life. In my experience, far from encouraging the passengers to be independent and find out and experience things themselves, EL’s tended to ‘look after’ their passengers, taking away their initiative, and thus despite the oft heard complaints about helpless pax, making the leader more depended upon. Which appeals to his (and her) fragile ego. And is one of the reasons for the usual phenomenon of passengers traveling through fascinating and intriguing cultures and not socialising outside of the group.

As most passengers would be out of their comfort and familiarity zones, the ‘EL’ would be granted a certain authority and credibility, ‘someone who
knows Africa/ India/ South America’. Anything the leader said would be interesting, amusing, informative, carry a certain authority, and of course be paid attention to. Arrogant and selfish behavior by the EL would be tolerated, indeed regarded by most as ‘colourful’. Naturally I was never unhealthily influenced by the adoring attentions of our esteemed and much respected clients. Swapping reminisces with the drivers and listening to the anecdotes brought me back to another life. But I didn’t miss it.

Cattle and Snakes
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Cattle are considered sacred by the Masai, and they live off the blood, milk and flesh of the animal. I wandered over to a nearby cattle mart, out here on the plains twenty five kms from the nearest town. With the stock pens, and groups of bellowing cattle marshalled by their owners with the odd whack from a stick, the scene could have been in Texas or Timahoe. Except for the Masai ‘... they and their spears and shields give off the scent of Africa: woodsmoke, hides, cattle and dust. ‘Justin Cartwright

The Snake Park, part of the campsite, was worth a visit. From the safe side of the glass, the small boy in me was getting a voyeuristic thrill. Slinky neon green mambas, ominous black mambas, lethal puff adders, spitting cobras, boomslangs. A thick, patterned, python lay coiled over a log. Stuck on the glass was a faded photocopied newspaper article (with pictures!) of an unfortunate guard on night duty who’d fallen asleep and had been swallowed by a boa constrictor.

I had been in a quandary about which game park to spend my money on. Entrance prices in Tanzania had become prohibitively expensive - the justification given that it was an attempt to restrict the increasing number of visitors. I was very keen to see the Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti, but a three day/ two night package was $400. Much as I was aware of missing a great opportunity, I had more or less decided to leave it and visit a less expensive park in Kenya.

Until Goodluck wandered over. Goodluck was a guide with a large tour company, and was interested in my bike journey. After answering questions about the trip, I explained my uncertainty to him - how do I get to see Big Game in a wildlife setting on a budget? He gave me exactly the advice I was looking for and, trawling through the guide book and asking around, had failed to find. “Ride to the small town of Mto wa Mbu a few hours from here on the way to the Serengeti. Go to the Twiga campsite where some of the 4x4’s stop. You should be able to find a driver to bring you into the Lake Manyara Park for the day.” I was grateful for the advice. And delighted to farewell him with, “Thank you Goodluck, and goodbye!”

It was a magnificent ride across the unfenced Masai plains, just like the images of the African bush from childhood documentaries on television. In some parts the erosion was shocking, the rain having washed away the denuded earth leaving large areas of ugly, bare gullies. Apparently one consequence of the establishment of National Parks in the Sixties and Seventies was more pressure on the surrounding land, the displaced Masai having to overgraze their cattle on less and less area. Occasionally a lone Masai warrior, tall and slender in the distinctive red shawl, carrying a spear, strode along next to the road miles from anywhere. With their colourful jewelry, and hair carefully braided and beaded, they were a striking sight. The women too, with their shaved heads and huge earrings.

Lake Manyara National Park
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Mto wa Mbu, or Mosquito Creek, was aptly named and I was grateful for the effective mosquito net in my MSR ‘Hubba’ tent. With the only water in this arid landscape, the irrigated area around the town was intensively cultivated, the deep green rice fields contrasting starkly with the surrounding washed out plains. A local speciality grown here is red banana. As Goodluck had predicted, I managed to sort out a ride in a 4x4, paying the driver Joshua $70 for the day which included the $30 Park entrance.

Out of the many Game Parks in Tanzania, Lake Manyara had the reputation for good elephant sightings, and it didn’t disappoint. I was sharing the vehicle with Mark and Shelly an Australian couple in their late twenties, who were traveling through Africa to the Mediterranean for the next summer season where they worked on yachts. Snapping away excitedly at the first few elephants regardless, we became a little blasť after a while, realising we could actually afford to be a little discriminating about the shots as there were so many opportunities.

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was amused at Mark and Shelly's responses to the bodily functions of the elephants, pointing excitedly at an elephant defecating, and laughing uproariously when we were close enough to hear an elephant fart! I told them I was finding their reactions nearly as enjoyable as watching the wildlife, teasing them about displaying the stereotypical Ozzie behavior the Kiwis used to slag them about in my time in New Zealand. Which prompted the reaction that Ozzies look at New Zealanders as the “cheeky younger brother”, suffering from the ‘little country’ syndrome. This conversation was interrupted by Shelly's squeal of delight, “Take a look at the size of his deek!”, pointing towards an old bull elephant.
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As well as the many elephants in the forest and more open scrubland, there were also buffalo – with a reputation of being the most unpredictably dangerous of the big game – a few solitary, elegant, slightly aloof giraffe, tiny dik-dik antelope the size of a small dog, and scores of impala. Much of the appeal of Lake Manyara National Park is its setting between the high ridge of the Rift Valley and Lake Manyara. On the lake shore hundreds of pelicans flapped and fussed about, a constant flow landing and taking off like some unregulated busy lakeshore airfield. Groups of hippos lolled about. In the glassy shallows impossibly dainty and elegant flamingos posed, sometimes supported on one leg.

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After about four hours of intense game viewing I was certainly satisfied with my first East African wildlife experience. Back at Twiga campsite – ‘giraffe’ in Swahili – I had time for a refreshingly cool dip in the pool before packing my tent and heading back to the city of Arusha, a couple of hours ride away.

Moving Statues
In the late afternoon light, the ride back across the Masai plains was even more atmospheric. Approaching Arusha, behind a car, what appeared in the distance to be a warning triangle in the centre of the road without warning got up and began tottering slowly towards the edge of the highway. The car ahead of me swerved to avoid it. It would have been dangerous for me to swerve and I hit the mangy, decrepid dog straight on. Reassuringly my balance was maintained by the momentum and weight of the bike. It seemed that dog was ready to die. I became aware of an unpleasant stench the remaining few miles, the rancid guts of the sickly animal plastered under the bike. That evening I paid a campsite guard to give the bike a wash, which failed to get rid of the offensive smell. It lingered for days.

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Masai Campsite and Music
The sheltered Masai Campsite is situated on the outskirts of the bustling town. “The only decent place with any nightlife”, I was later told by an expat living in Arusha, the campsite had a great restaurant where I enjoyed a very tasty enchilada dish, despite being tempted by the wood burning pizza oven. On a small stage at the end of the large bar area, a tall ‘mzungu’ in his thirties with untidy dark hair hanging across his face was quietly strumming away on his guitar, mumbling into the microphone, stopping mid song, and generally ignoring the few punters watching. This was the entertainment. I reckoned it would be an early night for me.

He left the stage after fifteen minutes muttering something about that being a soundcheck, and returned after a while to perform. With every song my interest grew. His voice was strong and controlled and his guitar accompaniment very accomplished, a different person. Paul was from Melbourne, working as a volunteer teacher in Arusha the past six months, and did a weekly spot here at the Masai Campsite. The songs were mostly covers, and it was his choice of material which enthralled me – among them songs by Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Ireland’s Damien Rice, and that Australian national treasure Paul Kelly. He finished up with the best version I’ve witnessed of the much covered Leonard Cohen classic ‘Hallelujah’ - a real test of a performers voice – up there with Jeff Buckley’s cover.

The Pleasures, and Pains, of Arusha
Arusha, one of the busiest towns in Tanzania after Dar es Salaam, sits beneath the mountains of Meru and Kilimanjaro. The headquarters of the revived East Africa Community, it is also associated with the Arusha Declaration where Julius Nyerere formalised his country’s socialist policy of self reliance in 1967; the still ongoing Rwandan War Crimes Tribunal; and more popularly is regarded as the safari capital of East Africa, and Tanzania’s, huge wildlife tourism market.

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Perhaps I was ill humoured at the time, but my first impressions were not positive. The tourist dollar, and the easy money to be ‘earned’ from naÔve tourists throwing it around, seemed to have affected the town. I was a constant target for touts incessantly selling everything from tours to accommodation and money changing. This in itself is manageable – you just politely decline or ignore the approaches. What made it particularly irritating was the faux familiar “Hi, howyadoing today?” or more likely the ceaseless refrain of “Jambo. Karibu,” to which they’ve obviously found the recently arrived visitor will happily respond with “Asante” (I remember myself the initial excitement, eventually extinguished by persistent Zanzibar touts using it against tourists, of being able to exchange greetings in Swahili). This is then followed by ‘friendly’ enquiries about where you’re from, or how long have you been in Tanzania. It was very tiresome batting away the attention without being uncivil. As I need to remind myself all over the continent, its just people trying to make a buck.

This poisonous effect of the tourist dollar did also seem to manifest in a rudeness. A smoothly dressed Indian internet proprietor, seated smugly behind his desk, didn’t return my five dollar deposit after I unsuccessfully tried for ten minutes to access my email account. A self appointed ‘parking guard’ got into a strop when on returning to my bike I gave him only a dollar. Pulled up at a junction, a newspaper vendor, when it was apparent I wasn’t a customer, just simply ignored my enquiry for directions to the Nairobi road.

Possibly my tetchy mood brought about these negative experiences. Entering the city a few days previously, a truck pulled out across me to enter the opposite stream of traffic. Managing to narrowly avoid colliding with it, I roared abuse at the driver, who just looked back at me… and smiled dismissively!
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Leaving Arusha for the border with Kenya, a Landcruiser did a similar thing and in my anger I rode up and kicked it. What I was trying to achieve I don’t know, besides assuaging my anger slightly. Not getting any reaction I rode up next to the driver, looking across until he couldn’t ignore me. He then turned and sheepishly mouthed “sorry”. What else was I wanting? The anger disappeared. I argued with myself about the two incidents – the drivers weren’t bothered, I was the one getting wound up. What could be learned from it?

Leaving Tanzania
Eventually, I was out of there, excited with the prospect of crossing to a new country – Kenya. Past the flanks of Mt Meru, the potholed tar road crossed an increasingly dry and arid landscape, a strong wind now blowing up a dust storm. Stuck behind a slow truck, I couldn’t overtake as visibilty was seriously affected and I had to slow right down. Masai bomas – nomadic settlements with a number of huts enclosed in a ring of thorny acacia ‘fence’ to keep the cattle in at night, and the predators out – could be seen occasionally off to the side. It was difficult to understand how these people could survive in these seemingly barren conditions.

After clearing the Tanzania Immigration and Customs, a smartly dressed market researcher speaking fluent English asked if I could answer an exit questionnaire on my experience in the country. My answers to questions on average spending on Game Parks, accommodation and transport appeared to baffle him, and I explained I was probably a bit unrepresentative of visitors to his country, so the questionnaire probably wasn’t very applicable to me. But he was persistent. So in response to a question on ‘Low points’ I couldn’t help answering “Arusha”. When asked why, I responded with “Cheating, stealing (being given wrong change), unfriendly and rude.” The poor fellow was a bit taken aback.

Then I thought back to my time here: entering the country from Mozambique on the inaccessible south coast with its small sandy villages – very traditional, and poor -hidden in the coconut forests; Kilwa and the 13
th century ruins from a once prosperous and influential Swahili island trading economy; the exotic, atmospheric and intriguing Stonetown on Zanzibar and the white sand, palm fringed beaches with unforgettable aquamarine seas; the cool mountain air of the Usambaras; and of course the Masai plains and Lake Manyara National Park. I added to the researcher that I had had a great experience in Tanzania, had loved it, and would be back!

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