Excruciating Drive Through Dar es Salaam

Trip Start Nov 03, 2011
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Trip End Dec 10, 2011


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Where I stayed
KiPaPao Butterfly Campground & Beach Hotel

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Friday, November 25, 2011


Road to Dar es Salaam.  We started out at 4:30 am after putting away the tents.  Juliet did most of it this am.  Around 8 am we stopped for breakfast and Eunice outdid herself again:  omelets and cubed mango.  It started raining and we beat a hasty retreat back to the truck.

The landscape was great once we passed Moshi - the stopping off point for Kilimanjaro climbs.  We turned south next to a mountain range whose name I don't recall.  Then the palm trees started, thatched roofs and red soil and orange groves.  We had some fantastic green tangerines that Chris bought on the roadside.  There were colorful plastic pails next to the houses.  So you would see lots of reddish-brown (ground & houses), yellow-green of the vegetation and then a splash of bright blue, pink or orange from the plastic pails.  Sometimes there would be an assortment of multi-colored pails and pans.  In the yards and along the roads, children were playing, women walking with all kinds of things on their heads (sticks, bundles, pots, fruit), men working on bicycles (lots of roadside bike repair stands), men riding or wheeling their bikes loaded with bunches of bananas, sacks of produce, bundles of sticks or building supplies - bikes are used like wheelbarrows - and the ubiquitous sacks of charcoal.   I think the smell that most reminds me of Africa is the smell of charcoal fires burning especially at dusk.  Not that it necessarily smells different at dusk....maybe.

We ate our sandwiches in the truck and had a few pee stops.  We breezed through the first weigh station but were hassled at one of the next stops because Eunice did not have a work permit for Tanzania.  We have sorted out our optional activities on Zanzibar where we arrive tomorrow around noon.  Now the crew is fixing a flat tire - discovered at this weigh stop.  Looks as if I have lost another day somehow.  Eunice is now verbally sparring with the weigh station officer.

Somehow they resolved the problem with Eunice's work permit by promising to get it in Dar es Salaam and we were off again.

The scenery was lush with vegetation - bright orange flowers in some trees; wild mango trees dripping with green mangoes and kapok trees I think.  People were selling cashews on the street but I didn't see the cashew trees.

As we approached Dar es Salaam - over the next 3-4 hours - there were lots of street vendors, moto taxi stands (motorbike taxis), bike repair stands.  Now I began to see signs for Pepsi - not just Coke.  There were fires for BBQ and cooking as the sun went down.  The road became more rutted and we jounced along.  Poor Steven - he was exhausted driving from 4:30 am to about 7:30 pm with hardly any stops.

We finally turned off the highway after going south through Dar es Salaam out to the suburbs on the other side.  We all thought we were close but we followed this new road for another 45 minutes at least I think.  Finally with tempers at the breaking point, we pulled into our campsite.  We all said we had wanted upgrades for this last night, especially since we were getting in so late and in the dark.  But there was a problem with the upgrades and only two 3-person rooms were available.  Only one of these rooms was taken and the rest of us decided to pitch our tents except Kellie and Matt got a bungalow with balcony and hammock somewhere outside the compound and Kellie luxuriated in her hammock.  We were near the ocean - I could hear it, even though I couldn't see it since it was dark.  Since it was so late, I didn't bother trying to get out my computer to see if there really was wi-fi at the bar.   The photos of the beach must be from the early morning.
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