We have had a rough ride, that is for sure. Leaving kids, family, goods, lifestyle and country is not for sissies! And then to wait for answers about the exact location we will end up, not knowing a soul, working carefully with money etc, make for loads of “free” time on our hands – and that in itself became the problem – it started to feel like we were imprisoned in the four walls of our large property in Kigamboni.
But, with the car came a bit more freedom, and with another pay cheque a bit more money, and we are looking forward to our two younger boys arriving for a holiday next week. And with all this in mind, we have started to explore more, and today’s blog is to give a glimpse into what we have found and seen over the last week.
On Friday night we decided to go buy some groceries and also eat at Slipway – an area on the beach, near the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club, with a number of restaurants overlooking a beautiful bay. As we were seated, we noticed a big table with about 20 young Mzungus and more arriving all the time, close to us. It turned out that most of them are in fact South Africans working in Dar, and we had a lovely chat to some of them, and good advice and pointers to attractions we need to see. The evening was topped off with a spectacular fireworks display close by, and we left with happy souls.
Saturday morning came along with lovely weather, and we decided to pack our now very healthy and boisterous dogs in the bakkie and seek up our local private swimming spot. The two men who normally man the shady huts and look after our personal belongings were very pleased with my gift of some clothes for their women, and we took to the ocean on our tubes. I noticed two local youngsters swimming a short distance away, and is by now the norm, they could not resist coming closer for a peek at the dogs. One was about 17, I guess, and his brother about 13. Once Whiskey, our Scottish terrier saw them, I am afraid his instinct to chase got the better of him and try as we might with yelling from the ocean where we were swimming, we were not able to stop his charge. Of course he is harmless and probably just loves the chase as he has had tremendous response with people scattering in all directions every time, so by now it is a big game! Well, one look at this Scottie charging up to them, and the elder of the two boys took off at a hellavu speed, heading straight for the two guards, jumping onto the one’s lap in one foul swoop, clutching him around the neck and yelling at the top of his voice. Well, his younger brother stood there, doubled over with laughter, so did we in the sea where were swimming, and so did the two guards!! He was mightily embarrassed and they sauntered off as soon as Whiskey let go of the chase. Lovely attitudes though, still laughing all the way as they walked off.
Sakkie has not been able to shake his ear infection, and by Saturday afternoon we had to take him to the hospital. We picked the hospital closest to Slipway in the Peninsula suburb of Dar, and what a pleasant surprise – great, neat and well-equipped, attentive staff and thorough doctor and the cherry on top, a modest bill! I had to go to the loo and found this stuck on the wall, making me laugh out loud:
After the hospital visit, we decided we need some good old South African Food, and what better way than to celebrate than at the local Spur Steak Ranch!! We ate until we could no more, from a very fresh salad bar, to crumbed mushrooms with delectable cheese sauce, prime fillet with fresh and crispy onion rings and chips, and ice-cream with chocolate sauce and good strong coffee to end it off! Yum Yum Yum!!
Close to us, in fact we can walk to it along the beach, is a well-run, beautiful resort called Kijiji Beach. The staff members are all incredibly friendly, the prawns to die for and the pool always crystal clear. So, when boredom and misery sets in too heavily, we take ourselves off to this peaceful haven to restore balance and breathe easier again. It is run by a European who lost his heart here a few years ago, and well worth a visit.
On Sunday we took a drive down the coast towards Kimbiji and marvelled at the beauty of Tanzania! We passed some more resorts, the first one being South Beach Resort. This one is built on a larger scale, with lots of playground for the kids, many rooms overlooking the ocean, a good size pool and great food. We ate a local chicken dish, sitting with our feet in the sand, and licked our fingers for more! After lunch we hired two tractor wheel tubes and went for a leisurely bob on the small waves in the ocean.
We decided to explore more, and headed further down the beach road, which eventually ended in a cul-de-sac right on the most spectacular beach:
We decided not to swim here, but to go in search of the beach referred to by the young South Africans on Friday night, so turned back to The Protea Amani Resort direction. We found ourselves ploughing through fields and with me at the wheel, my 4 x 4 driving skills were seriously tested. Unfortunately we either missed a crucial point to exit our vehicles or the road has just become so overgrown that it is not visible any more.
Nevertheless, we saw another turn-off saying Skippers’s Haven, and found a public beach close by. Here we lazed about for a few hours, with some locals watching us yet again, very curious about the dogs, who by now was in full crab-hunting mode – they have discovered the taste, and keep us entertained with their tails wagging at the sight of a crab, and then dashing off after it. They either look very perplexed at the sudden disappearance of the crabs when they go and hide in their holes, or very smug when they have caught one and is crunching it with gusto! At some point the small band of youngsters got up, and is so often seen on the beaches, they began practising some back-flips and other gymnastic moves – they are often employed at the local resorts to entertain guests with their skills. The teacher, wanting to show the kids a particular move, chose a small sandbank from which to launch himself too close for Whiskey’s comfort again, and the inevitable chase started again. The teacher took one look at this black monster charging up to him and to his pupils’ delight and screeches he dived into the ocean at an attempt to get away from the dog! Luckily Whiskey admitted defeat at this point and did not pursue the rest of the small crowd.
We both love birds of prey, so to our delight two big eagles circled overhead most of the afternoon, so it was a mixture of sea, sand and the wild to soothe our souls.
After a lovely afternoon on the beach, we headed back, but decided to actually turn into the Skipper’s Haven. We could not have asked for a better ending to a lovely weekend! It turns out it is owned by a couple who lost their farm in the old Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and their experience has not put them off their love for Africa, as they came back and bought their own piece of paradise here on the Tanzanian coast. Over the last 3 years they have built a stunning resort, newly opened now, just above a private little beach, and they offer fishing trips and all sorts of water activities from their well appointed resort. Great care was taken to decorate the cottages set amongst lush gardens, and sea-sand filled footpaths lead you to the boma / bar area, where you will be able to relax and enjoy your meals whilst gazing over the blue yonder. A gem of a find!!! And one which we will sure be visiting again and again. Ewan, Karen and Angus are most hospitable hosts, and made us feel incredibly welcome. Their ph number is +255686714053. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Dar, a small secluded beach and some watersports to top it, this is the place to book.
So, with so much beauty and fresh air, friendly people and love of my man, I cannot but start to feel that life is taking on a fresh feel again. VIVA AFRICA, VIVA LIFE!