Usambara - Day 3 - The long ridge and dodgy kebabs

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
Trip End Jun 12, 2006

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Thursday, March 9, 2006

Fresh bread and milky coffee to get me of to a raring start for the day. A bit of mist lingering but that soon burnt off. Farmland and villages to start the day before entering the cool of the pine forest. A locally planted venture used for local timber.

On seeing a man with a stick and machete I asked Juma what the stick was for. Walking came the reply. Funny as most walking sticks I see don't have two sharpened points at either end, but who was I to argue with the guide!

We followed this guy to a group of men and dogs where it turns out they were going wild pig hunting.

After the forest we dropped down to the village where Juma was born where we picked up quite an entourage - perhaps 50 kids! Juma knew everyone.

Climbing up from the village we could see all this cloud rising up from the Massai Steppes 3000ft below. The whole valley looked like it was blanketed with cloud.

Lunch turned out to be bread that Juma had half inched from the convent - I wasn't complaining the bread was tasty, but given our meager lunch menu I wasn't sure if he was given a small budget or if he was pocketing anything he didn't spend.

We eventually dropped down into Mtae and the cloud cover. By the time we checked into out hotel the mist had cleared somewhat and we grabbed a couple of Safari beers and headed to a viewpoint for a post celebration hike.

All in all I'd really enjoyed the Usambaras. Definitely not the spectacular scenery of the other hikes completed but a pleasant hike. The highlight though was the cultural side of things. Getting to see the Usambara people in their colourful clothing.

Mtae itself is situated right on the northern point of the Usambara Mountains and a road traverses the ridge from south to north where I believe it came to an end. The ridge itself was pretty thin so must of the town consisted of one house to the right and one house to the left of this road with steep drop-offs leading down from the houses. To the west the Massai Steppes were red and parched and stretched out towards the Pare Mountains. To the east the plains were green and stretched towards the Indian Ocean and Mombassa in Kenya. All perfect for sunset and sunrise viewing.

Had a beer and finally found a dodgy kebab, that turned out to be very tasty. Not as large as the ones in Uganda. But at 10c a pop it was definitely a reasonable price!

Had a chat with Juma and he is not the alcoholic I thought he was. He is 22 and had his first beer ever a year ago. The reason he was stumbling on the first night was I bought him a couple of beers so I had someone to drink with, so maybe itīs me who is the drunk! He mentioned because heīd never really drunk before if he had 3 beers his friends would be carrying him home!

After sunset we went for what Juma called 'Draughts dinner'. So called because like the board game there were many pieces/dishes to choose from - again very tasty, I think Juma preferred this African food to the western stuff we got at the convent.
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jonclark2000 on

OK this phone number is now history. New one from Botswana soon :-)

jonclark2000 on

False alarm - arrived in Zimbabwe and the phone still works as pretty close to Zambia border so should work for next 2 or 3 nights.

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