As we are traveling on a budget and want to see as much of the ‘real’ Tanzani as we can, we have been taking public buses and walking wherever we can. It has meant that we have got to see a lot of the countryside, a lot of ‘bus stands’ and are meeting lots of people along the way.
In Karatu in particular, we seemed to be the only non-Tanzanians who weren’t being ferried about in safari vehicles (except for the day that we were in a safari vehicle!). We were certainly the only white people we saw on foot for four days and if we were spotted by one member of a family, they would call to the rest of their family who would also rush out of their homes to wave and greet us.
I’ve loved watching the hawkers try to sell their wares at every bus stand we stop at, and any time the buses slow down. They hold their goods up high and sell them through the bus windows. They mostly sell food (karanga! soda! and biskuti!), but also socks, flip flops, watches, woolly hats and toothpaste, of course. Weirdly one guy got on the bus with a bag full of toothpaste and wash gloves and managed to flog the lot to our fellow passengers!
Wherever possible, I’ve taken photos of the people and views along the road from the bus window. I’m happy without a book or otherwise to distract me, even on 12 hour journeys. Continuously fascinated by the scenery and the lives of the people.
The next day we walked along country roads to a coffee plantation and were waved at by lots of children along the way and often also accompanied for some of the way. They were happy to have their photos taken and were delighted, if a little bemused sometimes, to be shown their photo on the camera screen.
Although we walked all the way to the coffee plantation which was beautiful, it was too expensive for us to stay for just a coffee (they were looking to charge the five of us TSh 100,000), so we enjoyed a free ‘loo with a view’ stop before heading to a local place for chipsi mayai (a kind of chips omelette) plus drinks for 12,000 instead. Happy days.
We then stayed a night with a Tanzanian family who we got in contact with via another very old friend of mine who spent her Gap Year in Tanzania . The family were very welcoming and the boys got on really well. It was a true Tanzanian experience with amazing food generously prepared and cooked for us by the woman, served by her and the eldest son and we ate with the father while she and the children ate in the kitchen.
For showers we were brought buckets of boiling water to mix with buckets of cold water, and the typical squat loos, which we had already experienced, were without loo roll which stumped us a bit!
We stayed a couple of nights in Moshi, which lies in the foothills of Kilmanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. She is known as the shy mountain and was mostly behind the clouds, she then suddenly appeared with the sun on her.
Another crazy bus journey, then on to Lushoto and Dar for the last few days in Africa.