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Two trip reports down.  Now this one and one for India and I will be caught up!

      This was a trip in December 2016 to celebrate one of those landmark birthdays.  We won't go into which one.  I've long wanted to go to the Indian Ocean but haven't really had the desire to go to Zanzibar.  Hiking in the Usambara Mountains has also been a desire so we looked at lots of options in the areas north of Lushoto.  Then I happened upon Amani Reserve and we thought this might be something we could add to a trip to the coast.

     Flying into Dar Es Salaam would have been closest, but we wanted to have the guide we always use, George Mbwambo, go with us.  He was willing to pick us up in Dar, but we ultimately decided to fly into Kilimanjaro and drive down with him.  Once again, even though I am well aware how long it can take to get someplace in Tanzania, I underestimated this and I think next time I would take him up on the offer.

     The flight there was uneventful despite needing 4 different planes the get there from where will leave, things went seamlessly.  We didn't need VISA's this time and had only carry-on so it was a quick exit from the airport and our driver from KIA lodge was waiting for us.  We like KIA lodge and find it reasonable priced for a hotel this close to the airport.  There were a couple of glitches this time.  Although the driver was there, he was alone and had another couple to pick up who had not exited after 45 minutes.  He kept apologizing and finally asked another driver he knew to watch for the couple and took us to the hotel (just 5 minutes away).  Check in efficient and welcoming.  Hot shower and comfortable bed.   

 

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When we went to check out the next morning they said 'you need to pay'.  We told them our guide had already paid at their office in Arusha.  George was waiting for us and we asked him if he brought the receipt.  He had a digital copy of it that he had sent to us.  The receptionist sill argued saying it was "expired".  But, as usual, it was handled by George who gave her his number and the name of the woman he had paid and that seemed to take care of it.  Next time I will have a receipt handy.

 

George handed us two travel mugs of coffee.   We left around 6:20 am.  The first 2.5 hours to Same passed quickly while we chatted with George.  We stopped briefly to buy water and to change money.  Then another 3 hours to Segera (where we would turn off to Amani later in our trip).  Traffic is picking up now and police are out so things are slowing significantly.  It takes another couple of hours to Msata where we stop to eat at a small road side bar/grill.  

 

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B is Msata, where we turn east, then ultimately find some little dirt road north.  The little green bit on the coast is Saadani.

 

This is further south than George thinks we should be as there is a turn off earlier to Saadani.  But I have an email from Saadani River Lodge with the directions and we decide we better stick too it.  It's an interesting drive as we start heading toward Bagamoyo, looking for our turn off.  It is pineapple season and large truck loads of them are everywhere as are road side sales.  We turn off the main road onto a dirt road that is very remote through a tiny village and finally make it to Saadani River Lodge.  

 

We arrive and are welcomed warmly.  Somehow I had, inaccurately, gotten the impression that the River Lodge was in the park.  It is actually outside the park and their website does say "near the park" with the border being the Wami River.  No matter but it does mean that we will not be self-driving in the park as it is a long way around.  The lodge boats you over to the park where their car is waiting.  Slightly disappointed but it worked out well in the end.  This does explain why we are further south.

 

We had booked George his own room here.  We figured after 8 previous safaris that this would be a nice gift and a pleasant change from staff quarters (which I'm not sure they really have).  They gave us an East African resident rate for him.  

 

The lodge is stunning!.  I had booked a more luxury type accommodation for much of this trip with my excuse being the birthday celebration.  It sits along the Wami River amongst the mangrove.  Below is a picture of the winding Wami River, taken from their web site.  

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Each room has a deck with a beautiful view from the room along with an outdoor shower that is shielded from view by those on the river.  There is also a large and luxurious tub inside.  There are air-conditioned rooms for a bit more money which we opted for.  George told us he didn't need it but they gave him an upgrade to one since they were not full.  

 

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The lodge used to be managed by Sanctuary.  I got an email abut 2 months prior that said it was no longer a sanctuary retreat property.  The actual owners, however, are still the same and everyone seems happy that this had changed (although the website still seems as if they are involved, who knows).  Service was outstanding and and many repairs and upgrades seemed to be happening.  Dinner was excellent and we relaxed in the lounge and talked with George.  

 

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The next morning we had coffee and biscuits at 6:30 and then went on a guided bird walk with Rafael.  This was to take about 1.5 to 2 hours but Rafael knew that George was a serious birder and this walk turned into a very enjoyable 3 hours for all involved.  In addition to birds there were Colobus monkeys and blue monkeys.  The only photographic evidence I have of this walk is a blurry image of a rapidly moving colobus monkey.

 

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Back to the lodge for an awesome breakfast and a bit of relaxation and pool time.  

 

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Then lunch and more stressful relaxing, then out for a trip on the Wami River with Rafael and Simba.  This was a highlight of this visit as the bird life is prolific and there are crocodiles and hippos.  My photos leave a lot to be desired as I have difficulty compensating for the moving boat.  

 

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Simba is driving the boat and Rafael is with us.  This is a private affair.  Just my boyfriend, George, and myself.  After some time we make our way to the opposite side of the river and Rafael gets and and runs up the bank to check for animals who might not want us joining then for a drink.  All good and we have a sundowner on the park side of the river and then back to the lodge for dinner.  

 

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Simba in back.  Rafael in front.

 

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When we return he manager is there to greet us with towels and amarula.  I wish I had written down her name as she was wonderful.  Showers and a lovely dinner.  I really can't say enough about the quality of service and food at this lodge.  There is one down side.  Mosquitoes.  They are prolific.  The lodge makes no bones about this.  You are in a mangrove forest but they do spay your room in the evening while you are out and tell you to make sure to spray under the bed.  Since the rooms are air conditioned you can keep them closed and the mosquito nets were very good.  There are cans of repellent in the common areas.  Even so, I wasn't bitten  much and usually I am a mosquito magnet.  I wouldn't come here without malaria prophylaxis.  

 

The next day we are up early for coffee and then we are boated across the river for an all day safari in Saadani.  Rafael again is our guide.  There is a comfortable open vehicle in very good condition.  Routine visitors to Tanzania will know that this park is not known for prolific wildlife.  A bit sparse still, but they claim it is improving.  I think if we had been self-driving (that is George driving), we might have been a bit more successful.  There was an area with water where would we probably have positioned ourselves for a few hours but with Rafael at the helm we tended to move on to other areas.  But it  was nice to have Rafael's perspective on the park.  There were a couple of tourist ' buses' from Dar that we came across but other than that, no other people.  Even at that there were some nice animal sightings including a large herd of buffalo.

 

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I was told or had read how many zebra were originally transplanted to Saadani.  It was a small number, something like 10 or 12 and there are only 4 or 5 left.  All of them female.  We got a brief glance of 4 of them.  So, for the near future, that's not going to increase much unless further efforts are made.  

 

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There are lions here but we did not see any.  Rafael told us he sees them far less frequently now.  Our hosts at the lodge on the coast told us the same thing.  Rafael had a theory that the increasing number of very aggressive baboons prey on young cubs.  I asked George later if this was possible and he said yes, very.  

 

We drove past an area where they used to mine for salt, and then on toward the small village within the park because Rafael wanted to pick up something there and we said no problem.  On our way we came across a single elephant which was a surprise and it came across right in front of the car.  Rafael kept the car running, ready for a rapid retreat.

 

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There were several wart hogs around the village that were less camera shy than my experience with those in the Serengeti.  Rafael told us they hang around the village because they are more protected from lions and no one kills them for food as the people here are Muslim.  Some of the wart hogs even sleep in abandoned houses at night.

 

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We enjoyed our day in the park, but I certainly wouldn't make a special trip just to see Saadani.  If I were in Dar for some reason or at a lodge north of the park along the coast and wanted a weekend diversion, I would consider it and I would definitely repeat the Wami River trip.  

 

The next morning we leave for Amani Nature Reserve.  

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Great start - Saadini is on the list of places we want to get to (especially the beach) and I look forward to reading more as there are few trip reports on this park - thank you for posting!  The giraffes above have the most unique patterns that I've seen.

 

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I forgot to put the itinerary at the beginning so I will add it here.  This trip was during the first couple of weeks of December, 2016.  

1 night KIA lodge near Kilimanjaro airport

3 nights Saadani River Lodge, near Saadani National Park

2 nights Amani Conservation Centre rest house in Amani Nature Reserve

3 nights Kijongo Beach resort south of Pangani

 

We head out from Saadani River Lodge back to the main road to Bagamoyo.  We are giving a lift to the manager who will catch a bus along this main road.  Then we head north along the same road we came down until we get to Segera and we turn northeast to go to Muheza.  One of the guide books describes this as a scruffy little town.  Which it sort of is with a line of wooden stalls for shops.  We stop for lunch at at a grill that would best be described as the only thing we could immediately find.  Some very dry chicken and chips, then  we stop for some diesel and to buy a few mangoes as I had read that the food at the rest house is  a bit limited and you may want to bring some fruit of your own.  Turns out you can't just buy a few mangoes, they come by the bucket.  Who knew.  So now we have a bucket of mangoes, some cashews and some dates that we have purchased.  

 

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It is very very hot and humid here and there is no breeze.  We turn onto the dirt track north to Amani.  This is slow going as they are doing road work and every kilometer or so (maybe not quite that often but it felt that way) there is a large pile of red dirt taking up half of the road that you need to make your way around.  We gradually increase in altitude, driving through some interesting remote villages with children who don't see wazungu very often and either run to smile and wave or run the opposite direction to go tell someone.  It is dropping in temperature a lot now and is much more pleasant.  It takes us almost 2 hours to get to the entrance gate at Sigi.  Had we not had the road construction I think that would have been at least 30 minutes less if not more.  But honestly it was a very pleasant ride so we didn't mind.  I can't really speak for the driver though.  

 

The entrance gate where you pay is at Sigi then it is another fairly steep 7 km to Amani.  There is some beautiful scenery along this 7 km and the tree cover combined with the increasing altitude (about 900 meters at Amani) makes it very pleasant.  

 

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We are staying at the Amani Conservation Centre rest house in Amani.  The housing is a bit confusing and none of the phone numbers listed in the three guide books I have got George anything when he was trying to set this up.  Ultimately I found some number on line that he tried and got a response, and then he was given a number to call for the man who runs the guesthouse.  There is also a rest house at Sigi, and there is one very nice walking trail that goes from Sigi to Amani.  Lonely Planet guide book calls these marginally more comfortable than those at Amani Conservation Centre and the Rough Guide calls them identical. We had decided to stay in the accommodation at Amani.  It's difficult to know if one is better than the other.   When we get to Amani we find a guy in a new looking building that houses the dining area who seems to run things.  George pays him.  I can't remember now how much but it wasn't more than about $30 per room per night.  There is a haphazard conglomeration of buildings up the road that has the accommodation.  Some ensuite.  Some not. Both of our rooms have bathrooms.  More on that in a bit.  

 

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The back of this building is where are rooms are.

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This is the shower for the rooms that do not have one

 

Somewhere in these buildings is the Amani Malaria Research Centre Rest House that was part of a medical research complex established by the Germans is the late 1800's that now has some guest rooms.   I did not actually go inside and can't comment.  I don't think there are bathrooms with this.  I don't know when the buildings of the Amani Conservation Centre rest house were built but they have been there a while and the rain and humidity of Amani has taken a  bit of a toll.    Our room is simple and clean and the bed is comfortable.  The bathroom has seen better days.  Contact paper had been placed over a large portion of the old wall to kind of hold it together and I think to cover a bit of mold.  There is a slight mildew smell, but you can tell that it has been cleaned as best as possible and the good news is it is functional with hot water.  It is one of those typical bathrooms you find in many budget guesthouses in Tanzania where the shower is just a portion of the bathroom, not curtained off at all and water runs everywhere .  George's room was just across the hall and was pretty similar.  

 

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Lots of researchers stay in these rooms and the hallway outside of the rooms is stacked with all kinds of stuff including a small refrigerator, toilet paper rolls, many things being recharged, bottles of water etc. The rooms are not serviced during your stay, thus the help yourself toilet paper and water.   It was quiet, cool,  and we slept well.

 

The food at the dining hall was basic but very good.  More chicken and fries or rice.  Eggs for breakfast if you so choose.  I don't remember entirely what we had here but we were pleasantly surprised.  Cold beer so what more do you want and it was a reasonable price.  The dining area is in a new building that is nice and clean and has an outdoor bar section with a TV where the locals tend to congregate in the evening. The man running the pace is very accommodating and helpful. We told him we would like a guide the next day for some birding and he said he would arrange this.  

 

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The road from our building down to the dining hall on the left

 

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Dining area

 

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Bar

 

We met our guide, Mr. Kajiru, the next morning at 7:30.  He was excellent with a bit of a qualifier.  He has been a resident of Amani for all his life; an older gentleman and a well-known guide.  He knew a lot of the history of Amani and was excellent at identifying plants and discussing some medicinal uses which I really enjoyed.  For me, his bird skills were more than adequate.  But when a birding guide shows up without binoculars I think George was a little skeptical about what we were getting.  His bird knowledge turned out to be very good but there were a couple of times when George, in his characteristic polite and friendly manner questioned the subspecies.  Mr. Kajiru would then borrow a pair of binoculars and he and George would check a book and come to an agreement.  

 

The bird walk started out pretty slow and relaxed as birding does.  There was another young man with us who is training to be a guide and he came along and was quite a good spotter.  George was in heaven and at one point he said "we need to come back here and stay a week". Well, okay.  Guess we will add that to our list!  

 

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Serious birders at work.  George in front.  Guide trainee in the middle.  Mr. Kajiru in back.

 

Amani is in the eastern Usambara Mountains which, up to the end of the 19th century, were heavily forested and few people lived there. Then with colonialism, people were moved out from lower areas to make room for sisal plantations and ranches which caused a migration to the higher areas and clearing of the forest for farms started.  Then there was clearing of land by both the Germans and British for tea plantations and the logging industry.  It wasn't until the 1980's that conservation efforts started to take hold.  Amani Nature Reserve was created in 1997.  There are over 200 tree species in the east Usambara and a couple of thousand plant species, some of which are found no where else.  And it's a birders paradise.  We did take a camera with us, but not one of us has much skill at bird photography, and that in addition to the height of the tree cover caused us to just leave the camera in the backpack.    

 

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Occasionally there were kids along the road, walking home from school and collecting cashews that had fallen  but they would usually run away.  George convinced a couple of them to talk to him.

 

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After an hour or so the speed picked up and Mr. Kajiru took us on quite the hike.  Through the tea plantation.  Up to some water falls,  Over hill.  Over dale.  

 

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We asked him if it was okay if we took his picture and he said yes.  Then we shared some of our snacks with our new friend.

 

 About 4 hours into this hike I am thinking dang!  Around 1 pm we get back and arrange to meet him again at 4 pm.  We go to the dining hall and George sits down for lunch and says 'damn'.  We start to laugh and talk about how with still about a mile left to go, when we came around a curve in the road we all thought we were almost back, but not.  

 

Unfortunately the afternoon hike was not to be.  It started pouring with rain.  George did go down to check and make sure the guide hadn't shown up.  Mr. Kajiru did turn up for the night hike that I had asked for to see chameleons and frogs.  George thought I was nuts but we convinced him to come.  And Mr Kajiru did us right.  He took us up an old, untraveled road behind the rest house.  It was pitch black.  No moonlight shining through the dense trees. We each had a small flashlight.  The pace was fairly quick and it was a bit tough to look for stuff and not trip over things in the road.  For me anyway.  Mr. Kajiru, on the other hand, was in his element, pointing out things left and right.  Five minutes out and he shines his light up in a tree and says there is a snake coiled up there with a mosquito on it.   Then chameleons, and insects, frogs, slugs, owls, plants.  It was fantastic.  We had not brought a camera.    So these very poor pictures are from a phone with a little flashlight spotting. But you get the idea.  George and Mr. Kilopascal (boyfriend) both loved this and started trying hard to spot things but Mr. Kajiru had them beat hands down.

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We spent a little time with him the next morning before we left.  You pay the guy at the dining hall for a guide, but then we tipped him as did George. We also left him with quite a few mangoes.  There is so much to see here, including a commercial butterfly operation, that I would definitely go back and spend a bit of time.  

 

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Packing up the car

 

We leave around 9:30 to head to the coast.  Same beautiful scenery on the way out.  They are 'paving' the 7 km between Amani and Sigi with rock, sort of like cobblestone.  There were several places where they had built a fire beneath a large rock.  They heat the rock, then pour cold water on it to crack it off, then smash it up further.  

 

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@PT123 Thanks for you comments, and I agree, the giraffe at Saadani did seem unusual to me as well.

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Enjoying this report.  Interesting and funny.

Nothing better than getting off the beaten track.

Job security, making little rocks out of big ones.

Edited by mapumbo
Wanted to add another sentence
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I appreciate the report covering the less traveled areas in Tanzania. Not only that you have done a great job describing the destinations but also provided very helpful information about the journey getting there.

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Wow, you really complicated the route didn't you? :D  Good adventure though and an interesting itinerary. I always like it when someone like you goes to these places I've wondered about on the map a dozen times but never actually been - either it stops the itch or it makes me convinced I have to go. Oddly, Saadani is one of those places where neither ever quite happens. I guess one day I hope to go there on the way to somewhere, although I am not sure where that would be. It's good to see Amani still looks fun though - maybe West Kili-Amani-Saadani- Mikumi-Selous would work one day.

 

More excellent and up-to-date details on these places. Look forward to the rest.

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5 hours ago, pault said:

Wow, you really complicated the route didn't you? 

:D Yes.  Over complicated really.  It wound up this way for no other reason then to end lounging on the beach.  Which, since we are not really beach loungers probably wasn't necessary.

 

5 hours ago, pault said:

maybe West Kili-Amani-Saadani- Mikumi-Selous would work one day.

I'm thinking someday back to Amani for a longer period but put Mkomazi in there for no other reason than I have not been.  But, it will be a Tarangire Ruaha combination before that happens so who knows.

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So, it's about this time in a trip where I completely stop taking any notes about when we leave, driving times etc.  We are headed to Kijongo Bay Beach Resort which is 32 kilometers south of the coastal town of Pangani.  So back down to Muheza the east on tarmac road to a Pongwe.  At this point you wander about the village to find the dirt road south to Pangani.  

 

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A red dirt road through a couple of ver small villages, one of which had a gate system that someone would come over and raise.  No money was charged so maybe it was just a speed control thing?  I have no idea.  Once in Pangani, if you are taking the coast route south, you need to cross the Pangani River on a small ferry.  You drive up and get in line.  There are people selling fresh orange juice, pineapples, coconuts nearby.  Once the ferry arrives, all passengers must disembark and walk onto the ferry.  Remember to take your ticket with you because you will be asked for it.  We did not, but we just pointed to George and that seemed to get us on.  George drove the car on and stays with the car.  We are in a little covered sitting area.  The ride takes all of 5 minutes and the people watching opportunities are great.  

 

Once on the other side we make our way along the coast to the resort.  There are several choices for accommodation, both north and south of Pangani.  I spent a lot of time reading about the pros and cons of many of them and ultimately picked Kijongo Bay and we were not sorry. It's on a beautiful patch of beach with no close neighbors.  They weren't busy so George was given his own villa at no extra cost.  We had left Amani around 8 or 8:30 and we were at the resort in time for some lunch, although maybe a bit of a late lunch.  

 

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Bed on the ground floor

 

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Bathroom is also on the ground floor

 

fullsizeoutput_1df.jpeg.6b7b3fef7642507f72a889758c735d77.jpegIMG_2581.JPG.0d1e195439961074b3a66e09767c9308.JPGBed on a small landing at the top of the stairs

 

IMG_2582.JPG.d77c70c2b29de6debbfbfb0e67433794.JPGDay bed outside on the second floor

fullsizeoutput_1f6.jpeg.ff6c1a07c334bc80aa689f88ffa1930f.jpegIMG_9771.JPG.d9bfc3406c53135dcc4790e9f5f8bafc.JPGWe were advised during our welcome not to sit under the coconut trees :rolleyes:

 

The grounds around the resort are excellent for birding and one of the managers, Jiri, had created a comprehensive list of birds seen here.   The first morning we were here George was up early and had checked numerous birds off the list before I had even had my first cup of coffee.  You can walk along the beach, north or south about 10 minutes before coming upon anything.  South is another resort and north is a little small hut with people living there who didn't seem to mind my strolling along the beach.  _MG_2635.JPG.fd0d8765a5951643b2f61a15a1909dbb.JPGIMG_2650.JPG.78e31ded6f26648d309b189109d3dec7.JPGfullsizeoutput_1d4.jpeg.018a440eeeb1c7ffb485c8d99bbeafe6.jpegWhite throated bee eater.  I think.

 

fullsizeoutput_1d1.jpeg.88f5261048fd906e5bdeb7a4e3a8d147.jpegIMG_9919.JPG.55dfdd9e5b72b5b2879d02a54dc993e4.JPGIMG_9781.JPG.63e292be9fc507d26e767ee5f74216ff.JPGBoat that they will use to take you out to an area for snorkeling or up a river channel

 

There is a large area of mangrove very near the lodge and during high tide you can kayak there.  We walked along the area during low tide.

 

One of our most enjoyable activities was an evening walk and sundowner at an area that was/is used to mine salt.  Jiri drove us through the bush about 10 minutes south and then we walked around for about an hour and finished with drinks.  This was so enjoyable we did it 2 nights in a row.

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This area used to be used for salt mining, done by flooding sections with water and then solar evaporation.  The salt mine now is just a single well, where water is drawn up, then boiled down to concentrate the salt.  The fire is kept boiling day and night.  

 

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The small building to the right is where the fire is kept going.  

_MG_2686.JPG.2103266fcbfa2aca81c04bf2bfd14b6a.JPG_MG_2707.JPG.da9a2ef001f52a4876d8174e44821b89.JPG_MG_2709.JPG.e33d1f26ddb507c257419e6a51e46a7c.JPGTaking wood to the area of the well.  

 

_MG_2687.JPG.4759d1c1647fc8941979e9c0b2901ab5.JPG

_MG_2705.JPG.f2215d2a4dc168e6ec3ecd41951a8b47.JPGGeorge, Jiri, and Ollie birding at the salt pans

 

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Blue-cheeked bee-eater.  

 

There were numerous different bee-eaters here and at the lodge and if I've named them incorrectly feel free to point that out.

 

The service at Kijongo is outstanding. The rooms are not air-conditioned but have shuttered windows with screens that you can open up at night and fans so it was fairly pleasant.  The food ranged from good to excellent.  The bar guy was always there are was very pleasant company.  The managers at the time were Jiri and his wife Michelle and of course, Ollie the dog.  They were leaving in 5 months to go back to Australia and there are new managers now, John and Debbie I believe.  Trip advisor reviews would indicate that service is just as good.  The owner lives in Arusha.  

 

You can make trips to Saadani from here.  Turns out it is only about 30 minutes away and Jiri frequently takes clients there.  In addition to touring through the park, you can arrange with park officials for a boat trip on the Wami River.  

 

Other activities here are trips up to Pangani to tour the historical parts.  It's not much of a town now, but comes with quite a history from the slave trading days.  There is an area for snorkeling that you can easily reach by boat and if you are lucky, there is a turtle nesting site nearby and you may see hatchlings making their way to the ocean (sometime between June and August I think).   Of course you can just do nothing, which they encourage as well.    There is a small pool if you prefer that to the Indian Ocean.  Wifi is available in the bar/dining area.IMG_9900.JPG.8e9e5d712cdc2bbeb76a2f7f8abbb03d.JPG

 

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Ollie

 

This was a very enjoyable three days and I would definitely return.  If you want a bit of a night life, however, this is not the beach destination for you.  Better to look toward Zanzibar or someplace near Dar.

 

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So the night before we are set to leave, there is a discussion about when to leave.  George says 7:30.  I say 8:30 and we compromise for 8, but actually leave a little bit earlier. The lodge packs lunch for us and we say our goodbyes, leave a tip, and finally see one of the bush pigs on the way out.  Too fast for a picture.  We get back to Pangani and wait at the ferry.  Even more entertaining this morning as it is early and there are a lot of people to cross.  George goes off to buy a large back of coconuts for his kids.  I think he's still in disbelief as to how much a single coconut would cost me at a grocery store in the midwest.  We get across and our next stop is outside of Pangani to pick up a couple of fish that George had arranged to buy through the bar man at Kijongo.  We find the tree where we were supposed to meet him and George calls.  He arrives on the back of a motorbike with a two 5 gallon buckets balanced, each filled with ice and a single large fish of some kind.  He told me at the time, but I have since forgotten.  George checks to make sure they are fresh and packed in plenty of ice and we are on our way.

 

George always asks first if we mind when we stop for something like this.  We quite enjoy it and have learned lots of things.  Like how to tell if the bag of coal is any good (too light, no good as it will burn fast); buying potatoes near West Kilimanjaro and ultimately refusing the bucket because the big potatoes on top are covering a lot of little ones; rice in southern Tanzania etc.  

 

Well it was a good thing we started a little early because we were plagued by police on the way back.  Stopped numerous times.  One time George made them prove to him where the radar gun was so a guy gets in the car and we drive back to a bridge where somebody crawls out from underneath.  We pay a 15,000 TSH fine.   At one stop, we all are quite sure he was not speeding.  We are getting close to Moshi, it is getting late in the afternoon and I tell George, don't pay them anything.  They think that you will want to get going so we are not late for the airport.  If we are late, we will just leave tomorrow.  A bit of an argument is taking place with George and the two officers.  They show George 'evidence' of his speeding but there is no date, location etc.  He continues to argue with the officers who continuously suggesting that he could just 'take care of it'.  At one point one says 'we should just take you to jail' and George, says "Fine, lets go".  Not what they wanted to hear and they give him a citation which he pays (15,000 TSH).  We are not even a kilometer down the road and we are stopped again.  They ask George to get out.  Then he comes back to the car, very angry, to get the receipt for the ticket.  The other police had called ahead and said we had fled.  These officers apologize and we go on our way.  Then we get to Moshi, he sees that he is about to be pulled over again and he turns onto a side street and goes around.  It's now rush hour in Moshi.  We arrive at the airport with plenty of time left, but it is dark and we feel bad that George is not home.  

 

 

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Final thoughts:

 

It is unlikely that I will go to Saadani again, but if I did I would stay at one of the places on the beach south of Pangani and make a day trip, making sure to set up a Wami River boat trip.  There are several options, including budget friendly that look suitable.  

 

I would definitely make a return trip to Amani and stay longer.  Just need to figure out how to work it in with something else.  

 

Lastly, the beaches south of Pangani are lovely and quiet.  If you want someplace to just veg out after safari it's very nice.  I think there are now some options for small aircraft flights close to Pangani where you can be picked up. We prefer to drive as that's all part of the fun for us.

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I am glad to read this off-the-beaten-track Trip Report @kilopascal.

 

I have been curious about the Amani Research Centre since I read this article about it a few months ago:

 

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180523-the-decline-of-tanzanias-time-capsule-laboratory

 

I hope to visit it one day when birding the E. Usambara Mountains.

 

 

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Thank you so much @offshorebirderfor the link, it was very interesting and my desire to return to Amani is even greater.

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You're welcome for the link @kilopascal.

 

Question for you @kilopascal:   Did you see any crabs at Amani?    When the article mentioned John Mganga, the technician who was the expert crab catcher, I started Googling about crabs in the East Usambaras. 

 

I found my way to a publication about East Usambara Tree-hole Crabs, who breed in rainwater that collects in hollow trees.  The astounding thing is, they put snail shells leftover from prey in those water-filled tree holes.  This lowers the pH in the water and adds calcium so the crab larvae have an easier time growing shells.  So much wonder in the world!      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.0141-6707.2001.00333.x

Edited by offshorebirder
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We did not see crabs in Amani @offshorebirder.  Had I known about this before I would have asked Mr. Kajiru if we could find them. I suspect he would have. :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is one of the more adventurous and scenically diverse itineraries I've seen in a while. Beautiful photos all around, and some of the destinations look incredibly appealing. Sad to see that you were hassled by the police, but it looks like quite a successful trip, all things considered. The sunset on the water is very beautiful, as is the general forest greenery in many of your photos. I'm glad you are pursuing your trip report backlog!

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fullsizeoutput_1c1.jpeg.3ec6ace968ed2326bb0c06f54f8ab2fd.jpeg

 

Joining in this one late - what unique markings! And a great adventure.

 

Matt

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  • 7 months later...

You are traveling far and wide in Tanzania.  Fascinating report.  The confrontation between George and the police reminded me of a similar incident, but the repeated harassment you experienced  and the threat of jail was worse.  Glad George found parts of the trip heavenly. 

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