Pangani.August 10, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C
Our bus to Pangani took 2 hours and was 2500 shillings. Same as usual - look for the name on the front of the bus, pay the lady with the tickets. There were actually 4 other tourists who hoped on just before leaving, and they each had 65 litre bags. To put that in perspective - Jack has a 20L bag and mine is 30L. To be honest - my first trip backpacking was in South East Asia and I had a 55L+10; never again! There's even things in my bag now that I'm not using much - like the headlamp which we always bring in case the power goes out, or a bluff which I haven't touched, but for the most part everything has a use and place. There's no way anyone can tell me that they've used everything inside their full 65L bags.
Side story - Jack stuck her head out the window to buy bananas, and on her way back her earing caught in the latch. She turns to me and calmy says "I think I just ripped my earring off". To which I don't react, assuming she was exaggerating. See, Jack usually just needs space when she hurts herself, you don't talk to her, don't touch her, she takes a minute and recovers. Only this time, she turned to me again and said "no really, I think I just pulled my earring out" as she calmly searches for her Kleenex to whipe the blood pooling in her ear. Now this wasn't any piercing, this was her "conch", the cartilage in the deeper ear crevace. She successfully pulled the bead from the front of the ear half way between skin and cartilage. Unfortunately for her, the back of the earing is fixed and bigger, so there's only one way to fix this - push it back in. The girl never said a word, yet it took me two tries to push it in, underestimating the strength I would need to succeed. We both heard a chilling "pop" when the bead made it way out. Then the blood came, and Tanzanians quietly looking at our experiment... She's a true champ.
This time, Pangani is small enough of a town for us to be able to walk in rather then catch another dalla dalla. I'm already in love. The streets are all gravel, there's quite a few shops along the main road but all small house front shops. No supermarkets, no box store, just little shops with side walk restaurants. We walked in front of Safarri Lodge, checked out the rooms, and chose the third option as it was furtherest away from the bar. Private washroom again! Except... no toilet seat. You win some, you lose some. 30,000TZS for the night, but we bargained two nights for 50,000TZS. Great central location, this one I would recommend!
It's hard to describe why I like Pangani so much... it's more of a feeling. It's small. Everyone says "mambo" (hello) in a sincere way, most of them yell out "kariboo" (you're welcome). We walked along the river front which is their pier, sat and had a drink in the shade watching everyday life... It was great.
Our first night in we walked to the end of town (maybe 20 minutes - small town remember!) and crossed onto the ocean side for the beach. This beautiful, deep and long strip of sand welcoming the waves... Pure peace. We ate at a restaurant lining the beach - a restaurant that we were desperate to find after again failing at finding food as mentioned previously. When a fish with a head attached showed on our plate, I went straight to work, fishing the meat out for Jack and I to enjoy (get it, get it, fishing the meat out!?). Jack being a vegetarian does really well when traveling, eating mostly anything as to make sure she gets enough protein. The only thing she has trouble with is touching the bones - too real. So I get the meat out of the fish, or off the chicken bones. No problem.
It was at this restaurant that we met HotHot. He's the guy you want to talk to about tours. He's a bit of a fixer - can make anything happen for the right price. Unfortunately, when there's only 2 of you and you want to go out on a boat, you gotta pay the whole boat! We became interested in going out to Mizawe Island Marine Park for it's snorkeling and beaching. After a good chat with him, we decided to bite the bullet - 128$ (100$ is the minimum for the boat and 14$ each for the marine park fees) to rent the boat, captain and assistant for the day. And since food wasn't included - we knew we had to be prepared ahead of time! We spent the rest of the night walking around town, gathering breakfast and lunch items - a few fruits, some fried bread for breakfast and some chapati for lunch. Boy have I missed chapati!
By 8.30am we were sitting in a boat fit for 10, on our way to a beautiful beach and nice snorkeling. Neither of us knew what to expect, we hadn't seen photos, hadn't heard anyone talk about it... It was an hour and half lovely boat ride in the ocean to a patch of sand. And only that. Not a single tree or grass, just a patch of beautiful white side with washed up pieces of coral. Maybe 3 minutes to walked the circumference. It was absolutely perfect. When we first approached, our captain anchored in maybe 200 feet from the sand for us to snorkel. He said it was low tide, so the best time to do it.
It was some of the best snorkeling I've ever seen! Tons of gorgeous fish, colorful, a few needle nose fish that I happen to love, the fish with the eye scar in Finding Nemo, a bright white and black striped water snake, bright blue star fishes... It was great. Followed by an hour and a half of burning on a strip of beach and loving it! We finished the day just lazing around town, checking out local businesses and enjoying some chicken and fries at a sidewalk eatery. Simple, relaxing, great day.Read more