Knud Henrik's diary 2 July 2006: Tunduru, Mtwara and Lindi

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Last updated 2007.11.21

The road from Songea to Tunduru was anticipated to be really bad. Our guide book talked about some ten hours of driving, though the distance is just some 273 km. However, the road turned out to be a comparatively pleasant surprise, we did it in "just" half time.

There isn't much to tell about Tunduru, actually there isn't much reason to go there at all - ! We had planned to stay over at Tunduru, because the road from Tunduru via Masasi to Lindi/Mtwara was described as horrific. However, as the piece from Songea turned out to be not so bad and rumours had the road all the way to Mtwara was in an even better condition, we decided to go on the following day. In fact, we managed to arrive at Masasi at lunch time and a poll turned out in favour of going on all the way to Mtwara right away. It was a long day of driving a lot of kilometres.

On the way we passed an area with a lot of so-called kopjes ("small heads" in Dutch). These consist of the hardened lava inside a volcano, where the surrounding volcano cone has been eroded away. We have seen quite a number of kopjes in the Serengeti and around Mwanza, but the kopjes in this area were much larger and more monolithic. The kopjes in the Serengeti often consist of a number of boulders laying on top of each other. Here the kopjes seemed to consist of a single, solid rock.

Also, we passed a number of baobab trees. Actually, the whole area here seems to be strewn over with these funny "upside-down" trees.

Approaching the coast also means descending to sea level and henceforth coming to a warmer climate. However, Mtwara was not as hot as expected. Actually, the temperature was rather pleasant. Mtwara is the most important town in the south-eastern part of Tanzania, however the town seems not to have undergone anything close the same development as the rest of the towns, we have visited.

The day after our arrival in Mtwara we just relaxed after the exhausting 400 km drive from Tunduru. The car had got a problem with the exhaust pipe and Japhet used all morning trying to get it mended, while the rest of us visited one of the internet cafés, just to realise that all our friends around the world have forgotten us completely    ;--}

All over, when we have seen kids going to or from school they have been dressed in uniforms. All in a sudden, Lea started talking about having a dress like the school uniform. We found the idea amusing and found a dress at the market.

Friday 30 June we made an excursion all the way down to the river Ruvuma, the border to Mozambique. We can now say that we have "seen" Mozambique(!). On the way back we went to a place called Ruvula at the tip of a peninsula. Allegedly, the beach here is the best in the whole country. Unfortunately, we had miscalculated the time of the tide, so the swimming experience was less exquisite. But now we have been swimming in all the three largest lakes in Africa as well as the Indian Ocean.

Yesterday, we turned towards north, destination Lindi, just 100 km. Actually, the first 80 km was a repetition, as we already passed this way coming down to Mtwara. We made a stop at Mikindani, a small township with a long history dating back into the slave trade era, the German colonial era and the British past, quite interesting.

Once at Lindi we found the best hotel in town, which doesn't tell much. After having relaxed a little while we had a stroll along the beach down to the harbour and through the town centre. Maybe the beach at Ruvula ranks as the best in the country, but I find the beach here just north of town the best that I have ever seen - ! Today Sunday, we have had another stroll around the town and enjoying our time at the beach, looking at the local fishermen pulling up their catch right on the shore. We also managed to find the only place selling ice cream, by some considered a must.

We have taught the kids to play canasta (a card game) and they are doing well. So now we are "wasting" a lot time playing canasta, leaving less time to write diaries. This afternoon the rest of the family has been playing canasta on the bed while I have been organising pictures and writing my diary on the computer. However, the internet café is closed for the Sunday, so uploading has to wait, probably until Dar es Salaam.

Tomorrow, we'll continue on to Kilwa Masoko, almost 200 km north.

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