On our way to Dar

On our way to Dar

Dar es SalaamIt is early morning. The sky is cloudy and there is a soft rain when we start our journey. This makes it cold and humid. I need a Maasai blanket on my legs to keep myself warm, nonetheless we leave Arusha, windows of the car closed, heating on.

As we approach the town of Moshi, in the Kilimanjaro region, the ground becomes red,  full of clay and iron, very good for crops. The temperature is still low and the clouds are still there. We move on and we enter the Same district and the Pare Mountains  start to follow us, one after the other, for kilometers. They are splendid. Every now and then we can find trees embroidered by weaver birds nests.  This is the place in which the cultivations of sisal start. They have seen better moments during the last century, but even now they are used to produce very resistant ropes and baskets. They are one of the typical crops of the Tanga region.

The change from the Pare to the Usambara Mountains  is very quick as we head towards Korogwe, our first sleeping stop.

Dar es SalaamKorogwe is famous for oranges, rice, white corn, honey and mango trees. These trees are very big and start to flourish in August. The fruits can be collected from December to February.

The town is small, the streets dusty  and we are really tired and dirty. We desperately need a shower and a room to rest. We enter one of the many little alleys and, at last, at 7.30 p.m., we find a hotel. It is dark already. The cold weather has magically changed into hot and this is the worst part of the day for staying outside: mosquitoes are waiting.

The shower has never been so appreciated.

After some kuku, grilled chicken, we lay in bed, the eyes enter the sleeping mode instantly and the night covers everything with its silence.

It has not been such a long time when the alarm starts ringing: it is almost dawn and we must wake up to continue our trip to Dar.

The road is long, the heat annoying. We are surrounded by crops, as usual. The Tanga region is littered with cassava cultivations. There is the right climate. The cassava plant is quite tall and produces a kind of tuber, very good in taste and used in several ways. You can boil it, fry it or cook it. Pay attention, though, because after 6 or 7 months in the groung it becomes poisonous!

A lot of little towns pass by: Segera, Mumbwi, Mkata, Mbwewe and a little surprise is waiting for us. A very dangerous bridge on the river Wami. Street signs warn us to be cautious. It is narrow. It is old. Our hearts are beating quickly, we don’t breath for the time we need to pass through, but we make it and we proceed towards Lugoba where we stop at a very singular sort of restaurant for travellers where we eat mbusi, goat, with potatoes.

Not far from there we find Chalinze, Dar is near!

The hot is almost unbearable, everything is sticky, but one hour later we can see the first neighborhoods of Dar es Salaam.

Now we have to cope with the city traffic. It doesn’t matter. We are here.

I learnt a lot of things during this journey, I tasted a slice of real Tanzanian life. Every time I am able to mingle a little bit more.