Tanzania, as I have had the opportunity to write several times, is not just safaris, but also history, culture, tribes, paleontology and archaeological sites and I like to go around.😃
After leaving the Amani Nature Reserve, we continued our journey heading towards the north coast and reached Pangani, a town a few kilometers from Tanga:…
we wanted to visit Tongoni ruins
We arrived in Pangani late in the afternoon and headed to the lodge, a bit worn by the difficult roads, a bit by the heat that is decidedly equatorial on the coast. Among the various adventures that you have to face to get there, there is a trip of a few minutes on a mini ferry ⛴ which constantly transports vehicles and pedestrians all day long from one side to the other of a cove that connects Pangani to the coast.
An adventure. The vehicle is quite old and welcomes cars 🚗, trucks 🚛, buses 🚌, motorcycles 🏍 and passengers. For the latter there are special benches where you can sit and wait for the few minutes necessary for the crossing to pass. The human sample is very interesting: we found street vendors, a pregnant lady, two mechanics with the typical greasy-stained vest, a very talkative old man and a couple of wazungu (European whites) looking a little lost: Filippo and I. Moody had to stay on the Cruiser and couldn’t keep us company.
We were in desperate need of a shower, but the arrival at the lodge, at all lodges, is a kind of ritual. You are ALWAYS welcomed with a refreshing fresh fruit juice, in our case watermelon 🍉, and with an explanation of the protocol, the location of bars and restaurant, the timetable, the opportunities for excursions in the surrounding area and so on.
The facade of our lodge evoked ancient Arab atmospheres, very suggestive. From the entrance you proceed towards the internal garden with the swimming pool and some terraces overlooking the sea from where you can enjoy the splendid Indian Ocean in all its beauty. For the afternoon snack, they prepared us a spectacular carrot cake 🥧 which we shared with a boy who, in the meantime, had arrived to show us his works handmade with coconut wood: soap dishes, ashtrays, salad bowls. We did some shopping and for the rest we enjoyed the sunset over the sea. Like all Tanzanian sunsets, even this has been an emotional experience.
The room, which like the facade had Arab features, was very spacious, well furnished and inhabited by a family of very playful geckos.
After a fish-based dinner, we retired to rest and the night passed quietly.
The next day we had scheduled to visit the so-called ‘Tongoni ruins’ and so we left. Tongoni is another coastal town, not far from Pangani, that hides a precious Shirazi ruins site. A mosque 🕌, some tombs and a turret which in ancient times housed mirrors positioned to help ships during the night. The interesting part of the mosque concerns some niches that are still perfectly preserved and, outside the side door, a singular place consisting of a stone bench and strange footrests, also in stone. It was the corner for washing and purification.
It is always fascinating to visit such ancient places like Tongoni ruins, to pass where their inhabitants passed so long ago, to relive their customs, to sit in the same places where they used to sit.
The Shirazi, coming from the Middle East, merged with the indigenous tribes and gave birth to that fascinating world that today we call Swahili culture, right on the coasts of Tanzania, and this fact has a certain relevance to understand the cultural roots of the Tanzanian people. Very interesting, very.
Lunch in Tanga, after returning by mini ferry, was cheered up by the presence of a vervet monkey 🐵. They are mischievous little monkeys who always try to steal something to eat, but with a nice face. Ours looked after us for a while, then, perhaps tired of waiting, it went away empty-handed.
These trips that Moody, Filippo and I take around Tanzania allow us to learn more about this beautiful place and the people who live there. A place full of surprises and interesting characters. A place that is really worth a visit