Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Day 20 Mtwara - Kilwa

December 29, 2015
New day new country! We woke up to pouring rain. It was raining, raining and raining non stop. Eventually the rain stopped for a few minutes and we quickly used the time to put together tent. We were in Mtwara town - the most southern east town in Tanzania, right at the beach. We went for a quick walk to the beach, because we didn't really see much where we came to last night as we were driving in the dark. There were still dark skies over the sea:
The difference from Mozambique was very noticable, the roads were much better and the beach very clean, not a piece of litter!
 This was our campsite for the night, we camped in restaurant called "Drive In Garden and Cliff Bar":
This is how huge the snails are in Tanzania! :)
When we left the campsite the weather seemed to improve and we could see the sea turning nice and turquoise:
We drove around the town and went to make car insurance papers in the city centre, that costed us 30 USD. We bought SIM card for internet here as well. The city looked great after dilapidated Mozambican towns we have been seeing for the last few weeks:
 Lots of water after the rainy night:
Many new apartments have been built here, this area is getting lots of investments recently because they found natural gas offshore:
Big and fancy hotels next to the beach:
 And just as in Mozambique loads of charcoal logistics:)
After we have been done all our things in Mtwara we headed North towards Dar Es Salaam. We had to get there to find out about our visas for Mozambique. We couldn't get double entry visas for Mozambique, so we had to apply for another one in Tanzania. The main road doesn't go very close to the beach, and if it does, it leads to the villages and back. The road was good tar road:
We passed the village called Lindi:
Few main streets in the village, good road again! Tar!:
We noticed on the sides of the road there are deep street gutters for rain water drainage, what an luxury (after Mozambique again:)!
 Lindi town has a beach:
 Some street food cooking:
 New houses have been built again:
 Not too far now!
 And again we were surprised by showers:
 Which finished in few minutes and sun was shining again:
We arrived to town Kilwa, went few kilometres out of town to find campsite, there were few lodges that allowed camping:
When we were happy with the campsite we went to town to look around and get some vegetables on the market. Locals don't speak much english, so we were starting to learn our first words in swahili. There is bank and petrol station in Kilwa:
Back at the campsite we had a chalet for ourselves for shower and toilet, and hot water! So we did some washing, dried the tent:
 The view from our campsite:
Nice place for our kitchen:
 Later we went to the bar in the lodge and tried local beers: Kilimanjaro and Serengeti:
We were happy in our new country, the people are very polite and extremely welcoming! We were looking forward to our adventures in Tanzania!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Day 19 Moçimboa Da Praia - Mtwara

We were heading to Tanzania today. There is a ferry that we have to take to cross the river and the ferry goes only when there is high tide in the river mouth. Last night the barmen at the local bar said us that the ferry will leave around 11 o'clock, so we left our camp nice and early to be in time. 
We passed small village called Palma where we went to the bank and tried to change the money for Tanzania. Funny that they had all the different currencies for exchange - dollars, euros Japanese yen, but no Tanzanian shillings... :) So we went to the market and found the local guy that was known for exchanging money. He came very proud with big wad of money and fancy clothes. After spending too much time negotiating (they speak no Portuguese there, just swahili) we were not happy with the rate and so we left and decided to exchange the money at the border.
Soon after Palma the road becomes dirt road and in the rain it could get pretty muddy and slippery, lots of wetlands there:
We arrived at the Mozambican border where things went pretty smooth and quick, we had to leave our car import papers, they put an exit stamp in our passports and all the formalities were over. Now we were in no-mans land and no way back... :) Just few kilometres before the border there was a police checkpoint and the cop wanted to search our car, we didn't let him and drove away.
We arrived at the river bank and asked around if thats the place for the ferry. 10 o'clock in the morning and many of the villagers already drunk:) So we found out that we were at the right spot and we were the first ones in the queue. This was definitely not boring place to wait :) First of all we had to pass mud bath that was full with rubbish to get to the river. Then we were surrounded by the locals that live in their shacks just in front of the mud holes. While you waiting for the ferry (that nobody knows what time it arrives) you have a possibility to get your car washed:
There is local street food where you can get a piece of octopus for 10 meticais, was delicious and a bit sandy:)
Kids loves to pose for the camera (but must be careful whom you take pictures of because some locals can get angry and ask for money):
There used to be ferry that crossed the river some time ago, but it sunk, and you see the wreck just right in front in the river. We kept looking and waiting for the high tide and soon we discovered that we could see more and more of the sunken ferry! So the tide was going out instead of coming in! Ow dear! It proved to be that the barmen that gave us the approximate time for the ferry meant 11 o'clock in swahili time not in english time that we are used to. In swahili they start to count from dawn: 7 AM is 1 o'clock. So 11 o'clock means 4 PM english time. So we were 6 hours early... 
So our truck patiently waiting for the ferry...
There are small boats that you can take to cross into Tanzania, they would leave when the boat is full. We saw some people getting loaded motorbikes on them as well.
And thats it! Welcome to Tanzania for some!
 Here are some mud houses and people sleeping and drinking:
 Our favourite food stall:
 Women washing clothes and minding the kids while the men are happy drinking beer:
 And hippo in the river! Happily turning over and yawning:
We also exchanged the money for Tanzania here and the rate was very good! Which is unusual for the borders. After few hours of being surrounded by curious locals that were sitting and leaning on our car for 6 hours we saw the water rising in the river! Yes! The ferry will come soon:) And soon after here it was finally!
So we drove on the ferry after it was unloaded with people and many goods. The ferry costed us 25.000 Tanzanian schillings (10 €).
 We left our entertaining spot and passed few hippos:
On the ferry there is a space for quite a few cars and we were told even big trucks get on there sometimes:
In about 20 minutes we crossed the river and were in Tanzania! The riverbank there looked almost the same as in Mozambique - shacks, mini busses waiting for people:
We drove about 6 km to the immigration office and it was getting dark. At the border control we showed our visas that we got in advance in Pretoria and we found out that we could get the visas on the border as well! (embassy told we couldn't get visas there). Anyway we got our entry stamps and went to do our car papers. The man was very slow and we had to wait another hour there while he was slowly writing and taking photocopies. It costed us 25 USD for car import.
The people seemed very nice and said Karibu to us all the time it means Welcome in swahili. Big difference than Mozambican border. We drove to closest town called Mtwara to camp. We arrived in pouring rain and lucky that the campsite was still open, we got there after 10PM. So that was our first night in Tanzania and we were exited to see what expects us!

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