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Published: November 19th 2019
I was at the bus stand in the centre of Kilwa before 6 am ready for the Lindi ‘bus’. It was more like a coaster mini-bus and for the short distance along the road to Nangurukuru it seemed to double up as a school bus with standing room only for the school kids.
It took 4 hours before the bone shaking mini-bus arrived at the bus park in Lindi. I jumped into a Bajaj and went straight to Coast Guest House and was welcomed in and given the room I had last time I was here. I dropped my bags and breakfasted for 1k, eating beans and chapatti with a very sweet tea at the tea shack on the beach across the road from my hotel.
Back at my gaff I showered and changed and headed into Lindi town. The lovely Amina was still working as a waitress in the Gymkhana pub, but not a lot else had changed in Lindi apart from the town now had street lights (solar, I’ll have you know).
In the Gymkhana I drank a Balimi and then had two Pilsner Kings a beer I’d not
Truly the king of beers
seen before, a 7.8%!b(MISSING)eer for the equivalent of 50p, tidy. I also bought some sniffing tobacco in there from a crazy Masai bloke who had introduced me to the delights of Pilsner King. I had a n early night as the next day I planned to be on the bus again. Nachingwea
I’d been told the Nachingwea bus left before 8. I got different information once I arrived at Lindi bus stand on Saturday morning at 7:20. The nice girl from Tashriff bus told me. “The Nach’ bus won’t arrive in Lindi until 8:30 or 9. Don’t worry I will tell you when it arrives.”
I killed time with a cuppa and bumped into the crazy Masai bloke again who today was moving around town on a Brompton style bicycle, class.
At 9 the Nach’ bus did arrive and Ally the conductor said I was more than welcome to hop onboard and make myself comfortable but they wouldn’t be leaving till 10.
What a pleasant journey it was to Nachingwea though, only the last 20 minutes or so was on an unsurfaced road.
The first guest house I spotted was well overpriced
but I was pointed to another place that charged 15k for a self-contained room. The Nankala Guest House was a tad scruffy but my room there did the job. The ceiling fan was at times reluctant to work but it was soon persuaded to get going when I chucked an empty plastic water bottle at it.
I had not eaten breakfast so went to look for something to eat. Not finding a cafe I entered the covered market and found a part of the amorphous market where they prepared food. I sat down and was immediately surrounded by a pack of Mamas Lisa. These women were everything you would expect from African market women, they were all large, loud, constantly laughing, and amusingly mischievous. They had no real interest in serving me as they were too busy touching my hair and comparing my skin to theirs and they kept mentioning how much they would like my babies!
From the gaggle of market women I eventually succeeded in securing a chai, which was excellent, I put the great tasting tea down to the local water; I guessed that Nachingwea being a couple of hours
Boy, bike, mbao.
Naganga to Nachingwea road
away from the coast the water here was unlike the slightly salted water that goes into making the tea I’d been used to on the coast. I was dripping with sweat after downing the hot tea and seeing this obviously amused the ladies so they brought me a second. With that 2nd
cuppa finished I got up to leave, the ladies then waved away my attempts to pay.
“Bure, bure” “Free, free” they shouted. “Just come and see us tomorrow.”
Walking around town I came to Y2K Bar, no Balimi beer, no Pilsner! I ordered a Serengeti instead. The bar wasn’t that good so I only stayed for one. Outside I was stopped by a bloke next to his pushbike with various messages in English written on placards that were tied to his bike.
“Can I give you a lecture on road safety in song?” He asked me.
Before I could answer that is exactly what he did, he burst into song telling me to “Look left and look right” and “Driver watch your speed”. He had all the actions to go with the song. Great stuff! He was clearly not the full shilling
You'll never get food poisoning in a chip shop - what could live in those temperatures?
and I wished I’d had my camera on me to film him performing, bless him.
I heard the Congolese music before I saw The New Nachingwea Resort; they had great music and it was more than a half decent bar. I’d been for a good walk around and out of town by now and was thirsty and tired. Shame they didn’t have big Balimi but what they did sell was 3 small Balimi for 5k. A well dressed bloke at a table near to mine nodded a greeting to me and once he saw me taking some snuff he called me over. The way the waitresses were acting towards him I guessed he was the owner or at least manager and he was keen to exchange snuff with me. I tried his which was better than mine.
“Utamalisa” (You will finish it) the waitress said to him as he snorted a good ‘healthy; pinch of mine and then put a wad of it between his lip and gums almost emptying my snuff box.
I ate a quality meal of Ugali Mboga mboga at the bar and had two more beers before leaving. Lindi
I woke with the first call to prayer at 4:50 10 minutes before my alarm. I had almost reached the bus park as I saw the Lindi bound Najana Bus that I’d intended to catch steaming towards the coast. Luckily a Navil Express bus bound for Dar was due to leave and did depart bang on 6. Unlike the Najana bus Navil Express took the slightly longer route going via Masasi. I’d forgotten how impressive the rocky outcrops around Masasi town are, they really did look stunning in the morning light.
By 10am I was in the ocean at Lindi. The room I was given had just been vacated so while it was being cleaned I’d taken this time to have a swim. Ace.
Late afternoon I was in the Magereza bar and halfway through my beer I was beckoned by the waitress to enter the rear courtyard where a dance and drum troupe practiced, they were just about to get underway with their routine. They were well good just a shame the battery on my camera ran out as I was filming them. Mtwara
On the move once again I arrived at
Mtwara and spotted a hotel near the bus stand. I wasn’t sure the place was open but one of the lads painting the metal railings in front of the “Waungwana guest house” encouraged me to enter. I must have been the first guest to have stayed in this room since it had been decorated as a brand new mosquito net was removed from its cellophane wrapper and fitted to the net’s frame which was hammered into place as I arrived.
I’d hoped to visit the old slaving port of Mkindani as well as going to the footie today but because the journey from Lindi took so long; it took 2 hours 45 (we seemed to stop every 100 metres at times).
I instead did a quick visit to the market, buying two vikoi from a big old woman who kept insisting that she loved me; despite being the object of her affections I struggled hard to get any reduction in the price, even after giving her my phone number (thankfully she never called).
I bought a ticket for the football game not at the turnstile or ticket office but from a woman sitting in a
Bajaj or tuktuk near the main gate. There was a gaggle of kids hanging around the entrance and I soon realised that the 5,000TZS ticket price entitled one youth to get in free with an adult; hence the little scuffle from the young lads trying to squeeze in front of me.
Not a big crowd, maybe around 1,000, it was all quite calm, more social gathering than an intense sporting occasion. The home team should have probably had a penalty but were lucky to finish with 11 men when the Ndanda FC defender took out the chubby Mbeya City FC No10. It finished a drab 0-0.
I went straight to the very lively Senegal Bar next to my guest house that evening and retired for the night but woke several times. Thinking I’d been bitten I searched for the offending mosquito inside my mossie net. On the 3rd
occasion of doing this I found no mossie but eventually spied a bedbug running for cover as soon as I turned the light on; the bug was soon squished and the light stayed on for the rest of the night. Mikindani
I never got back to
sleep so I was up and about and walking around the area at 8am looking for a new guest house. I breakfasted at the bus stand on beans and chapatti before checking out Mkapa Guest house which was nicer and even cheaper than the Waungwana where I stayed last night, so I shifted. Once organised in my new gaff I caught a 500TSH dala dala from the bus park that crawled for 40 minutes to Mikindani.
Alighting from the dala I crossed the road to look out at the almost perfectly circular bay with only a small outlet to the Indian Ocean where both sides almost meet and almost completely enclose the bay.
I stopped looking out to sea and turned around to find out what all the commotion was. A crumbling old slaving port turned sleepy fishing village is not where I expected to see bikers pulling wheelies up and down the main drag.
Like Kilwa Kivinje, Mikindani had some lovely old tumbled down buildings but is not quite as photogenic, some of the buildings had been restored and compared to Kilwa Kivinje I was somewhat underwhelmed.
I had a snack
and tea then jumped a dala back to Mtwara. I dipped into New Senegal Bar ordered a beer and was invited into the courtyard to watch the football on the TV.
“It’s Man U” I was told.
It was, but the channel was turned over to the Yanga game that was starting. This caused an argument between those wanting to watch the Man U game and those wanting the Yanga game. When a decision was made to keep the Yanga game on, a bloke got up and yanked out the cables out the back of the TV and went and sat sulking in the shade at the other side of the courtyard with his back to the TV. I was on my 2nd
beer when the cables were plugged back in and the game was resumed only for this part of town to be hit by a power cut.
I slept well that night on cotton bed bug free sheets. Lindi again
I travelled back to Lindi and after settling in walked into town from the beachside guest house I stayed in. Passing the Lindi stadium I was surprised to see crowds
of people there, so I went and had a look and see what game was on. I asked who was playing.
“Lindi United na Mkapa Boys. Lindi are playing in white” A woman in front of the gate to the stadium who was sat at a table surrounded by ripped discarded tickets told me.
The game had just started and there was clearly an entrance fee to be paid but I was told that seeing as I was a guest I was allowed to be ushered in free of charge. Bonus!
There was a bigger crowd here for this lower league game than there was at the premier league game in Mtwara. It was also a far better game, Lindi United won 4 -2 and it ended with a scuffle with a chopsy Mkapa fan getting slapped about a bit at the final whistle. There was a right mixed crowd probably an even split between supporters from both sides, so I guessed Mkapa boys or Wadogo as their fans called them by their nickname were also local. 6 goals,
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