Jill's African Adventure
* Rafting the Nile
* Murchison Falls
* A Day in The Life
* Hell's Gate
* Nairobi and Around (Part 2)
* Nairobi and Around (Part 1)
* A Dhow Trip From Lamu
* Watamu: Ruins, Monkeys, Shrews, and Jellyfish
* Hiking in Lushoto
* Changing E-mail Address
* The Problems of Itete
* Village Life
* Hanging Out in Dar
* Zanzibar - Music Festival & Prison Island
* Zanzibar (Jozani Forest & Jambiani)
* Zanzibar (Stone Town & Spice Tour)
* Future Plans
* Safari!!! (Part 7 - Mikumi Park)
* Safari!!! (Parts 5 & 6 -- Rodent and Itete)
March 27, 2005
Hiking in Lushoto
After a couple of days relaxing in Dar, I headed out to Lushoto, a small town in the Usambara Mountains, in Northeastern Tanzania. The center of town is lively with a bus station, numerous restaurants, and a market of Thursdays and Sundays. Just outside of the town center, however, it is very rural with few houses and many beautiful farms, meadows, and trails leading up the mountains. When the sun is shining it is very hot, but during the rains and at night the town cools down quite pleasantly and my light fleece was finally useful.
My first full day in Lushoto I went on a beautiful hike up to a place called Irente Viewpoint. I hiked for about an hour and a half on a quiet red-dirt road through villages, farms, and woods. I then reached the viewpoint which was just gorgeous. I could see out for kilometers. The land before me was mostly flat, with some spots shadowed by the clouds above. Dotted here and there were hills and mountain peaks rising up like islands in a vast sea.
At the viewpoint, I also met a few other tourists who were there, including two Canadian women who are law students interning at the Rwandan Genocide Tribunals (located in Arusha). It was very interesting talking to them. They were not convinced that justice was being done there and that they did not think the trials were really helping the Rwandan people. What they did think was happening that was good is that a lot international law is being ironed out so, hopefully, future tribunals will go more smoothly.
After getting my fill of the landscape at the viewpoint I headed to nearby Irente Farms for lunch. It was one of the best meals I have had since getting to Africa. And before, really. We had fresh vegetables, cheese, and jam. Veggies and cheese are not commonly served in East Africa which made the lunch a real treat even though I couldn't eat the rye bread and had to use my tasteless rice crackers instead. And there wasd also unlimited passion juice. I don't think I've mentioned how wonderful passion juice is before. It is the best juice there is. And its not just me who thinks so. The only problem with it is that its so good and refreshing a whole glass is usually gone in about 30 seconds. The expats I've met say that they taste never gets old and so far it hasn't.
The next morning I left for a two day hike through the mountains to another village. I went with a Canadian woman named Elly who is a VSO volunteer on Zanzibar and our guide from the tourist office. We started out our hike by heading directly up through a rural area of town and soon entered some rainforest. The rainforest was pretty much the same as it had been in the Udzungwa. Although it was not raining, the ground was wet and slipperly and the trees provided excellent shade. The highlight was getting to see some black and white colobus monkeys scurrying among the trees.
When we came out of the forest we had a short climb and then were on the top of a hill which had an observation platform. The views were just beautiful. Clouds bisecting tree-covered mountains on one side, view of Lushoto town, and burnt trees on a hillside elsewhere. We stayed on the hill for about 20 minutes and then headed back down into another area of the rainforest and off to a village for lunch.
After lunch we walked along the road a little ways and then waited for a bus. (We were planning on doing a 3 day hike in 2 days, so we had to bus it part of the way.) The bus was, if I remember correctly, less than an hour late, which is not too bad by Tanzanian standards. The bus was full, there was only one seat available when we got on and Elly seemed to be more worn out than I, so she got the seat. All went well for a little while. It was just important not to look out the window. Windy mountain roads with no guardrails... Sometimes we got really way to close to the edge. And the bus drivers here are not known for their caution. And then going around the curve there was a truck coming in the other the direction. The bus slowed down, but not enough and we hit the truck. And really, you don't feel anything on the bus, 'cause we were so much bigger. Elly thought it was just a tire. But I saw the truck at angle, half off the road. Luckily we were on side of the road on the edge, otherwise the truck would have gone over the side. We waited a while to see if the bus would continue on, but ended up walking to the next closest village and hiring a truck from there to take us to the village where we were staying.
This took a few hours (probably an hour to find a truck and another hour until the 15 minutes before we left was up). It was well after dark before we arrived at the convent where we were staying. (Somehow I keep ending up staying at religious places - ironic.) The sisters served us dinner and then we went off to bed.
In the morning we were supposed to finish our walk, ending in a village called Mtae, but alas it was not too be. We must have eaten something bad, because both Elly and I got sick in the middle of the night. By morning Elly was feeling better (but tired and sore from the previous days hike) and I still wasn't feeling better (I'm fine now), so we decided to stay another night at the convent. Elly went with our guide on another mountain hike and I stayed behind, reading my book and writing in my journal on the porch. It was a beautiful place to not be feeling well in, nestled among the mountains with only farmland and trees surrounding the area. In the afternoon I went on a walk through the village. The area was beautiful, green, and idyllic.
Posted by Jillian on March 27, 2005 03:02 AM
Category: East Africa
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