Wednesday 22 August

Main Street Lushoto

Breakfast was very basic – tea or coffee, toast and egg, no fruit juice! Also sat pondering why if there are only five rooms in the hotel they are numbered 201 to 205. Where are the other 200?

After breakfast, we head straight to the tourist office to try to organise a guided walk for today, and choose a walk that is a combination of the Magambe Rainforest and Irente Viewpoint, all for Tsh50000, including lunch. Our guide is Kiki, who speaks excellent English and is very chatty.

The sky has cleared and it is quite warm and muggy. We climb steeply out of the town. Kiki tells us that it has rained here for the last three days. It is a hot and sweaty climb, but we are rewarded with a cooler breeze as we get higher. We cross fields and enter the forest along a narrow path.

(magnify) Overlooking Lushoto

Discussion ranges from the school system to the pace of life and UK house prices. After a full morning’s walking we reach the Magambe Viewpoint, a thatched round shelter on the top of a hill above the trees. From here we have a superlative panoramic view over forest and hills to the north and to the south, mile after mile of African plain.

R and I are both flagging by this time (our relatively small breakfast was a long time ago) but revive a little on the remains of cereal bars left over from Kili.

(magnify) Magambe Viewpoint
(magnify) At the local school (Photo: RS)

We expect a short walk from here to our lunch spot, but actually it turns out to be something like another two hours. We reach the Irente Farm at two, both of us quite exhausted. But the excellent lunch fully makes up for it. Home made cheese (quite strong) and warm dark brown bread, something much like humous, tomatoes, and very sweet jam. We get chatting to a couple who are travelling the other way across Tanzania and hope to do Kilimanjaro next. Unfortunately one of them is just recovering from illness and I wonder how she will cope with the climb at less than one hundred percent fitness.

(magnify) “Bag packers welcome”

It is not far to the Irente Viewpoint. We pass the Irente Viewpoint camp, where, according to the entrance sign, “overlanders and bag packers are welcome.” We feel very much bag packers ourselves.

Emerge onto the top of a cliff from which the view can only be described as jaw-dropping. We can see for miles, not just metaphorical miles, but really a very long way indeed, far across the African plain. It is startling just how abruptly the range of mountains in which we are standing rises up from the utter flatness below. Somewhere in the distance a lake glistens. Kiki asks, jokingly, what sort of god we have to get weather like this? A very good God.

Left: (magnify) Rachel at Irente Viewpoint
Right: (magnify) Ian at Irente Viewpoint (photo: RS)

We are back by five, after a day of about twenty kilometres up and down, somewhat more strenuous than we had anticipated but thoroughly rewarding. Before leaving us, Kiki helps us to book our seats for the journey tomorrow to Tanga.

We return to the Tumaini for dinner, but this evening they are very busy and we have to wait outside for a table to become available. Get talking to an American woman doing her PhD research in forest management and ecology. She warns us that we should book ahead for Pangani, where we hope to stay tomorrow. Apparently the places in town are all pretty rough, and we should try to stay in one of the nicer resorts on the road between Tanga and Pangani. Our hotelier, ever helpful, obliges with his mobile and we have a reservation at the Peponi Beach Resort.