03 July 2009

Mikadi Beach

We thought that we were somewhere fairly isolated when we were in Jambiani but we perhaps didn't realise quite how isolated it was until we had been back in Dar es Salaam for a day. It wasn't until the morning of the 30th June, a full 5 days after it had been reported, that we found out Michael Jackson had died! We are probably the last two people in the world to hear the news.

After recovering from the previous days horrors induced by the Zanzibar ferry we had a fairly hectic day at the shops trying to sort out the things we would need for when we joined the overland truck. We'll be camping and although the tents are provided we have to bring our own sleeping gear. We jumped in a taxi and headed off out to find the Tanzanian equivalent of Asda. We ended up having to make a jaunt to Mlimani City Mall which is Dar es Salaams biggest out of town shopping centre. It was just like a trip to Merry Hill, a load of disappointing shops in the back end of nowhere. Thankfully we were able to find our camping essentials and got kitted out with an overpriced air bed, pump and duvet.

We then made our way over to Mikadi Beach, which is a few miles South of Dar, where we had a couple of days before meeting up with our overland truck.

When we checked in at Mikadi Beach we were told that because they were full we had been upgraded from our beach front banda to the honeymoon suite . . . or honeymoon straw hut.

We had plenty of wildlife to keep us company. We had a flock of bats roosting in the porch and a swarm of mosquitos feast on our limbs. The mossies were so bad that we had to "double bag" the bed with 2 mosquito nets.

Despite the mossies the accommodation at Mikdi Beach is the first accommodation that we've had in the whole of Africa that has felt like good value for money. For once we are somewhere that is clean and with good facilities that doesn't cost a fortune.

It is also the first beach we've been to since Torquay where no one has tried to sell us anything. We'd forgotten how relaxing it could be sat on a beach without continually being asked if you would like a massage, drink, ice cream, mango, wood carving, coconut, sarong, t-shirt, pineapple, some henna, some jewelry, some shells or a snorkelling or dolphin watching trip. However; Liz would love a copy of Heat magazine for all the Jacko gossip . . . Where are those bloody beach vendors when you need them!

We're guessing that the only reason why there's no vendors here is because it's too dangerous and even they fear a good mugging. There are warning signs all around the camp.

And just in case you forget when you are on the loo, the back of every toilet door is emblazoned with "WARNING! INSIDE CAMP = SAFE. OUTSIDE CAMP = NOT SAFE". The closest internet cafe is about a two minute walk back out of the camp onto the main road. Even for a walk this short they recommend that you take one of the camp's security guards with you.

Because the Masai are renown as fearsome warriors many of them work as security guards, more often than not dressed in their traditional clothes. Since we arrived in Kenya over a month ago virtually everywhere we've stayed has had Masai security guards. It's now got to the point where it doesn't feel safe unless there's a club wielding Masai within 50 yards!

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