|Monday 20th August - Tanzania - Maweni
In the middle of the night Alasdair woke to feel his whole bed moving back and fore. None of the rest of us felt anything, but apparently there was a slight earthquake here early this morning. This is the most recent in a series of tremors that have occurred over the last few weeks.
Unfortunately we started today with a big argument between us and the Honey Badger staff. Last night we asked for a price for them to do our enormous load of washing. We told them wed pay up to $25 to get it all done. They went ahead and did the washing without quoting us a price and then this morning told us it would cost $120!!?! It makes opening a laundrette in Moshi seem like a very attractive investment opportunity. Needless to say we didnt pay such a crazy sum.
Moshi would be a great place from which to view Mount Kiliminjaro and Mount Meru, but unfortunately there was low cloud today so we couldnt see it at all.
As weve driven through Africa weve noticed two particular types of tree acacia and baobab. Acacia trees are the flat-topped trees that you imagine a leopard sitting in. We saw a lot of acacia growing in the big plains of the national parks and they look so very typically African. Baobabs are a lot less elegant than acacias. They look almost cartoon-like, their big trunks seeming too fat for the rest of the tree. There were lots of baobab trees growing beside the road between Nairobi and Mombasa and we saw some again today.
Back at Jungle Junction in Nairobi there are a few big noticeboards with information about places to stay in other parts of Africa. Before leaving JJs we noted down a few of these places and so today we made our way to one of them - Maweni Farm, close to Soni in the Usambare mountains. The road to the lodge snakes along the side of a very steep valley - up and up into the mountains. At times we wondered were we in the right place at all, but when we arrived at Maweni we were delighted to have found it. It is a gem of a place an old colonial farmhouse with lovely gardens, wood panelling, big log fires, excellent food and wireless internet access.
We arrived at the lodge in the early afternoon where we, rather optimistically, hung out our still-dripping laundry and then relaxed around the house for the rest of the day. A group of Spaniards are here along with their guide a Lancashire man who now lives in Arusha in Tanzania and is married to a woman from the Black Isle!
There is a little nursery at Maweni Farm for the children of staff. Keziah and Naomi went along to the nursery for a couple of hours this afternoon, taking some of their toys to share with the other children. There were about 6 other children there, probably aged between 1 and 6 years old. The girls had a great time.