Christmas in Pangani Tanzania

The dhow to Sand Island
The dhow to Sand Island

East African secret hideaway

 Where is Pangani, you might ask?  Pangani is on the east coast of Tanzania in Central Africa, 340km to the east from Moshi and Mt Kilimanjaro, about 200km north from Dar-es-Salam, and just a little south from Mombasa in Kenya.  It is completely un-touristy.  Fabulous.  After the burglary on Sunday 20 December, a holiday in Pangani was just what I needed to recover from having my laptop and cameras stolen. 

The beach at Pangani was virtually deserted, just a few visitors from the ultra-exclusive luxury tented lodge next door that charges $110 per person per day!  I was only paying $12 a day for the house which had better views!  It was a perfect setting, one in which helped me to relax and come to terms with my burglary and what I’d lost.  Tony and Siobhan’s cell phones were on the coffee table and also stolen, dragged off the table with a stick and pulled towards the window.  But enough about my burglary.  I cooked all our meals on a fire, barbecuing meat and making delectable potjies in my black cast iron cooking pot.  I impressed even myself.  Arden and I headed into the town which was quite dilapidated but quaint at the same time, and bought fresh fish and langoustines.  The langoustines were huge. More like crayfish and we paid $8 for four.  The next day, we went back and bought nine for $15.  Delicious!  Grilled on the barbecue, awesome.  Andrei went crazy and besides eating his share of the tails, ate the contents of all nine heads and bodies!  He went running every morning and did his laps in the sea, and then pull ups on the rafters!  Unfortunately, it didn’t inspire any of us to become fitter and copy him.  It was just too hot.  Swimming, tanning, reading, chatting, cooking, exploring.  The days flew past.  Initially we had planned to stay until the 28th December, then catch an Arab dhow across to Zanzibar.  But, we heard that Zanzibar had no power for two weeks and they reckoned probably two weeks more.  Someone had accidentally severed the undersea power cable, and when they tried to fix it, they accidentally blew up the repaired part.  Typical.  But we were having so much fun with Andrei and Arden, that we decided to return with them and go on safari together.  So, the 30th December we are heading to the Ngorongoro Crater where the wildlife viewing is supposed to be spectacular.  They leave Tanzania on the 1st January to head back to China and we are going to miss them terribly.  But at least, we can send back Kerri’s gifts with them!

We went on a dhow to Sand Island, a sand bar in the middle of the ocean surrounded by coral reefs.  Great snorkelling and swimming in water so warm, you almost don’t believe it’s in an ocean.  Of course, the sun block wasn’t enough and we all got burnt to a crisp!  Then, we went exploring Pangani’s sordid past – it was a big centre of the slave trade.  The old slave prison is still in use as Pangani’s prison, the slave depot is crumbling away and being overgrown by vegetation.  Nobody wants to be reminded of the slave trade that made the now sleepy town a bustling port a century ago.  The warehouse where the slaves were kept while waiting for the dhows to carry them away to far off lands is still there, and large blocks in the river show where the jetty once was, where young men and women chained together once walked to an uncertain future.  We saw the Boma, built by a crazy sultan who believed that if you buried live slaves in the foundations, the building would be more secure and stand forever.  But most of all, we saw happy friendly smiling people, eager to help and sell you their wares.  Pangani was a dream holiday.  It reminded me of my childhood summer holidays, packing the car with groceries and things we needed for roughing it at the coast.  Christmas was special.  I made a barbecue, cooked potatoes for a potato salad on an open fire, and custard for our Christmas pudding.  Tony wore a santa hat and acted as the Christmas fairy, handing the gifts out from under the little plastic made in China tree, I’d bought in Arusha a couple of weeks ago.  Andrei cycled the 340km back to Moshi!

One thing I realised, is that people can create their own misery.  You can choose whether or not to see the negative or positive in anything.  We had someone with us who hates Africa and all she could see was the negative in everything.  However, the beauty of the surroundings and great company did not let her reprimanding looks, caustic comments or sour expression ruin our holiday.  We had a ball.  We loved Pangani!  When your children turn to you and say, this was one of the best holidays ever, you know that it was good.  Pangani was exceptional.  Who cares about my lost electronic goods.  They can be replaced.  But the memories from this amazing holiday, will endure forever.  Maybe, some of Hemmingway rubbed off on me after all.    Should you wish to follow my blog or read more about my burglary, life in Tanzania and other adventures, then click on this.  I wish you all a successful and happy 2010!

Andrei after cycling all the way to Arusha National Park.  Note the giraffe behind him, exhausted after his effort
Andrei after cycling all the way to Arusha National Park. Note the giraffe behind him, exhausted after his effort
Arden and her boys with their Kilimanjaro guide and porter
Arden and her boys with their Kilimanjaro guide and porter
Maji Moto Chemke - the magical pool
Maji Moto Chemke - the magical pool
Swimming at Maji Moto
Swimming at Maji Moto
Huge anthills
Huge anthills
Tony in the Christmas spirit along the way to Pangani
Tony in the Christmas spirit along the way to Pangani
Andrei 'The Animal' cycling 120km of the way to Pangani
Andrei 'The Animal' cycling 120km of the way to Pangani
The Tate Pub where we stopped for lunch and had liver and rice
The Tate Pub where we stopped for lunch and had liver and rice
The view of the beach at Pangani when we arrived
The view of the beach at Pangani when we arrived
Pangani in the morning
Pangani in the morning
The house we stayed in that Ernest Hemmingway once stayed in
The house we stayed in that Ernest Hemmingway once stayed in
Pangani fishing boats
Pangani fishing boats
Tony trying to be a Maasai
Tony trying to be a Maasai
Streets of Pangani Town
Streets of Pangani Town
Beautiful old carved wooden doors set on dilapidated buildings
Beautiful old carved wooden doors set on dilapidated buildings
I love the name of this hair salon!
I love the name of this hair salon!
Relaxing on holiday
Relaxing on holiday
Fun in the warm Indian Ocean
Fun in the warm Indian Ocean
Walking down to the pristine beach from the house
Walking down to the pristine beach from the house
Fishermen at dusk
Fishermen at dusk
Andrei getting stuck into the langoustines
Andrei getting stuck into the langoustines
Tony acting as Santa's little helper on Christmas Day
Tony acting as Santa's little helper on Christmas Day
Sailing to Sand Island on an Arab dhow
Sailing to Sand Island on an Arab dhow
Sand Island
Sand Island
The Boma where live slaves were buried to strengthen the foundations
The Boma where live slaves were buried to strengthen the foundations
The intricately carved wooden door of the Boma
The intricately carved wooden door of the Boma
Husking cocnuts next to the Pangani River
Husking cocnuts next to the Pangani River
Old slave prison still in use today
Old slave prison still in use today
Old slave depot, crumbling and being taken over by vegetation
Old slave depot, crumbling and being taken over by vegetation
Fishing dhow on Pangani River
Fishing dhow on Pangani River
Remains of the old jetty that slaves used to walk on to board the slave ships
Remains of the old jetty that slaves used to walk on to board the slave ships
My cooking potjie on the hot coals
My cooking potjie on the hot coals
Standing outside the house Ernest Hemmingway stayed in, hoping that some of his genius will rub off on me
Standing outside the house Ernest Hemmingway stayed in, hoping that some of his genius will rub off on me
The shortcut from Pangani to Muheza
The shortcut from Pangani to Muheza
Traffic on the Pangani-Muheza road
Traffic on the Pangani-Muheza road
Traditional huts along the way
Traditional huts along the way
A rest stop in a small town, Maasai warriors frequenting the bar
A rest stop in a small town, Maasai warriors frequenting the bar

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Comments 22 comments

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

You really know how to make me green with envy. Gosh it is so beautiful. Thank you for showing all these pictures. The only way I will see it.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Cindy, What a unique vacation. It looked fantastic. I never would have thought to travel there but you sold me with all those terrific pictures.


ralwus 6 years ago

Well what an experience girl, and a most wonderful hub with great pictures too. Now you know which one is my favorite don't you? Are those lobsters with a funny name or prawns on steroids? LOL I am so envious, but then I have had my fun in the sand as well. Great job Cindy and lookin' forward to more from you after you get everything settled. Love and hugs and Happy New Year too! x CC


Whistler2417 profile image

Whistler2417 6 years ago from Mississippi

Wow Cindy, you make my Christmas tradition seem old and frumpy. Tradition be gone (except for trees, presents and Santa), experiencing new things be welcome. That photo of the sunset and the fishermen is gorgeous. Now that ant hill, I am not sure I would have stood that close. How tall was the tallest person? A body could get lost in that thing. Wishing you safe travels and a splendid Happy New Year to travel more.


alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Cindy,

What a wonderful adventure. The photos are wonderful. Thanks for taking me along on your journey. Really enjoyed it.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Wonderful time you had - makes me totally jealous. A little reminiscent of the holidays I spent on the Transkei Wild Coast in my long ago past! The pix are beautiful too. Thanks so much for sharing.

Love and peace

Tony


eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Hope you are enjoying yourself

Keep on hubbing!


Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Love your tan! Your pictures remind me of Monrovia, Liberia!! The aqua peeling paint, run down buildings.. and the ant hills! OOH! H.U.G.E.!!!! The only diff is the vegetation. We had elephants, but no giraffes. Love your hub.. sorry to hear about the burglary (I've been offline for a while).. It's quite the feeling of being violated, isn't it!

Belated Merry Christmas and a happier New Year, Cindy! And many many hugs!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Hello, Hello it was very beautiful! I can't believe it's not a major tourist spot there. Maybe because you have to travel on dirt roads to get there.

Pamela, Tanzania is definitely worth a travel

Ralwus, think you would have loved this holiday. You do seem like the camping type.

Tony, it was exactly like the Wild Coast we remember!

Alekhouse, my next hub will be on the Crater. The wildlife we saw was amazing!

Whistler, don't throw away your old traditions, keep them and add some new like we did.

Eovery, I still have one more week of holiday left!

Candie, merry Christmas to you to my friend! Have missed you!


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

Great pictures Cindy...those wooden doors look so much like ones you would find here in India! Happy new year to you and the family!


amillar profile image

amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK

I'm turquoise with envy, it's freezing here.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Hey FP, the wooden doors are the Arab influence, so design might have originally been Indian

Amillar, beautiful weather here, lol


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Hey cindyvine, good to hear from you! Lovely hub, wonderful pics. You had a great Christmas, anyway. It's so hard for me to imagine being hot, too hot to ride a bike or swim, even...here, we have had snow, but not til AFTER Christmas. Thank you so much for sharing your vacation.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Paradise snow brrrrrrrr, don't even want to imagine that!


russiangypsygirl profile image

russiangypsygirl 6 years ago

Amazing photos of Pangani! I crave this live your living! Cheers to you!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Russiangypsygirl, the photos didn't do Pangani justice! But, watch out for my next hub on the Ngorongoro Crater!


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 6 years ago from australia

Oh these pics were so amazing I just wanted to jump through my PC to get there. I actually gave it a go but I got my double DD's stuck. Yikes.

Ohhhhhhhhhh heck I got to that lobster pic and just froze, that did it for me, I am now typing this comment hunched over with a big drool bucket beneath me. Oh boy oh boy.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Lol we bought 9 lobsters for $10! You better start saving for the visit!


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 6 years ago from australia

That is amazing 9 for 10. We are getting totally ripped in Australia. Ok I will start saving, I'm budgeting and bringing 70 spending money. 7 days worth of lobsters will keep me sustained.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

For sure, and isn't that house in Pangani cool? You know Ernest Hemmingway lived there for a time?


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 6 years ago from australia

Oh Cin seriously they are some of the most coolest pics I've seen. By the way are there any single men in those snaps? Just curious you know lol.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Just my son but he's only 18

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