June 15, 2013
Tanga is probably the most organized town in the country but it is also a growing town whose infrastructure is ever changing and unless you are looking for tips from social media, a book guide may not be as useful because new businesses are born just as much as they shut down. With the help of a local guide (who can be a friend, a family member or a professional) it is easy to find activities to do and have a great time but if you are new to the city and without a host, you may want to know where to start. Here are a few suggestions:
Private car hire/taxi, mini bus (dala-dala), motor bike, bicycle, walking; the dala-dala and bicycles are most common way of going around town.
What to do?
Tourism is a growing industry in Tanga and there are quite a number of tour companies and agents offering; half-day trips, full day trips and getaways. If you choose to go solo though here is what you can do:
Go to the beach for a swim, marine watch or fishing. The most accessible beach close to the bus stand is in Raskazoni. The best access is through beach clubs of which; Jet, Inn by the sea and yacht club are most popular and require a fee payment between 1000-5000Tshs per adult.
Take a boat to the nearby Toten island: it is thought that this was the first settlement by the arabs before they moved in to the mainland. The island still has ruins of the old islamic civilization and the later German civilization. A motorized boat can be hired at the Yatch club for 70,000Tshs.
Walk around the town and admire it’s rich german history as well as the local culture: Tanga was chosen in 1889 as a military post of German East Africa, and became a district office in 1891, some of the buildings have been renovated while others are falling to ruin. While in town visit ‘Urithi Tanga Museum’ which depicts mostly culture of the region itself, from the ancient times to the present, based on tangible and intangible heritage. The building is one of the ancient buildings that were built in 1890 during the colonial period.
Enjoy a bike ride to Amboni caves and nearby Galanos sulphur spring: with the renovated Mombasa road which has bicycle paths in place, you can safely ride to the amboni caves which are about 8km from town. The caves are a popular attraction and are open to the public through out the week with exception of Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. A fee of 1000Tshs per person is applicable. The sulphur springs are a few kilometers away, hidden and you may find the need to ask for directions on several occassions if you don’t have a tour guide.
Where to eat?
The hottest places right now:
Forodhani: sit in the garden and enjoy a variety of food served by the different stalls.
Rusha Roho: a relatively new restaurant serving local cuisines; has both outside and indoor sitting. Located at the ground floor of what used to be majestic cinema.
Good eats around town:
Cappuccino- once upon a time it was the talk of the town but like all business it is now just a common place. They propbably serve one of the best biriani’s in town.
Tawakkal- a popular spot with buses traveling to Mombasa. They serve arabic inspired as well as swahili food.
Mkwakwani- used to be a popular eating spot but is just a common place serving chips and it’s companions.
Local delicacies to try:
‘Halua’- served with coffee for special occassion such as weddings, this sweet is sold through-out the day in shops around the main bus station.
‘Juisi ya miwa’ – served through out the day in some stalls but more commonly in the evening. The blue juice box adjacent to Ngamiani dispendary is the easiest to locate.
‘Vitumbua’ – usually served for breakfast but may be available through out the day.
‘Mikate ya kumimina’ – usually served for breakfast but may be available through out the day.
‘Makopa’ – served in the morning or evenings by the road sides.
Where to sleep?
Soni Hotel, located just across the main bus stand and with a price range begining as low as 25,000Tshs for rooms per night.
Inn by the sea, the cheapest rooms by the ocean; price per room is 25,000Tshs includes breakfast (all rooms accomodate two people) . Not the tidiest accomodation available.
Majuba B&B, has only two double rooms charged at 160USD per night, the site also features a pizzeria and a restaurant which serves brunch and dinner.
Nyumbani resort, a new hotel close to the post office; features a swimming pool, a restaurant, lunch buffet and shuttle service to Mombasa. Price ranges between 100-150$ per night.
Mkoge hotel; probably the most popular hotel overlooking the beach but has probably worn out with time. Still offers a peaceful environment with great space.
If hotels are not in your budget there are several guest houses all around town at a cost of as low as 10,000Tshs per night. If you are stuck on options, take a taxi and ask for their suggestions; the taxi drivers know their way around accomodations.
June 3, 2013
“@FactHive:June is Rebuild Your Life Month”
Finally got most of my training plan figured out!
Yesterday morning I woke up to survey my training route. The starting point is of course my house then I go jogging along the dirt road around the neighbourhood. The route is pretty varied with some areas of the road muddy others semi-forest due to the rains. Probably this will provide for a fun and adventurous run.
To get this training going I have to be up by 5:00a.m. Only the cock is up at this dark hour! However let’s do this.
My running gear is pretty basic; Nike Dri-Fit Tee and wind fly trouser, watch, mobile phone, Google maps and pretty beat-up Nike Trainers.
The biggest challenge I have had during my pre-training preparations is choosing a training plan. Like every 21st century genius my method of solving problems is Googling it.
‘Half-Marathon training plans.’ I managed to find 3 promising plans.
‘Thanks Google search!’
Now the tricky part begins. What category of training do I need? Is it a beginner, intermediate or advanced/expert? I am not an expert that’s for sure. However I have done some running about 2 years ago and then I have been on and off.
This plan gives you an indication of the pace, distance and heart rate targets as well as handy tips and weekly summaries. I do not have the facilities to monitor most of the the key indicators. This plan is good but not for me.
This is a basic endurance training plan with just time goals which works for me. The 30 minute runs at the beginning are something that I can work towards successfully. The only hindrance for me is that some part of the training requires circuit training in the park which will be difficult to find around my area as there are no such facilities and the open space are hilly. In addition I prefer not to train on Mondays and Thursdays. So this would have been so right but unfortunately not.
This training plan offers a variety of routines which makes it look a lot more interesting. It also offers cross training in week 4 which is something to look forward to as I would like to mix it up with swimming sessions. The best part about this training is that I get to choose what day to start my training plan and as such I have managed to secure Monday and Thursday as rest days.
‘Hooray!’ I have found a training plan that works for me.
An interesting fact is that this programme is for beginners but looks so much like the intermediate programmes from Barnado’s. Looks like BUPA runners are seriously fit.
Next: Following and Liking BUPA running on Twitter and Facebook. Then prepare for my first running session tomorrow morning.
Uhuru is a Swahili word meaning ‘freedom’ or independence’ but this article is not about patriotism.
Tomorrow will be the 1st of June 2013. Don’t wonder so much there is nothing special about tomorrow except that it reminds me,
‘we are half way through 2013′.
Last night I made an attempt to look back at the beginning of this year to check if I made any new year resolutions for 2013.Thank God I did nothing of the sort! However now I feel like making a half year resolutions and they are all focused on ‘Uhuru’.
Uhuru for me is a word that stands for all the things that I have wanted to do. It is so much like the idea of ticking off items in your bucket list. For my half year 2013 resolution I have two main items in the list all involving considerable fitness preparation. :
1) Climbing Kilimanjaro and taking a picture at the ‘Uhuru Peak’ set for October 2013
2) Running a marathon but first I’ll start off with completing a half marathon in the ‘Uhuru Marathon’ which is set to take place on the 8th of December 2013 in Daressalaam, Tanzania.
There you have it my Uhuru X Uhuru a mathematical formula for a truly fitness adventure.
May 17, 2013
I finally got over my phobia for pitch dark places with a labyrinth of passages and low oxygen levels. Shaking off that phobia saw me and my claustrophobic sister walk into East-Africa’s largest limestone cave system luckily found in my hometown, Tanga- Amboni caves. Situated about 8km off Tanga-Mombasa road which is now a smooth ride down following the renovations. Our patient and encouraging guide, Mwinyi Boko walked us through a maze of passages (avoiding the squeezes) into caverns sharing myths about the caves and enlightening us on the natural carving attractions within. In this post I share some pictures of the Amboni caves and caving terminologies.
There are about 10 caves at Amboni but only two are used for tours. This is the entrance to the largest of the two. Note the map of Africa?
At this point, cavers (CAVER. n. A person who goes caving.) may sit with the tour guide for briefing and/or refreshments before or after the tour.
Rocks project both from the roof and the ground of the cave. During rainy season water is seen dripping on the walls; there are no streams, springs or lakes within the cave.
A labyrinth of passages: some are walk-throughs, some are squeezes and some are like rifts.
Heard of Osalo Otango? His story is very common during visits to the caves or if you get time to talk to the people of Kiomoni village near by the caves. Read Chaiba Kombo’s narration – UNTOLD STORIES: Amboni caves and the story of the African hero.
There are several attractions within the cave that have been associated to various monuments, animals and historical events. One of them is this semicircular wall niche that is likened to the mihrab; there is even speculation regarding the line markings on the wall being Quranic inscriptions. I couldn’t make out any words in particular but the guide was convinced that he could read ‘Bismillah’. I still wonder whether the wall niche is actually facing the qiblah!
As you go deep the caves become pitch dark, there are chambers with windows that let light and air through.
Roots run deep: some roots traverse the caves, they are strong enough to support a person’s weight allowing one to climb up the walls.
There are several blocks within the caves some forming false stair cases and convenient sits, tables or beds.
A large colony of bats reside in the caves: you’ll hear the high pitched sounds and the sounds of their butting wings as you get into the caves. As you go deeper into the caves the floor is filled with their excrement making the air somewhat stuffy.
GUANO. n. A large accumulation of bat excrement which may also consist partly of decomposing animal skeletal material and small fragments of rock particles. To a lesser extent in caves it may consist of bird droppings.
Arachnophobic? Beware of creepy crawlers.
These are just some of the pictures… If we showed you all that there is, there would be nothing left to fascinate you when you decide to go spelunking or potholing (both words synonymous to “CAVING. (1) v. The physical act of entering and exploring a cave or caves. (2) n. The sport of exploring caves and other aspects.”)
Have you been to Amboni caves?
All caving terms definition have been sourced from- GLOSSARY OF CAVING TERMS by Garry K Smith
May 7, 2013
I’m a wreck. I know that, staring at the reflection from the tall glass slabs of the North Building at Canary Wharf. A loose button near my blouse collar exposed my under vest, one end of my scarf loosely wrapped around my head and the other flying in the wind like a patriotic flag, untied laces of my newly bought gladiators exposing my redden feet, shoulders weighed down with kilos of books on inequality and poverty statistics and a million thoughts colliding in my head like free atoms.
I did not know how I happened to be standing at the core of the capitalistic hell or where I had been walking to look so disheveled. All I knew is that this was not a place for philanthropic thoughts and I had to leave the ideas about world peace in books where they belong. From here on I was going to be a one woman’s show.
April 21, 2013
Walking allows me to free my mind of the day’s disappointments or anxiety. While walking, I almost always find something that is worth the sweat or the sun burn, this time around is this mystery gallery down the ‘Ghala road’ adjacent to ‘Children outreach (or Children reach)’ off Moshi town center. I hope peaking in and snapping these pictures doesn’t constitute trespassing.I’m not an art literati but I would describe the amazing pieces of art that I saw as a form of African modernism; watching out for the opening day.
April 15, 2013
If it is fated for you to recover from this illness, then you will recover whether you call a doctor or not.
Likewise, if you are fated not to recover, you will not do so whether you call a doctor or not.
But either it is fated that you will recover from this illness, or it is fated that you will not recover.
I just copied and pasted the above so called idle argument from Wikipedia; in my university it is not a proper reference and it is dismissible. But for purpose of convenience Wikipedia is the best reference to win an argument.
This is not an argument.
Fatalism may be thought of as in ability to change our future; we have a predetermined path and whether we lie in bed all day or move around in circles whatever is meant to happen will happen and what’s not meant, won’t. Well, that is what philosophers thought or perhaps still think of fate as; I wouldn’t know because philosophy isn’t my best suit and am really not going to be a doctor about it by trying to dig deeper into it. Going by the above speculations, I’m not a believer of ‘fate’ or ‘fatalism’.
I believe that our action and choices take us down a certain path to a certain point; it may be a straight road, bumpy one, a long way, a short cut or a few wrong turns but we eventually get home. But no matter how great or bad a choice we make, what will happen to us as a result of that choice isn’t our choice and isn’t in our control. Doing good increases the odds that good will come to us but it doesn’t take away the fact that bad may also come our way; that isn’t in our control. May be an example would help, if getting lung cancer was solely the result of smoking several packs of cigarettes a day then all smokers should have cancer; do they?