The set-up is rustic and simple but comfortable, with sleeping rooms, or “bandas”, located a short distance from the central Banda and overlooking the ocean. These are A-frame structures boasting en-suite bathrooms with toilet and showers. All Bedding is provided and consists of either mattresses on the floor or on traditional beds made from a sturdy frame with woven cord between.
Things to Do
While life for the people living along the coast is quite full with things to do – going out on the ocean to fish and collect food, repairing boats, mending fishing equipment, tending the small farms, weaving baskets – there is a sense of serene calmness to their activities that no-doubt is influenced by their proximity to the ocean. The same is true for visitors to the area, with plenty of time for relaxing but also a lot to do for the adventurous.
Biking & Walking
Take a stroll down the beach and explore some of the tide pools, bursting with weird and wonderful life, that are exposed on the low tide. Down the beach a-ways a small stream, locally termed the “windy-pop”, runs into the ocean and at low tide one is able to poke about in the mangroves along its banks. Beyond the beach lies some prime coastal forest that offers great bird-watching and walking.
About a 45 minute walk down the beach lies the fishing village of Ushongo where one can watch as boats and nets are repaired and the days catch comes into the market. A number of hotels are located around the village where one can enjoy a drink or shop for curios.
Bikes can be rented from the village to use for beach cruising or exploring the little trails that wind between farms and homesteads inland.
One can rent wind-surfing equipment, and double or single Kayaks can be obtained to explore the sheltered bay. During high-tide, the small stream flowing into the ocean down the beach is accessible to kayaks and offers some amazing opportunities to get close to birds perched on the banks.
On calm, clear days a fringing coral reef located just out in front in the bay is accessible and offers great snorkeling opportunities.
Excursion can also be organized to the Maziwe Island Marine Park. This is a sandbar located about 8km offshore and surrounded by turquoise waters and pristine coral reef. Being off-shore, the water is usually clear with great visibility and offers some of the best snorkeling anywhere on the Tanzanian coast.
Diving in the Marine Park can also be organized through Kasa Divers, who run a PADI accredited dive shop near the fishing village of Ushongo.
The Kasa Divers dive shop also runs a Green Turtle nest relocation program. Green Turtle eggs laid on Maziwe Island would normally be killed by the high-tide (it was once a larger island and nests were above the high-tide mark) and so are relocated to the mainland. If lucky, you might be there when one of the nests is hatching and can watch the little hatchlings struggle for the ocean.
Located just south of the Pemba channel and across from Zanzibar, the area boasts some world-class game fishing for Tuna, Billfish and other pelagics who arrive with the northerly trade winds between October and April. Throughout the year one can also target juvenile Giant Trevally, Barracuda and other reef fish.
Spending a day with a local fishing boat can also be arranged. One should be prepared, however, to spend the whole day out on the ocean in a small sailboat.
There are numerous other activities such as visiting the old German fort overlooking the Pangani River, learning about the history of slavery and the Arab trade in the town of Pangani, visiting the coconut plantations and weaving baskets and matts with the local ladies.