Which means hello & welcome in Swahili….my feet finally touch Tanzanian soil after a journey starting very early (02h00 to be precise) in Cape Town. This is one (& possibly the only..) downside to living in Cape Town now – I hate to admit it but Johannesburg does have the edge over the Mother City when travelling within Africa as it serves as the springboard for all regional African flights. No matter – it is a small price to pay & one has to keep the end goal in mind….
A journey by road is a fantastic introduction to a country – people going about their daily lives, scenery, colours, smells…..in the middle of Karatu village at a rough hand painted sign we turn right & make our way up what looks like a farm road….all of us are wondering what we have let ourselves in for as the sign is basic to say the least & the road doesn’t inspire confidence either…..but it just goes to show that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover as the lodge turns out to be a winner.
It is the tail end of the long rainy season in East Africa and the cool misty conditions are pleasant. The lodge doesn’t look like much from the outside although the immaculate subtropical gardens filled with exotic plants – jacaranda, bougainvilla, frangipani – do give a slight clue that this is no ordinary lodge. By the end of our first walk around we are all in love with the gardens, our house for the night & the friendly staff….it is quite difficult to please four jaded & highly critical travellers but they have managed it!!
The lodge is beautifully but simply furnished using local materials & supporting local craftspeople which really gives one a sense of place. The innovative flower arrangements are all done by the staff using the tropical flowers & foliage from the gardens – no mass produced hot house roses here….