A Trip to Tanzania:..& THAT airstrip at Mahale [Day 7]

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Today its goodbye Katavi & onward to Lake Tanganyika…..

The flying time to Lake Tanganyika is only 45 minutes so a short hop today. The pilot (one of the few lady pilots I have come across in my many travels) has carefully seated us in the plane so that the weight distribution is correct as I believe the Mahale airstrip is infamous amongst pilots in Tanzania….you’ll see why in a minute…I’ve got a seat in the first row which gives me an excellent view of the proceedings…Our first view of Lake Tanganyika…

Can anybody spot the airstrip yet? Yes, that’s it….in the top left hand corner of the photo – between a rock & a wet place….Now you can see why the airstrip has such a fearsome reputation! Fortunately I’ve never been a nervous flier!! If I had to choose a pilot in a tricky situation I would always choose one with experience of bush airstrips – these guys (& gals) really know how to fly…I’m told the trick is to come in really steeply so that you don’t run out of runway at the end…

And touchdown – well done Liz!! Our next mode of transport is waiting for us at the end of the runway….a dhow…we LOVE dhows…

A quick stop for the necessary formalities to sign into Mahale National Park…

And then we’re off…Lazaro has all the luggage safely stowed….did you think I was joking about the dhow?

Ice cold drinks from the cooler box and an absolutely delicious lunch – didn’t get my act together on the photography front until dessert so you’ll just have to take my word for it….skewers of grilled beef as well as vegetable skewers and homemade chips / crisps (depending which country you live in) with a guacamole dip – yum, yum. Such a good idea to have everything on skewers on a boat – makes things far more manageable…

For dessert…..fruit skewers…juicy watermelon. fresh pineapple & the best mango I’ve ever tasted…

The water is a lovely shade of turquoise, warm as bath water and so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom..

And then the first glimpse of our home for the next two nights – Greystoke Mahale - & I think we’re going to like it…

 

Greystoke Mahale has just 6 wood and thatch bandas hidden in the edge of the forest just a few feet away from a pristine white sandy beach. This is my banda..with a great view of the beach…the bowl of water at the entrance so you can wash the sand off your feet is a nice touch..and an incense stick & yoga mat should you wish to practise your asanas…another place I could live quite happily…

Each banda has an en-suite bathroom – accessible by a short boardwalk – with hot and cold running water, strong showers and flush toilets, eco-friendly amenities & luxurious fluffy white towels. You are also spoilt with a dressing room and upstairs chill-out deck….in short everything one would need for a happy life on the lakeshore!!

Nothing too strenuous is planned for the afternoon – we decide the only thing we feel like doing is a dhow cruise….maybe some fishing with simple little hand reels….the yellow belly were biting and we got a good haul of about six decent size fish…

 A quick feshen up before heading off to the bar at the point where we discover the chef has prepared sashimi from one of the fish we caught & served it with soy sauce, sesame seeds and a little pistachio green wasabi….absolutely delicious and you can’t get fish any fresher than that…

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