A walk in the woods

Friday, February 08, 2013
Mambo, Tanga Region, Tanzania
After breakfast we recruited a guide (another one of Hermans projects – train guides) to take us to the waterfalls in the Shagayu Forest. First we had to drive through a number of villages on roads which became steeper and rougher as we went on. Then we walked through the rain forest. There are supposedly 684 indigenous tree species in the Usambara mountains (the whole of Europe has 71) so the area is a botanists paradise. The countryside is very much like Nepal with steep sided valleys, lots of cultivated terraces and very green. It is surprisingly densely populated with children everywhere. The local village has a population of 5000, 2000 of whom are in primary school.
We had a walk along forest tracks to the falls which were quite good although being at 6000 ft so the air is a little thinner than we are used to and by the time we got back Gill was suffering a little so we spent the afternoon sitting in the shade reading.
On our last morning Herman insisted on taking our picture, perhaps in case we got lost on the way back down the mountain and were never seen again. Driving through Lushoto at the inevitable police checkpoint the policeman spotted my cracked windscreen. He wanted a bribe, I would not pay it so in the end I had to go to the police station and pay another 30,000 shilling fine.
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