It is almost a year since I last paid a visit to Pangani and my imminent re-visit is long overdue. My first visit was in 2001. I was chaperoning an American lady on a safari from Dar es Salaam all the way to the Northern Serengeti.
Much was experienced and it was a real adventure. However, it all started in Pangani on the tropical palm fringed coast of Tanzania.
It is hot and humid here. Lots of sisal cacti and many many coconut trees. This sleepy bay is off the beaten track and life is slow. There is a small number of lodges along the bay; the service is excellent and sumptuous – all this on offer without braking the bank. Pangani is not on the main tourist route and so luxury here does not necessarily mean expensive.
We spent three days here and the American lady fell in love with the small luxury tented camp we visited. The beaches are white, clean, and deserted. There is not much to do except unwind and be papered. My guest wrote in the visitor’s book that she thought she had “died and gone to heaven".
We also took a small motorboat and sped across the choppy Pangani Bay, and then slowed down and enjoyed a leisurely mini cruise up the mighty Pangani River, in the lazy late afternoon sun. The riverbanks are strewn with thousands of coconut tress and a prolific bird life - if you are lucky, you may also spot one or two small animals along the riverbank.
On the way back we stooped in the mouth of the river and spent a pleasant hour exploring the ancient Arab town of Pangani. Returning to the lodge just before dark for a shower, sundowners and some excellent food.
Pangani is something a bit different to start or even end your safari. If you like to relax in paradise and in the quiet then Pangani is for you.
If you start your safari in Pangani and then move toward the Serengeti it is good to break the journey for two days in the Usambara Mountains and then a day trip and overnight on the slopes of Kilimanjaro.
The site http://www.tanzania-info.co.uk has full details of National Parks and timetables for Zanzibar Ferries, flights and Buses in Tanzania – and http://www.betheladventure.co.uk has safari information. Use responsible tourism to make a difference to the countries and peoples you visit.