Heading North…

Tourist offerings on a beach in Zanzibar

We arrived back from Malawi overladen with spare parts, birthday presents, special food goodies from Australia and a couple of souvenirs. Customs had a field day asking what this was and that was and we ended up having to pay $45 import fees which was very reasonable.  Indian Summer was bobbing around in the bay when we get back to Slipway – it’s amazing how much you can miss your boat when you have been away!  We didn’t need much time in Dar, but it was Ian’s 60th  the following week so we celebrated with some cruisers and Jason at Zuane, out favourite restaurant in Dar.  A couple days layer we upped anchor and set sail for Zanzibar on our way to Tanga. 

Maasai on the powder white sands of Zanzibar

We sailed with Proud Cat as we are both heading North to Kenya.  We had dinner on the beach and then went off to look for some good dive sites. We had been disappointed with South East Asia and the Indian Ocean in general as the corals were bleached. We were hoping for better here.  On our first dive Ian lost his weight belt so he had to head back to the boat which was a shame as it was fabulous with many different corals and fish.  East Africa must have escaped the bleaching so common elsewhere. We headed round to a small island called Nnemba and did a couple more dives – Ian borrowed Mikes spare dive belt but we will have to get a other one before get to Kenya.  We visited the village of Nungwi  right at the top of Zanzibar and were surprised that all the kids were asking for money. No waves or smiles here. Zanzibar must have had tourism for a long time…  the village was very run down with crumbling buildings and mouldy walls – there was sewage running straight into the ocean from the hotels which was obvious due to the colour of the water even though they said it wasn’t!

The run down streets of Nungwi 

We headed back to the village of Kendwa further south which was much cleaner and had great restaurants.  We spent about a week here before the wind have us a window and we could head off to Tanga – our final port of call in Tanzania.

Tanga is the second largest town in Tanzania but it is SO sleepy.  We were told ‘It’s always Sunday in Tanga!’  which was quite refreshing after the bustling city of Dar es Salaam. Tanga has a great yacht club which used to be very active before the piracy days. Nowadays most cruisers head straight to South Africa avoiding East Africa completely and do Tanga has very few visiting yachts now. It’s a shame because it is such a lovely place and has the cheapest beer so far!! Only one Aussie dollar – and there’s a choice!!

There were a few solo sailors here and Phil from Paseafique was here so we had a few days exploring the place with him.  The coffee shop had no coffee and the local transport is hitching a lift on the back of a bicycle – but there is still a small amount of Europeans here whose sole entertainment is the yacht club.  I had promised to look for the grave of a friends mother who was buried here in 1966 so a few of us set off and spent an hour or so searching the European Graveyard for it. There were many unreadable gravestones and many of them overgrown.  We were disappointed not to find it but it was still very interesting as some there were graves of many servicemen who died in  the war as well English and German people. Nearly all the graves were of young people under 30 – presumably because most of them only came here for a certain period of time and then went home. They were not expected to die here.

Tanga yacht club
European Graveyard Tanga

We spent the next couple of weeks chilling out in Tanga waiting for the winds to change in our favour to head north to Kenya.  Eventually the gods shone on us and the anchor was raised and we set off for the delights of Kenya. The actual border was only 30 miles away but we decided to head straight for Kilifi, a creek that would afford us protection from the north easterlies and allow us the luxury of spending time on a good mooring at a well known yacht club/boatyard .  We arrived at about 7am after a great overnight sail  and were met by one of their boatboys who guided us straight onto a mooring.  We set the lines and put the kettle on for a well deserved cup of coffee. By 10am we were having a snooze in the saloon and surfaced at lunchtime to head into the club to introduce ourselves. 
The bar has got sand right up to the bar and  so we promptly named it ‘The Sandbar’ . We think we will be spending many hours at The Sandbar during our stay in Kilifi.  


There are not many cruisers here at present.  Most of them have gone onto South Africa to round the cape this year.  As a result, we were made very welcome by Kilifi Yacht club as they are trying to encourage cruisers back to this lovely part of the world.  They used to get about 50 boats a season and that went to 0 during the height of the piracy off Somalia.  Now some of us are drifting back and boats are even going through the Red Sea again which enables them to get to the Med without sailing right round the bottom of Africa.  

Kilifi itself is a small town, with a high percentage of Europeans still living here.  It has one average supermarket and a plethora of hardware shops and phone shops but no shopping mall or department store. To get anything  electrical or computers fixed etc you have to take the bus to Mombasa – 45 mins away – another journey where as many passengers as possible are crammed into a small minibus!  They run all the time and there seems to be one every minute or so – you can just flag them down and jump on. Great fun…

Buying crabs off the local fisherman

We are spending our days running across to the other side of the creek in the local water taxi to Kilifi to do our shopping, and Ian is fixing up some glass work that needs doing in the forward hull.  We will stay here in Kilifi for another month and then head up to Lamu when our daughter arrives for a visit so that we can do some diving and spend time on the beach. 

The women waiting on the beach for the fishing catch
George driving the water taxi to the other side.

7 thoughts on “Heading North…

  1. Gabrielle Harkins December 18, 2018 / 10:43 am

    Wow, you sound as though you’re both in the rythym of Africa! Very much love the Sand Bar….could see you both perched up there, eating the fresh crabs from the smiley fisherman! Please avoid pirates, miss you xx.


    • svindiansummerblog December 19, 2018 / 3:52 am

      African rhythm is so easy to slip into. We are loving it- everyone is so laid back. Don’t worry about pirates, because of the civil war there is very little piracy now and on yachts are not targeted now. Have a great Christmas and I’ll call you soon. Xxx🎅🌲❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Zanzibar lover December 18, 2018 / 11:40 am

    The small (private) island where you dove was Mnemba Atoll not Nnemba 🙂 and yes, it’s the best spot for diving and snorkeling around Zanzibar 🙂


  3. Gavin and Caroline Barr December 18, 2018 / 4:01 pm

    Thought you were going South about. Maybe now heading for the Med? Good idea, pirates permitting. Happy Christmas and. Best wishes for 2019. Gavin and Caroline.


  4. Sheenagh Gifford December 18, 2018 / 5:45 pm

    Sounds fabulous. I love reading these and the photos are beautiful. Steve from the pub was really interested to see your video of the graveyard and wanted me to be sure to thank you for looking for the grave. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. X


  5. svindiansummerblog December 19, 2018 / 3:55 am

    Hi. Plans made in sand again!! We have decided to spend another year here so we won’t be heading south until this time next year. Love East Africa – so glad we decided to stop here. Have a fantastic Christmas and may 2019 bring lots of joy and laughter xx🎅🎅⛵🍾⚓❤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Mike Lathouras December 20, 2018 / 2:03 am

    Love your blogs Melian. One can tell this has been a long time ambition of your and Ian’s…you are lapping up this global wandering.


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