Travels with V

Tanzania, Zanzibar & Pemba

In an African archipelago

Pemba part one

But there’s more island-hopping ahead. Once again in a tiny plane we make a jump to Pemba, north of Zanzibar. This island is a bit smaller, but very different from its neighbour. In Pemba there is hardly any tourism at all, there are less than a handful of hotels on the whole island.

We’re spending the last couple of days of our honeymoon trip at Fundu Lagoon, a quite luxurious but still discrete and eco-friendly lodge by the north-west coast. There are no roads to it, so all transport has to be done by boat. We moor by an extremely long jetty and make our way to a complex of buildings almost all hidden from the sea by trees. There’s a reception with a little shop, a storage room for diving equipment, a lounge with a bar, a breakfast room and a library/games/tv room. And by the shore the cabanas lie carefully separated in a beach forest. The cabanas have tarpaulin walls, but much sturdier than the ones in Kati Kati camp in Serengeti. The furniture and the bathroom is also much more robust and comfortable.

We have a porch with deckchairs, and from it there’s a staircase leading down to a secluded part of the beach. On a table there is an ice cold bottle of Prosecco that isn’t too hard to finish.

It’s not high season here so the place isn’t even half full. We hardly see the other guests except before dinner when we all gather in the jetty bar for a drink. It’s a perfect place also for an after-dinner drink, and watching the sun set in the ocean.

There’s excursion opportunities here too, of course, and we join a snorkeling party out to little Misali island that has a great sandy beach where local fishermen have pulled up their boats. One of them exits from the forest with a captured coconut crab. It’s a giant land crab and a heavyweight champion in the animal kingdom. It can punch a hole in a coconut with one blow of its claw.

In the little forest at Misali we also see a green monkey in a tree. We wonder how it got here, the island is at least four nautical miles from the nearest coast of Pemba. It stares at us and probably asks itself the same question about us. Then we eat a lunch of tuna and fresh fruit and life is just great.

There are some animals in and around the lodge as well. Big black centipedes often cross the sandy footpaths and in the evening dark land crabs rustle in the dry leaves on the ground. There’s a pool with fantastic views on a hilltop behind our cabana, and it’s sometimes visited by a flock of green monkeys looking for food and water. They can be fussy and try to steal your bag and when we try to shoo them away they get aggressive, especially the young males.

If someone in the staff comes near the monkeys  flee, but they don’ have the same respect for us white folks.

The alfa male doesn’t care at all, he just rests in the sun displaying his blue and red genitals.

Every night on Pemba we hear strange cries in the night. It’s the cries of the so called bush babies. We try without success to spot one, and now there’s only one chapter left. Will we succeed? 

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