Today was to be the longest driving day of the trip. This was why the alarm rang at 3.10am! Stumbling around in the pitch black trying to be quiet so as not to wake up the other campers we were all packed up and ready in the truck at 4am.
And off we went. The first section was fairly non-eventful as it was in the dark pre-sunrise and most people continued sleeping.
After the sun came up we passed the town of Moshi, the gateway for Mount Kilimanjaro but we were sadly unable to see the fabled mountain due to low hanging cloud cover.
At around 8am Piet pulled the truck over and we had a breakfast break of nearly an hour by the side of the road. We had stopped in the middle of nowhere with wild open air toilets across the road behind the bush (i.e. find a space and do your business), girls to the left and boys to the right. After being fed and watered a production line was started to make our own pack-up to eat later. The whole thing, a very impressive military-style operation!
Once safely back in the truck we continued on our way. The scenery consisted of a mountain range on one side and red desert-like sand punctuated with trees. This changed later to more greenery and mango trees.
We stopped a couple more times for the toilet until eventually we reached Dar es Salaam. We could tell this by the traffic: Dar es Salaam is infamous through Africa for its traffic problem which makes the last 110km into the city centre take anything from 3 to 6 hours.
We appeared to be very fortunate as we reached our campsite before sunset, one of the few times Piet and Vernon had ever achieved it. It was a picture-perfect campsite which was literally on the beach of the Indian Ocean.
Quickly pitching our tents on the sand we rushed down to enjoy paddling in the sea and a wonderful view of the moon shimmering off the ocean.
Dinner was deliciously barbecued chicken with salad at the campsite restaurant-cum-bar before the rest of the night was spent having a couple of beers and enjoying good company.
Waking up to the sound of the waves, we packed up the tent once more before having breakfast.