Wherever I am in the world, being by the sea makes me feel at home. It has the ability to calm my mind and soothe my soul, drawing me in like the tide and reluctantly letting me go. Waking up at 5:30 AM to witness the sunrise made the travelling troubles fade away. We dipped our toes in the warm Indian Ocean, patiently watching the horizon for the sun to appear, basking in her aurora as she gradually rose. The beach was secluded and peaceful, stretching for miles both North and South of where we were.
Local fisherman cycled past, nets and rods to hand, ready for a full day of deep sea fishing. A mile or so to the right of the resort, children played in the sand, greeting the tourists and posing for photographs. Many live amongst the palm trees in hand-built shacks, neighboring the resort itself, affirming the intrusion of Western culture in their territory.
The tropical weather in Pangani is a change from Moshi’s wet and dry climate. The cool breeze that accompanies the scorching heat makes the humidity bearable. A morning swim prior to breakfast was warmly welcomed, swimming out to the floating dock that was a perfect spot for sunbathing. At low tide there is no need to swim far as wading up to your chest is as deep as the water gets.
Breakfast at The Beach Crab resort was continental from a Western perspective. There was an array of Fresh fruit and jams to accompany warm white and wholemeal rolls. Peanut butter, a Tanzanian staple food, was also served, treating us to PB & J sandwiches if we fancied it. Eggs and pancakes were also on offer, catered to our preferences, served alongside tea or coffee.
Lunch and dinner both came at a price of 15,000 TSH a meal with 3 or 4 options to choose from. Our plan was to explore an array of eateries along the coastline and in particular find local food to stick to our budget. We soon realised that local food was only an option in Pangani Town (back over the river!) and the other resorts along the beach charged the same if not more per meal. That said, the food was of a good standard and filling, however charging 15,000TSH for a plain salad when the vegetarian option couldn’t be catered to suit vegans, it became a bit pricey. The meals found on the menu usually consisted of lasagne, pasta dishes, thai curries and fish. Why didn’t we bring our own food, you’ll say? Well, the other inhabitants of the Pangani coastline are the Velvet Monkeys. These hungry creatures formed a habit of breaking into the lodgers’ huts and eating all of their food.
We visited Pangani in the low season meaning many of their summer time activities were not available. They offer windsurfing, kayaking, scuba diving, horse riding, walking tours and snorkelling. They have a volleyball pitch along with a pool table and darts board to keep entertainment levels at a high in the midday sun.
The only activity we took part in was snorkeling. At $5 per day to hire all of the equipment, we couldn’t refuse and set off to find the coral reefs. To our disappointment, the coral reefs were a boat trip away, an excursion that did not run at low season. We had heard raving reviews of a trip to the sandbanks as well as to Maziwi Island Marine Reserve where we could see up to 400 species of fish. Instead, we enjoyed swimming as far out to sea as we could bare, intrigued by small shoals of fish and sea cucumbers on the sea bed.
Without a doubt, the best activity that the Resort really could offer, one not widely advertised, is lounging on the beach enjoying the tranquility. Pangani truly is a place to relax, recuperate and experience a small piece of paradise on such an underrated coast. We chose to build a bonfire one evening as the Resort provided us with the logs, stools and beer (no marshmallows unfortunately!) and we had to do the rest. No doubt it was an arduous task, however worth the effort for the warmth and triumph we found upon completion. A midnight skinny dip was another highlight of the trip, swimming amongst bio-luminescent organisms that lit up the water around us as we swam.
Top Tips whilst staying at The Beach Crab Resort:
1) Don’t leave belongings on the sunloungers! The beach may look devoid of people but cameras soon grow legs and wander off when not looking! (An experience we wouldn’t want to wish on anybody)
2) Budget enough money to cover meal and drink costs. 1L Bottles of water were priced at 2,500 TSH each and since tap water was out of the question, it was a pricey addition to the food bill.
3) Be prepared for salt water showers! Embrace the salty skin and salty hair feeling as you won’t feel sparkly and clean for the duration of your stay. It is all part of the experience however!
4) The power sources in the beach huts are usually switched off overnight so be sure to charge your phones and devices during the daytime.
5) We would highly reccomend paying an extra $2 a night to rent a fan. The humidity seems to rise at night and sleeping can be sticky and sweaty!
P.S Don’t forget to look up. Stargazing in Pangani is truly spectacular. Devoid of light pollution and noise, relaxing on a sun lounger with a drink in hand is one way to top off an evening.