Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Life is too short for bad coffee

I am a self proclaimed coffee snob, if its not excellent I won't drink it. Now you would think that Tanzania's proximity to Kenya and abundance of coffee farms would delight my coffee fetish but no, in my three years in Tanzania, traveling from Kilimanjaro to Zanzibar I have found but three decent cups of coffee so take note...

1. Africafe in Dar 

(luckily 5 minutes from the office making the 3x weekly take away cappuccinos realistic)

2. Zanzibar Coffee House in Zanzibar 

(They have their own roaster on the premises)

3. Ras Kutani on South Beach.

Only one word describes Ras Kutani, paradise.

This weekend visiting Ras for the third time, but this time with friends I again realized that the packed beaches of Umhlanga will never have the same appeal again. 

There are two ways of getting to Ras, by road or by air. We usually go by road which comprises of a ferry ride that is like a gamble...it can take 10 minutes or 6 hours! And then another hour on a very bumpy road. The air route takes 5 minutes from Dar es Salaam airport where they proceed to row you over the lagoon with your luggage...how decadent can you get...But I prefer taking the road, it is as if all the worries and stresses of Dar fall away as the tar turns to dust and the villages get further and further apart.

There is no sign directing you to Ras, just vague directions comprising of a sandy road and a well hidden half meter high white and red pole...easy to miss but obvious when you are looking out for it! And after parking your car and checking in you enter into paradise where all the walkways are sand making shoes unnecessary for the rest of the weekend.

{image from Ras Kutani}

The beach is magical with masaais setting up daybeds in pairs for guests with a blue flag to wave if an ice cold pina colada is your desire. There is a shipwreck where you see dozens of tropical fish while snorkeling, just be warned...the sun is potent and snorkeling all day can lead to nasty sunburn in the evening...

Half the bungalows are lagoon facing where you can spot a monitor lizard going for it's morning swim and the Palm Nut Vulture (A lifer as a friend remarked) looking for a palm. The other half is seafacing and you sleep with the ocean breaking basically on your doorstep. The Bungalows are constructed of natural and local materials, making a night feel like sleeping in nature, complete with monkeys coming to visit through the open roof in the mornings.

Oh and the food, Hibiscus has her hand in this, is amazing...having visited numerous lodges Ras's food is by far the best! Breakfast is a full english affair with fresh fruit and juices. After lazing on the beach the whole morning lunch follows as a three course sit down with fresh seafood in almost every dish. Dinner is served under a roof of stars overlooking the ocean with the option of dinner for two on the jetty overlooking the lagoon or on the beach for that extra romance.

So, you might by now be wondering why this post started of about coffee, THIS is the best part of Ras Kutani (well for me) the clinking of a thermos of coffee and fresh cookies baked that morning arriving on your doorstep at the time agreed the previous evening. Can you imagine my delight at discovering that it was excellent coffee! Not instant or burned local coffee but specially sourced to make that cup extra special. 

So sitting on my verandah overlooking the ocean with a cup of amazing coffee, that I didn't have to make, in my hand the thought crossed my mind that life is definitely too short for bad coffee. 


1 comment:

  1. what an amazing weekend! pity we never to to experience the wake up call with fresh coffee! we all had a bit to much wine on the beach the previous evening and forgot to inform the wonderful staff!
    instead i got woken up with an old eat-some-more, a pain pill and water!
    still...gooooood times!

    ps...really like this post maisha! one of your best!