Later on day four, Dar es Salaam : 2 November 2012
My husband and I leave the Fishmarket clutching our prize tuna in a plastic bag and hurries along the long queue of cars, busses, Bjajs, motorcycles and pedestrians untill we reach our daughter’s car. Relieved we get into the airconditioned interior as the air outside is heavy with humidity and heat lies like a blanket over the city. The cars move slowly ahead and then we can see the entrance to the ferry . Here the cars are directed into four lanes with an extra lane for bjajs and motorcycles. To me it seems chaotically busy, but according to my daughter it is not busy yet as we are early enough to miss the peak traffic.
At the gate we pay for the car and three passengers. All passengers have to disembark from their cars and enter the ferry on foot to prevent overloading. Along the queue of cars people are selling their wares ranging from small packets of peanuts and sweets, ice cream and fruit and the ever present luke warm soft drinks.We buy a few packets of peanuts from two small boys ( about 7 years of age ) and eventually give their peanuts back telling them to keep the money.This causes great joy and big smiles all round!
At last we reach the front and can enter the ferry. We find a spot in the middle of the throng of cars and wait for the crossing to start. My husband explores the ferry on foot while my daughter and I wait patiently in the car. The crossing takes about five minutes but the whole excercise can take up to three hours.
The ferry is a necessity as the sea forms a deep channel here between the north and south sides of the city and is the only way for people living on one side and working on the other to reach their destination. This deep channel is the entrance to the harbour and allows access to the big container ships.
To understand the layout of the ferry crossing better click here: Ferry crossing