By Deogratias Kishombo (Dar es Salaam) – Located at Kaole in Bagamoyo district the home village of the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Kaole Mamba Ranch is a home of silent reptiles since 1992.
It is about 65 kilometers a one hour travel from the City of Dar es salaam. You will hear countless stories about the reptiles living with human beings in the farm.
Transport is available by bus at Mwenge Bus station and a busy Kariakoo in Dar es Salaam. All min buses are white with a blue strip scribed “Bagamoyo-Makumbusho” via Bagamoyo Road.
However, if you hire a tax, it will cost you only fifty thousand shilling (45 USD) while a tri cycle traditionally known as “Bajaj” can save you at thirty five thousand only (USD 35).
As you reach at Bagamoyo bus station, it will take you just 15 minutes on dusty road to reach the “Mamba Ranch” in the South Coast of Bagamoyo old town. You will see the Ranch while covered with mangrove, coconut and many fruit trees around the area.
At the entrance you will find a watchman guiding you to sit in the two waiting huts roofed with dried coconut leaves, before you are taken to Crocodile ponds by a ranch in charge, which is very amazing.
Mamba is a Swahili name which means Crocodile therefore it is a “Crocodile Ranch” with about 127 crocodiles in the pond circumvented by short walls roofed with iron sheets and electrical bulbs inside to make lights during the night time.
They are grouped into five categories according to their sizes and ages to avoid attacking each other. Starting from category number one you will find young crocodiles aged at six to eight months. In pond number two there are crocodiles aged from two to four years of ages.
Pond number three comprises Crocodiles aged from six to ten years while in pond number five you will find the oldest crocodile who according to the Ranch’s Manager Mr. Mussa Bakari is believed to have fifty years.
“Keeping crocodiles is not an easy task, they are not friendly animals due to the fact that they can attack people if they are hungry as they can jump to over 3 meters high” he said
The manager says many people like come to see the reptiles due to the fact that the animals have been regarded by most of the people as undomesticated creatures due to their wildness.
“It is not easy to see them even in the rivers or lakes. Most of our visitors are study tour students who come here for learning purposes” he said
However, most of interesting things with the reptiles apart from being touristic creature they offer meat and skin for business. “Our visitors sometimes ask for their white meat and skin, it is also a good business” he said.
Crocodiles in the pond eat canned beef saved with fish proteins mixed with cow blood to make the food tasty. Interestingly, they are fed once per week and live in fresh water.
“We want to make this ranch a zoo in a few years to come. We want to bring in other wild animals for touristic attraction” he said.
Bakari said they have been exporting crocodile’s skin and its meat over twenty years to foreign countries such as France and China.