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Kenya & Tanzania

TANZANIA | Wednesday, 11 November 2009 | Views [743]




·Went back to Karen Camp, where the tour initially started from, and the “Gorilla Loop” officially finishes. Five people from the truck left us at this point and we collected another 5. Michael, the manager at Ujaama hostel where Anoop and I did our volunteer work, came to Nairobi for a weeks holiday. He meet us (although in the end Anoop did not come) at Karen Camp and we went into Nairobi, or Nai-robbery as some people call it. There are a lot of signs up in Karen camp warning what areas are not safe because of muggings, so it was good to go into town with Michael because I did not have to worry about safety. Nairobi is somewhat unremarkable, its busy like any city, and the one park that I saw was not that great. We did go into the museum of independence tho, which Michael had not done before, and he was able to fill me in on the history of the country as we walked around reading signs and viewing photos.

·         I decided to jump off the truck for two days and made my way back to Arusha with Michael, which meant that we had more time to look around Nairobi, and did not have to get up at 6am. The bus ride was interesting because the locals up the back were drunk and having their own private party. This meant that there were a number of toilet stops along the way, and it was not a quiet ride.  The bus between Nairobi and Arusha holds 14 people, so everyone could hear what everyone else was saying, and the only words I recognised from the drunks was swear English words.  There were two young children on the bus, and the man that had put them on there did not accompany them or give them the correct papers for them to cross the border. So when we went to leave Kenya and enter Tanzania the poor little things were left at the border, and no one knew how to contact their guardians. I felt awful leaving them there, and a number of the drunks were very vocal about making sure they get back to Nairobi safely.

·         Meet the truck at Snake Park, 20km outside Arusha and watched the snakes being feed live chickens.

·         Went into the Ngorongoro Crater, it was raining and the roads were incredibly slippery. There was also a heavy mist covering everything. Unfortunately we could not see anything on the crater rim due to the weather conditions, but when we went down into the crater it was a wide open space and there was quite a bit of wild life. We saw a pair of mating lions, buffalo, zebra, warthog, ostrich, impala, dick-dick, elephant, monkeys, and a variety of birds. Anoop, Ryan and I did not go into the Serengeti because it was an extra $250 for half a day, and I have decided that I want to come back and see the wildebeest migration through there sometime in the future. We left the rest of the group in the Crater and headed back to Arusha. I spent the following day hanging out with Michael and Gasper (the hostel owner), which is always heaps of fun. We went into areas of Arusha that I did not see when I was staying there, and Gasper bought me lunch- which was literally half a chicken, chips and salad, at one of the local restaurants.

·         Said good bye to Michael and headed off to Zanzibar via a bush camp in Sigera and an overnight beach camp in Dar. The bush camp was the worst one that we have had on the trip, there was a toilet block, but the toilets did not work, there was no shower, and there was more bugs than I have ever seen in my entire life. You could not move without being swarmed, it was really horrible, especially around any light, including my head torch. The camp in Dar was beautiful, white sand beach, very quiet, but there was signs everywhere saying that it was not safe to leave the boundaries of the camp.

·         We caught the ferry across to Zanzibar, and I spent the majority of the time intently focused on the movie, the fugitive, so that I would not throw up. The seas were quite big and I don’t do well with a great deal of motion out on the water. We reached stone town, handed over our passports for the entry stamp,  yes we had to get another stamp to enter Zanzibar even though it is part of Tanzania, and headed up to the north of the island. Anoop and I decided to catch the local transport to get there, which was 3000Tsh compared to $8usd, and got us there about the same time. I did not realise how Islamic Zanzibar is and I was wearing shorts when we arrived. When we were seated in the dalah-dalah (which in Zanzibar is like the back of a tip truck with a roof for shade, and bench seats along the sides) we were near the cabin down the back. There was room for two people to sit next to me, and we stopped to pick up some locals, both Islamic men. It is not considered polite or decent for women to show their knees here, and because my knees were exposed both men refused to sit next to me. I felt very embarrassed, and I was rather annoyed that our tour leader did not think it appropriate to tell me about the dress code- given that he had lived there for 3 years. My shorts are fine when I stand, they cover my knees, but when sitting they ride up, if I had know better I would have worn pants.

·         Anoop and I stayed at Kendwa Rocks, while the rest of the group stayed at Sun Set Bungalows, there was a price difference of $10 usd a night, which we were happy to save. The difference in the rooms was that Anoop and I did not have an ensuite- and given that we thought we wouldn’t spend much time in the room we didn’t really care. The two places were next door, and as it turned out, Anoop slept each night in the hammocks on the beach so I got the room to myself except when it rained.

·         It turned out that we only had 3 days and the afternoon of our arrival on Zanzibar, so I decided to explore the island instead of doing the dive course.  Eight of the group undertook the dive course, which meant they did not get to see Stone town or any of the island. I went snorkelling, which was great fun, and I have never seen so many fish in the one place. It was amazing- I saw more fish there than I have on the great barrier reef, except the coral is not that interesting. It was also great to see a giant sea cucumber feeding and sea eels. I also went to the turtle park, which was great because we got to handle the baby turtles. Exploring Stone town was amazing, because I felt like I was in the middle east somewhere, the streets are incredibly narrow and cars can not enter. We arrived in stone town after undertaking a spice tour, which takes you around a local farm explaining to you how spices are grown and showing you the various plants. I had no idea that nutmeg came from a seed within a peach like fruit, or that cinnamon came from the bark of a tree. It was really interesting and I’m glad that I went. In addition to the spice tour we visited an old slave market, which was incredible. The trade was controlled by the Arabs, and African people were stolen from their villages all over to become slaves. They were then bought to Zanzibar and placed in a tiny cramped room- 90 people to the space, and kept in the dark without food or water for 3 days. At the end of this they were taken to the market and whipped on a post, and if they were considered strong, people would buy them. If they failed to show strength when being whipped they were thrown back in the holding cell for a further 3 days without food and water. Many people were effectively murdered this way.

·         The lead singer of Queen was born on Zanzibar, and we went to the restaurant of his name. It was great food, in stone town, on the beach right where the ferries come and go.

·         Leaving Zanzibar it was raining very heavily, so the officials that stamped our passports on the way in did not check or stamp them on the way out, which is fortunate, because they often charge you again for entering Tanzania- even tho you have never left.  It was a horrible ferry ride back, we ferry got air a number of times in the sea, and a number of the people from the tour and locals on the ferry, were up on deck vomiting. Fortunately I managed to suppress the urge, but it was a difficult task, I think it was because I did not want to have to climb over the Islamic gentleman next to me, since I had taken off my kanga and only had it draped over my legs since it was sooo wet (I only had board shorts on underneath).

·         We spent a morning in Dar, which was not that great except for the fact that it was the first place that I have seen a fast food chain- subway, which had a limited menu and no cookies, but provided a very good lunch.

Tags: kenya, tanzania, zanzibar

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