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Zanzibar… our rainy and cloudy beach paradise!

rain 26 °C

Well, the first thing that happened when we got to Tanzania was a little boy, probably around the age of three approaching Lee. He did not say a word just held Lee’s hand, it was so sweet :) Unfortunately, not all of the kids were as cute. There were some children waving at our truck, so we waved back, then they decided to stick their fingers up – charming eh! The journey through Dar es Salaam was a bit crazy, the streets reminded us of our India travels, very busy and teeming with people. There were stalls everywhere, it was pretty manic. We made our way to our campsite and set up our tents. We were right on the beach and sat there on a swing with a few beers, perfect after a day on the road :) We were aware of the dangerous reputation Dar has, though seeing a sign in the toilet that read ‘Inside camp = Safe, Outside camp = Not safe’ certainly brought it home!

The following day we had a super early start, to catch a 7am ferry to Zanzibar. We were reunited with one of our favourite forms of transport – the Tuk Tuk! On arrival in Zanzibar it was chucking it down! According to the locals it hadn’t rained for over a month, and only started the previous day – just our luck! Out came the emergency poncho’s and we headed to our accommodation. I was more excited at the prospect of a bed, something we haven’t experienced for almost three weeks! We were given lots of options of things to do whilst on the Island, though the weather put us off and we all decided to head out for a bite to eat. We then set off on a shopping spree, poor Lee with three women! My scarf fetish reared its head again and I found myself buying more :) We found ourselves in an off license, and managed to get a bottle of vodka and a bottle of gin for less than seven quid – bargain! Finding mixers was another story though, and we found ourselves enlisting the help of a little local guy who led us through the maze of little streets that makes up Stonetown in search of a supermarket. Once we’d made it to the shop, they didn’t even have what we were looking for, and our little helper was insisting that he take us to see his spice shop in the market. It turned out to be quite a cool trip, the markets were great and we bought ourselves some curry powder. He then took us back to our hotel, very helpful little guy he was. We headed to a ‘sunset’ bar for drinks in the evening, the drinks were lovely but sadly the sun was absent :( The views across the Indian Ocean were beautiful though, and we could see the regularly photographed sand bar in the distance. We then went to the food markets for dinner. We had some lovely skewers freshly bbq’d for us, lobster, tuna and barracuda which we ate with toothpicks, a mission in itself! We also tried a small local pizza which was lovely and finished with some ice cream, all washed down with a freshly squeezed sugarcane and lime juice, beautiful. We then headed back to our accommodation and collapsed on our bed, in fact a proper four poster bed, luxury!

The following day we headed to the beach at Kendwa, and stayed in some lovely bungalows. The drive itself was nice as we got to see some of Zanzibar and the local villages on the way. Sadly the sun was still hiding, and it rained instead. We decided to head to the café, and that’s pretty much where we stayed having a couple of beers, before venturing onto the beach. Had the weather been better it would have been paradise. The white sand, stunning views and beautiful warm water would have made an idyllic beach holiday. We excelled ourselves as a group that evening and managed to stay up past midnight, which is just not a regular occurrence on this trip, given our stupid o’clock starts! Lee woke with a bit of a hangover, and unfortunately the weather was still bad so we ended up heading back to our room to sleep. Later we ended up back in the bar and having a lovely meal at the restaurant next door, a place we wished we’d ventured to earlier!

Our beach time was over the following morning and we headed back to rainy Stonetown. As we’d exhausted all of the shopping options when we were last there, we decided to head to a café and have a coffee. I was given my empty cup, with no coffee. After asking where it was numerous times, it arrived, and I had to gulp it down as we had a ferry to catch. As we were peckish, we decided to order some scones and brownies to take away. The waiter took our order and then returned saying that they were out of scones, so we asked for just brownies. Off he went, and then returned saying there were no brownies either. We then ordered crepes with bananas and syrup, which arrived exactly at the time we needed to be leaving for the ferry port, and so after trying to wolf it down, we asked them to pop it in a container that we could take away. This was almost more agony than it was worth and we left the restaurant in a complete flap. The ferry port was an unorganised mess and we were trying to get through the gate, juggling our bags and passports and tickets, whilst I was trying to stuff crepes covered in syrup in my mouth, with my hands. It was not a pretty sight. The motto of our trip has been TIA – meaning ‘This is Africa’, translated as ‘Go with the flow’ pretty much!

Once on the ferry things went from bad to worse. The crew were handing out sick bags and I was thinking that was clearly a sign that the crossing back to Tanzania was going to be a rough one. That it was, and about halfway into the journey people were throwing up left right and centre. So there we were stuck in a cabin that stank of vomit and the various sound effects that go with that. It was then that I began to feel queasy, and spent the rest of the journey as still as possible with my trusty sick bag at the ready. Lee found it highly amusing watching the crew pushing the bin back and forth collecting full sick bags and handing out fresh bags ready for filling. I was pretty happy when we finally got to land, it seemed like the 2hr crossing was never ending. We headed back to the campsite and got our hand washing chores out of the way, before hitting the cloudy beach with a beer. We then left the campsite and went to a local restaurant for dinner, something I was a little apprehensive about considering the warnings all around the campsite about the lack of safety outside the camp boundary. We had a nice meal, in candlelight due to a power cut and headed back to camp to get ourselves to bed, with an early start looming. We had to be up and dressed, with tents down and packed away, ready to leave by 6am. We didn’t really need an alarm as the prayer call kicked off at 5am anyway, and that was enough to wake the city.

With a full two days of driving ahead, we were on the road and en route to the Serengeti & Ngorogoro Crater, something we were very much looking forward to :) Our route was along the foothills of Kilimanjaro and the campsite we were headed to supposedly had good views of the ‘Roof of Africa’ itself, there could certainly be worse places to stay eh :)

Posted by Cass - Lee 02:14 Archived in Tanzania

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