Pamela MacNaughtan

Although it was dark, the air was still warm and smelled of the salty sea which was just 500 feet away. I sat down on a low cement wall and started to eat the vegetarian samosa I had purchased from the night market.

*Unfortunately there are no photos of Zanzibar as they are on my camera…*

I’m in Zanzibar for the next three nights and spending my first night in Stone Town. During the day the square is fairly empty (except around lunch when it’s seriously hot outside and everyone is laying around trying to find a shady spot). Once the sun sets, the square transforms into a night food market. Tables and BBQs are set up and locals (as well as tourists) are given a choice of different kinds of fish, bread, chicken or beef kebabs, pizza or sugar cane juice.

I consider myself a serious market-lover, so the fact that Zanzibar had one made me fall in love with the city instantly.

I was with my fellow Intrepid travellers and a few of us had decided to perch ourselves on a low cement wall. I was on the end, my bag against my thigh. We were enjoying our dinner and although I noticed a man sitting in the corner of the wall in an odd position, I didn’t think too much about it. As two of the guys got up to buy a pizza, I lifted my hands up to put my hair in a ponytail (my neck was getting a tad sweaty). When I was finished I went to pick-up my bag and noticed it was lighter. A lot lighter.

I opened the bag and searched frantically. My wallet and little video camera were still there, but my Nikon D60 was gone. The others asked if I remembered the guy and I vaguely remembered his shirt. I got up and started to walk around the market to see if I could see him (not sure how I would have acted if I had found him), but I couldn’t find him.

As I made a lap around the market I came across our guide, George, and explained what had happened. He asked me to take him to where I was sitting and then proceeded to ask the guys working in the area if they noticed the man on the bench or if they knew who he was. Nobody seemed to remember. Although George has put out some ‘feelers’, I’m not getting my hopes up. I know that recovering my camera is not likely to happen.

I’ve never had anything stolen while travelling before and I must say, it feels weird. I loved my camera. It was one of my favourite things. Traveling through Africa without a camera feels like I’ve lost a major body part. Sure, I have my iPhone, but there are still a lot of limitations involved. Do I hate Zanzibar because of this? No. The act of one person is not enough to make me hate an entire city.

Traveling in Africa, solo can be a scary thought -especially for solo female travellers. I’m not saying it can’t be done, it can. What I am saying is that there is nothing wrong with joining a group tour.

For 45 days I travelled from Kenya (Nairobi) to Cape Town with Intrepid Travel. This was my very first group travel experience. At first, I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into, but as time progressed, I began to relax and fall in love with this type of travel. In fact, I would definitely travel with Intrepid again. 


  • Two Oregonians

    August 18, 2011

    Oh! So frustrating and disappointing. I’m sorry for the loss of your camera. I’ve decided to take my D70 on the road, and I’m a little worried about the same thing happening…Glad you’re still loving the city. Zanzibar is right up near the top of my list!

  • August 18, 2011

    I had mine stolen in South Africa.  I feel your pain love.  Take pictures with your memory!!!  Big hugs.

  • Traca

    August 19, 2011

    Agh! Note to self: one more reason to be diligent about clearing photos off your SD card. (I’m a total slacker about that–definitely room for improvement.) Bummer about your camera. Any chance it was insured…and worth filing a claim? 

    • August 22, 2011

      I was cheap and only bought medical insurance. I guess that will teach me. Next time I will buy full travel insurance and stop being so cocky!

  • Chris Walker-Bush

    August 19, 2011

    Jeez. Between your bathroom adventure and this, you’re not having the best of introductions to Zanzibar. Such a bummer 🙁

  • August 22, 2011

    Wow, that’s horrible! I do understand the paranoia. I haven’t gotten too paranoid as it was partially my own fault. I opted to leave my normal bag behind and use a cheap canvas one instead and I really wish I hadn’t.

    On the plus side, the camera had a cracked display screen and I had been thinking of upgrading to a new one. I’ll just have to wait awhile before I can do that.

  • Pingback: The Aftermath of a Stolen Camera - Spunkygirl Monologues

    September 23, 2011

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