Dock along the Zanzibar Channel in Dar es Salaam After being robbed at the night market in Zanzibar, I was in a fairly quiet mood when we left Stone Town the following morning and headed to the Sunset Bungalows on a beach about an hour away. The drive was nice enough, but my mind was still on the events from the night before. As the van, we were in pulled into the driveway at Sunset Bungalows my eyes felt heavy. I stepped off the van, walked into reception and waited for my room assignment. Zanzibar is one of the few places on my Intrepid trip from Kenya to Cape Town where I’ll be sleeping in an actual tent, rather than in a tent. Happy days!
I had an hour to kill before I was to meet Bernie, Em & Christina and head out to meet the rest of the group at Africa House for drinks before dinner. Initially I was going to sit on one of the carved wood sofas and play catch-up in my journal, however, one look outside at the children playing was enough to change my mind. For the first time during this trip, I was going to have decent hair, well, until I sat on the steps in front of our hotel. Within minutes of sitting down, 4 little girls came over and started to touch and play with my hair. Their dresses were dirty and a little torn and the girls ranged in age from about 4 years old to 7 years old.
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.
We packed up camp rather early this morning as we were making the long drive from Marangu at the base of Mt Kilimanjaro to Dar es Salaam which is on the Tanzanian coast. Sarah and I are tent-mates and went to work quickly. It was dark outside and only one of us was using her headlamp (not me). I cringed as I tried to pry the metal S-hooks off the tent poles and then struggled to flatten our tent. I wanted to get onto the truck early so I could reclaim my seat from Eloise (the now made up name for the woman who locked me in the bathroom), as she had snaked it from me yesterday, but I wasn’t fast enough. Right then, 10 hours on an old blue Coleman cooler it is.
Our drive from Mto Wu Mbo to Marangu was only about 3-4 hrs long, which was fabulous. I swear the best part of the drive was stopping in Arusha for snacks and such before pushing on towards Marangu. Our camp for the night was at the back of a hotel in Marangu which is a village at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Shortly after our truck rocked up (literally) to our designated campsite everyone got to work on setting up their tents for the night. Once that was done, I grabbed my roll of toilet paper and headed for the bathroom.
This morning was probably one of the best ones so far on this trip. Sure, I’ve gone on a safari and seen some amazing things, but today was definitely a fabulous day. I was feeling quite pampered this morning being able to sleep in until almost 7 a.m. (trust me, that is a big deal on this trip). Things began with a brief explanation about our morning and the type of things we would be seeing on our cultural tour of Mto Wu Mbo. Our first stop was the rice fields in town.
Our first-night camping in Africa was like most camping experiences. We were at a camp ground, our tents were set up on the grass, near some trees, I could find the bathrooms and the air was fresh and cool in the morning. Bush camping in the Serengeti, however, added some very different elements.
You know you watch too many Disney movies (or animated movies in general) when you refer to animals by their animated names. Such was the case during my 2-day safari in the Serengeti National Park. After a full morning (and mid-afternoon) in the Ngorongoro Crater, we were off to the Serengeti National Park. Some of us were a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see Giraffes or Elephants in the Ngorongoro Crater, but we appeased ourselves with the prospect of seeing them in the Serengeti. We were going to be bush camping there, after all, we’re almost definitely going to see them. We ignored the very bumpy road from Ngorongoro to the Serengeti as we chatted excitedly about what we might see.
ZEBRAS!!! Our Jeep rolled to a stop at the top of a hill. We were surrounded by Acacia trees and there was a small rusted green gate ahead of us. Bachu, our driver, had stepped out of the jeep and began to remove three panels from the roof, letting the heat and the sunshine into the car. We squealed with excitement as each of us (there were 5 of us in the jeep) rose from our seat, took off our flip flops, stepped onto the seat and stood up so we could see outside. It's day two of my Classic Journeys trip with Intrepid from Kenya to Cape Town and I am over the moon happy.