We travelled around Tanzania by bus and I think we notched up 1,200 miles. Dar es Salaam is the hub for the ‘luxury’ buses but as we were doing a triangular route we had to take a normally bus from Buigiri down to Iringa. There were over 100 people on board but luckily we had reserved seats for the eight hour trip. I did have to boot a Massai out of my seat though – any guilt I felt was eclipse by the relief to be sitting down.
Iringa is southern and central in Tanzania and is half way between several national parks. We decided we would visit Ruaha National Park rather than the famous parks of the Serengeti in the north of the country. The thinking was we would not encounter many tourists and it would be cheaper. This was indeed the case and I think we made an excellent choice.
When we arrived in Iringa we went for a drink and the owner of the café introduced us to a friend who ran a safari lodge. We ended up booking a trip for the following few days. For £125 we got transport to and from the lodge, accomodation, all meals and a car and driver for the game park. If we had been in the Serengeti then we would have paid perhaps triple this. The lodge we stayed in was fantastic. We were the only guests and we had a staff of eight looking after us. There was a pool table, a full bar and the most incredible scenery. They have only been open for a year and we received the accolade for staying up drinking the latest. Drinks in the lodge are far more expensive than elsewhere but beers still cost just 75p. We also managed to get some of the staff sloshed and before long we broke through the ‘us and them’ boundries. Our bar bill was £50 which was quite impressive, considering. The one bad momnet came when the waitress handed me a note saying ‘I give you massage, I think I love you’. Course, I can understand why she was crazy about me *ahem* but it did make things awkward.
I have always wanted to go on safari and it did not disappoint. We saw hundreds of Zebras and Giraffes and dozens of elephants as well as various birds, Kudu, Impala, Ostrich, Dogs, Warthog, Wildebeest and Monkeys. Alas we did not see any big cats but I was not disappointed.
Late on in the evening and feeling the worse for wear.
The following day we took our third and final bus back to Dar es Salaam. We booked our ferry tickets to Zanzibar and then spent perhaps our most uncomfortable night in Tanzania. It was very hot and humid and there was no electricity or water and our room turned into an oven. The ferry ride the next morning was delightful as we sat on the top deck and were lambasted by cooling winds.
Zanzibar is very different to Tanzania – there are more tourists and so you get plagued by people selling things or wanting you to go on a tour. Historically it was once an important jewel in Oman’s crown and it acted as a trading centre between Africa and Asia mainly for spices and slaves. The arab influence is strong. Many locals wear robes and the architecture and city layout is how I would imagine an Arabian city to be – there is a maze of narrow streets and the doors to the houses are ornately decorated.
We had two interesting meals in Stonetown. The first was in Faradhani Gardens. At dusk dozens of stalls cook up all manner of seafood. It is fantastic and very cheap. I had barracuda, shark and octopus. You eat off paper plates with your fingers and the tourists and locals mix freely. The second meal was at a place called ‘Two Tables Restaurant’. It lived up to its billing. To get there we had to walk through a family home, with the kids and grandparents glued to the television. The ‘restaurant’ was in their conservatory. There was a Finnish couple there who we joined. Course upon course of food was bought to our table and it was delicious.
The next day we went by minibus to Bweju which is on the eastern coast. We stayed in the Twisted Palm hotel which was right on the beach and was run by a slightly crazed German woman. It was considerably more expensive than the other places we stayed at but it was still just £20 for the two of us. I am not a fan of beach holidays as I dislike sitting still for the sake of it. Fortunately we were there for just two days. It was very beautiful though as the white sand beach extends off into the distance as palm trees lean towards the sea.
The Twisted Palm hotel.
The trip back to England from Bweju was long. It took 32 hours to get from door to door. There can’t be many places int he world where it takes that long to get to. Overall I was delighted with the trip. We were being very ambitious with trying to do all we had planned but everything worked out and we squeezed as much into the time available as we could. I will definitly go out again, but perhaps it won’t be for another seven years.
Kids from Stonetown showing a range in levels of excitement about their photograph being taken.
This Wildebeest happily posed for a photo and then it charged towards us. I nearly crapped myself.
The fish market at Faradhani.
Wondering around Stonetown we came across this rundown art deco cinema looking very out of place.
This is possibly the campest drink I have ever seen. Not only were the colours bright
enough to give you a headache but there were two little ducks in the stem of the glass.
A local fisherman out for a pleasure cruise at night in shark infested waters.
A crab (Will’s photo)
An African bus – not noted for comfort (Will’s photo)
An example of the highly elaborate doors in Stonetown.
The view up the beach.
I shamefully lost against a German tourist playing Boa which is an African game roughly comparable to draughts.
This dog seemed to have obscenely large testicles.
Some type of dog/fox/thing
A funny coloured horse.
The view from my bedroom in Ruaha.
I like how these two giraffes seemingly share a head.