We had a few other adventures that didn’t quite fit into my blog categories, but they are worth sharing!
We had a couple of opportunities to take in the beaches on Zanzibar. Primarily, our beach time was during the Safari Blue, where we visited a sand bar and relaxed before our snorkeling trip. When the tide was in, there was almost nothing left of the sand bar!
We also visited the east side of the island to visit The Rock restaurant. Let me tell you, if you are looking for luxuries’ beaches, head to the East. The sand was so fine and squishy between your toes! It was amazing!
The Rock restaurant was one of the top things on my list to see. A restaurant, on a rock, only accessible by a short boat trip! Wow! It was everything I imagine. Dining in bare feet (except Travis!) eating seafood and drinking a crisp white wine, looking far in the distance in hopes of seeing India! ‘Tis the life!
Stone town was really interesting. It is crazy to hear about such recent history is a slowly decaying city. Although they are trying, historical sites don’t necessarily get the care and maintenance that they deserve. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful place, with a variety of worldly influence.
All throughout the Arusha area, there were tribes of Massai hearing sheep, cattle and goats. Little villages could be spotted all over the place. There was a time when Massai tribes lived in the Serengeti, but were relocated to Ngorongora Crater park, when tourism or conservation became more prevalent. Due to this relocation, some tribes turned to tourism as their main income. They built traditional villages near the road and encourage tourists to stop, take pictures, watch them dance and give them a tour for an entry fee. In the interest of supporting tourism, and breaking up our long drive, we stopped in at a village. Truly, the main attraction is the things they sell in the village, but here are a few shots of the Massai in their traditional garmet.
I’ve included a couple of pictures that you may not imagine from a wildlife safari, but let’s be serious, if there is a lion sleeping near the road, everyone wants the money shot! If you zoom out of some of those great magazine photos, you might see something like this.
As well, a safari is a lot of sitting! I may be the first to tell you, natural colored clothing, hiking boots, a big hat and, of course…the safari vest are comically unnecessary. By the end of the trip, everyone was rocking flip flops, shorts and sunglasses as the main attire. However, some of our fellow travellers may argue that “shants” (pants that unzip to shorts) are essential for cold morning and hot days. However, my brother Travis might say that shorts are never required, waterproof boots are equally fine for the ocean. (We saw his legs once on this trip)
I have an obsession with giant trees. Every time I see one, I imagine what a great picture it would make. So I point and Matt takes the picture! What a great system.
As you have heard, travelling in Africa has is pitfalls, primarily with manipulating people and poor organization. There was no shortage of adventure on this trip. Meet George, our program manager from the Safari. I don’t think George did a single thing correctly for the entirety of our safari. Luckily, he was not our guide. I’m going to skip the minor errors and just jump to the craziest part of our trip.
George, or the company we booked through, was supposed to book us a flight from Arusha to Zanzibar. They said they could get a cheaper flight cost, since they are Tanzanian residents. We were told that our flight was at 1pm and we would leave at 11am. It takes over an hour to get to the airport, but they promised it would only take 45 minutes.
At 11am, as we are waiting to leave, George announces that he hasn’t actually paid for the tickets, so he is going to give us the money and we will buy them at the airport. Wait, there’s more, we are actually flying to Dar es Salaam and catching a different flight, where the tickets are also not purchased. Oh boy! As this is not acceptable, we told George he had to come to the airport with us to sort this out, as this plan is ripe with the possibility of failure.
Now, of course, we arrive to the airport late and the flight is already closed. So what is George’s solution? We will DRIVE 10 hours to Dar es Salaam. Haha no! Our group found a flight that would get us in Zanzibar by the evening and we insisted that George by the tickets, however, it was a much more expensive flight.
After many discussions and excuses from George, we had him down on his knees, CRYING, because he couldn’t afford to pay for these tickets. At this point we had decided to take that flight, and just pay the difference ourselves, so we asked George for the cash he brought to pay for the original flight. We counted it, and YEP, he didn’t even bring enough money to get us all on the first flight!! What was he thinking. Alright, never mind that, we go to pay for our tickets, but we must pay cash AAANNDD the ATM is broken. AHHH at this point our group is tearing through our bags looking for money. We paint with Shillings, American Dollars and Canadian Dollars. Matt even tried to change some Congo Francs, but that wasn’t possible. At the end of the day, our group had just enough money to get on the flight, and just enough time to check in and spend some of our remaining cash on a celebratory beer.
Thank goodness we have a calm group of travellers and the only person sheading tears is George!
On the brighter side of things both our guide for the Safari and our guide for our Kilimanjaro hike were great. It is a shame that the business of Safari is build on a foundation of contracting people out for everything, rather than just sticking with on company.
While in Stone Town, we met a great family. Upon wandering the streets we stopped in a tour booking shop to investigate a spice tour. This 16 year old kid, who was on vacation from school, was helping his Dad run the shop. He was so funny, and enthusiastic. Truly, such a mature, personable kid. Now, this is still Africa, so our spice tour was contracted out to another company and such, but we went back to the family shop to book a boat tour. For us, they pulled some strings, got us a private boat, and Baraka, the boy, came on the trip with us! It was awesome! On our final day in Stone Town, we went back to our friend’s shop. It was early morning, so the dad invited us to have some coffee on the street and then personally took us on a walking tour of Stone Town. Overall, we lucked out with finding such a great local shop.
Here are some pictures of our African friends…and George.
This is the first of 10 POSTS!!! Yes, there will be a new post each day for ten days! That’s a promise! I hope the wait was worth it!
Our safari was excellent! We had a great guide who knew everything about the parks. We went to Tarangire, Seringeti and Ngorongora Parks. He would ask us what we wanted to see, and within the hour he will have found it! Including Rhinos and Cheetahs! He also did a great job at taking us out a different times. Once we skipped breakfast and went out really early, then came back for food and rest and went out again in the evening! This way we saw more than just animals sleeping. Here are an array of pictures for you to enjoy.