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Tanzania: Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar

View 11 months around the world on geldere's travel map.

We left Ibo Island with Oscar and Alexandra and headed for the Tanzania border. We spent three long days driving to Dar es Salaam on mostly dirt roads. On our drive, we drove by a school soccer game right as a goal was scored. The students went crazy and charged the field in excitement. Given the enthusiasm, we decided to stop and watch. It was great fun and we were welcomed by two local teachers. We turned out to be an even bigger spectacle than the game itself. We were surrounded by children the whole time who watched us more than the game. I even found a small boy sporting a football jersey from Clemson University, my alma mater, so I had to take a photo.
IMG_6627.jpg The road from Mozambique to Tanzania
IMG_6646.jpg The boy with the Clemson jersey...he was so shy it took me forever to get this photo
IMG_6647.jpg The soccer match (some kids were playing without shoes)
IMG_6673.jpg The trusty car- Jeff calls it the Swiss army knife because it has everything you could need (fridge, water supply, extra gas tank, it's amazing!
Dar es Salaam was our first exposure to a noticeably different African culture - Swahili Africa – a melting pot of Africans, Indians, and people from the Middle East. The city is also largely Muslim. Given the large Indian population, we were excited to eat food other than fried chicken and chips (fries). We ate so much butter chicken and Naan that we had to be rolled out of the Indian restaurant . . . two nights in a row. Dar es Salaam was mainly a stopover on our way to Zanzibar, but it also provided an opportunity for Jeff to get a haircut and for us to resupply (including buying contact solution, which has been surprisingly hard to find). Most importantly though, we had hot water showers at our hostel – amazing – and were able to watch a movie in the theater, Rise of the Planet of the Apes (so so).
IMG_6675.jpg Downtown Dar es Salaam
IMG_6686.jpg Grabbing a tuk-tuk to the movies
IMG_6694.jpg A sign in our hotel in Dar (thank God they let me in :))
After two days in Dar es Salam, we took a ferry to the island of Zanzibar. You almost want to say it in a whisper…”Zanzibar”. Many travelers have spoken highly of Zanzibar, so we were really excited to get there. It definitely lives up to the hype. I don’t know if it made international news or not, but there was a large Zanzibar ferry accident the day before we left for the island killing about 200 people. We actually found out about the accident sitting on the ferry. A local passenger was reading an English language newspaper in front of us with the front page heading: “Ferry Accident Claims 208 People…” Needless to say, some of the locals appeared nervous.
IMG_6738.jpg The view from the ferry into Zanzibar
Zanzibar is a larger island, so we divided our time between the old city of Stone Town and the beach. Stone Town is made up of narrow alleys running every which way, making it very easy to get lost. Our map was basically Jeff’s compass on his watch that kept us going mainly in the right direction. It is the commercial center and heart of the island. We basically just wandered around town and watched life unfold. Many of Stone Town’s residents are conservative Muslims (a lot of burkas) and contrast sharply with the Western tourist population visiting the island. One of my favorite stops was the night market where we were able to sample local food including mishikaki (marinated meat kebabs) and sugar cane juice. Of course, Jeff loved the grilled meat and I thought the juice was to die for; I only wish I could find more!
IMG_6754.jpg An alleyway in Stone Town
IMG_6769.jpg A view from the top of one of the museums
IMG_6812.jpg Market in Stone Town
IMG_6849.jpg Ahh, a nice coconut drink :)
After getting our fill of Stone Town, we headed for the northern beaches and participated in a spice tour en route. For centuries, Zanzibar was a key stop on the trading routes between Europe and the Far East and spices were one of the main products passing through Zanzibar. The spice tour was by far the most touristy thing we’ve done in a while. Spice tours take tourists through plantations on the island were spices are now grown. On our tour, we met an Australian couple who were in their 70’s and still travelling. I was very impressed. After the spice tour, we spent two nights in Kendwa enjoying Zanzibar’s legendary beaches. The sand is sugar white and the ocean transparent blue- it doesn’t suck here that’s for sure :) We parked ourselves on the beach for a full day and just relaxed.
IMG_6863.jpg Guide showing us a spice fruit
IMG_6883.jpg Jeff and Oscar with their leaf ties appearing dapper
IMG_6905.jpg An old cave where the Arabs used to hold slaves before they were sent abroad
IMG_6943.jpg Jeff relaxing at the beach
IMG_6966.jpg The water was paradise!
We had a great time on Zanzibar. My only complaint is that we didn’t spend more time at the beach. Early on the fifth day, we temporarily parted ways with Oscar and Alexandra and headed for Moshi, Tanzania. We are planning to meet back up to go on safari through Serengeti National Park and the Ngorgoro Crater in about ten days. In the mean time, we are going to try to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. We’ll write after we’ve hopefully (keep your fingers crossed) summitted the mountain!

Posted by geldere 21:40 Archived in Tanzania

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