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Travelblogging Tanzania & Zanzibar

by whataboutbob Tue Dec 25th, 2007 at 10:26:30 AM EST

The allure of Tanzania (travelblogging)

In late November my wife and I had an opportunity to travel to Tanzania, and though we had to break our piggy bank to do this, it was definitely for a good cause. Our trip consisted of 2 nights in the Selous Wildlife reserve, 2 nights in Stonetown, Zanzibar, then a week on the Northeast coast of Zanzibar. Below are some photos we took during this trip...we hope you enjoy them!

Diary rescue by Migeru

Our first stop was to the wildlife refuge area named ,,The Selous", about an hour flight Southwest from Dar es Salaam  into the interior of Tanzania. This was our main mode of travel while in Tanzania:

The Selous (pronounced sell-lew) is actually an area larger than Switzerland, though only part of it is open to the public. There we stayed at a ,,safari camp" named ,,Rufiji River Camp", situated on a cliff overlooking the hippo and crocidile invested Rufiji River, for 2 nights and three days. During that time we took a river safari, car safari and a walking safari, and while it was at times incredibly hot (you can^t believe how good a cold beer tastes!), it was also an amazing experience for us. The folks there really take care of you well, but in a sense it can lead to a false sense of security, which hits home when after dinner a Maaasai secorts you back to your tent and tells you not to come out until morning (ie., we are the zoo here). One of the highlights of that part of our trip was a middle of the night visit from 5 elephants, who stood around our tent-cabin munching on trees and bushes.  

Our morning greeters, the Vervet monkies, who play, play, play and play some more

The first safari trip we took was out on a boat just before sunset on the Rufiji river. We saw lots of hippos and crocidiles...and though we were quite hot, there was no temptation to go swimming.

Hippos hangin` out and chatting amongst themselves

one of many large crocidiles we saw

A photo from our boat of the Refuji River Camp, set up on the cliff edge

Sunset from the camp lodge

On the second day we took a day long drive out into the bush, and below are some of the scenes we experienced. I had really hoped to see some lions, but of the two jeep loads that went out, it was the other guys that had the good fortune to spot a pride of 13 lions hunting (oh well, next time) - nonetheless, we saw a lot.

A creche of giraffe

This was special - we found this group of elephants standing guard over their sleeping babies, each adult facing a different direction (and notice one has her foot over the baby).

Then on our last morning before heading to Zanzibar, we took a walking safari through the local bush, and came across this herd of Impala. Notice the guard with the rifle...he said he has had to use it on a few occasions!

Unfortunately, after this last safari we were both so hot we couldn't cool down, so were really ready for the coast.

This is a photo of Stonetown, the capital of Zanzibar, looking north from the harbor. After settling in on our first night, our hotel hired us a local guide to show us around Stonetown and take us on a spice farm tour...we were glad we did, for we got to know Talib, who was a fantastic person and knowledgeable  about a lot of the history and culture of Zanzibar, plus he took us places we likely wouldn't have found.

The narrow winding streets & alleys of Stonetown

The old slave markets - Zanzibar was the place many slaves were brought to be sent north and west...this is a monument to those tragic times

The fish market

The fruit and vegetable markets

On our last night before heading to the East Coast of Zanzibar, we ate dinner at the Emerson & Green restaurant, which sits up on a roof overlooking the town. At sunset the 40+ mosques all make their evening prayers...we love this and found it rather mystical. And right next to the restaurant was one of the few Hindu temples, which in contrast to the wonderful prayers has rather loud bells announcing prayers.

After Stone Town, then we spent the next week on the Northeast coast at a little local owned and run hotel, the Shooting Star Lodge. Here are a few photos from there.

The Shooting Star infinity pool overlooking the NE coast and the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean is actually much warmer than the pool...

Fishermen scour the reef each day for food for the nearby village

An outrigger Dhow that you can rent rides on

Sunrise from the bottom of the Indian Ocean (great photo by Lil).

This was a last minute trip, inspired by a "low season" good deal we found on Swiss Airlines. We were nicely surprised by the warmth of the people, and the culture and ecology is fantastic. We HIGHLY recommend a visit!

This is rather light weight, compared to the many other great diaries up right now <hint hint - stormies Lebanon diary>, but wanted to share some impressions anyway.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun Dec 16th, 2007 at 09:54:34 AM EST
Fantastic diary Bob!  The elephants impress me immensely, another reminder of how intelligent they are. I'd really love to visit the area after hearing so much about it from you on ET. Glad you enjoyed yourselves.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2007 at 11:14:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm with you, In Wales, I have a 'thing' for elephants, too.

I hadn't looked into the following webcam in a long time. Too dark to see anything at this hour [18h40], but as I recall the camera view is good.

For vicarious pleasure.

Africa web cams

Africa Web Cams are located at a 'watering hole' at the Tembe Elephant Park in the north-east corner of South Africa, near the Mozambique border.

See some stills here ...

Meanwhile, wonderful pictures and diary, whataboutbob!

by Loefing on Tue Dec 25th, 2007 at 12:39:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another thing that struck us on our trip to Tanzania/Zanzibar, is the fact that most of the people we had contact with were earning the equivalent of $2 to $3. a day, max. $2 to $3 a day!! Try living off of that. We decided to consciously and generously tip, both to the specific people we felt were working hard to give us good services, but also put a larger amount in the general tip box that most all hotels have, which is equally distributed to all workers. What is a little to us is a lot to them. So when you travel east or south, share your wealth a little bit...tip!  

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Dec 17th, 2007 at 02:58:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Amazing - I and my late wife did almost exactly the same trip a few years ago.  We took the train - another amazing experience - from Dar Es Salaam to the Selous - stayed at a camp at the confluence of the Refuji river and another river - I think it was almost certainly the same camp - and then flew to Stonetown for a couple of days before staying in a small cottage on the south east coast of Zanzibar.

It was the best 2 week holiday of our lives and I am so glad we did it before my wife died because it was the happiest and the most amazing time of our lives.

We were also disturbed by elephants at dinner and by hippos at night.  The density of animals was amazing as it was the dry season and they had all come to the river for water.

Te camp had a high tree house which had a good view and some breeze to help with the heat.  I was lying on a mattress there when I saw a snake hanging down from the roof overhead....

Most dangerous was the fishing on the river.  We caught loads of ugly looking dog fish etc. and our guides insisted on us carrying on until nightfall.  They then went back at full speed towards the camp.  One collision with a Hippo would have had us all in the water and I suspect a life expectancy of about 2 minutes because of all the crocs around.

Stonetown was amazing as there were elections in progress and the local majority Muslims were at odds with the nationally dominant Christian party. Riots ensued and one taxi we got was sheltering a demonstrator who had had his arm broken by police truncheons.

The South east coast was very undeveloped and magical - mostly dirt track - and food was whatever was caught on the day.  Locals vied to cook a dinner for us and we had some interesting meals!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 16th, 2007 at 11:45:37 AM EST
Lovely, w a b.  Long time barely hear!  Glad you got away and posted.  Hugs to L.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sun Dec 16th, 2007 at 02:27:33 PM EST
I have a wonderful CD of music from Zanzibar. A great mix of fabulous arabic classics to real african.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 17th, 2007 at 12:30:42 PM EST
Good to hear from you and Lil, Bob, and I'm glad y'all had a great time. Thanks for sharing it with us!

It might be worth reminding those who remember, or recommending to those who don't, jandsm's diary about Zanzibar.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2007 at 04:05:37 PM EST
Thanks afew! We definitely had fun, and glad to be able to show a little about the trip. We keep talking about the fact that though we are now broke, no sense in looking back when we are older and wishing we should have done this.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Tue Dec 18th, 2007 at 09:19:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Inspiring - but then I read Frank's comment - not so sure about snakes in the roof and a high risk of providing a meal for crocodiles ! :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2007 at 06:30:08 PM EST
You want to get close to nature or not??!!!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 10:39:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With snakes, hippos and crocodiles I prefer to keep at a very safe distance - preferably the other side of a TV screen :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 03:47:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you've still got the Tanzania-travel-bug :-)

great pictures, which made me nostalgic. merry christmas!

by jandsm on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:09:14 AM EST

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