TANZANIA reflections: Opportunity
Wow! Tanzania is an amazing place. Abundant with wildlife and game, Tanzania ranks among some of the best vacation spots in the world—from the pristine beaches of Zanzibar to Ngorongoro Crater that teems with predators and prey alike. The world famous Serengeti National Park is located in the northern part on the border of Kenya, its next-door neighbor: Ngorongoro Conservation Area. At an estimate some 2800 lions can call the Serengeti their home. Ngorongoro Crater is a small habitat inside a towering guard wall. Although small there is a high density of animals inside the Crater. The Crater has the highest concentration of large predators in all of Africa. Only giraffes cannot penetrate the high walls. Inside the marvelous beaches, a secluded forest houses a secular branch of game. The Zanzibar leopard, either extinct or on the brink of extinction is housed in Jozani Forest, if it exists at all. In Jozani chameleon are also found on Zanzibar. These three places are only a part of the beauty of Tanzania. It’s a real puzzlement that Tanzania tourism isn’t the top in the world.
Days 257-260; 3-21/24-06:
After a 15 hour bus ride with Scandinavia we finally pulled into Flora Hostel at around 11pm. We had already called ahead and got rooms so our keys were waiting for us with the guards.
ZANZIBAR: Kendwa Beach:
Days 250-256; 3-14/20-06:
We were crammed into a truck/bus at the Stone Town market and shipped off to Kendwa Beach. During the hour ride the island of Zanzibar passed before us. Finally we made it to the Kendwa turn off where we were dumped and forced to walk the 3km to the actually beach. After some looking around we found a reasonable room at White Sands. The rest of the day passed in sunshine. The following days passed like in the Perhentians, back in Malaysia. Finally, after multiple safaris and volunteer projects, we got some much need R&R at the beach. Swimming and reading under the burning sun were favorite activities. On Friday there was a full moon party at the hotel, Kendwa Rocks. On the 18th it was my mom’s birthday! We celebrated by taking her out for pizza and giving her a wood giraffe.
ZANZIBAR: Zanzibar Stone Town:
Days 248-249; 3-12/13-06:
We entered Stone Town four hours late from the ferry. Zanzibar, it transpired, is an offshoot of the Government of Tanzania and even has their own president. Because of this, before getting into the island, we had to get our passports stamped. After getting turned down multiple times we finally found a room at the Oasis Hotel. When we got settled in we went to the popular ocean-side market. There venders sell fish, chips, drinks, and Zanzibar pizzas. The next day we got breakfast and then went out for a walk in central Stone Town. We stopped by an internet café to get caught up on email and then walked over to the bookstore. At the bookstore a plaque said that the lead singer of the group Queen (“We are the Champions” and “Another One Bites the Dust”) was born in Stone Town. That day we also visited the old Zanzibar Slave Market. There, hundreds of thousands of slave were auctioned and traded off.
Dar es Salaam:
Day 247; 3-11-06:
We arrived in Dar and got a taxi into the main part of town by the ocean. We stopped by the ferry station to pick up tickets to Zanzibar. After a brief struggle relating to the tickets we were able to purchase and come out relatively unscathed. Unfortunately, later we found out that someone had extorted $20 from Grandma. We found an available room at the Luther Hostel and ate down the street at City Garden. The next day we had breakfast and headed down to the ferry, finally departing at midday.
Days 244-246; 3-8/10-06:
We left Arusha early to catch a bus to Lushoto that we though was direct to Lushoto. It turned out that we were dumped in Momba and the guys we paid our tickets to gave some money to a guy in Momba to pay for a dalla-dalla to Lushoto. Finally we arrived at the Keribuni hotel and dropped off our stuff in our rooms. We hung out at the hotel for the rest of the day, finally ending up eating dinner there. The next we walked the 10km to Irente View point that looked over the Lushoto Mountains. On the way we picked up some bread and cheese to eat at the top for lunch. On the way back we contemplated going to the market but in the end decided not to go. Our last day in Lushoto we sketched in the morning then I went down into town to go to an internet café and also pick up our bus tickets to Dar es Salaam.
Days 242-243; 3-6/7-06:
We had arranged for a short safari in the Crater with Great Masai Adventures. This afternoon they came to pick us up and then brought us to a place to take lunch. Finally we left for our camp spot in the town outside Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). The long drive across the beautiful mountains of northern Tanzania was longer then we expected, but fun. We were able to stop at a few Masai markets along the way which was also enjoyable. Soon we got to our camp and walked around the town to look at a few stores. Soon we got dinner and then went to bed to prepare for a long day ahead. The following day we left before it got dark to try and miss the long lines of tourist vans. We were successful, and entered the NCA to continue the 10km drive to the actual Ngorongoro Crater. Soon we came to the Crater walls where a memorial was dedicated to the wildlife conservers who had died to protect NCA and the Serengeti. Seeing inside the Crater from the battlements was amazing because the Crater base was foggy, making it look magical. After a longer than expected drive into the Crater we finally were almost on even ground again. Just 100 meters from the floor we saw a hyena running through a herd of Thompson’s gazelles, he had picked out a Thompson’s and was chasing after him because the gazelle was sick or injured. It looked like the gazelle was gaining distance on the hyena, but all of a sudden the hyena caught up to the gazelle, they sprinted in a circle and then the hyena took the gazelle down. We drove down to the kill sight and saw the hyena gulp thick slabs of meat with ease. Soon he had finished so we left to continue on.
Day 241; 3-5-06:
We arrived at the Scandinavia terminal in the early morning to we immediately set off to find a decent hotel to stay in. Finally we stumbled across Hotel 7-11 which was right across from the local bus station so we decided to stay there. As soon as we got settled in we went for a walk around the town look for internet and places to eat. That night we decided to go to Pizzarusha where Lonely Planets’ says they have great pizza. While eating we were approached by a man going by the name Godfrey who offered to take us on a safari. The safari in Ngorongoro Crater seemed reasonable so we decided to take up Godfrey on the offer.
Kabale to Arusha:
Days 240-241; 3-4/5-06:After leaving Kabale at 4am to go to Kampala we rolled in at the Kampala bus terminal. While we were unloading someone tried to steal my shoes that were attached to my backpack that I had just put on. I spun around and the guy dropped the shoes and ran. As I bent down to pick up the shoes the sticks I was carrying buckled to the pack accidentally hit some people. Eventually we climbed up the hill on the main road and stopped at a Barclays Bank. After getting instructions on how to walk to Scandinavia bus line we headed off in the approximant direction. In total the bus from Kampala, Uganda through Kenya and then arrived in Arusha, Tanzania took about 19 hours. We left Kampala at one in the afternoon, arrived in Nairobi at half past two in the morning where we were told to eat dinner, and finally made it to Arusha at eight in the morning.