A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: ortho158

Zanzibar: last days

days 14 and 15


We do a boat ride, in a dhow. Not really interesting: we just navigate for an hour, in front of the hotel beach.
It's our last day now, and we decide to buy some souvenirs from the shacks on the beach. We joke with the Masai (?) salesmen: they have a good sense of humor. One of them is really tall, and I congratulate him for being a real Masai. A smaller one puts the blame on his Kikuyu mother. We will never understand who sells what: we haggle with one vendor, for a product that we find in another shop, and we pay in a third one.
At the beginning of the afternoon, we leave the hotel for the airport. The departure is as confused as was the arrival. At the check-in counters, only the check-in personnel is inside the terminal: all the passengers are queuing outside, in the afternoon sun! As the temperature in the shadow is around 35°, it must be above 50° in the sun. There are only two counters, with no indication whatsoever. After 30 minutes, some passengers find out that they were in the wrong queue. After check-in, another queue for the airport tax, then another for the visa. And then only, we arrive in a very crowded departure hall. We'll find out later that there is air-conditionning, but there are so many people that it is not effective at all. We are supposed to leave at 6 pm but, at 5 pm, there is still no aircraft. The travel ageny rep announces that it will not arrive, as it went directly to Mombasa (normally, it does Brussels-Zanzibar-Mombasa-Brussels). It's not a problem, as we will be transported to Mombasa with two aircrafts: a small one at 6 pm, and a larger one at 7pm. We get new boarding cards. Half a dozen passengers leave indeed at 6:15pm, while we continue to wait. A number of passengers get very anxious, as they are now sure that the Mombasa flight, scheduled around 8 pm, will depart without us. I find Belgian beer (Stella) at a reasonable price.
But the tax-free shop shoud be avoided: it is more expensive than the shops in Stonetown. A new aircraft arrives at 8:15 pm, from a company that is not the one that we should have, according to the boarding passes. Nevertheless, we embark: it is a brand new Fokker, from Zanair. It's a short flight (20'). At Mombasa, we do not enter the terminal and go directly to our Boeing 767, which was waiting of course.
The passengers who boarded in Mombasa have a do not seem happy, just as if we were responsible for the delay. And we finally have the explanation: a defect appeared during the Brussels-Zanzibar flight, and the captain decided to got directly to Mombasa for the repairs, skipping Zanzibar.
The flight is uneventful, and we arrive at Brussels Airport at 4:30am.

Posted by ortho158 08:41 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Zanzibar: seaweed farming

sunny 34 °C
View Zanzibar on ortho158's travel map.

Seaweed is cultivated and harvested by the local women. Seaweed grows on ropes tied between sticks that are planted in the sand. At low tide, the women collect them.
Seaweed is used as food (animal and human), as well as in the leather industry, packaging, cosmetics, etc.

Here, the drying of seaweed.

Posted by ortho158 08:25 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Zanzibar: "African" day at our hotel

day 11

sunny 34 °C

Once a week, the hotel organizes a number of activities for its guests. Such as lessons in palm weaving. Josette weaves a bag.
She likes that so much that she makes an appointment with her teacher for a hat, next monday.
Most guests just look, and wait for someone to make a hat, tie, ... for them.
There are dancing lessons, but nobody participates: at least, the teachers (we recognize the cooks and waitresses) seem to have a very good time.

We have dinner on the beach. There is music, with African and Masai dances, but the Masai do not look very authentic. One of them even leaves the group when his cellphone rings ... The public is not really interested, and it's a pity: it's a good show. The food is excellent: samosa, curries, fish and meat skewers, ...

Posted by ortho158 07:59 Archived in Tanzania Tagged zanzibar Comments (0)

Dolphins and monkeys in Zanzibar

days 7 and 10

View Zanzibar on ortho158's travel map.

Jozani forest

We take a tour to the Jozani forest. It's a very private tour: just the two of us, plus the driver/guide, of course, and a girl who is supposed to be a guide-in-training. We are told that she is a champion sprinter (?). The guide tries to convince us to help her study in Europe. Hum ....
The jungle is beautiful, but the atmosphere is hot and stuffy. And yes, there are Colobus monkeys.
Nearly no other tourists: they have less than 100 visitors/day.
On the way back, we discuss political matters with the driver ... Zanzibari don't like continental Tanzanians who appropriate all the available jobs on Zanzibar (but maybe the latter do not want to work?) ... Zanzibar is rich enough and could subsist as an independent country ... Zanzibar is a safe place, which should however be avoided on election years (!).

Snorkeling trip

We leave for Kiwengwa, where we take a speedboat. The sky is overcast. It's low tide.
The start of the trip is very rough, especially whe we pass over the coral barrier. Suddenly, the boat stops: the captain has noticed that there are dolphins around. It's very dificult to take pictures of them, but the video shows them better.

We continue to the Mnemba island, where we dive and snorkel. The island seems to be beautiful, but is only accesible to guests of the hotel located there. They are definitely very lucky, and also very rich: 1700$/night for a double room.
Yesterday, I bought a waterproof camera: i.e., a plastic shell housing a single-use camera. I take pictures, and realize that the camera becomes heavy: it's full of water!!! On the way back, new encounter with the dolphins. Some people are so excited that they jump into the water and try to swim with the dolphins, without any success. The boat brings us to Pwani Mchangani, the village with the school, and we go back to our hotel.

Posted by ortho158 08:15 Archived in Tanzania Tagged zanzibar Comments (0)

Zanzibar: visit to a school

day 6

sunny 34 °C
View Zanzibar on ortho158's travel map.

We follow the beach to a nearby village (Pwani Mchangani). We are welcomed by dozens of kids who want sweets, cigarettes, $, ...
They all scream Caramella!, and we realize that they mean Sweets!: there are many Italian tourists here, and the children speak a mix of Swahili and Italian!
The headmaster presents the school: more than 700 students, 25 teachers, ...
We buy some sweets, and let the guide make the distribution: otherwise, there would be a riot.
Back to the bar at the hotel: the weather is awfully hot today.

Posted by ortho158 06:49 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

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