Paradise in Zanzibar
Trip Start Aug 22, 2012
64Trip End Jun 16, 2013
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By the time I was mobile it was dark out but we headed out to find a bank machine and something to eat. We felt nervous walking the busy street with no street lights, many people staring at us, and dust swirling in our faces. Eventually we returned to our hostel having not found an ATM that worked nor a restaurant that met our criteria (open and somewhat clean). Our fifth continent of the trip was providing us with some culture shock
Our hostel was right beside a mosque that amplified their 6:00am prayers for about five minutes - just long enough to awaken one from a deep sleep. We spent the morning wandering the winding, historic streets of Stone Town and enjoying a really good cup of coffee in an outdoor restaurant on the beach. It was time to get to the northern part of the island of Zanzibar to live beachside!
We settled in a cute area just outside the village of Nungwi. Our 4-day stay on the beach was rejuvenating as we slowed down to the African rhythm of 'pole, pole' (slowly, slowly). The water here is exquisitely coloured shades of turquoise and blue and the sand is white and very fine. It is a swimmer's dream. We snorkelled, drank fresh fruit shakes in the sand-floored restaurants, read, napped in the shade, swam and hung out with other travellers.
Sounds ideal? Well, it was mostly except for the gradual blossoming of information on how difficult it will be to do this 10-week African leg of our travel and the subsequent expense of it. After almost 3 months of relatively cheap and easy travel in Southeast Asia, the contrast of outlandishly expensive options here in Africa came as a surprise
You will be happy to know we are doing a combination except we are not coming home early (we return on May 10). After we finish our 2-week volunteer stint in Arusha, we will do a camping safari for 6 days then fly to Livingstone via a convoluted 18-hour journey to Rwanda/Johannesburg/Livingstone (northeast, south, then north) where we will join a G Adventure trip. It is a 21-day camping overland trip from Victoria Falls, through Botswana, Namibia and along the west coast of South Africa to Cape Town. Although advertised as available to 18-39 year-olds, they approved us old timers to register!
Then we will have 4 weeks in South Africa where we will travel
independently from Cape Town up the east coast, inland maybe to Lesotho
and will hopefully get some good hiking in
We are thankful to Valerie and Alex, fellow Canadians we met in Zanzibar who, because they were returning home, were open to selling us their new Mountain Equipment Co-op sleeping bags. Yahoo! We have warm, compact and CLEAN sleeping bags that 100 other people have not slept in (second hand bags would have been our other option). I actually think I will be able to sustain 4 weeks of camping, although I have never camped for more than a week or two in my life. Jim is an old hand at this so the prospect of it is welcoming for him.
Sometimes I wonder why I choose to enter into some of these challenges, especially at this stage of my life and I quickly remember that these are the times when I experience the most growth and excitement. And it's never too late to explore new adventures. I remind myself, too, that there will be a time in my life that I will either be unable to or will have no desire to do these kinds of things and that will be good, too. So get it in while I can!
We are on the cusp of the rainy season here in Tanzania so we will hopefully miss most of it as we make our way south. South Africa will be autumn by the time we get there in mid-April and weather will be conducive to travel and hiking. And then we land in Nova Scotia in springtime. How nice is that!