Tanzania 05

Trip Start Aug 02, 2004
Trip End Sep 25, 2005

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

We crossed into Tanzania from Kenya - border crossings are great fun because you have lots of people selling things and you get to haggle with the local money changers who almost knock one another out trying to get you to trade with them. We spent nearly 2 weeks in Tanzania including a chunk of time in Zanzibar (where you get your passport stamped even though you are still in Tanzania!!!)

What did we see and do:
- Fought swarms of midges on Lake Victoria (the largest Lake in Africa and second largest freshwater in the world) only to give up and eat mouthfuls of them with our evening meal (this was our meat that night!!)
- Mountain biked for 34km (in 37+ degrees) around Lake Victoria with Jorn the racist, sexist, chauvinistic, aid agency hating, campsite owning guide who was upset with the locals for ploughing up some bike tracks (note: Leah got 2 punctures on this ride!!!)
- Fought tsetse flies (aggressive biting flies carrying sleeping disease) in the Serengeti National Park (this place is as big as Northern Ireland)
- Camping in the middle of the Serengeti and being terrorized by wild animals like hyena and antelope walking and eating around the tent (note - do not let anyone throw the dirty washing up water with scraps of food next to your tent!)
- Early morning safari in the Serengeti National Park where you get to see the sun rise over the Serengeti Plains and plenty of wildlife including heaps of elephants, and hippos (who were consummating valentines day!). This is also where our Big cat experience begins with a lioness on the side of the road, 2 separate male and female lion pairs and the tail end of the migration with wildebeest and zebra heading south in a unusually orderly and straight line
- Seeing how the Masai currently live with mobile phones, Seiko watches and lazy days spent hanging at the local pool hall
- Camping on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater (where wild elephants have been known to run through the campsite!) and again being terrorized by animals outside the tent - this time only a water buck (well according to the guy who stuck his head out of the tent next to us! Us sensible ones just stayed well inside.)
- Ngorongoro Crater safari which ended up offering the most amazing of days and truly memorable experiences. We saw a pride of 6 female lions hunting a group of wildebeest (the dumbest animal in Africa surely) only to have them get away, a cheetah, black rhino, a newborn baby wildebeest with umbilical cord and placenta still highly visible on it and mum, baby zebra feeding off mother, heaps of hippo doing rolls in the water (apparently quite rare), a baby hippo (approx 2 weeks old), a horny hyena on the side of the road (telling sex is impossible due to size of female sex organs), magnificent bird life including the bustard (largest bird in the world), various species of jackals, hyenas with bloodied faces after a feeding frenzy, black kytes stealing lunches at the picnic site, etc etc.
- Chaos on the crater rim as a forestry truck almost falls over the edge of the service road out of the crater. African problem solving at its best!
- Masai tribe cultural and village tour where we learn about their traditions and current way of life (and white men can't jump!) and pick up some cool souvenirs
- Visited Arusha (Tanzania's second major city) the mid point between Cairo and Cape Town
- Camping on a palm fringed beach on the peninsula of Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania's capital city and not dissimilar in feel to Casablanca)
- Relaxed on "The Beach" - a white sandy cove on Zanzibar (and managed to get charcoaled by the sun reflecting off the snow white sand even though we were sitting in the shade - damn malaria tablets, they make you very susceptible to sunburn!) and watched pods of dolphins frolicking off shore
- Leah having a massage on Zanzibar conducted by a local lady called "Chubbie" (herein referred to as 'a bit of afternoon chubbie')
- Visit to historical Stone Town where we did a spice tour where we are shown various fruits and spices including turmeric, jack fruit, lemon grass, annatto, cardamom, cocoa tree, passion fruit, durian fruit, coffee bean, pepper corn vine, kapok trees, adisin tree, mimosa, cassava, clove tree, nutmeg, licorice pods, vanilla pods, almond tree, ginger etc (Cardamom is good for inducing flatulence if you don't have enough propulsion!!)
- Having a traditional lunch at one of the Stone Town locals house
- Historical tour of Stone Town (it was the commercial and economic epicenter of the east during the Arabs rule) seeing the Arab fort, the House of Wonders (first place to have electricity, water and a lift), tour of the slave markets (imagine being captured, shipped to Zanzibar, imprisoned in a basement for 3 days with no food, water, bedding or sanitation and then being flogged to see how strong you are!!!) and the Anglican cathedral.
- Wandering around the meandering alleyways of Stone Town which are not dissimilar to the medinas of Morocco
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