My time in Tanzania began in Dar-es-salam. The reason for me being there was to take a ferry to Zanzibar, the crown jewel of the Indian Ocean. From the time I’ve began this trucking tour from Cape Town, our tour leader kept telling me how much he wanted to be at Zanzibar. He said it was a paradise. I had this picture in my head. It was my first time being back in the ocean since leaving Swakopmund in Namibia. It’s been a while. So I got on a ferry, and made an hour journey into the island.
My introduction to Zanzibar- Stone Town. This was a city of history. Where so many slaves were taken away to nearby Arabic countries. Mosques and all these beautiful colonial times architectures, mixed with Islamic cultures and customs. The place had distinctively different feelings to East African mainlands. But that’s why I liked it. Being a person who really liked photographing Arabic countries, this was a fantastic place to roam about on and off. I took one more day here than scheduled because I felt there were a lot of stories to be captured on the streets.
One thing that left a bad taste in my mouth was the fact people here were very sensitive to tourists, hysteria even, due to so many tourists coming in and just snapping away anything that moves. It saddens me when I see places where the local people seem to display negative feelings towards outsiders, mostly because of how impolite the tourists have been. I really think not only the thoughtless tourists but also the tourism industry, those only trying to make money by any means. I just hope travelers can visit here one day in much welcoming atmosphere.
I left Stone Town to head north, and this was where most people come to Zanzibar for. To enjoy the long and beautiful beaches the island offers. I have to say the waters here were something very special. I’m really not a good swimmer, I’m almost afraid of the sea, but even I enjoyed just relaxing out in the sun and on the sands by the beach. I particularly loved checking out Dhow boats, traditional type of boats unique to this region.
Here I’ve also met some Maasai warriors from the mainland. It was weird to see them at the beach, but some of them told me they work as security guards of the resorts around the area, as their courage and strength were perfect for the job. Life in Africa is changing, and here I could see a glimpse of it. Nonetheless, it was a nice time to rest up and get ready for the final chapter of this African journey.
Once I made my way back to the mainland, it was time to make my way to Serengeti. Oh Serengeti! Everyone who’s known Africa automatically knew Serengeti. For some, Serengeti WAS Africa. It was to me. From the days when I was a little boy, I saw those television shows showing this great continent, and it was always Serengeti, full of lions, giraffes, hippos, and all these wildlife that were so alien to me. Never once in those days I thought I was going to be able to see them in person, in their own backyard. But there I was.
To be honest, I didn’t see as much wildlife as I thought I would. It wasn’t a high season, and these things usually depends on luck. But even then, I loved just being there, spending days just being in the safari car, searching for cheetahs, leopards, and all those elusive wildlife. It was so big and so grand. Along with meeting those Maasai warriors in the area, I had a blast.
After Serengeti, we visited Ngorongoro Crater, and this was a pleasant surprise. Overshadowed by its world famous neighbor, this was in some ways even better than the Serengeti, if you can believe that. This seductive area was blocked from the outside world and the landscapes and even the animals evolved in their own ways. The area truly had this ‘lost world’ type of feel and I really enjoyed my time there. Too bad every visitor’s only allowed a day of visit, and that you have to leave the premise by the night fall. Even then, this stands to be my favorite wildlife reserve not for its wildlife concentration but for its unique settings. If you go to Serengeti, you must be here as well.
..And that was my perspectives on Tanzania. Next up, and last up, will be part. 4 of this journey which will take you to Kenya, and onto the final destination of this epic adventure- Uganda. See you out there!