Tales of Adventure from Botswana and Tanzania
02.22.2013 - 03.05.2013 94 °F
Another long one, gang. Sorry. Africa was awesome!
Botswana. Maun, Botswana has a really small airport, and the population is around 60,000. Maun’s economy is based largely on tourism because it’s the point of entry for a lot of Safari locations. Ryan and I ended up having 2 days in Maun to relax and prep for our safari. We stayed at a lodge that was on 300 acres of land with a slow moving river and multiple cows grazing everywhere. English is widely spoken and Setswana is the language that ties all of the different tribes together. Ryan and I learned hello and thank you in Setswana (and a number of other phrases by the time we left); it always generated a pleasant response from the locals when we used our limited vocabulary.
In Maun, we took a cultural tour one morning with a local Botswana man named Andy. He took us to a small village on the outskirts of town called Sexaxa, and we were introduced to local food, basket weaving, traditional instruments and dancing. There is a stark contrast of old traditional mud hut type homes with large modern houses on the same street. Also I saw brand new vehicles sharing the road with wandering cows. The poor and rich live side-by-side, and there are all types of homes. Andy showed us a room/hut that was made of a termite mound on the bottom portion and termite mound mixed with cow dung on the top half with a thatch roof on top. I was kind of fascinated that those building materials were able to make a sturdy bedroom. At home we have the exterminators come and spray our home every three months, and in Botswana they took the termite’s mound and made a hut. It was wild to learn about all of the different ways of traditional life. Also the temperature was 90+degrees outside, and in the termite/cow dung/thatch room it was at least 20 degrees cooler.
There were three generations of women who were sitting by and assisting Andy with the tour. The grandmother showed us how to play the traditional instruments, and she walked with a large vase on her head. The most entertaining part was when she placed a skirt of beads on and shook her tail feather. I asked her to show me how to perform the steps and they all laughed at my ridiculous attempt at their local dance. Ryan filmed a portion:
The local women who still live in villages often make baskets to sell to tourists. The baskets were beautiful, and Andy told us that it can take a week to complete one basket. Then the basket is only sold for 100 Pula or about $12 US. We were only able to buy a small one and some local jewelry due to our luggage being so constrictive. Our guide told us that the money from the baskets helps supplement the fees for the children to go to school. I wished I could have bought more because they were beautiful and I wanted to support their creative efforts.
Back at the lodge, we signed a waiver to go on a canoe trip. When we went to get our canoe on the bank of the river, Ryan saw a brown snake, and he calmed me down saying it was no big deal. As we pulled the canoe into the slow moving river it dawned on me that we didn’t really know all of the immediate risks of our afternoon activity. Like were there alligators… more snakes?! Luckily, we enjoyed the late afternoon disaster free and opted for the pool afterwards. On our canoe trip, we got to witness a herd of cows swim across the river to head back to their pasture. Even the calves were swimming across the river in a straight line. Lastly, the funniest animal we saw in Maun was the blue balled monkey (vervet). I think Mother Nature has a sense of humor because the baboon we saw had super bright blue balls! Now, off to Safari… Ryan has been anxiously waiting for this next week since he booked it last year. I am sure we are going to be blown away by all of the wildlife!
Going on a Safari was the most anticipated portion of our trip for Ryan. He read books about all of the different countries that offer safari, and through his diligence found the best place for us to experience our first safari in Botswana. We travelled from Maun to the Central Kalahari Desert on a 6-seater plane (counting the pilot and co-pilot). It was my first time on an extremely small plane, and luckily I didn’t experience any unwanted side effects. I had to get used to this way of travel fast because it’s how guests are transported from camp to camp through the bush on safaris. Once at our destination in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in the Kalahari Desert our guide Chris and tracker Kastom picked us up at the small air strip. Immediately we felt welcomed, and they told us about the rules of the camp. Since we were in a national park, the guides were not supposed to drive off the main roads. Also, we had to get back to camp by 7pm or before nightfall, and no one was allowed to walk around camp at night unaccompanied. The camp we stayed at was called Tau Pan (Lion’s den) because there are a pride of Lions that consider the area their home. Tau Pan was a stunning camp built up over the desert on stilts. It sleeps around 20 guests per night in separate huts. In the main area there was a fire pit, and a large area to relax in and enjoy the stars at night. The accommodations were stunning considering we were in the middle of a desert.
Safari camps run on a schedule to align the game viewing times with the most active times for the animals. Early morning and evening game rides also avoid the most intense heat of the day. Our schedule included a 5 AM wake up call, pick up at 5:30 at our tent, small breakfast that goes until 6 AM, and then the morning activity from 6-10:30 AM with a morning tea around 9 AM. Once back at the camp brunch is served from 11AM-noon, and then the guests have 4 hours to either enjoy a siesta or any other relaxing activity. Tea is served promptly at 4 PM, and then you go on your evening drive. The safari culture includes the tradition of enjoying a sun-downer cocktail with snacks at sunset. At Tau Pan we had to be back around 7pm, whereas our second camp called Kwara had no restrictions because the camp and drives all occurred on a privately-owned concession on the Delta. The food was wonderful, and we couldn’t understand why we were always hungry. On a safari, you just sit in a land cruiser and look at animals and learn about the wildlife. Ryan and I didn’t understand why we had such a hearty appetite with our lack of activity. Nonetheless we enjoyed great food and drinks the entire 5 days that we were on Kwando Safaris.
The first game drive included seeing a lioness and her 3 cubs, a cheetah mom and her 2 full-grown male cubs, giraffe, red hartebeest, oryx, steenbok, ostrich, and a bunch of different birds. Our first game drive in the desert was a success. That is the beauty of a safari… you never know what you are going to see on an outing. Obviously, you have a general idea of the animals in the area, but you don’t know what activity will ensue.
The landscape in the desert was sandy with small bushes and sparsely populated with acacia trees. There was a watering hole next to camp where thousands of Red Billed Quelea birds hung out. Tau Pan had a plunge pool on the deck for the guests to enjoy, but they had to drain it due to the baby Quelea birds drowning in the chlorinated water. The camp is not fenced off, and animals can freely roam about the camp. One evening we went to dinner around 8 pm, and heard a loud moan. When lions communicate they can be heard across many miles by their pride, and it sounds like a low, loud moan. Our guide had to personally take us back to our hut after dinner and drinks and an enormous male lion paw print was on top of where Ryan’s sandal had left a print. So while we were enjoying dinner a lion was walking around 30 feet away from the main camp area. The next morning there were paw prints walking back the other way. So if Ryan and I skipped dinner or stayed up all night we would have seen the elusive male lion walking right next to our hut! Knowing that there are wild animals walking through the camp adds an element of excitement. We heard from a guide that several lions had camped out under hut # 6 (our hut) to escape the scorching sun of the afternoon last year. The camp immediately added a wall from the ground to the hut on stilts to enclose off the area underneath to the lions. How crazy would that have been—you come on safari, and there are a pride of lions underneath your hut!
Our second day in the desert got extremely hot in the afternoon. Ryan and I have lots of experience of hot weather with living in Atlanta, but this was a whole new level. When we went to afternoon tea at 4 pm that afternoon the guides were complaining about it, and they said it was 44 degrees Celsius or 112 degrees Fahrenheit in the sun. Yikes! There were quite a bit of retired couples on the safari, and a few of them were really struggling with the weather. An older couple from Germany looked like they had heat stroke. That afternoon the game drive proved pretty fruitless. All of the animals were suffering from the heat just like the humans and none of them wanted to walk around until dark. Everyone was on Siesta for the entire day!
Even though it was extremely hot, we saw our trusty oryx, springbok, ostrich, and a cheetah napping in the shade. Once the sun goes down in the desert, it’s much cooler and feels amazing. The dinners on safari consist of great food, and lively conversation with guests and the staff. Ryan and I were by far the youngest travelers, and everyone wanted to know how we got off work for 4 months. There were couples from England, Germany, and a group of older women from Australia travelling together. Ryan and I always closed down the evening activities. I think the 5 AM wake-up call made several guests run to bed as soon as dinner was done. The sky was amazing at night due to being in the middle of the desert. You could see all of the southern hemisphere constellations… I wish I still had my knowledge from taking astronomy in college, but now there is an app that helps you figure out what you are looking at in the night sky!
After spending 2 full days in the desert, we flew to the Okavango Delta and went to a camp named Kwara. The safari company that we worked with has 6 different camps all over Botswana, and guests can pick and choose what type of experience they desire. Flying into the Okavango Delta was a cool experience because we could detect hippos and elephants near the water from our aerial view. Our guide met us at the airstrip, and took us back to the Kwara camp. The land cruiser vehicles were equipped with “snorkel kits” to go in the water, and they fit up to 9 guests, but they never had more than 6 at a time. The guides drive the vehicle, and the spotters sit out on a chair in front of the truck to spot game and birds quickly as well as pick up on fresh animal tracks. Whenever they spotted a cat (lion, leopard...etc.) or something dangerous, the spotter would fold up the chair in front of the vehicle and get back into the truck. When that happened, we knew we were about to see something exciting.
Our first activity at the Kwara camp included a boat ride through the Okavango desert to see the sunset. On our trip we saw a bunch of hippos swimming. Surprisingly, I saw a hippo do an awkward belly flop while trying to get out of the boat’s way. They are such large animals, and they really enjoy the water during the daylight. At night they eat a ton of food to maintain their heavy rotund figures. On the boat we enjoyed our 20th African sunset, with silhouettes of birds framing the picture. The African continent has gorgeous sunsets… we have not been disappointed.
The second day at Kwara was like witnessing animals disembark from Noah’s ark. After several days in the sweltering desert, the Okavango was slightly cooler with water everywhere. Within 10 minutes of leaving the camp at 6 AM we saw giraffes, elephants, kudos, baboons, and multiple impalas…. What!! It took us hours to spot animals in the desert, and here in the Okavango they were out in multitudes. It was really exciting, and our guides had free range to go off-roading to track the animals. The Okavango Delta is amazing in late February because baby animals are being born. We saw multiple elephant, giraffe, hippo, and zebra babies in their natural habitat.
Our guide Bait and our tracker Justice were both from Botswana. They had great chemistry and loved working together to find animals for us to see. Ryan really enjoyed getting to know Bait and the two of them took turns comparing photos they took on the 3 days we spent in Kwara. It was awesome having a guide that loved photography as he was constantly working with Ryan to get the best lighting for various pictures, etc.
Anyway, on the Noah’s Ark morning, Bait and Justice saw vultures flying around a certain area, and not diving down. They zeroed in on the area, and were able to track a Lion eating a baby impala he’d poached from a leopard. ***NOTE: lionesses do the hunting, so any time you see a male lion riding solo with a meal, you know he intimidated someone into giving it to him *** My heart rate went way up after Bait off-roaded toward the lion, drove over trees and then parked the truck less than 8 feet from the lion eating. The lion could have cared less about our presence. I didn’t relax until we pulled away from the area. It was wild watching the lion eat the baby impala. You could hear the bones crunching, and at one point he finished off the head. Ahhhh! Halfway through his meal, the lion took a leg bone and used it on his teeth like a toothpick. A part of me wondered if he would switch to us once he lost interest in his meal. The whole experience was surreal. I had never seen a lion that close having his morning snack. If you're easily grossed out, you might not want to watch this video and should possibly skip the pictures Ryan posted of lions in the photography section.
One of our safari mates Wayne joked that he had a pet elephant named Bruce back at camp. Bruce was an older male elephant who liked sleeping next to Wayne’s tent at night, and he had heard the elephant snoring around 5 AM. On the way back to the Kwara camp, we spotted Bruce near the airstrip. Bait drove right up to where he was grazing and parked the vehicle. Bruce walked right up to our land cruiser and stared at me. I was in the process of turning my iPhone on to capture the moment, but I froze as the large elephant walked over. Bruce lifted his trunk as if to say hello and batted his ears. It was incredible! His trunk was less than a foot from my face. After he said hello, he sauntered away back to where he was grazing. Bait said the elephant smelled me when he lifted his trunk close to me, and he was just being friendly. I wish I had filmed it to capture the moment. Nonetheless, it was really special, and I couldn’t believe how close we were able to get to the animals.
During the afternoon we tracked a few Cheetahs and watched them sleep for a bit. Luckily, as the sun set they popped up and were a bit more active. It would have been amazing to see the fastest animal run, but they were always relaxing when we saw them. On our Safari the guides set up snacks and drinks at sundown to enjoy the sunset. After a few days of this routine, I got used to it and could see myself enjoying this on a daily occasion! Our group of people on the safari changed every few days with new travelers coming in and others leaving. There was a cast of characters including our nicknamed ambassador from Australia. Sundowners for the Aussie included a full bottle of wine, and he was always saying borderline inappropriate things followed by, “Sorry Margaret” in his thick accent. Nonetheless, he kept our truck laughing with his absurdity.
The next day we were paired with two couples from Canada who were really nice and captivated by everything just like us. The Australian Ambassador didn’t make the early morning activities, and it was a change to have bird lovers with us. Ryan and I were remedial safari guests at first—we didn’t know any of the bird names, and would have our guides repeat the names multiple times. By our fifth day, we were able to point out all of the different birds. My favorite was the Lilac Breasted Roller, and Ryan caught a beautiful photo of the bird (Ryan’s favorite, incidentally, was probably the Saddle-Billed Stork or the Malachite Kingfisher– if only because it took so many attempts to get a picture of them). Taking pictures of wildlife takes quite a bit of patience and luck. We were only in certain areas for a finite period of time, and the lighting was not always the best to capture high quality photos. Regardless, Ryan took some amazing pictures of everything that we saw. There was a constant soundtrack of nature sounds throughout our entire time on safari. Highlights from our last day included watching reedbucks bounce through the open water, watching some hilarious hippos show off in a watering hole and seeing a HUGE python just after it had consumed an impala (you could clearly see the legs in its belly!).
The Okavango Delta had more sounds because there were always hippos splashing in the lagoon in front of our tent, and there were resident baboons that ran amok at the camp. I miss hearing everything at night… It’s a magical, untouched place. It’s also intriguing to know that an elephant might decide to sleep next to your tent in the middle of the night.
Botswana knows that there is a huge market for their safaris, and the country is constantly creating laws to protect the environment (such as outlawing all hunting of any animals effective in 2014). In the Kalahari Desert they have detected huge deposits of diamonds, but the government wants to improve sustainable economic activity before it dives into depleting the natural resources. If you desire to go on a safari, I would highly recommend looking in Botswana. I do not have any other experience to compare it to, but Botswana was very enjoyable on all levels. The people, the stability, and the landscape make this a memorable and beautiful place. There was an older English couple at our camp who had been on 20 safaris over the past 10 years. The kind couple confided in us and said that Botswana was their favorite destination out of all of their travels. Ryan picked a great place that had some serious repeat customers! *** As with everything else, all the rest of our safari pics are in the link to our photography section... feel free to check them out! We tried not to overwhelm y'all ***
Tanzania. According to BBC or CNN articles, Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in Africa, while Botswana is one of the wealthiest. The GDP per capita could be skewered due to Tanzania having a population of 46 million while Botswana only has 2 million, but nonetheless we were travelling to a different area where money is scarce. On the CIA world fact book website Botswana’s GDP per capita is $16,800 and Tanzania is only $1,700. We arrived in Dar es Salaam close to midnight, and had to go get a tourist visa to enter the country. Tanzania requires $100 for each American visa and the bills have to be crisp and recent. It’s not a joke, meaning if your bill is from earlier than 2006 it would not be accepted by immigration. Luckily we both made it through quickly. A group of Chinese men were still at immigration arguing once we got our luggage. Apparently, Tanzania and China have some tense relationships due to business. We witnessed this first hand by hearing loose talk with locals, and while traveling to Zanzibar we saw some intense arguments in customs with a group of Chinese. China has been actively investing in Tanzania, and there were multiple projects such as a new airport in Dar es Salaam that was being built by a Chinese firm. Evidently, the Tanzanian government has identified this as a possible over-extension of their resources to China and has tightened up on things like visa protocols for Chinese tourists, etc.
Tanzania was extremely easy for us on the planning end because we had a connection to the places that we were visiting. This was a rare treat after not knowing anyone in the places that we have visited up to this point. Ryan’s friend, Caitlin, took care of all of the arrangements for us. They worked at Huron Consulting Group together, and Caitlin now works for the Clinton Foundation throughout East and West Africa (and Cambodia). She works to combat Malaria, and she helps empower the locals to take care of themselves. Last year Malaria took 650,000 lives throughout Africa. It’s the number one killer ahead of AIDS. So her work is greatly needed, and it’s so cool that an intelligent consultant decided to use her skills to improve the world. Caitlin was our godsend in Tanzania. She arranged a trusted driver to meet us at the airport in Dar to take us to a decent hotel. Tanzania is like Hawaii in the sense that there are resident rates everywhere. If you are a resident you pay a smaller cost than a tourist. So she arranged “friend of” resident rates for us, and made sure that we were not taken advantage of in Tanzania. Although, I mentioned earlier that it’s one of the poorest countries in the world, accommodation can be pricey and cabs will charge rates comparable or higher to New York City if you do not negotiate correctly.
Dar es Salaam was pretty lackluster for me. We stayed in the business area, and we didn’t see the “tourist” area so my assessment might be lacking the charming sites. What I saw was quite a bit of traffic, and people selling everything under the sun on the side of the road. I could buy some cashews, a pillow, outdated world maps, some car products, old comic books or DVDs to name a few of the items. The individual sellers would weave between the cars and try to hawk their wares with impressive energy in the heat. Ryan and I saw a boy siphon off some gasoline from a truck carrying a gas tank during rush hour.
The next morning I finally got to meet Caitlin and the three of us headed for an adventure on Zanzibar, an island 20 minutes by flight away from the mainland of Tanzania. Caitlin ran into a pilot that she knew at the airport, and once again Ryan and I were so grateful to have a friend that was so connected. She negotiated all of the rates at the different hotels that we stayed at during our week in Tanzania. To me, it seemed exhausting to negotiate constantly. As a tourist you don’t really know what the fair rate is for different things. On one hand you don’t want to screw over the local business, but you also don’t want to get taken for a ride. Caitlin solved that problem by calling her favorite drivers and talking with hotels as a resident.
Our first day in Tanzania, we flew to Zanzibar which is a tourist island destination off the coast. We flew into Stone Town and immediately went to Lazuli- Caitlin’s favorite restaurant. The food was extremely healthy and fresh with tasty smoothies and ginger lime sodas to accompany the meal. Afterward we explored the side streets through Stone Town and settled into a new boutique hotel called Maru Maru. Stone Town is an Arabian-style labyrinth packed with old mansions, bazaars, and palaces that were constructed during the nineteenth century Sultan slave trade. Stone Town’s doors are a unique feature and there are about 500 throughout the city. The doors are wooden, ornate, and they represent the home being a protected place. Zanzibar is 99% Muslim and traditionally the doors were a visual statement of the occupant’s status in society. Even though it was 90+ degrees I had to make sure I dressed in long pants and kept my shoulders covered. It’s impolite to walk around in a tank top or a skimpy sundress in Stone Town, but the dress code was much more lax once you made it out to the beaches. While walking around Stone Town, Ryan and I were approached by multiple individuals that wanted to be our tour guide. Luckily, we already had Caitlin with us!
Continuing with the sundowner tradition, we joined Caitlin on the roof top of the hotel. Ryan and I are people of leisure (during this trip, but not when we are contributing members to society), but Caitlin had to tackle several conference calls that afternoon. It was relaxing to watch the sunset over the ancient city of Stone Town. The city was built by the Sultans and had a flourishing spice trade in the 19th century. All of the buildings could have used a serious white wash or coat of paint, but in a way the deteriorated look added some old world charm. Dinner was amazing with fresh seafood at a local Zanzibar restaurant that specialized in Swahili food. Ryan had a yummy octopus dish (accompanied by “pili pili” chiles) and I had a tasty tuna steak. Afterward, we settled in at a bar (Livingston’s) on the beach with a DJ spinning 90’s hip hop favorites from the States. It was a great environment to relax in, and two of Caitlin’s friends from Nairobi, Kenya joined our trip. Our new friends were named Ramil and Taylor. Ramil was a NYU grad who worked in a firm to help develop the future leaders of Africa, and Taylor worked with a firm called Synergy specializing in improving sanitation. Both were employed in jobs aimed at improving the lives of East Africans. Both Ramil and Taylor were highly entertaining and kept everyone laughing the whole time.
The next morning after a brief pass through the local fish market to gawk at fresh sharks and squid, we headed out to Red Monkey Lodge on the south east coast of Zanzibar. The area was not overrun by tourism, and the water in the ocean was a pristine aquamarine color. The views were breathtaking, and there were dhows scattered throughout the panoramic view. There was a village behind the house we had rented and locals were around on the beach. Next to our house was another resort type place (Coral Rocks) with a pool and lounge chairs where we all took some pretty epic naps. The food at the two resorts was amazing. Our first night we ordered a seafood platter along with a variety of other ocean-inspired dishes and shared. Our new friends were fond of the “flow”. Basically whenever they go to brunch in Nairobi, they each pick different dishes and share. This was such a great idea and my problem of food envy would be cured because we were all sharing!
In the evening we were invited to a “Survivor Party”. Basically it was all of the tourism workers on the south east part of the island getting together to celebrate making it through the tourist season. Lucky us—we got to go a local party. If you made it by 9:30, you were given 2 tequila shots each. I guess that is Zanzibar’s way to kick off a party at the beach! It was fun sitting at the beach bar playing drinking games and watching the first brave couples hit the dance floor. There was a line-up of different DJs during the party, and the music was really enjoyable. The music started off relaxing and later in the evening when the dance floor was packed it turned into an all-out dance party.
On the dance floor tons of different nationalities were represented. There are a lot of tourists from Europe that visit Zanzibar, and there were also members from the Maasai tribe dancing. I had never been to a party with authentic tribesmen in their distinctive outfit. The Maasai Tribesmen jumped while they danced and our friends from Kenya informed us that there are jumping competitions in their community. So, naturally I had to make my way over to where they were on the dance floor and jump with them. The party continued well into the night, and I still heard mash ups from the DJ as I fell asleep.
The next morning the five of us went on a snorkeling excursion. Of course there were some negotiations before we left on the price. Luckily Taylor spoke Kiswahili well, and he continued to get us great group rates during our trip. Since I get burned super easy, I wore yoga pants and a long sleeved shirt. I know my home made wet suit was ridiculous, but I didn’t get burned as we looked at the beautiful fish on the reef. The starfish were red with intricate black designs, and there were many different tropical fish about 2 km off the beach. We took a dhow out to the reef, and it took a while because the wind was not very strong. Snorkeling or scuba diving is such a relaxing activity to do while at the beach. I love how every location we go to has different interesting life to view in the water. Zanzibar’s water is perfectly clear so it made the visibility impeccable.
After seeing the south east side of Zanzibar, Caitlin wanted to show us the northern beaches. While trying to check out of the Red Monkey Lodge, we were told that it was cash only. We all had big tabs (by Zanzibari standards) because everyone put their meals and drinks on the room tab. This was a frustrating component of Tanzania. The proprietor of the hotel wanted us to travel an hour and a half back to Stone Town to get cash from the ATM. Once we got the cash, we were supposed to go to another hotel in Stone Town and leave the cash in an envelope. Luckily, Caitlin negotiated for us to pay the hotel 2 days later when we traveled back to Stone Town. The next beach was located thirty minutes away from Red Monkey, and a trip back to Stone Town would add several hours of driving. The hotel said nothing about cash payment up front. A lot of the businesses like to do cash only so they don’t have to pay taxes. It’s frustrating if you are traveling in a remote area without any ATMs close by. It’s not safe to carry that much cash while traveling.
After sorting out the difficulty of payment, we headed to our next resort. One of Caitlin’s trusted drivers picked the five of us up and took us to the more populated side of the island to experience a different beach vibe. Once we got to the lodge where we had a reservation, there was trouble checking in. The hotel didn’t want to honor the pre-negotiated rate, and there were a ton of backpackers trying to check in as well. Caitlin walked to a resort next door and negotiated a more reasonable rate. Always negotiating!!
Tanzania is prone to power outages for multiple hours per day. The hotel asked us to pay upfront, and our ex-pat African friends told them that we would pay later. We paid 20% more to have an air conditioned room and who knew if it worked since the power was out! Ha—you would never say that to a hotel in the States. Also, there would not be long stretches of daily power outages as well. There is a completely different way of doing business here.
Our hotel called Sunset Bungalows was designed in an Arab style and the rooms were lovely. The buildings were reflective of Zanzibar’s Sultan roots. All of the walkways had gorgeous flowers draping over the terraces. The beaches on the Northern part of Zanzibar were more populated but still strikingly beautiful. The water was incredibly clear and had a turquoise color. The sand was smooth and white and the beach was facing the West. Due to the placement of the beach, Ramil and Taylor went out to negotiate with the locals on taking a sunset cruise. So off the 5 of us went on an evening cruise to watch the sunset.
Afterwards, Ramil wanted me to finally teach him some yoga. I am not certified in yoga, but I have taken a ton of classes following the Ashtanga format. I don’t think cocktails and yoga go together, but Ramil, Taylor and I were going through the sun salutations on the beach. A booze cruise floated pass and started hooting and hollering once the three of us did a downward dog with our butts in the air towards their boat. That evening we enjoyed the “flow” format once again ordering all sorts of food at the resort. Who knew you could get good sushi on Zanzibar?! All of the food on Zanzibar was amazing and it was such a treat for Ryan and me to get to try up to five different dishes at each meal- because of our sharing friends. We really enjoyed hanging out with Caitlin, Ramil and Taylor in Zanzibar.
The next morning, our friends from Kenya all had to head back to Nairobi for work. Caitlin did send her trusty driver, Singa, to pick us up at the sunset bungalows on Kendwa Beach. He took us back to Stone Town and watched our luggage for us and later took us to the airport. With several hours to relax in Stone Town, we walked around through the winding streets and looked into several shops. Once again, buying things was not feasible with our luggage. Nonetheless, it fun to see what was offered. There were miniature ornate doors, spices, and all sorts of beach wear. The funniest thing we saw was Obama’s face on purses and beach wraps. The shopkeepers kept asking us to come into their shops and look at what they had to offer. Our final meal in Zanzibar was at the fresh restaurant, Lazuli. There was only one chef working to make the food perfect. It took over an hour to get our meal, but it was worth the wait. Our trusty driver took us to the airport, and our adventure in Zanzibar came to a close.
The next day we had originally planned on spending in Nairobi, Kenya on a 14-hour layover. Having said that, we didn’t know that the day we were to be in Nairobi would overlap with the 2013 presidential election in Kenya. After the last election, widespread rioting occurred throughout Kenya. We didn’t want to take a chance of getting caught up in anything like that during our one day in Nairobi. So, to be safe we changed our flight time from Dar to Nairobi and hung out at the airport in Nairobi for a few hours after arriving from Dar (where Ryan was thankfully able to snag one last Tangawizi). From Nairobi, we headed onto an all-night flight to Bangkok, Thailand! Southeast Asia here we come…
Thank you Africa! Your sunsets were stunning, your animals were unforgettable, and your people were kind and generous. In Setswana… Sala sentle! Ke a leboga!... in Kiswahili … Karibu and Asante! (Good bye and Thank you)!