A Travellerspoint blog

Zanzibaaaaar the return :)

Another 4 days in paradise!

sunny
View Year off on angcoleman's travel map.

Nicola and I leave for our Cape Town trip at the end of August and I have a few days to use up so I decided to go see Michelle in Dar and then hop on the ferry for a bit of Zanzibar sunbathing and fun!

Back on the bus again to Dar - this must be the 5th time I have done this trip now! The trip is 9 hours, the roads are OK and the coach is pretty comfortable for once! The guy sitting next to me was from Uganda travelling to South Africa where his brother works - he is the youngest in his family and in Africa that is definately the best to be as your family all look after you. His bus journey was going to be a long one through Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique to J'berg - if he made his connections he could do it in 2-3 days.. if not it would be a lot longer - TIA (this is Africa)

Kigamboni - A piece of paradise in the middle of Dar

I arrived in Dar and headed straight to Michelles place - an area called Kigamboni (KB) - a little piece of paradise in the middle of dumpy Dar - it is a small beach island just off from Dar only reached by a very busy buselling ferry. The place is amazing such a different feel to it than the hustle and bustle of Dar.

Michelle met me off the ferry and took me to meet her tailor - she is designing and making some dresses out of the local fabric to take back with her to sell in Australia! Fantastic idea! They look wonderful, the tailor is a lovely local guy and is charging her next to nothing (its a fair local price and he will make a good wage from her for the next 6 weeks) to make these beautiful creations. We then headed back on a taxi motorbike (Tuk Tuk) to her house. She is renting with a couple of other expats for a couple of months - her house mates are lovely and very interesting guys - a proffesor and a guy running a cotton NGO.

While we were in Kigamboni Michelle took me to Mikanda which is a small bar and beach resort in KB. It was a fantastic place, the food was excellant we stayed for the day and chilled out, caught up, planned our trip to Zanzi and swam in the beautiful blue sea!

Zanzibaaaaar

The next day we left at the crack of dawn to get the first ferry to Zanzi, as we waited for the ferry to leave we went in search of coffee - we asked a local guy who showed us to a man selling coffee on the street - he gave us both a very small cup full and at 6am we sat on the pavement sipping coffee in the dark with a whole crowd of local guys! The ferry over was lovely - it was sunrise when we left and the sky was amazing - actually made Dar look very beautiful - if thats possible?!

It was lovely for both of us to be back on Zanzibar - we headed staright up to Kendwa where we had stayed before - neither of us had rooms but we figured we would easily find somewhere - how wrong could we be! Everywhere was booked up!! Michelle found somewhere for her and her boyfriend Kili and I went in search of something more budget.. I went to ask at Kendwa rocks - who have dorm rooms and they told me that had no space but gave me some other idas. I went all over trying to find places - I rejected one as the shower facilities were disgusting - after no joy I headed back to Kendwa rocks to beg for a room! While I was out looking they had a cancellation so I was in luck - $30 for room and breakfast nice!

That night after a few sundowners - had to be done as Michelle was leaving the next day we headed to Umbrella our favourite local restaurant and had amazing fish - although we waited an eternity for it! The power went out half way which we new would not bode well for our food arriving any time soon!

After bidding Michelle goodbye the next morning I spent the day relaxing running a bit and sunbathing a lot! I had made some friends from England the previous night so I had some people to hang out with at the beach and go to the Sunset party with later! We had dinner that night in a very exclusiv resturant down the beach - it was lovely and I had the most amazing seafood pizza - cheapest thing on the menu!! The sunset party was a lot of fun - I also caught up with some of the local friends I had made last time which as really nice.

On Saturday Nicola - my volunteering friend from Moshi came over from where she was staying on the other side of the island to see Kendwa - the amazing sunsets and come out to the famous Kendwa Rocks party. We had a great time that night, they loved the beach, the local restaurants and the party!

I stayed one more night in paradise putting the final touches to my pretty impressive tan and saying my goodbyes to the beach and all my friends that I had made - I love travelling on your own as you meet so many people that way! The next morning after a run and a swim I took the bus back to stonetown to meet Nicola. We took the ferry back and stayed in dumpy Dar before our early flight the next morning to J'berg and then onto cae town - south Africa.

I am really gutted to be leaving Tanzania - I have had the most amazing wonderful time here but I know I will be back!!!

Photos to follow...

Posted by angcoleman 03:06 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Moshi the return!

sunny
View Year off on angcoleman's travel map.

The border crossing back into Tanzania was a lot easier than my trip to Kenya, I made sure I was first off the bus as I was the only tourist and knew I would be the longest at immigration. I sailed through very quickly this time, the temporary visa didn't cause them any issues this time!

I arrived into Moshi just as it was getting dark and after my mugging experiance I took no risks and got a taxi to the coffee lounge - my favourite cafe and where I was staying for the night. Monika and the other volunteers where already out at the watering hole - the on and only cocktail bar in Moshi.. I did a quick turn around and headed out to meet them. It was lovely to see Monika to catch up and nice but bizarre to meet a whole load of new volunteers working for the NGO. Everyone that had volunteered while I was teaching had left either to go home or to travel in Africa.

It was lovely to be back in Moshi - I spent the time catching up with all the friends I had made while I was there and going to all my favourite places. I went back to see all of my friends but also to collect my new passport - its such a hassel to get one now - because of the pin inside you have to send it away to a regional processing office and then they send it on to the UK.. blah! I was so happy to get my hands on it!

On Monday I turned up at GHTA as school was starting and got such a warm welcome from all my old students! They were all very suprised to see me and it was lovely to see them all! I realised again how much of a bond I had with each and every one of them.. I am super excited for them to graduate this month and start businesses or get more education - what a fantastic kick start to each of there lives they have had with GHTA!

I was also able to deliver the news to Penina - our English translator that I had raised enough money during my kili climb to pay for her year in councelling school! Such a fantastic gift to be able to give someone. She was obviously super happy and excited to hear the news. She will start in 2012 - her aunt lives in Dar so she will stay with her while studying, the school guarentee her a job on completion as well!!

Being back in Moshi was lovely - it wasn't easy to go back after the mugging when I was last there but I was pleased I went back - walking the street it happened on was unerving but fine. It was really great to see the students, Monika and all the friends I had made - the place really feels like home!!! Next stop Dar and then a few days in Zanzibar - I have some time to kill before I head to South Africa and I thought why not spend it in paradise?!?

Posted by angcoleman 03:05 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Kenya!!

An action packed 10 days!!!

sunny
View Year off on angcoleman's travel map.

As I was on an emergency visa and had to fix my itinerary early, for some reason I only gave myself 10 short days to “do Kenya”, I soon realized this would not be enough but ce la vie I would make the most of it!

Another bus journey!

I left Dar early on Monday morning with a bus in a really dodgy area of the city.. the bus was only just hanging together and the seats were bumpy and hard! As usual I was the only white tourist on the bus  I had bust my ankle on the beach running – the dancing over the weekend didn’t help it recover any faster either!

The route was up the coast from Dar to Mombasa via small coastal towns and Tanga city. All was going well until we passed through Tanga and went off the newly built road onto the rough and bumpy old roads.. it was unbelievably rough and I spent my time flying up and down over the bumps! At one point the guy next to me who spoke no English told me to put my belt on and shut the window as he was worried I would fall out!!

The border was a bit of a disaster, I am using an emergency passport at the moment which is yellow and flimsy and the immigration officer didn’t like it.. he asked me where did you find this?! I quickly told him the British embassy had issued it and it was official document.. he was less than impressed!! Finally after much humming and haring he told me it was ok and stamped me out.. Then I walked across to the Kenyan side and faced the same questions.. argh! I was running very low of dollars I just have $57 with me and most of them are pretty beaten up.. the immigration officer was giving me a hard time about them and told me I couldn’t use the $10 and to give him more! After trying to palm him off with the $7 and not getting anywhere he agreed to take the beaten up note!

A taste of luxury!!

A friend Rishi who lives in Nairobi had organized me 2 nights in Mombasa the leopard beach hotel and spa resort!! It was FANTASTIC and just as luxurious as it sounds the link to the hotel is www.leopardbeachresort.com

Initial arrival in Mombasa was crazy, as soon as I jumped off the bus I was hit with people trying to pull me into taxis, I got in with this guy and was kind of concerned he wasn’t a real taxi driver.. note to self check credentials next time! Anyway he turned out to be fine.. although at one point we stopped at the side of a funeral precession and he got out to give his condolences and touch the coffin.. very surreal and bizarre!

On arrival at leopard beach I was treated to a welcome fruit basket, a fantastic room and a lovely balcony. After a quick visit by the nurse – I had sprained my ankle – which I later found out after a costly xray at the beach hospital! I headed to dinner, which was more food than I had seen in a long time!! Buffet salad for starter, fish for main and then a multitude of naughty dessert!! All washed down with some yummy wine.

I spent the next couple of days hanging out at the beach resort, sunbathing in their private beach on lovely sun loungers and getting used to the luxury! The waves were really high and knocked me over every time I headed into the water for a cool off ! There were Columbus monkeys in the resort and one shared my breakfast, nicking the mango from my plate!

Ndege (bird) Cottages

After a couple of days of luxury, I headed back into reality and took a taxi from my luxurious resort to a camping site, where I could hire a tent and camp by the beach.. as I arrived I got an overwhelming feeling the place was sketchy.. there was only one other camper and I decided to go with my gut and find another place.. After much walking around on my bust ankle I got talking to a local Peter who found me a fab self catering place Ndege (bird) cottages – it was lovely with my own big self contained unit and a pool all for $25 a night!!

If I had time and my ankle was better I would have headed up to Lamu.. which is meant to be amazing but as I am quickly realizing you can’t see everything and a 14 hour bus journey was not happening within the short time I had on the coast!

I then took the longest bus journey (OK definitely not the longest I have taken!) to Nairobi, again I took a local bus from round the corner from where I was staying into Nairobi. Nothing happened quickly that day, we stopped in central mombasa for over 2 hours.. waiting for nothing!! I met a local guy, Nav and we talked for most of the way. We went via the most beautiful National parks and I spotted an elephant from a distance!

Nairobi and old friends!

Nairobi was hectic on arrival and as the bus had taken 4 hours longer than expected I arrived in the dark! After a mother and daughter combo took me under their wing and found me a taxi, the old lady spoke with the taxi driver and from what I could tell threatened him with her umbrella if he didn’t look after me!

I met up with Rishi – was lovely to see him it had been a long time! He showed me his parents house which was lovely! His dad has built 2 pubs inside and outside the house! Amazing, my type of place!

My time in Nairobi was spent drinking copious amounts of lovely alcohol, meeting all of Rishi’s lovely friends and seeing some absolutely amazing animals!! On Sunday Rishi had arranged a surprise for me.. I had no idea what but assumed it had something to do with animals. I wasn’t disappointed we went to a elephant orphanage!! We got to stand in the front row while the keepers fed the babay elephants – the youngest was just a few months old. They fed them with giant milk bottles and then brought them around for us to pet.. it was an amazing experience such a wonderful surprise! After wards we headed straight to the giraffe sanctuary! Also heaven!! We got to feed and kiss (!!) the giraffes – they took feeding pellets from our hands and then we put one between our lips and they reached in to grab it!!

Lake Navaisha, the cycling safari and the Rift Valley!

After a fantastic but very drunken weekend I headed off with Rishis tent in my bag to camp in lake Navashia a famous national park 2 hours West of Nairobi. On arrival I had to pitch the tent – big problem was I had never pitched a tent before – I got some help and quickly got it sorted!  I then took myself off to Elsa’s house – the lady that wrote born free and lived with the lion and cheetah – she is quite a celebrity here – what a wonderful story..

The next day I decided to hire a bike and do a cycling safari around the National park. I was assured it was safe even though there was some big cats in the park (!). The ride was amazing and within a few mins of entering the park I saw 3 giraffes – heaven! I cycled for about 2 hours and spotted smaller animals including wart hogs, buffalo in the distance and lots of gazelles. I headed towards the rift valley walk which I had heard was expensive to get a guide but well worth it.

After some negotiation I was introduced to my guide – a maasai from close to the Maasai mara! We did the most amazing 4 hour hike through the Rift Valley, it was stunning – the scenery was simply amazing. At one point I lost my footing and fell head first into the ravine – sounds worse than it was but still got a few unsightly bumps and bruises!! I fell just by where they had filmed Tomb Raider!

On my return ride through the park I spotted 5 giraffes 2 of them where young babies!! Amazing to see. I dumped my bike at the side of the road and walked over to see them I got pretty close to the babies – with one eye on the adults who were further away – until they ran off together – best sight EVER! I stayed there for a while just watching them – they were all watching me too. As I returned to my bike out of the corner of my eye I spotted a huge amount of buffalo crossing the path I was about to cycle!! I had just been warned to keep away from them by one of the rangers so I was now stuck as this was the only road out!! Eek!! After about 20 mins of watching and trying to decide if I should go back, wait for someone to drive past or cycle fast past them.. I decided to cycle as there was no sign of anyone!! I sprinted past them trying not to get eye contact and I made it out the other side!! WOHOO!! What a fantastic experience!

After another quick catch up with Rishi in Nairobi I headed on the bus back to Moshi for my big return!!

Overall a most fantastic time in Kenya made extra special by my warm welcome from Rishi. The animals, parks and beaches where lovely and on my return to Africa I will defiantly go back and see all of the places I didn’t get to see in these short action packed ten days!!

Photos to follow!!

Posted by angcoleman 09:51 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

Zanzibaaaar!

One week.. oh OK 14 days in paradise!!

sunny
View Year off on angcoleman's travel map.

As per usual I am taking local transport everywhere.. so after a quick night in Dar eek I hate that place, I jumped in a taxi at 6am to take me to the ferry. I was confident that I would get a ticket and I would be on the 7am ferry.. hmm I arrived and they said all the tickets were sold.. I hung around in the dark and continued to ask can you not just fit one little person on somewhere, they seemed to be looking and then they decided to sell me the last ticket!

The ferry ride over was very calm, I was surrounded by students in their very early 20’s and suddenly I felt very old and kinda ashamed to be British amongst all these crazy British teenagers! The bus ride over was about 2 hours, I had arranged to meet Michelle, my friend I met volunteering in Moshi on the beach in Kendwa and she had her driver pick me up.. so nice!

Arriving and getting settled

Kendwa was AMAZING, if any of you ever get the chance to go DO IT! And don’t bother with any other beach, I didn’t sample others but during my time on Kendwa we met so many others who said this was the nicest! I checked into White Sands a small hotel full of beach bungalows. I negotiated a great rate of $25 a night including breakfast a total bargain in high season.

Paradise!!!

Paradise!!!

Chilling on Kendwa beach

Chilling on Kendwa beach

It was lovely catching up with Michelle, her Maasai boyfriend Kili and hearing all their plans to start building a maasai school in his village. It’s shocking to believe that the maasai children their have only recently had a temporary school built and still write in the dirt as they have no equipment. The project sounds amazing and I am excited to stay involved in it when it launches later this year! More details to follow as I get them…

The first night we headed to Nugwi with some friends Michelle had made from Australia, Nugwei is just a bit north of Kendwa and is easily walk able in the day from Kendwa – 45 mins. We ate fish on the beach; I made a pact with myself to eat fish everyday while I was in Zanzibar, so fresh and so nice and great protein! We headed to the Cholo bar after and had a few drinks before I headed home and they continued to party at a local bar.

The next morning, and most mornings during my stay I got up early and went for a fantastic run along the beach! The tide was all the way out which meant I could run up to Nugwei, so I headed up to see the rest of the beach, it was lovely. I passed a lot of local fisherman on the way and some local traders getting their goods ready for the tourists who were just waking up to another beautiful day in paradise!

Breakfast was lovely, every morning we had the same but I didn’t get bored of the endless amount of coffee and the yummy omelets, after my run I was ready for a big meal!

The walk to Nugwei

After a few days of just chilling on the beach Michelle and I decided to take a walk to Nugwei, so we waited for the never predictable tide to go out and started our walk, when the tide is in it is not possible to walk there only swim, which becomes a bit impractical with your bags!

The walk was good until we realized that perhaps we should have waited for the tide for a bit longer! Suddenly we found ourselves wading through water to our thighs! The beach was easy to walk on until we got to some sharp rock pools, I lost my balance at one point and fell in the water! Luckily I had my bag raised over my head! 2 guys were passing at the time and ran over to help me OMG I could not stop laughing me being escorted by a European across the rock pools, my knight in shining armor!!  We then turned the corner and the water was as high as our waists.. hmm what to do Michelle had white shorts on! So she took them off and waded through in her underwear and I walked through already soaked by this time both with our bags on our heads!!

Michelle and I post drowning on our walk to Nugwei

Michelle and I post drowning on our walk to Nugwei

Nugwei Zanzibar

Nugwei Zanzibar

On final arrival we had a great time relaxing with a coke, exploring the beach and the small boutiques and trying to negotiate a good exchange rate to get some money out! We had a v random sighting of a cow walking along the beach at one point, it was on its own, we presume lost but seemed happy enough walking through the sunbathers.. RANDOM!

Our friend on the beach!

Our friend on the beach!

The parties

I met lots of lovely people while I was in Kendwa, Mirit from Israel a drama therapist her guy Macs from the beach, Sarah and Adele from England teachers working in Dubai, Jenny from Canada a student and lots of Kili’s maasai friends. So there was plenty of drinking friends and people to go out to the beach parties with!

The re are two main beach parties in Kendwa, on Friday is Sunset bar party and Saturday a much bigger party at Kendwa rocks, famous for the full moon parties but still a lot of fun when the moon isn’t full! There was lots of drinks consumed, partying and dancing to be done and fun to be had!

The gals on the sundowners <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

The gals on the sundowners :)

Kendwa Susets <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />)))

Kendwa Susets :))))

Stone town

After a week on the beach I decided to head to stone town for a change of scenery and to see what I had heard so much about! We took a local bus into town, so much cheaper than the taxi and very very easy to use! I made plans to meet up with Adele and Sarah later for drinks and a bite to eat. I checked into a lovely small guest house called Warera for $25 a night, dropped off my bag and then Michelle, Mirit and I hit the shops! Stonetwon really reminded me of Greece or Spain, winding streets and whit washed buildings.. all the locals were lovely and so friendly. The shops were filled with all kinds of lovely souvenirs – fabrics, wood carvings, clothes, jewelry etc etc.

Girls hit stonetown <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Girls hit stonetown :)

We took a rest bite in a small Italian café which was lovely, the owner was a nice lady who has been in ST for 12 years and owns this café and a fashion shop next door. It was lovely to have a healthy snack and sit and talk about all of the amazing business opportunities that are possible in Zanzibar!

That night we headed out to the gardens, it is a huge group of stalls set up in a garden cooking and selling food! You can get any kind of food you can cook on a hot plate, fish, meat, crepes etc ect. I had the famous Zanzibar pizza, fish of course! Its kind of like a pizza fritter, fried on both sides with yummy ness in the middle! After food we headed to a few bars for wine and drinks. Because it is Ramadan the bars were a bit quieter than I imagine they are outside of this but it was still a lot of fun!

Leaving Zanzibar..

After extending and extending I finally decided that I must get back to Dar and head on my way up to Mombasa.. In total I spent 10 wonderful days in Zanzibar, the top bits were

• The amazing sunsets.. usually accompanied by a few sun downers – glasses of wine at sunset
• Finally getting to relax and take stock of where I am what’s happened to date and whats next. I took about 4 days to relax but once it finally happened it was BLISS!!
• Meeting all the amazing people I did, I made a lot of friends and hope to see them all again some time either during my travels or when I return to Zanzi..
• The runs in the morning – although I have sprained my ankle and am currently not running and limping around- its better now though!
• The fish in the locals restaurants – mmm
• The beach!!
• Etc, etc, etc

Posted by angcoleman 02:33 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Usamabra mountains

After bidding baadae sana to my friends in Moshi Nicola, Melissa and myself left on a local bus which would be taking us East towards Dar to a small village called Lushoto. This is the main village within the Usambara mountains. Monika and Lusago had a staid at the same hotel we were going to Mullers a few weeks before so we knew exactly what to do. The bus ride was pretty hair raising, thankfully from my seat I couldn't see much but Nicola was at the window by the cliff edge and had her eyes shut most of the way. Half way in we had a quick toilet stop, I had warned the girls that they wouldn't get much time to go but they both jumped off the bus to use the facilities quickly. After just a few mins the driver was tooting his horn and started moving! I was starting to get a bit concerned, then I saw them both appear with panic stricken faces running after the bus, much to the amusement of all the locals on the bus! They got baack on and we left straight after.

Because of my wallet being stolen I had next to no money so decided to use the ATM in lushoto, I quickly found out it was for local cards only. .shoot now stuck with no money except for some dollars and a small amount of shillings.. Great!

Lushoto and the mountain range was breath taking, very lush and green, a lot cooler than moshi and they pace of life felt a lot slower! Mullers lodge is a wonderful hotel literally in the middle of nowhere, the staff are super friendly and wish us welcome karibu san a non stop from the moment we arrive to the time we leave!

When we arrived we were served the non stop coffee and biscuits - I'm going to like this place- I had been looking forward to and then had a wonderful cheese toasty and salad. We spent the afternoon relaxing, reading, playing on the swings and doing a short walk rod the area of the hotel. The area was full of under privileged families who have nothing. All of the children looked very dirty but seemed to be very happy. They were obviously used to seeing white people from the various hotels around and asked for their pictures to be taken and to be given a pen!

Melissa and I at the Usambara's - view from our hotel room

Melissa and I at the Usambara's - view from our hotel room

View from hotel

View from hotel

Mullers lodge

Mullers lodge

That night we sat by the fire in the restaurant grounds and had a good chat before we were told to come into the main house for a buffet dinner! The dinner was soup to star which was much in need as it was freezing outside, the main course was roast dinner -including roast pots yummy and then a custardy thing for pudding. After a glass of wine we all headed to bed excited about the all day walk we had booked for the next morning.

We grabbed a quick breakfast, met our guide who looked a lot older than I had expected and jumbled in the taxi ready to see the mountains! We started in the forest, our guides who we quickly learnt was a retired 76 year old tea her known to everyone on the route as babu - grandad in Swahili. The views were breathtaking throughout out, at one point babu asked us if we wanted to go to the peak which seemed far away but we got there quickly. I was feeling fine after kill but thinking I was slightly crazy to be climbing again just a few days after the trip!
Our lunch stop was at irente farm, we had read a lot about this place in the guide book and how nice their cheese was so we were excited to go and sample it. We were not disappointed. The lunch is about £2 and for that you get fantastic bread, cheese amazing jam fruit, juice etc it was so good and much needed after our long walk. Babu was super fit and ran circles around all of us! He does do this route everyday in the high season with clients, hence why he knows everyone and is super fit. He gets the name babu as he has a large family, 10 children and 10 grandchildren!

Trekking again!

Trekking again!

Usambaras

Usambaras

My new mate!!

My new mate!!

The gals on the day trek

The gals on the day trek

After irente farm shop we headed to the look out point which was simply amazing, it looked over the whole mountain range spectacular! There was a rock set slightly out from the cliff which much to melissas horror nicola and i jumped onto and took some amazing photos. Getting back onto the cliff involved a large jump step which was scary but with the help of babu we all made it.

One big leap!!

One big leap!!

Irente view.. stunning!

Irente view.. stunning!

By the end of the walk we were all tired, it had heated up considerably and none of had any water left, we were now close to lushoto o we grabbed water there and a quick break before heading back to mullers for a rest and some coffee and biscuits!

Paying the bill was a nightmare that evening, they had a card machine which I was pleased about but it turned out it didn't work eek! Thankfully I had just enough dollars on me so I didn't have to spend the next month there wishing guests Karibu sana a hundred times a day!

The next morning we left very early for our buses, nicola and Melissa back to moshi and me onto dar before my ferry the next day to Zanzibar!

Lushoto and the usambaras are definitely worth a visit. If you ever make it there ask for babu as your guide

The mountains

The mountains

The mountains

The mountains

Irente View

Irente View

Posted by angcoleman 22:53 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

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