De Addis Abeba a Ciudad del Cabo (From Addis Ababa to Cape Town)

Jambo tena! (Hello again!)
February 14, 2012, 7:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Another border crossing – quite an easy one this time – and we made it back into Swahili speaking country. We spent one and a half days in Bukoba, a pleasant enough town on the shore of Lake Victoria, waiting for the overnight ferry that would take us across to Mwanza from where we hoped to catch a two day train to Dar es Salaam. To pass the time, I had a haircut for 75p by a lady who although was very sweet, I don’t think I was her usual type of client! Thankfully my hair has started growing again and each day I’m looking a bit less like a boy who had a fight with a pair of scissors and lost . . .

After possibly one of the best night’s sleep in a while on the ferry, we arrived in Mwanza (the size of Lake Victoria is overwhelming – it took us over 9 hours to just cross one corner of the lake) to learn the train line had been suspended. Much to my relief, instead of taking three days’ worth of buses and maybe trains (if they were running further down the line), we decided to fly the 90 mins to Dar where we whiled away the days at Mikadi Beach Lodge (just south of Dar across the harbour) waiting for Alberto’s Mozambican visa – check out Alberto’s last post with the hunky pirate photos of himself to see what I’m talking about ;-).

It took five days of lazing on the beach, eating good food and going snorkelling on a deserted island until Alberto’s visa was ready and then finally it was time for what I’d been excitedly waiting for (probably for the last seven-eight years) – Zanzibar!

Stone Town

Stone Town

The famous Zanzibar doors, once a symbol of wealth

The famous Zanzibar doors, once a symbol of wealth

Stone Town (which is the older and much more interesting part of Zanzibar Town) is fantastic – it’s got heaps of history, lots of old and dilapidated but beautiful buildings with shutters on the windows and solid, intricately carved Zanzibar doors dating from the time of the Sultans plus a bit of Portuguese architectural influence, mysterious maze-like alleys that twist and turn and gorgeous little shops full of lots of pretty things. The food’s delicious too – juicy fish in coconut sauce, Zanzibar pizzas (kind of like a small crepe but filled with a choice of chicken, beef, cheese and tomato or even peanut butter, banana and Nutella and then fried – yum!) from Forodhani Gardens along the waterfront and good Italian ice-cream from a little restaurant overlooking the sea – my mouth’s watering already . . .

The roofs of Stone Town with the spires of the Catholic Cathedral in the distance

The roofs of Stone Town with the spires of the Catholic cathedral in the distance

One of many winding alleys

One of the many mysterious alleys in the old town

Watching the world go by

Watching the world go by

Stone Town seaside

Stone Town seaside

The Portuguese arch

The Portuguese arch

Our second (and last before going to the beach) night in Stone Town was also the start of an annual four night music festival in Zanzibar called Sauti za Busara. This year was the first whereby only musicians from Africa were invited to play (including Tumi and the Volume from South Africa who were one of the final acts on the last night). The venue for the festival was pretty special – inside the walls of the old fort under the moonlit sky.

The old fort

The grounds of the old fort

Our favourite acts on that first night included a group of kids from a local orphanage performing traditional dances and songs and a guy from Cape Verde who was pretty funky and got us all up on our feet. Funnily enough we weren’t that keen on one of the groups whose routine included rolling around on the floor in what looked like an attempt to exorcise demons while the women shrieked and some of the male members paraded around with a live chicken, which they later pretended to bite in two. Apparently the festival did get better as it progressed . .

After our week on the beach we’re back in Stone Town for a few days before we start making our way towards Malawi and I can’t wait to explore the town some more.

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Jambo Jambo! Habari? I love the doorways pics (I took loads of them from temples in Cambodia) :) I love Zanzibar. Is the night market still at Forodhani Gardens? We stayed for 5 days at a beach place in the north but I forget the name. It had lots of restaurants on the beach with fresh fish and further back were lots of bungalows. There were also Masaai men selling goods on the beach. Enjoy Zanzibar and do lots of snorkelling! x

Comment by Valerie McIntosh

Poa :-) Zanzibar’s awesome! Yip, Forodhani Gardens still has all the food stalls – we ate there both nights we were in Stone Town so reckon we’ll go back again. We’re in Paje on the east coast, it’s pretty quiet so we like it (it’s low season too anyway). Did you stay up north in Nungwi? x

Comment by Simone

Looks super awesome guys…
Has Alberto found somewhere to surf there yet.

Comment by Tyronne

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