This post is the fifth in a set of publications which will describe the last trip I did in East Africa, back in August, leading me to Zanzibar and back again.
With constant swarms of tourists throughout the year, it is not surprising to know that Zanzibar has plenty of tours and trips for everyone. From nature trips to food tours, without forgetting the “Freddy Mercury Tour” ( He was born in Zanzibar, where he lived his first years), there are countless opportunities to experience the island.
Being short of time, I asked for recommendations to my new local friends who promptly suggested two tours in particular: the popular spice tour and the trip to the Jozani-Chwaka Bay monkey reserve.
The spice tour, the first one I did, was advertised as a way to get to know the local spices, the history of the spice trade and of the infamous slave trade, having been the third pillar of its economy.
One of the guides showing a natural makeup
This post is the second in a set of publications which will describe the last trip I did in East Africa, back in August, leading me to Zanzibar and back again. Read the first post here.
After a good nights sleep, I was ready to catch the bus to Dar Es Salaam.
The bus leaves every day at 6.45am and arrives at around 8pm, quite a long journey.
The beginning of the trip wasn’t too exciting, the view was very similar and rather dull, I took this time to sleep a bit more (I am not a morning person).
After the short nap, I woke up to a very different landscape: dry lands with light brown hills. The land of the Masai.
Not long after, we had to get off the bus as we had reached the border Kenya-Tanzania (I find border checkpoints in East Africa very unsettling, so I searched for a picture to give you an idea: border checkpoint in Namanga). After all the paperwork has been completed, we returned to the bus heading to Arusha.
Arusha, capital of the Arusha region, is a mandatory stop for hikers, mainly for being very close to the Arusha National Park, the Mt. Meru Forest Reserve and, more importantly, to the Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park, home of the famous Mt. Kilimanjaro.
The Mt. Kilimanjaro
The other weekend, during a full moon, I tried several approaches to get the best of our dreamy satellite.
I got suggested several techniques, but stacking was the most interesting one.
Stacking is a technique used for improving the quality/detail of an object, usually during night time (due to the low light conditions); used for instance with stars, galaxies and, of course, the moon.
It requires taking a certain amount of pictures, I used 50 for the full moon, and stacking them together using a specific software. I used Lynkeos, as I am currently on OS X, but RegiStax is often quoted as being among the best freeware for such purpose.
Full moon shot using double exposure.
Although taking over 100 pictures, with different settings and exposure, the result I got wasn’t exactly what I wanted/expected, so I just ended up using a double exposure. Essentially taking a picture for the foreground (the clouds, in this case) and one picture for the moon and then stacking them together. This fixes the issue related to the fact that the time required to get a correct exposure of the moon is different (lower) than the one required for the foreground.
Sleepy faces. Slow movements. Few words. A common scene from an early morning. A nice breakfast put us all back on our feet, ready for chimp tracking.
For the tracking, we had to go into the thick forest, moving slowly and staying together in a group. This is necessary in order to not be considered a threat by the chimpanzees; scattering around would give them a feeling of being surrounded, frightening them.
It took us a good hour (or so) before we could see a chimp. Until then we could hear them calling each other (chimps have a sort of language; there are up to 30-40 sounds used for indicating different actions, i.e. food, anger, danger…).
The first one, was a rather sleepy one; he stayed most of the time laid down on a large branch and chilling under the sunlight, turning around at times.
last weekend, together with some friends, I went to Ssese Islands, near Entebbe, and stayed there overnight; specifically on the Bugala island, which is the largest island of the archipelago.
It took quite some time to get there: Entebbe is some 3 hours away from Kampala and the ferry from Nakiwogo to Bugala takes other 3 hours.
Although long, the trip was totally worth it.
At last, we are at the conclusion of this journey through this incredible park, considering its size.
We had the chance to see and appreciate very different species and got to finally see them in real life.
A venue of vultures on a tree.
This was my first safari and I truly loved it. My first but not my last.
In fact, in 2 weeks I am going to undertake another and much longer challenge: Murchison Falls National Park.
Skulls of several animals, including an hippo (the largest one).
Today, the focus is on the antelopes of the park.
As you will notice from the images, these animals are very curious and, after getting to know us and understanding that we are not a threat to their community, sociable; in fact, we could get quite close to them without scare them away or disrupting their behaviour.