This post is the seventh 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.
In my last day in Zanzibar, I had the chance to choose among several available tours: from properly visiting the east side of the island to even swim with dolphins, but I decided to visit Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, a great place to see monkeys and walk in the woods.
Baby red colobus
Once I arrived at the park, I was assigned a friendly guide who introduced me to the park and the animals there. I was the only one in that time slot, so we had the freedom stop in some parts I found more interesting.
On the way to the first area, he told me that there are 2 types of monkeys at the park: the more common and friendly Zanzibar red colobus and the Zanzibar Sykes’ monkeys, more shy and harder to see.
This post is the sixth 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.
Walking around the streets of the Stone Town of Zanzibar is not unusual to see people of all ages spending the warm afternoon playing board games.
In East Africa, the game of Bao is a common form of entertainment.
Before starting to write this blog, I wanted to research on this game to know something more and I found out that in Zanzibar there are actually two version of this game: one is called Bao la kiswahili (“Swahili Board Game”) and the other, a simplified version, is called Bao la kujifunza (“Bao for beginners”).
Other than seeing the locals playing a new game, I was interested in the skill they showed. Some of them could, with a single hand movement, consistently put three kete‘s (the stones) into threedifferent pits! Continue Reading
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.
This post is the forth 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.
Zanzibar, despite being part of the United Republic of Tanzania, is really different from any other place I have visited in East Africa. It has a mix of cultures which at times makes you wonder whether you are in Africa, the Middle East or India. Different religions are professed here and their influences can be seen in the architecture, the clothing and the food.
In my opinion, the true beauty of Zanzibar lies in its streets, its markets and the people. Even after getting used to East African markets, Zanzibar managed to surprise me: the variety of spices, aromas, vegetables, fruits, objects and pieces of art was astonishing. Before heading back home, I had stockpiled a quite remarkable array of spices and massage oils, including 2 coconuts (yeah, I am crazy).
In Zanzibar, as in the rest of East Africa, you get to meet a lot of people. It’s very easy, especially if you don’t mind talking to strangers.
In fact, being a white (a mzungu, as they say) gives you a lot of chances to talk to people; of course, many might see it as an economical opportunity but, given a bit of effort, it often turns into a quite interesting conversation. By showing to people that you actually want to get to know them and learn about their culture makes a huge difference from being the common exploitable tourist. Continue Reading
This post is the third 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 second post here.
The next morning was, as usual, an early one. The ferry to Zanzibar would leave at around 16.00, so I thought to quickly get a glimpse of Dar Es Salaam before the departure.
Dar Es Salaam, with its almost omnipresent sand, gave me a feeling of how I imagine a city in the Middle East.
After having visited the Village Museum and eaten chips mayai for lunch (omelette with French fries in it; it might not sound much but I find it great!), I was ready to finally catch the ferry to Zanzibar!
On the ferry, gazing at the seemingly endless body of water between Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar, I could finally relax: “I am almost there!”
If I wanted to make this moment dramatic, I would probably compare myself to some sailor who, after months of navigation, yells ‘Tierra! Tierra!’ when he sees land, but, to be honest, the ferry took not more than 2 hours. But I definitely felt happy; that kind of happiness that puts a smile on your face without having to do it manually.
After having travelled more than 1500 km (this website says ‘1570.407’), in about 4 days, I was finally there. I was in Zanzibar!
The sunset made everything look paradisiacal and the fact that most of the locals were dressed up for the Eid festival (the end of the Ramadan) greatly improved my first impression. Continue Reading
This post is the first of 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.
My stay in Uganda was, as expected, going to end and leaving East Africa without visiting Kenya and Tanzania was surely not an option.
The initial plan was to go to Nairobi (the capital of Kenya) first, head South to Dar Es Salaam (the capital of Tanzania) then cross the Dar Es Salaam Bay by ferry to reach Zanzibar and then return to Kampala in a similar fashion. But, as you will read, the trip, mainly the return, did not go as planned.
Once having discussed with my boss the precise dates of my trip, planned the locations and contacted my hosts, it was time for my camera, my backpack and me to start the long trip by leaving Kampala to get to the first destination: Nairobi.
The route from Kampala to Nairobi by bus is quite frequented making it rather comfortable and safe; the only exception being, as usual, the border where it is required to cross it by foot and stand in a long queue at both the emigration and immigration office, even in the middle of the night.
Left Kampala at 8pm and arrived at 8am on a rather comfortable bus helped dealing with the new busy and chaotic city. Nairobi has the look of a very East African city, with areas being extremely different from each other: from muddy slums to extremely modern malls.