We left Chitimba in Malawi after another enjoyable beach stay. It was windy here so we felt very much at home. I wasn't so well so Ian and 4 others went on a 21km walk to Livingstonia which apparently was up hill all the way and by the end of the evening was 43kms long!
As we drive along the children call out Mzungu which means white person. Apparently they are well respected here. I think it is becausue they believe all white people have money and will give them some.
We crossed from Malawi into Tanzania. I had one of those meltdowns this morning. Not feeling so flash I decided to brave the toilet at the border but the guy wouldn't let me in till I paid. My money was on the truck behind the barrier and he said "how can I trust you to pay?" I showed him where the truck was parked and how it was coming through but no luck! I walked off, not having used the loo ( I suspect it might have been a blessing in disguise), had a wee cry and decided to embrace it. TIA!
Ian and Dan went to the money changers in the back room. Better for the money to be changed by a few than all of us. Border crossings can take time. Six people incuding Dan and Ian in an area 3m x 2m, but the boys managed to negotiate a better rate (a whole extra $3.80 on 1230 USD) made Ian's day! He also caught them short changing him by 50cents and got it back. What a win!
The next 2 days were long days of travel. First night after travelling through rubber forsets and stopping to chat to locals, driving through the rift valley which was beautiful with it's tea plantations and banana plants we stopped at a nice campground (about 10 hours later). It was in the middle of nowhere but we upgraded to a lovely chalet, where the showers were heated by burning wood an they had the cleanest long drops ever! The bar was a small thatched burre with a coal brazier and lit by candlelight. They served a delicious chocolate brownie which went down a treat with a glass of red wine. I was feeling better by now after Angela's miracle tablets.(Our resident Dr).
Next day got up at 4.30 am to be on the road by 5am. Went through Baobab valley which was amzing and the scenery was spectacular. Drove through a game park, that straddled the main highway. Imagine the dessert road with giraffes, impalas, wildebeast and zebras either side.
As we travelled we passed the Masai in their traditional dress herding cattle. Islam is becoming more prominent as we head up north.We were the only white faces we had had seen in days.
We arrived in Dar Es Saalam in rush hour traffic. What a nightmare. The city is quite big, 2.5 million people but the locals can't resist lining the streets with markets. Coffins, adorned in ribbons, were sitting alongside stalls of mag wheels and lounge suites. Very noisy, smelly and colourful.
Getting to the camp ground was an adventure, Due to raod works we had to catch the car ferry. We sat in the queue for a while in the heat as hawkers tried to ply us with their wares. Finally got on along with half the population and there was a disturbance on the boat. Some people in a car were being seriously hassled by some passengers. An army truck was in front of us full of personnel and they got out to deal with it.
Once again a campsite on an idyllic beach, but it was not all it seemed. The bar had a sign that read "Do not walk on the beach on your own. You will be robbed. If you want to have a walk take a Masai with you for a cost of 2000 shillings (3nzd). The back of the toilet door had WARNING: SAFE INSIDE THE CAMP, UNSAFE OUTSIDE THE CAMP!
Nevertheless, we had a lovely meal prepared by the camp and sat on the beach front (in the camp) under the stars, while one of the tour played the guitar and we sang songs. It was a lovely evening. Had a broken night sleep with the call to prayer for the muslims at 4am this morning.
Today we caught a 2 hour ferry to Zanzibar after a fun tuk tuk ride (more on that from Ian) to the terminal. I coped very well on the boat despite the swell and I even had a snickers bar!
Zanzibar is full of history and is 95% muslim. Starting to see a lot more full burqas here. Tomorrow we are heading up the Island and will be visiting a spice plantation. We have 2 nights in a beach resort. Anything but a tent is all good,we then come back for one more night in stone town before heading off to the Serengeti.
IAN HERE.......Call me immature but when told this morning it would be best if we travelled to the ferry by Tuk Tuk I couldn't resist orgnising a race. We have a couple from USA, canada, Oz, us, two English girls South African Tour Guides, another NZ girl and a german chap called Thomas who wears high riders, all racing. Naturally I promised our man a wee tip if we won. We all charged off weaving through the very busy streets. The poms took the early lead, but then ran of gas (actually). The ozzies took a short cut but got jammed out. We finished a credible third. Highlight of my day. Cheers