Africa Day #43

I slept a solid 8 hours last night and it was wonderful! I still do not think I am quite caught up on my sleep, but it is a start! Breakfast at 7am and we are leaving the city by 8am.

Today I think was the shortest drive to date, as we pulled up to camp by 10:30am. It was so strange for the original 5 to be at a camp so early, we almost didn’t know what to do with ourselves! This camp was on Lake Naivasha, which was pretty cool, and was known to have hippo grazing outside the gate by the lake!

Shortly after getting to camp, we headed out on the lake to see some hippos as well as different birds. It was no time at all that we were seeing hippo. They were very close to where we got on the boats. We actually watched hippos mating, which was quite a sight! I have video, don’t worry! We also saw some hippo grazing out of the water, and you really appreciate their size when they are out of the water. As much as I enjoyed the boat ride, I was a little concerned on how close they were getting to the hippo, especially while they were mating, and at one point our driver banged on the boat to try to get the hippo to look in our direction, which I didn’t like as well. The other thing I didn’t like about this boat ride, is they were trying to feed the fish eagle, which none of them were having any part of. I am very much against feeding wild animals for tourist, and was a bit thankful the eagles wanted no part of it… although that could be that they had already been fed early that day.

Hippo mating
Hippo grazing
Reed Cormorant
Yellow Billed Stork
Baby Hippo
Fish Eagle
Colobus Monkey

There was an optional walk after the boat ride, but it was quite expensive ($50 USD), and it was seeing all the animals I have been seeing for the last 40 days, so I opted to pass, and just kick around camp.

We had a hot lunch of burgers today, which was great, as lunch is typically just sandwiches. We were feeling a bit spoiled. After lunch I took a nap outside on our mattresses, which was so great. I woke up with quite a start, and became the joke among some of the other travelers, which was deserved.

It was a nice quiet day, just kicking around the soccer ball (I picked up for $5 from one of the vendors walking on the street) and hanging out. In the evening, we enjoyed a camp fire, as well as a really good dinner. There was squash soup, that had some amazing flavors, and because it was fish tonight, I ate vegetarian, which was a beans dish, potato and salad.

Tonight is the first night with my new tent buddy, and so far we seem to be doing well. It is cool here, and I look forward to going back to camping and snuggling into my sleeping bag. It is funny, I find myself missing my tent and camping when we are in hotels.

I plan to have another early night tonight, and tomorrow we have a normal morning, and we are headed to Eldoret for a stop over. It is not suppose to be a long drive day tomorrow, and the camp site is suppose to be quite nice.

Africa Day #42

Coffee last night was a bad idea, although delicious, as I was awake until 1:30 in the morning, but all my stuff is in order. I was then awake at 5:45am so I did some online Christmas shopping. My nephew has totally made out because of this! Being up so early, with the 8 hour time change, I was able to talk to my sister for an hour this morning, which was really great! I love how much we laugh together… it really is the best medicine!

A bunch of us are meeting for breakfast this morning, to say our final goodbyes to a couple more members. One of the girls has decided to join me today, which I am beyond excited about, so we head out at 9:30 to go see the elephants.

The first stop is the elephant orphanage. They only have an hour a day that they allow guest to come in, and it is at feeding time. The goal for all the orphans is to eventually be reintroduced into the wild, so they limit human interaction with them. It was a bit touristy, but I am glad I went. It was so cute watching these baby elephant run down to where the trainers were waiting for them to feed them. All the guest stand around a fenced off section, and are able to watch as the elephants are fed as well as play and interact with each other.

Two baby elephant running down the path for food
Baby elephant being fed
Baby elephant soothing himself by sucking on his trunk
Baby elephant itching his belly

Next we went over to the giraffe sanctuary where we were able to feed the giraffe. This is a breeding location, that also strives to re-introduce the animals back into the wild. This is a bit easier with giraffe than with elephants. Here I made out with a giraffe! One of the giraffe will take the food from your mouth, and it was quite an experience. They have a really rough tongue like a cat, but much longer. Also, apparently their spit is antiseptic, which is good, as she got a bit on my face! I have some good pictures and some video!

Going in for a kiss… that is a piece of food in my mouth not my tongue!
Little make-out session with a giraffe
The giraffe coming in for a close up

Our last stop was over to the market and mall. We did a bit of shopping, and I had some lunch. I do not have much space left, so I really need to stop buying things! We had a great taxi driver for the day, his name is Harrison, and especially on the way back to the hotel, we got to know him a bit better as well as learn a little more about Kenya and the tribes here. It was a really good day!

We arrived back at the hotel around 3pm, so I had a couple hours left with my tent buddy before she headed out to the airport. This was one of the hardest goodbyes of the trip, and I was so sad to see her go. She has been absolutely amazing, and again, this trip wouldn’t have been the same without her. I really got lucky that first day!

Tonight we meet our new group as well as our new CEO. Both of our CEOs from the last 40 days will still be with us, but one of them will be training on the route, so we will get another one and have 3 in total.

The new CEO seems really great. He is from Kenya, and seems to be a wealth of knowledge. We meet the new people, and we are only a group of 16, with 2 more joining in a couple of days. We added a couple more Australians, a few more British, someone from Sweden, Ireland, a couple from Germany and I think that is it. I have a good feeling about this group, but it also helps that I really enjoy the 4 others that I have been with since Cape Town.

After the meeting we go have dinner and get to know everyone a bit better. I head to bed early tonight, as I am only running off of less than 5 hours of sleep.

Tomorrow we are off on the last leg of this adventure. We have a short drive to Lake Naivasha, where we will be doing a boat ride on the lake to spot hippo. I am very excited!

Africa Day #41

This morning was rough for most of the group. I was awake way too late chatting with one of the girls so I only had 4 hours of sleep, where is the rest of the group is pretty hung over. Last time for this group having breakfast and packing up the Lando.

We had a border crossing into Kenya, which took about two hours to stamp out of Tanzania and into Kenya. It was an intense border crossing, there were a lot of street vendors and taxis and you couldn’t be anywhere without someone trying to sell you something or talk to you. Even with most of us having visas already, getting into Kenya took about 2 hours.

The rest of the drive today was pretty uneventful. Most of us slept the majority of the trip, which was much needed for everyone. Getting into Nairobi was an experience. Once again we hit city traffic that barely moved, and people just don’t care. There seems to be absolutely no traffic rules in these cities. Buses are cutting you off and crossing 3 lanes without a care of other cars. We actually had a truck that rubbed into us as he was trying to get in our lane. You also have all the vendors walking in the street trying to sell you anything and everything. I have come to hate going into the city. I really don’t mind the drives, it is the stand still traffic that gets to me.

We finally make it into Nairobi, although a bit behind schedule, and we only have about an hour with the whole group before the first five head to the airport. I have my own room tonight which is a fantastic, especially because I needed to take everything I own out of the Lando and repack and re-organize, and this is much easier when I can spread it all out around the room.

The goodbyes were sad, and my eyes were leaking a little when we were waving goodbye. After, the rest of us went to get dinner. Thankfully, my tent buddy has one more night, so I do not have to say goodbye to her yet.

Tomorrow my plan is to go to the elephant sanctuary and the giraffe sanctuary. I have already arranged a taxi for the day from the hotel, as this is not a place you go out exploring by foot by yourself. We have been advised as well, if we decide to go out at night, to only leave the hotel in a taxi and not by foot. At the moment, it will just be me going out tomorrow, but I am hoping one of the other girls changes her mind in the morning and decides to join me.

I was hoping to do some laundry at the hotel, but at $1.60 per pair of underwear, I decided I would hand wash in the sink. There are days that I miss clean clothing, especially clean underwear, not hand wash clean underwear! I told my sister tonight to make sure the washer machine is empty, as everything is going in as soon as I am home… maybe for two cycles to get all the dirt out!

We were back on WiFi today as well, so I was able to check in with family, which was good, since I have been off WiFi for almost a week. I must admit though, I really do enjoy the times that WiFi is not even an option.

Africa Day #40

 

Flamingos in the Ngorongoro Crater

Middle of the night bathroom run… success! Morning bathroom run.. Water Buffalo! There are two sets of bathrooms at this camp site, the close ones that are squat toilets, that I went to in the middle of the night, and the nice ones with real toilets that are a good 100 yards away down the hill, which is where I was headed this morning. Thankfully we always wear our head lamps in the dark, as half way to the bathrooms I caught the eye with my light of a buffalo. Half asleep Lauren questioned whether or not it was just a cow, until I saw the shadowy figures of the herd. The worst part, is my tent mate was already at the bathroom, and ended up being stuck down at the bathroom until the herd moved past. I, on the other hand, quickly turned around, and headed back up, letting the others know to turn around as well.

The sad part, I am going to miss this. There is something kind of special waking up to wild animals in camp, even if they all could kill you! This is the second time that my tent mate has been stuck at a bathroom because of animals!

Breakfast was served, and our kitchen staff made cake, as we have another birthday today! Africa cake can be pretty dry, but this one was pretty good! I look forward to celebrating this girls birthday, it should be a great day! We got back into our vehicles and were off to go drive in the crater. When I initially thought about driving into the crater, I had a completely different picture in my head, but it was good regardless. The road was steep, but we made it down safely!

*Graphic Images*

Highlights of the Crater drive included watching Hyena feed on a Wildebeest kill, and two female lions with their 8 or so cubs. Once again, the lions crossed the road with the babies, and we were so close to them. There was an incident with one of our travelers spooking the lion, and that added a bit of tension to the day, which was unfortunate.

Hyena eating the Wildebeest
Hyena taking it’s part of the kill
Mother and cubs drinking the water
Lion cubs
Two female lions with their cubs

We stopped again for another boxed lunch, which was pretty grim, and I only ate a bit of it, and ended up swapping vehicles for the drive back to camp. This caused a little bit of drama, but it was needed, and I actually had a really fun drive back. I was with the birthday girl, and I was happy to spend some of her birthday with her! I have learned a lot of patients on this trip, and to be flexible and go with the flow, but I also learned when I need to remove myself from certain situations. Being with people 24/7 can be challenging, but I think I have done pretty well thus far!

Ngorongoro Crater taken from the top on the drive back up

Back at camp, we said thank you to our guides, and started to get ready for birthday celebrations and dinner. This will be our last night in this group,  which also means it will be our last dinner, which is a lamb or goat spit roast that is being prepared by the camp site. I am still not truly registering that I will be saying goodbye tomorrow. Some of these people I have been with since day 1, and it will be so hard to see them go.

Before dinner, we started the birthday celebrations with gifts and drinks. It makes for a nice end to this leg of the adventure! Dinner was good, although I only ate the sides and we had another cake made by Ma, the owner of the camp. A bit dry, but it was good… but two cakes in a day is a good day regardless! After dinner we headed to the bar for drinks and dancing. There were a lot of shots going around, which I did not partake, but it was a lot of fun. My night took an interesting turn, as I ended up having some really great conversations with some of the group members. It was a little sad that we didn’t have some of these chats before the last night, as they strengthened the bonds, but great regardless. These people have become my family for the last 40 days… it will be so different without them. They are very much a big part of what I will remember about Africa.

Tomorrow we head to Nairobi, where five members of our group will fly out that night, followed by the remaining eight the next two days. The five of us staying on will have two nights, one full day in Nairobi before we start the final leg of this adventure!

 

Africa Day #39

Last night went really well! You could definitely hear the Hyena in our camp site. I made it nearly until 5am until I had to make my tent mate join me to do a bathroom run, and we had no encounters thankfully!! I am so excited for today. I am like a kid at Disney, buzzing with excitement. After breakfast I was just waiting by the trucks (or bouncing), ready to head out for our drive.

The first part of the morning game drive was pretty uneventful. There were not a lot of animals out and about, so I was feeling a bit discouraged. However, by the end we found some luck as we found a pride of lions laying around, a lone male lion sleeping by the side of the road, as well as two female lion with a male. The trio were actually active and were walking around the vehicles. Again, it was amazing how close these animals came to us. We were actually late picking up our balloon riders because of how long we spent with the lions, it was incredible.

Back to camp for brunch, which was so good. We had crepes, eggs, meatballs (really good but a bit salty), potatoes and fruit and then headed back out for an afternoon game drive.

I absolutely love the Serengeti, and already have decided I will be returning in the future. The landscape, the animals… I just can’t get enough! And next time I will do the balloon ride. The people who did it raved about it, and although I was a bit jealous of their trip, I would have missed the lions around the vehicles.

Serengeti Landscape
Warthog with two babies

The afternoon game drive was great! WE SAW CHEETAH! Not only one, we saw two! I had pretty well given up hope that we would be spotting cheetah, as they are hard to spot and a rare find, but we found not only one, but two!! They were just hanging out on a termite mound. We watched them for quite a bit, which I loved. At one point, one of them got up, and we thought he might go hunt but instead decided to go for a roll in the grass.

The only thing I didn’t quite like was the hippo in the Serengeti. It is quite dry, so there isn’t much water for them, and they all look pretty sad. We saw one lone hippo in a little mud puddle and it bummed me out a bit, as he looked nearly dead. I much prefer seeing them in the lakes and rivers where there is plenty of water for them.

We are headed out of the Serengeti to go back to the Ngorongoro Crater to camp for the evening. These camp sites are just incredible! The views are just amazing, and I feel so very lucky. Once again, when we arrived at camp, tents were set up and dinner was being prepared.

It was a bit early, so we were given popcorn and coffee/tea/hot chocolate and hung out as a group, as we are getting down to only a couple more days of this group of 18. This is actually our second to last night with this group, and I am trying not to think about it. I have been with my tent/lando buddy for almost 40 days, and I can’t imagine what it will be like without her. There are 5 of us that will be staying on for the final 14 days, so I have already arranged to share a tent with one of the girls staying, which I am looking forward to, as we get along really well, but it will be a change.

This group we have had for the last 20 days has had its struggles, but we have a great core group and I will miss them! I am very thankful that I am not heading home in the next couple days, as I don’t feel quite ready yet. I am looking forward to the last leg in Uganda with the gorillas.

Dinner tonight was a cucumber soup and then a vegetable pasta with a meat sauce for the top, and salad. Once again, really good meal. At this camp site there was a lot of people and groups. There was a father and daughter who I briefly spoke to, who were hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro together. It made me miss my dad a bit, and realize we need to plan a father/daughter excursion. Maybe not to Africa, but definitely something!

Tonight, the animal of the evening is Water Buffalo. These are the most dangerous of the big five to humans, as they will just charge you and not stop. I can’t wait!

Tomorrow we head back to Arusha for our last night in snake park camp, but first we will descend into the crater for a game drive. We are hoping to see Rhino, as there is about 25 of them living in the crater.

Africa Day #38

Landscape shot in the Seregeti
Landscape shot in the Seregeti

We are going to the Serengeti!! This is why we have come to Africa!! I am buzzing with excitement!! We just have our day packs and packed up for 3 days 2 nights in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. We will be leaving the Lando behind and packing into 7 person 4×4 safari vehicles with our Serengeti guides. Although we will be camping, for the next two nights everything will be set up and provided for us, which is always a real treat.

Ngorongoro Crater from the lookout point
Ngorongoro Crater from the lookout point
At the lookout point of the Ngorongoro Crater
At the lookout point of the Ngorongoro Crater

Our vehicles pick us up, and we are off for the two hour drive to the Serengeti! First we have to pass through the Ngorongoro Crater and conservation land and sign in at the gate. We also stop at the crater lookout point and grab a couple pictures. There are a lot of Masai people who live and farm on this conservation land. The landscapes are absolutely beautiful and vast. There were times it looked like a watercolor painting. I tried to capture some of it, but I don’t think my pictures did the area much justice.

Landscape on the way to Serengeti
Landscape on the way to Serengeti

We made our lunch stop, where we received boxed lunches. For starters, lunch was not great, but we also had to battle wildlife to eat it. The Kite birds were circling around and would swoop down and snatch your food right from your hand. I almost lost my chicken to one, and it grazed my face in the attempted. It was quite an experience to say the least. We were also surrounded by the Marabou Stork, which is a bird that looks like it came out of the prehistoric era. They were not quite brave enough to steal food from you, but they did come close and would gladly eat up any crumbs dropped.

Marabou Stork that was stalking my lunch
Marabou Stork that was stalking my lunch

We finally made it to the Serengeti gate! Once we did the paperwork, we were through and started a game drive as soon as we headed into the park. When you picture Africa, this is what you picture! There were so many Zebra and Wildebeest all along the route. We also saw giraffe and antelope just grazing along the road. I never expected to get as close to the animals as we have been getting! There were also warthog and hyena. We also witnesses the Wildebeest migration, which was so cool. There were so many of them, and it was fun watching them cross the road!

Welcome to the Serengeti
Welcome to the Serengeti
Elephant
Elephant
Hyena
Hyena
Serengeti wildebeest migration
Serengeti wildebeest migration
Hyena
Hyena
Giraffe
Giraffe
Zebra with it's foal
Zebra with it’s foal

AND A LEOPARD!! This was absolutely amazing to see another leopard, but this time up in the tree snoozing. I was a bit disappointed with myself with the first leopard spotting, that I was so focused on trying to capture it on camera, that I didn’t get to appreciate the sight. Thankfully this time I was able to have both. Not 15 minutes later, we made another leopard spotting, this one in a tree a bit closer. They look so much more cute and cuddly when they are curled up on a tree branch.

First male Leopard spotting
First male Leopard spotting
First male Leopard sleeping in the tree
First male Leopard sleeping in the tree
Second male Leopard spotting
Second male Leopard spotting

When we left the leopard, we made our first male lion spotting. He was sleeping under a tree right next to the road. We only stayed a short time as we got a call on the radio to head back to the leopard. When we arrived back, he was feeding on an antelope up in the tree. The antelope had been a previous kill, but it was amazing to watch. I love watching the animals when they are active.

First male lion spotting
First male lion spotting
Second Leopard - eating a gizelle
Second Leopard – eating a gizelle

After a really successful drive, we head to camp for the evening. Our camp site is in the Serengeti, and there are no gates. We have been briefed on the high likelihood of Hyena being in our camp site tonight, so all bathroom trips need to be done in pairs. When we arrive, our tents are all set up and dinner is being prepared. We settled in and sat around the camp fire until dinner was called. Tonight we started with a vegetable soup with homemade rolls, that was so good, with the main course being Caribo salad (which I need the recipe for) and rice with beef goulash for the main meal. The food and flavoring was so good!

I also tried a local banana beer, which was more like a cider and really not very good. We stayed around the camp fire for a bit longer than headed to bed. I already made arrangements with my tent mate about waking her up for an early morning bathroom run, as I have no desire to have a run in with a hyena alone!

Tomorrow, a group of four is heading out first thing for a balloon ride, which part of me wishes I could do, but I really cannot justify spending $600 on a one hour activity. The rest of us will be heading out for a morning game drive, followed by an afternoon game drive on our way back to the crater. This has already been such a  great day and an amazing experience. I feel so very lucky to be here and experience this, and I am so happy!

Africa Day #37

Today was a shorter drive day, which is a treat! We didn’t have to leave until 8am, which was nice! I didn’t have a great night sleep, I found myself having a lot on the mind, which kept me up a little later than I would have liked, and made it hard to go back to sleep after waking up at 2am. Plus the campsite was loud with the bush babies and monkeys, which I am sure didn’t help.

At this camp site, they heat the hot water with a fire. I opted to shower in the morning, even though I figured I would have a cold shower, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a hot shower this morning! It was a really nice way to start the day.

The CEO made chocolate oats this morning with breakfast, but I will have to admit they were not my favorite, which surprised me! I would expect to like most things that include chocolate!

Today on the Lando, I watched the movie, The Ghost in the Darkness, which is a true story about man eating lions in Africa. It takes place where we have been driving through, and it was actually a good movie, although a bit disturbing.

Our first stop this morning, one of the members of our group bought some samosas, and shared them around the group, and they were some of the best I have had thus far! They made the terrible toilets seem much better. In today’s bathroom, there was a “urinal” in the girls room. The whole bathroom was just terrible.

Our luck has continued on the trip, and while driving we saw the snow capped top of Mt. Kilimanjaro! This is very rare to see, as it is typically covered in clouds. It was pretty amazing that we were able to see some of it and capture it on my camera!!

We made a lunch stop in Arusha where we could get a proper lunch, and I also bought a really delicious coffee. Coffee thus far has been instant, so it was a real treat to have a decent coffee, and I had an okay piece of chocolate cake, which I had been craving since it was in the book I am reading.

We arrived to camp pretty early. We are at Snake Camp, which is one of the most well known and longest running over landing campsites. Here they have some snakes that are kept behind glass, that have been rescued from being illegally transported, as well as a snake bite hospital set up to provide free care to the local Masai people. There is also local craft shops, which we had the opportunity to look around.

It was a pretty chill day, I had time to do some writing, as well as hang out and chat with my group. Dinner was a steak brie, which was not as good as most meals have been, but it was good enough!

I am so excited for the next couple days, we have 3 game drives in the Serengeti, and I cannot wait to head to the Crater!

Africa Day #36

We are headed back to the mainland today to continue on our adventure! Zanzibar has been a nice break, but I am ready to get back on the road. I enjoy these little breaks, but this is not why I am in Africa, and I tend to spend more money in these places. We have an early morning ferry, so we have to go through immigration again and stamp out of Zanzibar before getting on the ferry. Once again, people do not respect the que, and it is quite an ordeal getting onto the ferry. The ride back was also not as pleasant as the ride there, as the odor on the ferry was quite unbearable. Deodorant is not something used by most locals, and with the warm temperature, it was not a fun ride.

Once back on the mainland, we were picked up by the lando and we were on our way. We made a quick stop to a local grocery store to grab lunch. This grocery store pretty well had everything in it, but lunch food. You could get a TV or a washing machine, but no bread. I managed to grab a couple oranges, some samosas, chips and some stale popcorn. It was really bad, but I made it work, as most people did. I think I would have rather stopped in one of the villages, to grab local food. We also had one of the worst toilet stops, as the squat toilets are really just terrible. The smell alone is just miserable. We did also make a stop and the CEO picked us up some local corn, which was okay. It was harder and less sweet than the local corn I am used to, but it was fresh. I also tried some sugar cane today, which you chew. It was sweet, and pretty juicy, but I could only chew on so much of it.

Another long day on the lando, as the road was slow going, especially through all the villages, and trying to avoid the police stops. We finally arrived at camp just after sunset.

Tonight, upon request, we had Shepard’s pie again for dinner! I also helped make dinner after setting up camp. We were at a basic camp, just for a stop over between drives. The toilets were squat toilets, but they flushed, which was amazing and helped with the smell. I can now officially say I have conquered all African toilets! What an experience that has been! I think there is some benefit in this, although I feel like it has been quite a challenge taking down my pride/modesty around this issue. We are all in this together though, and that has made it easier. Poop has definitely been a topic of conversation on this trip on multiple occasions, so it is only fitting to include it here.

Tonight there is a lot of wind, which I am thankful for, although it doesn’t seem to permeate the tent as I wish it would, but I will take the gentle breeze that comes through. It is quite peaceful except for the bush babies, who are quite loud in this camp!

Tomorrow we drive to our final campsite, with this group, in Arusha. We will camp there tomorrow before heading to the Serengeti and camp a final night after, before heading to Kenya, where we say goodbye to 11 members of our group. There will only be 5 of us staying on through Uganda, and we will be adding members to form a new group for the final 14 days.

Africa Day #35

I have not stopped thinking about the painting, so myself and one of the girls decided to go into the village before we left for Stone Town to see if we could get it. We had another good breakfast with an omelet, toast, crepes and potatoes. They unfortunately did not have any pineapple today, but I had a banana, that are smaller and sweeter here.

Because it was early, most of the village shops were not open and I thought we were going to strike out, but the shop we wanted just opened as we were walking back, and we got our paintings. I am not sure exactly how I will be getting this home, I may try to post it home, but I am worried about posting back from Africa. That will be a worry for another day.

We get picked up, and head first to a spice plantation on the way to Stone Town. I was a bit disappointed in this stop. Although I learned more about different spices, it was less a plantation, and more a collection of spice trees. I learned that cloves and pepper grow on trees. I never thought about where they grow, so it was interesting to know it was a tree. Also, cinnamon sticks are bark of the tree. I never knew that either! We also were treated to coconut water straight from the coconut, which was a first for me, and it was very delicious, with a performance from “The Butterfly Man” who climbed up the coconut tree.

We had the opportunity to buy some spices from the plantation, and then we were off to Stone Town. Our guide at the plantation also made us all necklaces out of some grasses, which were pretty cool. The girls got frogs and the boys got neckties.

Our hotel in Stone Town was very nice and the rooms were huge. In my room, we had a balcony, a sitting room as well as a large bathroom with a tub. I was half tempted to take a bath, but I did not. We were assigned rooms in this hotel, and it just so happened I ended up with the girl who will be my new tent buddy when we head to Uganda, and it went really well!!

A couple of us went to find lunch, and we found a place right on the water. I had a traditional Zanzibar dish, Chicken Pilau, and it was really good. Again, so proud of myself for embracing the local food. After lunch, we had some ice cream, and walked back to the hotel. It has been a busy couple days, and I was looking forward to some down time before cocktails and the night market for dinner. Along the way home we did a bit of shopping, but not too much, and then me and my roommate went to our room and did some reading and napping before getting ready for the evening.

Tonight we headed to a cocktail bar with the group. It was a rooftop bar and we arrived for sunset. A lot of the girls got henna tattoos, and myself and another girl realized we wanted to get one as well, so we found a place by the cocktail bar and went to get them before meeting up with the rest of the group. I had a nice time at the cocktail bar. I had the opportunity to talk to one of girls I haven’t had much time to really talk to, and it is really nice getting to know all these people.

After drinks we headed to the night market to get food. I had higher hopes for the market than what it was. Most tables had exactly the same thing, so there was little variety. The meat skewers were good, the garlic naan was lacking garlic, I tried the corn, which was really hard and inedible. I tried a bite of someone’s kebab, and I had a bit of food envy after that. The best thing I ate was dessert, which was a mango banana pizza with chocolate sauce.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel. It was so nice to have a nice cool room to go home to, where I could read and go to bed. It was such a great night sleep!

We are headed off the island tomorrow, have two drive days before we are headed to the Serengeti, our last adventure with the current group. I cannot believe we are almost at the 40 day mark. Time is flying by and I am thankful that I still have another 20 days left, as I am nowhere near ready to be coming home!

Africa Day #34

Diving off the boat on our sunset cruise in Zanzibar
Diving off the boat on our sunset cruise in Zanzibar

So excited to go diving today. The hotel provides breakfast, which was pretty good! They had an omelet bar which was such a treat with toast and potatoes and some of the best pineapple! The pineapple here is massive, and it is in season so it is so sweet.

I almost made a joke about the boat we were going to go out diving on, because some of the boats were a bit worse for wear, but it probably was good I didn’t, since that was the boat we were on. It did get us there though, with all the equipment! On our way out, we saw some wild dolphins swimming along side the boat. It was really special.

The dives were nothing special, we went out to one of the islands where there was some reefs, but for me, it was so great just to be in the water. On the first dive we saw a sting ray, an electric ray, a lion fish, plenty of clown fish and some parrot fish. There was another fish, although I cannot remember the name of it. There was also some funny star fish that were really really plump. The legs of it were like water balloons.

The second dive we saw some young barracuda as well as an eel. The current on the second dive was a bit stronger, so it took a bit more effort to stay in control, but really a fun day.

On the boat, we ate some more amazing pineapple, as well as some local oranges, and local donuts. Always love snacks when diving, and everything was so fresh.

After the dive, we went back and I went to have some lunch, as we were going to be out on a sunset cruise in the evening. I went and had lunch on my own, and had the chicken curry, which was really good. The only bad part was the 10 flies that joined me for lunch. I also found a really good book at one of the camps, and really enjoyed the time to get some reading in.

Another amazing shower, and we all headed out on another boat, that was a bit better than the dive boat, for a sunset cruise. The crew that joined us played the drums and music while we went out under sail. The water here is crystal clear, and just amazing, pair that with the sunset, and it was perfect! I almost didn’t go after the long day, but I am so glad I did, as it was so much fun.

At sunset we briefly anchored, and a bunch of us went swimming. Despite not going with a bathing suit, I made due with a sports bra and underwear (when in Africa), and I am so glad I did because the water was divine! We jumped off the boat, and dove off the bow. One of the guys captured an amazing picture of myself and another girl diving off the boat after sunset!

A couple of us headed to dinner after the cruise, and we went to a nice seafood restaurant. I of course ended up with chicken. It was one of the best meals we had on the island, and it was probably one of the cheapest, as dinner and a drink only cost me $10 USD.

It was such a great day! Unfortunately it ended with my phone acting up, and in an attempt to fix it, I accidentally factory reset it, which is not an ideal thing to do when you are on African WiFi. I am trying to just go with it. Thankfully a lot of my stuff is backed up on the cloud, but I likely will not be retrieving most of it until I am home, as it takes me about 30 minutes to download an app. I am very thankful that all my pictures are on my camera and I only had a couple on my phone, which I think will be lost forever.

Tomorrow, we head to Stone Town for our last night in Zanzibar. I think I would prefer to stay where we are for another night, but it will be good to see another town. Stone Town is much more conservative, so we will have to keep our shoulders and knees covered while we are there.