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Embedded Photos: 1.House of Windows, Stone Town, Zanzibar 2.Arab Dhow Boat3.Night Food Market, Stone Town, Zanzibar 4-5.Main Market, Stone Town, Zanzibar
Two Years & Twice Around the World...  

Zanzibar Flag ZANZIBAR (Tanzania)


July 15-18. NUNGWI  We arranged our ride to Nungwi through Sunil, the travel agent that brought us from the boat. Stone Town, ZanzibarNaturally that meant we were paying more but it was convenient.  When we were picked up there were already two other couples in the van and were supposed to be on our way but, of course, they had to prowl the streets in search of more people to squeeze in with us.  The British couple sitting next to me was as annoyed as we were when they started a lengthy negotiation process with a random couple of backpackers on the street.  There didn't appear to be any room unless we wanted the comfort level of a dalla-dalla, not to mention the time it was all taking.  But, in the end, they ousted a local guy from the front seat and wedged the two backpackers in there.  The tout jumped in the back with the rest of us.  It was a pretty smooth one and a half hour ride to the north, stopping periodically for road checks.  The guys running the van had it down to a science.  There were too many people in the van but they knew which police would cause problems for them and which wouldn't.  At one point Dhow Boat, Stone Townthe tout jumped out of the van and disappeared into a nearby market area.  We passed a road check and pulled over a couple of hundred meters later to pick the guy up again.  

The vegetation in the middle of the island was thick with acres of spice plantations and palm trees scattered amongst the foliage.  About half way up we passed through a town with the best name in the world, Bububu.  I have no idea what it meant but it made me laugh every time I saw a mileage sign.  As we reached the tip of the island the paved road gave way to potholes and gravel.  Apparently, the northern people were known supporters of Zanzibar independence so the government had decided to top repairing their roads as a means of passive-aggressive punishment. The vegetation also thinned.  When we pulled off onto a dirt road I looked around in search of anything resort-like.  Somehow I had imagined something much more conspicuous.  A couple of more turns brought some bungalows into view.  In all honesty the sight of Nungwi was a real disappointment.  W envisioned miles of white sand beaches with palm trees swaying in the wind.  Nungwi was a rather small beach that was totally surrounded with hoards of cheap concrete bungalows and motel-like lodging.  Bits of trash were littered all over the streets, adding to the poorNight Market, Stone Town appeal of the place.  Hanging over the water on one end were a couple of restaurants with large decks, advertising loud music.  

The van pulled into a parking lot and everyone piled out.  The tout hoped that everyone would walk along with him in an orderly fashion so he could collect commission from every place that someone stayed but a couple of people managed to break loose.  I waited with the bags while Rob worked his way up the beach.  It was a busy time of year and some of the more popular places were full.  He finally returned with a place at the end of the road with the tout tagging along.  After collecting our bags we walked back to the motel.  It had a decent location but the rooms were nothing to get excited about.  Still, we weren't planning to spend the time in our room so we decided to give it a night.  When they demanded that we pay two nights up front we left.  It might have been worth one night but we rarely committed to more than one until we knew that the hot water worked, the toilet flushed regularly, and the bug population was manageable.  We Market, Stone Town, Zanzibarwalked back through town and ended up paying a bit more for a place next to the beach that had newish rooms and was all around more clean.  They also wanted two nights upfront but it looked safe enough so we agreed.

If you could have taken away about 90% of the bungalows around the beach Nungwi might have been a really pretty place.  As it was it was just okay and the sour weather didn't help us enjoy our time.  It was overcast and windy with pockets of sun and occasional, and sometimes heavy, rain.  We spent more time in our room than planned.    During the warm parts of the day the beach could get pretty full and the henna painting ladies, masseuses, and hair braiders came out to provide services along the beach.  A couple of tribal women from the mainland were also mixed into the scene.  It all gave the area an almost amusement park like feel.  The beach bars played loud music into the night and the three restaurants in the area were all rather similar but at least afforded some nice sunset views when the sky was clear.   It was far from the relaxing beach escape we had expected and wanted.  

To keep ourselves busy on one of the days we went in search of the local aquarium in the nearby village but the signs somehow didn't lead us to the right place.  We ended up wandering the streets of the village.   The people were pleasant enough andMarket, Stone Town, Zanzibar the village was a peaceful little place.  The houses were simple with some built out of chunks of dead mined coral.  But, it wasn't a really comfortable feeling to be off on our own.  The rumors about crime against tourists along barren stretches of beach were numerous.  It seemed very unlikely that anything could happen in the village but we couldn't shake the feeling of being watched.  That is a natural reaction to local people finding strangers walking in their midst but with the rumors it made us cautious.  As we reached the end of the village we asked if it was okay to wander farther down the street, outside of town.  We were really just asking permission before we wandered where we weren't welcome but the man replied that we should be careful of thieves.  He said the Zanzibari people were good people but that other came from the mainland and they weren't good people.  He said we shouldn't go into isolated places with anything valuable on us.  We didn't really have anything valuable but the warning was enough to make us rethink the idea and we returned to the touristy beach area in the way that we had come.         

After two full days of trying to enjoy Nungwi we gave up and went back to Stone Town where we could mingle with the local people and eat much better food.  We checked back into the Safari Lodge and headed to the Archipelago Cafe.

ZANZIBAR Stone Town July 11 July 12-14 Nungwi July 15-18 Stone Town I: July 19-23 II: July 19-23 Paje July 23-27 Stone Town July 27-Aug 1

TANZANIA Dar Es Salaam Aug 1-3 Moshi I: Aug 3-31 II: Aug 3-31 III: Aug 3-31 Safari Circuit Aug 17 Aug 18 Aug 19 Aug 20 Aug 21 Mt. Kilimanjaro Aug 23 Aug 24 Aug 25 Aug 26 Aug 27 Aug 28

KENYA Nairobi Sept 1 Sept 2 Sept 3 Sept 4-5

UGANDA Kampala Sept 6 Sept 7-16 Kampala Short Stories

RWANDA Kigali Sept 16 Sept 17 Ruhengeri Sept 18 Sept 19 Gisenyi Sept 20 Kigali Sept 21 Sept 22

UGANDA Kampala Sept 23 Sept 24-26