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Zanzibar and Dar

Written on: Sunday December 30th, 2012

A journal entry from: Clea's Kenya

The plan after Pangani was to somehow get to Zanzibar. Neither of us wanted to have to go all the way down to Dar es Salaam and take a boat from there, so we ended up hiring a boat in Pangani. For the record, and please keep this in mind for what follows, we did hire the boat through the official tourism office and were certainly not the first people to have done so. It ended up being the two of us and three Tanzanians who spoke absolutely no English and a fairly small wooden boat. All started out well. There were flying fish and nice views of the mainland. Then, after about 45 minutes, the noise of the motor changed dramatically. It didn't die completely, and we were able to make our way to another sand island where the Tanzanians appeared to have called someone to meet us with replacement parts (thank god for cell phones!). After over an hour, and a bout of seasickness on Amita's part, another boat showed up, and they tossed over another propeller and two wrenches. At this point the Tanzanians, without putting down the anchor again, proceeded to hammer away at the old propeller, including doing something with a nail they dug out of the boat. Since we weren't at anchor any more, we also spent this time floating ever farther away from the island into choppier seas. The dolphins we saw were great, but that didn't exactly help alleviate our nervousness! Amita was ready to give up, but I really wanted to go to Zanzibar (although I had composed in my head how to say "We are going to Pangani, now!" in Swahili, just in case). In the end, they did manage to hammer in the new propeller, and we did set off for Zanzibar. Amita spent the whole trip lying down with her eyes closed, partly because of seasickness and partly because she really didn't want to know how far we were from land! I had a different approach, staring intently for the whole time at where land should be and then watching it get bigger. The problem was clearly not the propeller because the motor started to die again as we were approaching the island. Thankfully, we managed to coast into a rather posh resort and make it to land without killing any of the tourists who must have been really wondering where we came from.


I still think it was worth it to visit Zanzibar, though. We stayed in Stone Town, which is the major town on the island. It reminded me a lot of a calmer version of Mombasa, with the same old narrow streets, although the ones in Stone Town are even narrower, so the only vehicles that could go on them were the occasional scooter or bicycle. The place is also completely overrun with tourists.


The food is amazing. Zanzibar is a major producer of spices, especially cloves, and they actually use them in the food. We went to on a "spice tour" where we saw all sorts of spice plants.


We took the rather more luxurious catamaran for the trip to Dar. We decided to go for the VIP class, which is indoor and air conditioned. It ended up being the right choice, since we went through a rather major storm and everyone outside got soaked. Unfortunately, I managed to catch a cold in the air conditioned environment, which is ironic since I spent the entire trip about being at least 10 degrees hotter than I wanted! We only had one night left to spend one night in Dar, visiting a friend, before flying back to Nairobi.


From Aunt Linda on Jan 7th, 2013

That boat ride seems a little too scary for comfort! You're seeing some amazing sights! We have just shovelled a huge amount of snow today! I would love to be on any one of your beautiful beaches right now!

From Laura C on Jan 7th, 2013

Great posts Clea! What a cool adventure you are having!

From Dad on Jan 7th, 2013

I'm glad we didn't hear about this until it was all over! Dad

From Gail on Jan 7th, 2013

I am jealous Clea. It looks like a real adventure. You look happy . I am glad you are having this trip. Love the photos