The day after our safari we were back in Moshi and finally saw the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro! It was stunning, and we had a great view from a rooftop restaurant. From Moshi we took an eight hour bus ride back to Dar es Salaam and the trip was fairly smooth. We stayed that night at Mikadi Beach, just south of downtown Dar es Salaam. This relaxing spot was perfect for taking a dip in the Indian Ocean after a long bus ride. The only problem with Mikadi Beach was that we had to take a short 7 min. ferry (I call it the world’s shortest ferry) from downtown Dar es Salaam. The next morning we were in a cab on the way to the short ferry to Dar when we realized that we forgot our passports in the hotel safe. We turned around and retrieved our passports, but it cost us about 30 min. Once we were back in the enormous ferry line, due to morning traffic, we realized that we weren’t going to make it to Dar in time to catch our 9:30 ferry to Zanzibar. So we jumped out of the cab, and hopped in a little 3-wheel motorcycle taxi (which was faster because they can bypass the line of cars waiting to get on the ferry).
We made the next ferry and were confident we would make the Zanzibar ferry. However, while we were on the ferry a couple of security guards began yelling at our driver, we still don’t know why. After we unloaded the ferry a security guard stopped our driver and took him back to the ferry where more people began yelling at him. The driver told us to wait for him, but as we were waiting they began to reload the ferry. The next thing we knew the ferry departed with our driver on it! At this point it was about 9:15 we were booked on a 9:30 ferry to Zanzibar. We were only about 2 miles away so we grabbed our bags and ran about 50 yards to where we jumped in cab that took us to the Zanzibar ferry. We arrived at 9:25 just in time for the Zanzibar ferry. The ferry was a smaller express boat that held about 50 people (Erin called it a glorified ski boat) and we really felt the waves. It was quite the roller coaster ride and several passengers were looking pretty pale.
If getting to Zanzibar wasn’t stressful enough, when we arrived customs stopped us and said that we each needed to pay $50 more because we were U.S. citizens. Unfortunately, I only had $20 on me so I left Erin and our luggage behind as collateral and had to take a cab to an ATM. After an hour delay I finally gave them the money and they let us go.
When we arrived at our hotel we found out that it was closed due to the Zanzibar wide power outage. The previous couple of weeks the entire island of Zanzibar had been without power (the under sea line from Dar broke) and hopes of getting it back were in the upwards of weeks to months. As far as we know there still isn’t power. We had about heard the power outage from other travelers and we were told that most places had generators so it was not a big deal. Our place however, had problems with its generator so it was closed. The owner was really nice and walked us down the street to a place that was the exact same price and just as nice. As we look back, our hotel being closed was actually the least stressful part of our morning. One other challenge to our morning was that both Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar were incredibly hot and humid which made everything more exhausting.
We spent our first two nights in Stone town, the old historic part of Zanzibar. The first night we took a sunset Dhow ride (which is a traditional fishing/sail boat). They served us fresh pineapple, coconut and mango as we watched the sun set; it was a beautiful evening. We then walked to an open air market loaded with booths serving fresh grilled seafood. We had shrimp, lobster, and tuna all of which were all amazing. The second day we walked around the town through the unique narrow corridors and did some shopping. We also bought more spices than we know what to do with; Zanzibar is called the “Spice Island” and is famous for its curries.
The next day marked the final part our trip and we spent 4 nights relaxing on the northeastern part of the island at Matemwe Beach Village. The white sandy beaches were beautiful and the water was incredibly warm and crystal clear. We relaxed on the beach or poolside, swam, read magazines, and enjoyed incredible cuisine. It was also really nice to settle into one place for a few nights as up to this point we had spent almost every night in a different hotel. The highlight of Zanzibar however, was joining up with our seminary friends, Jamey and Amy Heit, who stayed on the same beach about a half mile away. They currently live in Scotland and were excited to get a little sun. It was great to connect and converse with familiar friends from the U.S. and was the perfect way to end our trip.
On the last day we went snorkling with Jamey and Amy. A beautiful coral reef surrounds the island making for superb snorkeling. We saw a snake, an eel, and hundreds of other tropical fish. We enjoyed our last evening with a nice dinner just Erin and I. We then ended the evening with star gazing, drinks, and frisbee on the beach with our friends. The next day was a rather uneventful, but full day of travel to Lusaka. Please see part III about our time in Lusaka and Siavonga visiting orphanages.