Dave and I traveled through most of Africa in a large overland truck. The distance between stops was great, so we weren't able to spend as much time as we would have liked getting to know locals. This portion of our trip was more about seeing the landscape and wildlife.
Elephants wander in the wild of the Serengeti, Tanzania.
We got sore tushes on this truck, but the views were great!
TANZANIA definitely seems modern by Malawi standards. Although some people are struggling, there seems to be more evidence of positive employment and education. Tanzanians are very clever, and the country certainly knows how to profit from tourists. Home to Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti, the Tanzanian government charges astronomical fees to visit, climb and explore both, but we felt it was worth it.
It should also be noted that the northern part of the country is mostly Muslim. We were there during Ramadan, a time when most of the population observed fasts for a better part of the day and closed up shops for prayer time. People also dressed a lot more conservative than in other African nations.
DAR ES SALAAM, arabic meaning abode for peace, is the largest city in Tanzania, but it is not the capital. Unlike its name, the city is extremely busy with businesses lining every space of street and traffic is horrendous. This may explain why the majority of Tanzania's population are farmers living in rural areas.
ZANZIBAR is an island off the coast of Tanzania popular for its beaches and spices.
Stone Town is the main area of Zanzibar. It is a maze of narrow roads with shops and homes at every turn.
The architecture is beautifully old in Stone Town.
Business is slow during Ramadan.
Zanzibar shops sell traditional wood crafts and lots of wild fabrics.
At night people enjoy freshly cooked fish and other local treats in the town square.
Stone Town was the center of the slave trade in the 1800s. This is a monument so locals never forget.
Spice plantations are everywhere on the island, growing everything from cocoa, vanilla, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, jackfruit, passion fruit and lemon grass.
A worker climbs up a coconut tree to get the goods.
Crazy tree, Zanzibar.
Life on the beach with some of our friends.
Faasai are fake Maasai. They are dressed similarly to Maasai, with their wool blanket, lion sword, and staff, but they have the tell tale fancy watch, sunglasses and sandals. They wander the beaches making money for photo opportunities and "massages," an apparent cover for prostitution. More on the real Maasai people below.
Muslim women heading to fish.
Zanzibar women use an old fishing technique of slapping water with a stick while walking round and round in a circle with a net to catch the fish.
SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK is home to the 'Big 5': lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino. We saw four out of the five. Apparently there are only about 20 rhinos left in the area and on the day of our visit they decided to go on vacation. As a concilation we saw some other favorites, like the giraffe. Serengeti is a Maasai word for 'endless plain,' which makes sense since it is 14,763 square kilometers and home to thousands of plants and predators.
Sunrise in the Serengeti.
The elusive leopard.
Part of Serengeti is the Ngorongoro Crater, which is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. There are a large number of animals living there because of its rich pasture and permanent water supply. Giraffes are the exception, since there aren't many tall trees at the base of the crater.
A Maasai man herds cattle on the rim of the Ngorongoro crater.
The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater region are home to the Maasai people. This tribe lives a very simple life, yet by modern standards it could be considered sexist. Read up if you are interested to learn more.
Here is our day in the crater:
Enjoying the ride on the safari truck.
Scoping for action.
A Serengeti cheetah is the fastest land animal and is even more elusive than the Leopard.
We didn't see too much action on these safaris. The exception was when a few hyenas were pestering these wildebeests. They decided to herd together into a collective charge with the young ones in the middle to scare off the hyenas.
The warthog was definitely hit by the ugly stick.
Gazelles are everywhere in the Serengeti. They fill fields as far as the eye can see.
I left Dave in Tanzania to climb Kili and headed to Nairobi, Kenya, for two days. The city seemed strikingly modern, but I didn't explore too much because locals call Nairobi Nairobbery, so I just saw the markets and daily life from a bus, and only talked to locals at a campground. I was en route to London so perhaps didn't give it a fair shake.
Nairobi streets are lined with vendors much like the rest of Africa, but when you enter downtown it turns modern with western-like shops and malls.
Traffic into downtown Nairobi is a nightmare, but the good news is you can buy everything from bananas to steering wheels to blowup chairs right outside your window!
In closing, you can't go to Africa without spotting President Obama. He is everywhere; on shirts, scarves, buses and signs. Like us, the locals have high hopes for him.
Obama store in Tanzania.