Zanzibar, a tropical island in the Indian ocean. A mix of Africa, India and the Caribbean. We looked forward to this holiday in our holiday but to get there without breaking the bank was not easy because we booked so late. We ended up flying from Arusha to Dar es Salaam, with a stop at Zanzibar (no, we could not just jump out because our bag was going to Dar…) and the next day we took the ferry to the island. Checking in at Arusha airport was interesting, it’s very small and it’s run by a bunch of amateurs. At check in we had to send a passport copy (because we paid with credit card?) to a random gmail address. So…the airline does not even have a normal email address? It got us worried for the flight. At least we could take a big breath of fresh air before lift off because the gate was outside on the airstrip.
Thankfully we landed safely in Dar es Salaam, we picked up our ferry tickets and enjoyed a good meal on the street. The next day we arrived in Stone Town, the capital of Zanzibar. The town definitely has his charm with it’s narrow streets, wooden doors and old buildings but it’s also a big mess. Check, we are still in Africa. After visiting some markets and a museum about the slave history of Zanzibar we enjoyed a delicious coffee and cake, something you cannot get on the road easily and it was good timing because it was Guus his birthday. Being on a touristic island does have its benefits so we also had a great lunch and dinner. After Stone Town we went to Michamvi, a tiny town at the beach. It was an amazing place to relax, snorkel (Snorkeling around Zanzibar), walk around the mangrove and eat some fish watching the sunset. Zanzibar, you will always have a special place in our hearts.
We flew back directly to Arusha this time, but the flight was even more thrilling. We only saw five passengers on the list, we could just pick out our name and we got a handwritten boarding pass. We were flying in a Cessna 208! The smallest plane (only 12 seats) we have ever flown in. It was definitely a scenic and bumpy ride! While tracking Mount Kilimanjaro on our GPS to see if we could get a glimpse of this mountain we realized that the plane was going towards Kilimanjaro airport. Shit…we thought we booked tickets to Arusha airport. We quickly asked around and the other passengers were also expecting to land on Arusha. By that time we could already see the airstrip of Kilimanjaro airport and the plane was heading straight for it! The pilot was making a mistake! Just a couple of seconds before landing the pilot suddenly made a big turn, he must have been warned by the tower that he was about to land on the wrong airport! After this little detour we were happy to be on the ground again and to be back in control behind the wheel of our own car.
From Arusha we had some driving days towards the Malawian border. In the car we were already joking that we would be the first overlanders not getting fined in Tanzania. Damn it, we jinxed it. If you don’t see cops in their shining white uniforms, it does not mean that there is not somebody hiding in the bush with a speed camera…we were pulled over 15 km after the alleged speeding just before the end of 50 sign. At least these guys were not trying to get a bribe and gave us a formal ticket.
Our last stop in Tanzania was the Utengule Coffee Lodge and it’s a dangerous place because you don’t want to leave! Campers get a whole old bungalow in a green oasis to use so suddenly we had three rooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room and terrace with an amazing view. We even played a game of tennis. This place felt like home…so before we’re getting too comfortable we are moving on to Malawi!