15.10.2008 - 18.10.2008 32 °C
Just arrived in Zanzibar, a small group of Islands off the East Coast of Tanzania, famous for spices and its role in the Africa-Asia slave trade (Zanzibar translates as 'land of the blacks'). I've spent the last few days at the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Parks before a couple of travel days on the truck to Dar Es Salem where we caught the ferry to here.
The two game parks were brilliant, even better than the Masai Mara NP in Kenya, the number of animals we saw was so impressive that I doubt anywhere in the world has better wildlife. Unlike the Masai Mara, we switched into 4x4 trucks with six of us in, in mine were Cheryl/Barry (NZ/SA), Clare (NZ) and Vicky and Melissa (Aus). This made it quicker to get around the crater and several trucks with radios allow information on the whereabouts of animals easy to spread.
The Ngorongoro crater is a couple of miles in diameter and has different sections of forest and plains which attract millions of animals. As we drove down the crater we could see the usual groups of gazelles, wildebeest and zebra which we have seen so many of we drive right past now. Inside the crater we also saw elephants, hyena, giraffe, two lions and lionesses and a cheetah (unsuccessfully) hunting. We even managed to stop for lunch at hippo pond, which was unsurprisingly full of hippos.
After spending the morning there we moved onto Serengeti, which is a couple of hours drives but along the worst road I've ever seen- it literally felt like driving over a cattle grid for 2 hours straight! The plains of Serengeti are just like I'd imagined, miles and miles of flat land with just dry grass on is all you can see on the way in! We camped out in the national park, the campsites there have no guards and no barriers to stop animals coming in, therefore we were warning about going to the toilet in the night. Apparently if we flashed out torch out and saw green eyes this was very bad! Needless to say, I avoided using the toilet until morning!
We spent the following morning we had a few more hours of game driving in the more covered parts of the Serengeti, again the number of animals was amazing, I actually lost track of the amount of lions we saw, it was over 10 although we didn't see any cubs. By the end of the day we'd been able to spot nine out of the 'big ten' we'd created (the 'official' list is a big 5): Lion, Elephant, Hippo, White rhino, Buffalo, Cheetah, Giraffe, Crocodile, Leopard. We just have the Black Rhino to go!
After returning to Arusha on Wednesday evening we've have a couple of days on the road to get to Dar Es Salem. The drives weren't too bad in comparison to what is to come, just 6 or 7 hours a day! The campsite we stayed last night was right on the beach and we arrived early giving us a couple of hours in the sea and playing volleyball before dark.
This morning we got the ferry over to Zanzibar; I'm currently in stone town in the south, which is nearly 100% Muslim meaning I have to wear trousers in the heat (its over 30 degrees and very humid). I'm going snorkeling in the morning before transferring up to the north of the island which has some of the best beaches in Africa. It'll be a great chance to relax after a week of early mornings and long game drives.
Hakuna Matata! (No worries!), Lawrence