Week 42 – Ngorongoro Crater and Zanzibar Island

My last post was getting too long so I split the day in half! After we exited the Serengeti, we drove for about an hour to a local Masai village to take a village tour. We arrived and the whole village was out singing and dancing awaiting our arrival. We got out of the truck and then stood us all in a group to do their welcome song and dance. The man dancing and marched in two lines, while the women all stood in a group to the side and did the chanting. As they chanted, they moved the chests to make their necklaces bounce.

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Women in the Masai village singing and bouncing their necklaces
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Men in the Masai village marching and dancing

Next, we went inside and they let us sing and dance with them. They brought guys over to compete with their men on how high they could jump. I think I said this before, but how high you can jump is a status symbol in the Masai tribe.

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Masai men jumping while the women sang

Then, they split us in groups of two and paired us with a local man and we were shown a Masai hut. Houses are made of wood, leaves, and cow poop. There is one small room with very little light. They usually have 4 or 5 people in a hut and the beds were really uncomfortable. They keep a small fire in the center and even have a pen inside for a small cow. I think it would be hard for me to live in this type of house.

Next, they brought us out to buy souvenirs. This is the part that got awkward because we had already paid to come into the village, but they wouldn’t continue the tour until we bought something. It was also uncomfortable because they were quoting ridiculous prices. Afterwards, they led us to the local primary school where they did a call and chant alphabet for us, but this was clearly staged. Then, asked us to donate to the school.

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The valley with the Masai village was beautiful

After the village tour, we headed to another bush camp and it began to rain. As soon as we got there, I laid down in the tent until dinner because I wasn’t feeling well. We had a quick dinner and then everyone went to bed. Throughout the night, it was interesting because there were buffalo roaming in between our tents.

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Zebras in the Ngorongoro Crater

The following morning we got up and hopped in a 4 x 4 vehicle to head down into the Ngorongoro Crater. If anyone is going to the Serengeti I highly suggest a visit to this crater because it is amazing! At the top it looks like nothing much and is hard to see because of the fog, but once you get inside both the scenery and the wildlife we found were stunning!

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Inside of the Crater was gorgeous!

As soon as we got to the bottom, we began to see zebra, wildebeests, and antelope that were really close to the truck. There were so many of them and instead of all bunched together they were a bit more spread out. The valley also had a complete rainbow. I think this was the first time I had actually seen the end of a rainbow. And there is not pot of gold by the way.

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We saw the end of a rainbow

The thing we saw next might be one of the coolest things I have seen so far in Africa. There were two lionesses sitting on top of a log and we believe that they were guarding a kill below them. We also saw two or three more lionesses scattered around the surrounding area. Then, we saw about 18-20 hyenas that surrounded the two lionesses on the log. They circled the log and were trying to bully the lions off of their kill. The lions were not happy about this and kept growling at the hyenas. It was pretty crazy!

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Lions growling at a band of hyenas

Some of the other things we saw were elephant that were in the forest. One male elephant even came really close to the other 4 x 4 and we thought it was going to charge! We saw a lake full of flamingos, lots of jackals, and even a black rhino in the distance. The crater was such an amazing place that I can’t even describe it! So, just check out the photos instead!

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Elephant in the forest
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Jackals on the plain

After the crater, we returned to the truck and drove to Arusha. Here we would be picking up six new girls to the truck, but we would also be losing Jo and Nathan. The six new girls were Mel, Amy and Jess from England, El from Australia, Ness from Canada, and Annie from Scotland. They had also just seen the Serengeti and the Crater, so we all compared stories. That night we had a barbecue and all played pool together. We each got a number and once your numbered ball was hit in you were out.

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Driving in Ngorongoro Crater
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The whole group in the Crater

The following day was a really long drive day. Again, it was raining. We hit rainy season in Africa and it would rain for the next week pretty consistently. The annoying part about the rain is that the whole truck gets wet, the tents were wet, and no one could wash clothes or wear the same thing because nothing dried.

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Coming out of Ngorongoro Crater
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Selfie with the Crater!

We drove to Korogwe which was just our stop off point to Dar es Salam. It was nice because they let us put up our tents in a shelter so we didn’t have to set up our tents and sleep in the rain. That night we had curry for dinner, which was delicious! We also had a bit of a scare because Michelle had accidentally put the truck keys in her raincoat pocket and no one could find them.

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Flooding on the way to Dar es Salam

The next day we had another long drive day to Dar es Salam, which is the capital of Tanzania. This was an even long drive because around 10 am we hit a huge traffic jam. There were six huge trucks that had had a collision and they were all part way on and part way off the road. This prevented all traffic from coming through. We were stopped here for four hours waiting for them to clear the accident. We passed the time by playing all of the truck games that we could think of.

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One more shot of the Crater

We arrived at camp around 7pm and I was really happy that the campsite was going to cook for us because it had been a long day. The only down side was we all had to repack out bags to get ready for Zanzibar in the dark. The interesting part of the campsite was that the showers were all salt water showers. Also, we saw for the first time even a giant snail orgy. After dinner and repacking, we all went to sit with our feet in the pool and had a couple of drinks. I stayed up late because it was some of the last nights that I would have with Kylie, Cole, Dan, and Lucas.

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Snail orgy in zanzibar

The following morning we woke up, grabbed our stuff, and all jumped in small tuk tuks to drive to the ferry. We took a small car ferry to the port and then hopped on the big ferry for two hours until we got to Zanzibar Island. When we arrived we walked to our hotel and it was so nice to stay in a hotel with a nice hot shower! We had stayed at some pretty shady campsites lately and it was a nice luxury.

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Our guides for the spice tour

Our first activity was to go on a spice tour. They picked us up and first drove us to a local house where they had cooked us a curry meal with chapati which was amazing! Then, they drove us out to the spice farm. We had about a three hour spice tour. They showed us all the spices and how they were cultivated and let us smell or taste them. We saw lemon grass, coriander, pepper, star fruit, cloves, and many more. I learned where cinnamon comes from and that the root smells like vick’s vapor rub.

They brought by many perfumes and lotions for us to smell and I bought two perfumes and a soap for $10. After, we saw a local guy climb up a palm tree just using a rope tied to his feet to help with friction. It was crazy! He was singing the whole way and I was scared he would fall because he was so high. We had fresh coconut juice and they make hats, ties, bracelets, necklaces, and rings  out of leave for us to wear. Finally, we had a fruit tasting where they cut up a bunch of fruit and let us taste it. None of the fruit was anything new, but it was fun to eat it.

Our new bling bling

That night we went out to a bar that was overlooking the water for sunset. There, we saw lots of guys doing back flips and crazy gymnastics and it was a fun show. I think it was some type of martial arts. We had a couple of glasses of wine and watched the sunset. Then, we all headed to the night market for dinner. We decided to try a Zanzibar pizza, which was basically dough with lots of things like meat, vegetables, and mayo in the center. It was good, but definitely not pizza.

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All the girls at the spice tour with our new hats!

Finally, we went to one final bar on the beach and all sat around talking. We also played a game on Michelle’s phone called piccolo where you put in the names of everyone playing and it tells you what to do. There were many silly ones like that everyone had to ignore me until the game said they could talk to me again. Also, someone had to speak in an accent for the whole game. Then, it started to rain so we had to run home through the small alleys in the rain. I felt like I was in a hollywood movie.

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Our for drinks!

The next day we walked around Stone town in the morning and Freya and I went to all of the little shops. I bought a bag that I could sling over my shoulder for all of the things I keep on the truck, a skirt that I could wear to work, and a new dress for the fake wedding we would be having (more to come on that).

Then, we took a shuttle bus to the other side of the island to Kendwa beach where we would be spending 3 days. I was hoping for a relaxing beach holiday where we could tan in the sun. The weather had other plans and decided to rain the whole time, but it was still really fun. Our room was beautiful and huge! We even had an opportunity to finally do all of our laundry because we could dry it in our room.

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Kendwa Beach

We we straight to the beach and all played volleyball in the water. We just fooled around and hung out and in general were just acting like children. Then, I went back to my room and started to write the wedding ceremony for the following day that I would be officiating. Basically, Kylie and Cole got engaged right before the trip and so the whole time we told them they were going to get married in Zanzibar. They never believed we would actually go through with it, but if I can say so it was the best fake wedding I had ever seen. That night mine and Freya’s room turned into the party room and many people came and had drinks in our room and played cards. It was really fun!

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Party in our room

The next day was the big day! I spent the morning prepping my speech and doing laundry. Around 1pm we all came to my room and started to get ready. We all wore dresses and our hats from the spice tour. We even put on make up! Kylie had bought a white dress in Stone town to make it even more legit. We took bridesmaid pictures and everything! Joe even wore his ironman suit.

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Bridesmaid photo
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Joe in his ironman suit

We had found a beautiful set of stairs that led down to the beach and they walked down the stairs and got “married” on the beach. Daddy Derek walked Kylie down the aisle. I officiated the wedding and tried to make it funny as possible and got quotes from everyone about the bride and groom. It was really fun and really weird all at once.

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Our beautiful fake wedding

Then, we had the reception. We were supposed to go on a booze cruise, but the weather was not good so instead we stayed at the hotel and had a big party. We had all chipped in $10 for booze and it was a really fun night! I had a lot of heart to hearts with people as you do. Then, we had the after party in our room with lots of singing and dancing. It was a great day!

The next day was much more low key as we were all a bit hungover. It helped that it rained all day so no one felt obligated to go anywhere. I just blogged and made a couple of phone calls. The hard part was this was the day we had to say goodbye to Cole, Kylie, and Dan. It was really sad and  I’m going to miss them!

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The beautiful couple at their fake wedding

Our final day, we woke up and had the shock of finding there was no water at the hotel. So, I couldn’t get one last hot shower in. TIA. Of course it was raining again. We stopped in stone town for sandwiches and final shopping and then took the two hour ferry back to Dar es Salam. This time the ferry was not a smooth ride. The waters were rough and so the ferry was very rocky. About half of the boat was throwing up. Luckily, I have a good stomach when it comes to motion sickness.

We stopped at the shopping center for a quick shop and then returned back to the same camp we were at before Zanzibar. I took another cold, salt water shower, had dinner, and then was able to talk to Nate on the phone for a long time. It was nice to have really good wifi. Its been a great week!

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