12 November 2022, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Up at 6am. We are anchored near Zanzibar and will use tender boats today. My tour group meets at 7:45am for the 8:30am tour.
My quick Lido breakfast was muesli & granola & apricots with orange juice and coffee.
Ingrid & Joaquim Buehrmann’s Across Africa Tours tour group gathered in the Ocean Bar and proceeded to the Main Dining Room, where the 800 4 & 5 Star Mariners get tender tickets. This privileged group was offered coffee, tea, cookies, tables, and chairs for the wait. I saw a pilot boat come to the ship. Our ship announced that the first tender went to get Zanzibar officials. After they approved everything about 9:15am, the first six tender numbers were called for us to proceed. We went down the elevator to deck A, showed our room keycards, and went down the outside stairs to the tender boat. Crew helped me step onto the bobbing boat, and I found a seat. New tender. It docked at Zanzibar in a few minutes, and crew helped me step ashore. Climbed a long ramp up to the terminal building and walked out to the local song and dance welcome. Nice.
Our group of 11 followed the sign with Ingrid’s name on it and boarded our van. Tablemates Charlotte & Bill took the front bench seat for the three of us. I was looked after.
We drove through town and to Stone Town. AlleSu was our guide and Hammed our driver. It was close to 10am.
“Stone Town, Spice Farm, Jozani Forest – $99, 8 hours, includes lunch
Upon pickup at the port, you will proceed to Stone Town, well known for its buildings and narrow streets, and is also one of the oldest cities in East Africa. On this tour, we will explore the historic city of Stone Town sights, which include the Anglican Cathedral and former Arab slave market, House of Wonders (National Museum in Zanzibar), the Old Fort, the Hamamne Baths, Freddie Mercury House, etc.”
We left the van and walked to the historic Anglican Cathedral, entered, and sat down to listen to our guide. Afterwards he took us outside to see the statues of unfortunate slaves and then into the museum. Downstairs was the dark room where slaves had been kept. I bought a Zanzibar door magnet for $3.
Then we walked the narrow streets of Stone Town. Picturesque and full of people. Saw lots of elegant carved doors, just like Daisy said. We saw the other expected sights and arrived at the British Club Hotel about noon for a spectacular view. Then we walked to the waterfront and went through the Old Fort.
We got back into our van, and on the way out of town drove through New Town. This was built a few years ago during the socialism funded by China, Russia, Poland, etc. Communist stark apartment buildings. Even a Chinese Amusement Park for children.
“Proceed to (the Spice Farm). . . Cloves, lemongrass, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric, vanilla, coconuts, black pepper, jack fruit, cardimon. . . Also, you will be watching someone climbing up a Coconut Tree. . .”
We walked through the “Hakuna Matata Spice Farm – Dole – Zanzibar.” At each spice stop we were handed a crushed leaf to smell or a sliver of cinnamon, etc. I stuffed each piece into my local currency envelope, and now it is a fragrant collection. Our guide had new young helpers who also wove together a variety of gifts as we walked along seeking shade in the intense heat and humidity.
The Coconut Tree climb was done by a proud young man who picked a number of coconuts that crashed down. (Never stand under a coconut tree.) We sat on wooden benches to be offered a fresh coconut to drink the milk and eat some of the meat. The young helpers put a woven crown on my head and a woven ring stuffed with lantana blossoms on my finger.
Our spice walk continued, and we were warned not to touch the fluffs of Kapoc on the ground to avoid allergic reactions.
Our lunch was in an open but covered place. Benches surrounded the mat-covered floor. Our buffet meal was on the floor in the center, waiting to fill plates. Plus, water or juice. Dessert was a slice of orange, pineapple, jack fruit, and tiny bananas presented to each of us. The main course was tasty, flavored fish, chicken, rice, yummy sauce, fried bananas, and some mystery fruits. It was delicious, but I was too hot to eat much. Our guide had filled my plate from the pots and seemed pleased that I and my trusty hiking stick had kept up with the group, although slowly. The nearby toilets had both the hole in the floor and the western seated style.
Naturally there was an opportunity to buy spices and also fragrant skin products.
“The last spot would be Chwaka Bay National Park, the only National Park in Zanzibar. Jozani Forest is known for Red Colobus Monkeys, which are a rare species that can only be easily found in Zanzibar . . . We will go for a Mangrove boardwalk, where you will learn about Mangroves and how they can help prevent coastal erosion.”
I asked our guide if I could see the monkeys, but not go on the Mangrove walk, because I was tired. He is a high school literature teacher, and our Ranger had been his student three years ago. Suddenly the plan changed. Get back into the van. We will drive to see the monkeys! Several people thanked me for speaking up.
Our van stopped on a dirt road, where a few people had gathered to watch the monkeys pass through. Wonderful luck that a troop of the Red Colobus Monkeys were appearing on one side of the road, then crossing the road, posing briefly, then disappearing. They were beautiful, blended into the forest, sometimes even seemed to pose for photos. One had a cute little baby who nursed for a bit, while the father waited nearby. Unusually good viewing.
We drove to the Mangrove walk location. By now our guide was calling me “Mama.” He had me sit in the van with the driver while others tackled another hike.
Our drive back to port was interesting but seemed long. Instead of returning at 4pm, our late start made us miss 5pm dinner on the ship. Our van driver managed to squeeze through traffic to the port terminal, where we passed through X-ray security and walked down to the tender landing. Again, crew helped me step on and off the bouncing tender boat. I climbed the stairway up into the ship, presented my room keycard & lowered my mask, and went through X-ray security again. It was 6:30pm.
I went to the Main Dining Room for a good dinner at a table for one. I drangsnk lots of cold water. My dinner was the Burrata Salad, Thyme Roasted Rack of Lamb, and Lemon Sorbet.
Two pieces of chocolate waited in my room with tomorrow’s Daily Program.
No show in the World Stage this evening, so I started going through photos and started today’s journal record.
At midnight I crawled into bed, content with such an enjoyable day.
Photo Gallery by Barbara Cummings
Today’s Photo gallery contains scenes from day, one and day two of Barbara’s visit to this beautiful island, her narrative pretty well describes these photos.