It’s been a while hasn’t it?!
Apologies for that…we were due to have 2 internet stops but lost power/connectivity in both which meant you and I have a lot to catch up on.
I’ve been to Zanzibar and back already and am currently in the heart of Tanzania. I have to say that as soon as we crossed the border from Malawi, I fell in love with this country. Mountains scraped the horizon, banana plants stood tall in their terraces and there were tea plant fields for as far as the eye could see; beautiful.
We spent our first day on Zanzibar in Stone Town which was gorgeous. Dirty old buildings covered in grime, alleys so narrow you struggled to walk two by two down and a feeling that the town had so many stories to tell you. We had a couple of hours of souvenir shopping and coffee drinking before heading out for a spice tour which, I have to say, I don’t think justified the cost though we did get to see the old slave market which was pretty interesting.
Then we headed an hour North to Nungwi Beach which is, quite frankly, every bit the holiday brochure you could imagine. Blue sky, white sand and turquoise water; what more could you ask? I spent the first day relaxing and trying to get a tan (hard to achieve when you’re on a truck all day) and enquired about diving…before I knew it I’d booked it for the next day!
I went and got a tatoo first thing in the morning but you can relax, it’s only henna. It covers my left ankle and connects to my big toe and it’s so pretty. I loved it so much that I went back later for another big one on my right hand…helps me to prepare for the real tatoo that I want. The dive was good and I was amazed that I didn’t feel nervous at all. Usually if you haven’t been diving for over a year they suggest a refresher course but I was just too damn good 🙂 I can’t say I had fun though…they had overloaded me with weight which meant that not only was I sinking like a bag of sugar but kept rolling to the right like a fish with an inner-ear problem 🙂 However, my guide and I saw a ribbon eel, trigger fish, a HUGE octopus that changed colour in front of us and FIVE turtles including one that was busy scratching his ass on the coral; good times haha.
I have also, more importantly, been to the Seregenti and Ngorongoro Crater and back again which was just spectacular and I am super happy to announce that I have now seen the Big Five!! We saw lots of giraffe and elephants up close as well lions and a leopard which not only decided to climb down out of the tree for us but walk in front of our vehicle and pose 🙂 More importantly though, whilst in the Serengeti, I went hot air ballooning which was great but sadly, I can’t say that it had the ‘wow factor’. Maybe it was because we didn’t really see any animals from it or because you only go a few metres off the ground but either way, I can’t say I fell in love with ballooning. Having said that, it was a GREAT experience and I’d definitely do it again, probably in a balloon that goes a lot higher, but it’s also great to be able to say that I went hot air ballooning over the Serengeti – pretty cool stuff. The Ngorongoro Crater the next day was just as spectacular as when we were descending into the crater itself, we spotted an adult male lion with full mane who we (and about 12 other trucks) proceeded to stalk for about 10 minutes. We lost him behind some hills before finding him a bit later and stalking him again which paid off – he came between our trucks and we got some amazing photos!! We were ecstatic! The crater was a great mix of flat plains, jungle and water so we saw everything from huge bull elephants next to our truck to flamingos flying and even a lioness on the hunt! All in all it was a fantastic two days minus the fact that none of us had showered so we were covered in dust and our hair was like a bird’s nest haha.
It’s hard to imagine that I’ll be leaving Africa in just two days; I keep trying to tell myself that I’ll be going home but it’s not working…it feels like the trip is never ending (I wish it never had to finish!) though I am looking forward to staying clean after a shower, getting into clean clothes and relaxing in my comfortable bed though I would give them all up in heartbeat if I could come back here!
My journey, both on and offline, has been far more emotional and personal than I ever expected it would be and whilst at times it’s been hard, overall it has been a fantastic journey physically and mentally. Without a doubt, Africa beats Asia hands down and it has been the best 6 weeks of my life.
These are probably going to be the last words I write whilst I’m away so I will leave you with just one sentence:
I came. I found myself. I left my heart in Africa.