The rest of our trip felt like a bit of a race. So we took the ferry on Lake Victoria from Bukoba to Mwanza with a stop on the way to load up bananas. We left at 9:00 at night. Jason got up when we stopped and checked out the action. It was unreal how many bananas they loaded on. And he said there was black guys running up and down with the huge things of bananas! The sleep was ok. Rather warm and somewhat restless and we got there an hr late. Our safari driver had been there at 6 and we got there at 8! He brought us to a place for breakfast and then we headed to The Serengeti! We got to the gates about exactly 12:00. And this started a frantic 24 hrs of careening around the Serengeti trying to see as many animals as possible!!! It was great. Unreal to look across a more or less normal looking field and instead of cows you see elephants. You come around a corner and there among the trees are a bunch of giraffes. And suddenly we are right among the Wildabeast migration which they say is 3 million animals! Zebras hang out by the hundreds with them. You see a lion ripping apart a fresh kill. Also a hyena doing the same. We watched a lion stalk some Wildabeasts for awhile but he didn’t seem like a very good hunter 😏. We headed off across the field with another group because that guy had seen a leopard climbing a tree! Wow. I didn’t realize how much more insane it would be IRL then in pictures. Too cool. Anyway. I could go on forever. We stayed at unreal cool place that was basically super amazing glamping! We hadn’t realized the location of everything in the park so it was kind of a long ways out of the way and that’s why there was so much crazy fast bumping driving but that was fun too! Although we sure didn’t have much time to sit and observe the animals. Anyway so it’s just a wall tent and you’re not allowed to go anywhere out of your tent without an escort because wild animals eh. So I wake in the middle of the night to some Very Loud Heavy Breathing and crashing and I was very sure it was an elephant and I also was sure the next swipe would be our tent. I woke Jason. Got the intercom. And was ready to call the guys but we waited and he just ambled past. Of course in the morning when we seen how close he had crashed through the brush by our tent I really did wish we had peeked out our tent flap!! It was literally RIGHT beside our tent. Also while we were eating supper we could hear the lions roaring!!! So cool!
Wednesday morning we were on the trail by 7:00 to try to see as many animals as possible and get out by 12. It was quite a long ways. The road was very bumpy. We def were lifted off our seats many times and got a few bumps and bruises. We drove across a cobra I think it was in our haste! And we made it back to the gate with 10 minutes to spare:) a monkey grabbed Ellas juice box while we were eating lunch! Then we had to hurry abit to get back to Mwanza to get our flight to Dar. It was abit of an adventure for us to avoid all the taxi drivers and rather get a bujaji to our Airbnb. Especially not knowing Swahili! But we made it.
Thursday we took the ferry to Zanzibar. Getting on the boat was a bit of an ordeal but thanks to the man that came and found Ella and me and said ‘your husband here!’ And led us in the right direction. I was about to lose my cool with all the guys trying to get me to buy whatever it was they were selling. The ferry was about a 2 hour ride. Stone Town! A place I’d never heard of before but oh so cool. They have a spice market with oodles of spices grown and ground on the island. There was a significant amount of slave trade that happened there and so there was a very interesting museum about that. Our Airbnb was RIGHT above a very busy market. We spent most of our time there just walking in the market and meandering our way down the alleys. Tall tall buildings and narrow narrow alleys. So much of this country made me think it must be similar to bible times. Ate food at a super cool food market at the seaside! In the dark… sorry dad… still not tired of curry 😉 The BEST shawarma ever. Spent a fair amount of time bartering on a price for a painting or two!
Friday we ate breakfast and then took a taxi to our very nice resort on the other end of the island. A little over an hour away. Oh what fun to swim in the ocean and play in the pool. Ella was in her glory! The place had arm band floaties so she swam and swam. The ocean was calm enough to swim in for her. The water turquoise blue. The sand white. The Africans very busy trying to sell snorkeling trips and I don’t even know what all. I’m good at ignoring (surprise). Jason isn’t 😉 lol. He claims I miss out on all sorts which is probably true. Anyway he booked us a snorkel trip. $50usd for him n me. Ella free.
Saturday morning at 8:30 we went to go snorkeling. Tiny boat. Big ocean. We headed out to this island and joined probably 30 other boats exactly like ours. Dropped the anchor as close to everyone else as possible so we were constantly banging into other boats and to get back onto our boat you had to shove aside the other boats… anyway there were beautiful fish to see but almost as soon as we got there it started to POUR. So Ella wasn’t into staying in that kind of water. I did for awhile. And then our captain washed his knife and platter in the ocean and then cut up a delicious pineapple for us and gave us bottles of water. And then someone spotted a dolphin and the race was on! Everyone rapidly pulling up anchor and rushed out to chase down the pod. We cruised quite aways (at one point the motor quit and he cut a piece of string from the canopy and shoved it somewhere in the motor and then got his helper to pull start it :D) and eventually found them. Our captain yelling ‘ jump jump jump NOW!’ And then gesturing to get on the boat and HURRY HURRY and then racing off to find the poor dolphins again! And there was probably 10 or so boats all chasing them. I got maybe 20’ or so away from them… so then we started back for our resort. By now the tide was going out and there were large breakers over the reef still prob a km from shore. And we were heading straight for those breakers to apparently go over. Which is normal I think and ok if you got a big boat or I actually have no clue. But what happened is. The boat right in front of us capsized right in front of our very eyes!!! We could see a bunch of people hanging onto the upside down boat… And yet it seemed like our captain wanted to go through anyway!! We kept saying no no that’s too dangerous. But he kept saying no problem no problem! Finally Jason just yelled at him and said NO WAY I have my daughter with us! Turn around! So he said ok ok. So we went around the breakers and went to try to rescue some of the people from that side which we were able to do. We picked up 4 of them. They were choking on water and for sure the one guy was about losing it. The water must have been quite shallow cause they kept hitting the reef with their feet which was full of sea urchins and so that one guys feet were almost solidly covered in broken off sea urchin spines. He was so distressed cause his passport had been in the boat!! It was rather traumatizing for sure. We were very thankful to be on solid land. And very very thankful that it hadn’t been our boat that tipped. Needless to say I had some WORDS with the guy back at shore that did know more english and sold us the tickets. He kept saying oh no that was no problem! well hello those poor folks almost drowned. There was many problems. Too bad they don’t even have an online presence to at least leave a warning to others! So the rest of the time there we very much relaxed.
Sunday was the day to head home. We flew from Zanzibar to Dar. Then Amsterdam and home. Monday was Ellas birthday which made it extra long day cause of time change! And the stewardesses knew it was her birthday in each flight so she got some extra attention:). It was very good to get home. Especially because there was a certain little boy we were very lonesome for! It was nice to not have him along tho and we are so thankful it worked for folks to keep him! And it was so so good to see Wade in his Tanzania… so thankful we got this opportunity! Our minds are full of the many delightful experiences 😀
Bye bye for now!