20/03/2010 – An early run. I was feeling fit having managed a good few running sessions during the week, so I went for a specially long one on Saturday morning. Two hours later I returned and noticed Bun in the Landcruiser having kittens. She thought something had happened to me! Something did. I had overdone it and had to walk part of the way back!  I came back with some bananas and yoghurt that I had bought for breakfast with the few sweaty bank notes in the back of my shorts.

Arusha seemed OK, nothing special, mainly a base for organising trips to the Serengeti. We thought let’s get out-of-town for the weekend. We headed in the direction of Lake Manyara,  60 kms from Arusha, towards the Serengeti. We stayed at the’ Safari camp high above the lake. Fantastic view as we saw the last light of the day.

Massai country all the way. Instantly familiar, the men drape themselves in toga like red blankets and carry wooden poles. Their wealth is judged by the number of cattle they own. One conversation I heard , said one Massai man had enough cattle to buy several new Land Rovers. Their language is similar to the Nuer people of southern Ethiopia and the Bari in southern Sudan.

They are found in a vast area of  Tanzania, all the way from Massai Steppes to the Ngorongoro Highlands to the Serengeti plains. They lost 50% of their land to game reserves and settler farms during colonialism.

19/03/2010 – We left Mikidi camp realy early. The Massai guards were on duty, walking around the camp. Known as fierce warriors, they are employed as guards who patrol the camps at night for protection. Ferry to Dar and then a massively long drive to try to get to Arusha. no more coastline until Namibia now!

We had followed most of this road on our way down. Bun  was stopped for doing more than the 50 kmh speed limit. She said it was going to be 20,000 Tanzanian shillings. So £20 – here go again. A bit of negotiating and we were off again wIthout paying a fine. Luckily they have no system of recording if we had been stopped before so , once I said ‘t’s the first time we have been stopped, they were OK with it.

Pit stop in Segera. Out came the flask and we have some sweet milky tea for the journey ahead. Also two lovely ripe pineapples that were skinned and cut up and put in a plastic bag for eating in the car. I’ll forget the kid who tried to overcharge me for them! We got to Arusha at six.

18/03/2010 – Zanzibar/Ferry to Dar es Salaam – We originally decided to return to Dar the same day but we stayed the night in the old town. We wandered around the old town before the heat arrived. Breakfast at the hotel then we returned the death trap (sorry, scooter) before getting the ferry back.

17/03/2010Zanzibar – We woke up at five in the morning to go to Zanzibar. We left the vehicle at the Mikadi camp across form the harbour which you get to by local ferry. This involved catching a ferry to Dar es Salaam as a foot passenger. We waited patiently behind the barred gates with all the people making their way to work. Then we got a taxi to the Azam Marina boarding centre so we could catch the Seabus Express 2 to Zanzibar. We arrived at 6:30 and the boat set sail at 7:15 so thankfully they provided a free breakfast I chose to have Ice cream because it was already too hot. Finally we boarded the boat and they let us sit in 1st class, which was good.

We arrived in Zanzibar and battled our way through all the touts but then gave in and asked someone to take us to a scooter hire shop. We thought this would be a good idea, so that we could see as much of the island as possible in the short time we had. Also, the idea of feeling the wind on our skin was blissful in the sweltering heat.

I was left guarding the camera bag whilst Al went with the scooter guy to a local football pitch to prove that he could ride it properly. When they came back it had been established that some work was needed on the brakes so Al and I tucked into some fresh lychees. Twenty minutes later they switched to another scooter and we were off shortly after.

We decided to grab some food. We found a good place called Beyt  al Chai. We parked the scooter outside and took off the army style helmets they had given us for protection. The food in Zanzibar is sensational  amazing fresh food everywhere. It has a real mix of flavours and it is similar to the food of southern India. Coconut, limes, ginger, cloves are used a lot.

We went north after lunch. We wanted to see the Mangapwani slave chamber. The square cell was cut out of the coral. Boats would arrive from the mainland and unload the human cargo onto the beach nearby before being taken to the chamber. The chamber was used after the abolition of slavery by Arab slave trader who continued the trade for years after. The slaves were destined for the Gulf states in the Middle East. The chamber was underground to keep it secret.

Zanzibar was the main hub for the slave trade in East Africa, similar to the Gold Coast in West Africa. Many explorers came to Zanzibar to follow trails made by Arab slave traders from Oman. The Arab slavers only went so far into the African interior looking for slaves and were met by hostile tribes before turning around. Explorers like Stanley used the information to trace the route of the Congo river.

Slowly, Zanzibar was the direct place where Africa was being discovered piece by piece. The book I read ‘Blood River’ calls Zanzibar the Cape Canaveral of its day.

16/03/2010 – Bagamayo to Dar es Salaam / Tanzania – one of the nicest towns on the east coast of Tanzania, 70 km north of Dar es Salaam. It was the terminus for slaves coming from near Lake Tanganyika en route to Zanzibar. Germans, Portuguese, Arabs and the British have all had their time here. We stayed here for one night, checking out the town and picking up some more prawns before heading off.

Swahili – Common language of the coast. It came about from the inter-marriage between Arab, Persian, and African slaves from the 7th century onwards. Mainly Muslims, there are many sub-groups including Bajun, Siyu, Pate, Mvita, Fundi, Shela, Ozi, Vumbu and Amu.

Bantu – Massive linguistic group, known more as a language group than a distinct ethnic group . Making up two-thirds of Africa’s population. The Bantu migrated from the  Congo and the Niger Delta. Swahili is the largest Bantu derived language used by 50 million people in East Africa.

15/03/2010 – Tanga to Bagamayo / Tanzania – we drive inland to get to Bagamayo, which is on the coast. We drove through rolling hills covered in banana trees. We did the journey via Segera, avoiding the traffic police who look more like Navy officers, dressed all in white. We got stopped a few times – nothing more than a check of my driving license. Speed humps are in every town and drove us mad when we want to get a move on. We have to slow down to go over about three massive hump in the road.

14/03/2010 – Tiwi beach to Tanga. Route taken: Tiwi beach, Lunga Lunga (border crossing), Mariza, Tongoni, Pangani, Tanga

Easy border crossing. Kenya and Tanzania are part of a the East African community which, is meant to make life easier travelling between the two countries. It also includes Uganda and some say, Rwanda – but we have heard otherwise from some people. Usual stamp and customs sorted. One officer after asked for a back-hander, but I quickly ended that one. He was writing my details down in a large book that was destined to end up on a shelf,  never to be looked at again. We arrived in Tanga quite late. The drive from the border was longer and harder than we expected. Another border road that had been forgotten to be tarmacadamed!