Another hot sunny and humid day (no change there then!) and we were on the road at 9am with Zamir as guide and Mtoo as driver. We headed out of Stone Town on Zanzibar’s west coast towards the Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park which is on the south-east side of the island. The Jozani Forest lies at the centre of this 50 square km park and is famous for its red colobus monkey, the only place in the world where this monkey can be found. There are also less rare Sykes’ monkeys here too.
The 35 minute drive across Zanzibar took us through a town and several small hamlets/villages and then across many acres of uncultivated land which is unfertile, thus not used, and government owned. This drive reminded Mr and Mrs L very much of the countryside in Goa. Zanzibar has brought together many memories of Kathmandu, Goa and even Thailand in that the people here, and also in Tanzania, all have a happy disposition and smile easily and readily – just like Thailand, Land of Smiles! On the way back Zamir pointed out the overladen daladala (bus) which are made in India and come from Goa……. The daladala is licensed to carry 20 people but was stuffed full with many more, including some hanging on the outside, and bags of rice, grain etc all piled on the roof as people travelled home from the market.
Arriving at the Jozani Forest, we had a fascinating guided walk through the forest looking at mahogany trees, guava trees, coconut trees, holes in the ground in which crabs live……the forest is 4km from the sea but gets flooded every high tide……hence the reason crabs can live here. We soon heard the monkeys high up in the tree canopy and when we got to an area where there were many guava trees we were able to watch them at close hand. We saw a couple of the blue Sykes’ monkeys but most were the rare red colobus monkeys, many with young babies. Great to watch and another opportunity to test out Mr L’s videoing skills…….
They are messy eaters when eating the guava fruits!
Unfortunately Mr L developed an eye allergy whilst walking through the forest, we assume it was the guava trees. Already looking like a tourist with backpack, binoculars around his neck and clutching a video camera, he then turned into one of our more oriental looking fellow tourists with his slitty eyes!!
Next up was a walk (on a bridge) through the mangroves which again all get flooded at high tide. Time then to head back to Stone Town and seek out lunch…..Traveller’s Cafe overlooking the Indian Ocean – perfect. The lighting in the photo makes Mr L look very young!!
A brief trip to photograph the birthplace of Freddie Mercury (Mrs L is a tourist after all) and to look at the shops in this more touristy part of town as we didn’t go here yesterday. Sellers hassle you from every direction and we were making a hasty retreat when Mrs L spotted a big bag in one of the street stores…….our suitcases are full and we need to get our few holiday purchases home so Mrs L thought it would be a good idea to upscale her handbag in which to transport said items back to Blighty. The bargaining was extremely hard work but Mrs L finally got the price down from $45 to $25…….
Cocktails and beers at the African House Hotel watching the glorious sunset again. Mr L had the Zanzi’s Pimms and Mrs L had the cucumber martini…….both cocktails were completely uninspiring…………
……..the beers were better!
Dinner though was in a different league – a superb 3 course meal with an excellent bottle of red wine – at the Beyt al Salaam which is just down the road so no guide or taxi required this evening!
As an addendum…….
Mr L in his Crystal Palace shuka……it’s enough to make a Maasai warrior weep!