David and Lili's World Tour

TANZANIA

May 2005 - Safari

Jambo! This is the Africa of dreams. Our safari cost One Thousand Dollars, but it was truly amazing. We could hear lions roaring in the night from our campground :-) We recommend visiting the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the collapsed cone of an ancient volcano, 20 kilometers across and full of animals. Stunning. Our drive took us by the Olduvai Gorge, home of the earliest evidence of our pre-human, bipedal ancestors, footprints some 3.6 million years old, virtually indistinguishable from those of modern man. More evidence for evolution.

We stopped in a Maasai boma (village). The tribal residents are used to tourists because this boma is near the sealed road, but they still maintain their traditional culture, surviving on beef, cow's milk and blood. I wish the Maasai people had their own safari company in order to better profit from tourism, but they do not. Starting a safari company takes capital, so therefore most profits from tourism go to people who are already relatively wealthy (and white). Sigh. Therefore, if you are wealthy and want to make a difference, here's an idea: donate a safari company to a trust dedicated to educating the Maasai people. As they are being forced to integrate into the modern world, schools are good. Please also donate to groups like AfricAid. Educate the girls.

We cannot get visas for Sudan to continue overland as hoped, so we have to fly. This is good in that we can spend more time enjoying Africa and less time in over-crowded minibuses. We will fly to Rwanda, then Ethiopia, then Egypt ...


May 2005 - Zanzibar

Greetings from Zanzibar (the ZAN in TanZANia).

Zanzibar is a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean, and the former domain of Arabian sultans. Zanzibar is where black sub-Saharan Africa meets conservative Islam. White tourists are granted flexibility, but we are expected to dress conservatively away from the beaches. A Christian women from Kenya was recently stoned to death for not adhering to the strict dress code! Of course not all Muslim cultures are so draconian. Indonesia comes to mind. It's sad to see tension between Muslims and Christians on lovely Zanzibar, because they share the same God of Abraham. There are places where they live together in harmony, so the problems are cultural and political, not religious per se. The Koran does not mandate a dress code.

Most tourists in Zanzibar head straight to the white-sand beaches, but Stone Town is worth a visit. The labyrinth of narrow streets has quality shops, restaurants, and plenty of culture.

Compared to Malawi, Tanzania has good roads and comfortable buses. We stopped in Mbeya and Iringa, both nice. Internet cafes are up to 26 times cheaper ($0.50 per hour, compared to $13.00). Tanzania has more money in its economy largely from tourists paying big money for wildlife safaris. We thought about heading into Ruaha National Park, but the best deal we could find was USD$250 a day. We decided that if we're going to spend that kind of money, it is better to do so in the Serengeti.

We took a bus (not a mini-van!) to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania's largest city. Aside from the Indian food and friendly people, we didn't find much to like about the dirty city. From Dar Es Salaam, it is easy to get to Zanzibar, a wonderful place to relax after so much overland travel.

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