Zanzibar – wildlife and sightseeing was next on our itinerary. Zanzibar island, situated approximately 25 km off the mainland coast of Africa is home to the red colobus monkey as well a thriving spice trade and the world heritage site of Stone Town. Lady Lynne and I were lucky enough to visit here in December as part of our continuing trip of a lifetime.
Welcome to part 3 of our African adventures – Zanzibar – wildlife and sightseeing. This part of our trip was designed to explore the beautiful island of Zanzibar, where there’s plenty of wildlife to see and a rich history to explore. It was also time to spend some well deserved, quality R&R time by the pool and in the pool bar!
BTW. You might want to check out the previous posts Africa Adventures Pt.1 Glasgow to Uganda and Africa Adventures Pt.2 Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to bring you up to date with where we are before you continue to read below. 🙂
So after having arrived in Uganda, only 4 days earlier, it was time to leave this beautiful country and to fly to Zanzibar for a relaxing 10 days of chilling out, seeing the wildlife and sightseeing.
However, leaving was nearly not as easy as we thought it would be.
We forgot you needed to check in for International flights at least 2 hours in advance of their leaving and nearly weren’t allowed into Kampala airport!
“You’re late” an armed airport guard shouted at us on our arrival into the airport at 3.30am. After quizzing us rather intensely for what seemed like ages and after pleading our case (blaming the poor taxi driver) he let us through into departures – just.
Mighty relieved we managed to see ourselves safely in the air at 5.00am and after a smooth transfer at Nairobi airport, Kenya, we were soon on the ground in Zanzibar.
At immigration you need to show official proof of all your inoculations, particularly for yellow fever, by carrying your “yellow card.” I do wonder what happened to the American gentleman who sat behind me in the aircraft who arrived without a yellow card!
Anyway, am I the only one who is paranoid on holiday in ensuring that I tip properly? I expect it’s because it’s not really an expected thing here in the U.K. except in restaurants. So I probably gave too much to the young guy in the airport who held back our luggage shouting “tip, tip” at me and annoyed me intensely.
I soon forgot how annoyed I was. Beautful swathes of countryside passed us by on our taxi ride from the airport to our destination, the Hideaway of Nungwi, resort and spa.
And we had officially arrived in paradise. Where Lynne gradually settled in. 😉
And where was I? Well Neil was mostly found either under a sun umbrella (see the feet 🙂 ) Or at the pool bar (those seats under the covered area) having a long island iced tea or the daily cocktail. Here is where I also found out that two long island iced teas completely flattened me!
As you can imagine much time was spent chilling out in these areas in between planning our day excursions. (It was hard work you see).
We picked up our lunch boxes at 7.50 am. Jumped into our waiting taxi and soon after joined the rest of our day trippers in our coach.
Within the park, The Jozani Forest which is located in the central east region of Zanzibar Island is the home of rare red colobus monkey, which is only endemic to Zanzibar.
The forest, which once extended across the whole island, was declared a nature reserve in the 1960’s and there are excellent guided nature trails (you must be accompanied by a guide) within the park. The park has also been extended by planting of extra forest since 1952.
The forest is also home to a few unique species including the Sykes monkey, bush babies, duikers, hyraxes, over 50 species of butterfly and 40 species of birds. Plus this centipede!
The red colobus monkey, unlike their more widespread and adapted cousins, the black and white colobus, are a rain forest species which are now confined to very small areas of equatorial forest in tropical Africa. It is therefore a rare treat to be able to see them here in Zanzibar.
Fortunately, thanks to conservation efforts the population of the red colobus monkeys has been steadily growing here in Zanzibar. Conservation that relies heavily on tourism to pay the wages of the guides and guards who protect the park. Another reason why we must not stop going to these places, despite the risks in the world today. If we want to help preserve all this for future generations.
The red-bellied coast squirrel. It looks tame, but I assure you it was pretty elusive! I got as close as I could to it, to get this shot, before it shot up the tree!
South of the forest, the park also accommodates a large mangrove swamp. Here, a boardwalk has been established to protect the fragile and unique ecosystem. The boardwalk was established as a community project and the revenue earned here also helps to fund local development projects.
Before taking our boat to Prison Island we stopped at Mercury’s Restaurant in Stone Town for a well earned beer. Mercury’s restaurant being aptly named in tribute to the late Freddie Mercury, who was born in Zanzibar.
I took a couple of shots of the ancient harbour. The top one looking towards the private island resort of Chapwani.
This picture is looking towards the private island resort of Bawe. The majority of the boats you see here are the only forms of transport to the islands I’ve mentioned, the others are fishing boats.
Prison Island was once sadly a former holding place for slaves (a whole depressing history I learnt about whilst there). Then a quarantine station for yellow fever cases. Today and much more happily it is a sanctuary to these giant Aldabra tortoises.
The government of Zanzibar built a large compound for the protection and conservation of these animals in the late 1990’s when their population dropped to an alarming 7. Fortunately, now their population has been steadily recovering and we saw plenty of hatchlings.
The door way here shows one of the entrances to the prison compound accessed from the sea.
One of the options you can do on this day trip is to go snorkeling off Prison Island. All equipment is provided by the tour company for this. This was our boat which left Lady Lynne and myself on Prison Island, taking those who wanted to go and do this activity to where they could safely snorkel.
We opted to relax on the beach and just watch the world go by. An option we were glad we choose as the feedback from our day tripper colleagues was the snorkeling wasn’t up to much. Ah well I suppose, each to their own.
As with all holiday arranged day trips a lot is packed in to one day so that you see as much as you can. If we had the choice, I think
we I would have preferred spending a bit more time exploring The Jozani Forest and photographing the wildlife. But we’re grateful to see what we did see. It was amazing.
Tired, we returned to our resort and as I mentioned earlier, I learnt that two long island iced teas literally do flatten me. Pretty much the rest of the evening, and dinner were a blur. 😮
OK folks, so please remember to come back next week for the last instalment African Adventures Pt.4 Zanzibar Spice Tour and Final Days.
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And thanks Amanda for our usual Thursday thinking out loud blog post sharing opportunity!