March 26, 2010

Zanzibar: The perfect finish to an amazing adventure in Tanzania!

Kirsten in Stonetown

After two and a half amazing weeks in Northern Tanzania my next stop before heading back to Boston was the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania. I only had 3 days on the island but I wish I’d had 3 weeks! My adventures in Zanzibar included a walking tour of Stone Town (which is a UNESCO World Heritage site) where I learned about the history of the island and toured the charming winding streets through town. Stone Town has a diverse flavor as it was inhabited by people from Portugal, the Middle East, and India, and architectural influences from these cultures and more can be seen throughout the city.

After Stone Town, I headed up to Nungwi on the Northern Coast for a sunset cruise on a dhow, a traditional Arabic sailing boat. We spent two hours cruising the turquoise waters of the Indian ocean, and from the boat we could see some of the reefs and quite a few fish as well. Zanzibar is a great spot for snorkeling and diving.

The morning I was to leave, I was able to fit in a spice tour, as no trip to Zanzibar is complete without seeing a spice plantation! It was amazing to see how cinnamon, vanilla, lemongrass, pepper and other herbs and spices grow. The most surprising spice to me was the nutmeg seed which is black with red stripes — the same colors as a ladybug — who knew?! Zanzibar was truly the perfect accompaniment to the safari in Tanzania and I cannot wait to go back!

Dhow sailing

March 14, 2010

Kirsten and Mt Meru

Kirsten at Mirikamba

Hello from the foot of Mt. Meru near Arusha! I had an exciting morning heading to Mt. Meru and setting off on a hike with one of the park’s rangers. We visited the Mirikamba huts (anyone interested in the Family Safari for Teens call me and I’ll tell you all about them!). The weather was warm and clear and we had a great view of Kilimanjaro. On the hike we found some elephant bones, and got a good look at the Ash Cone which formed in the crater of the former volcano. I would have loved to have climbed to the top of Meru but it takes 3 full days – including one day starting at 1AM! Maybe next time :)

I’m now at Mt. Meru Game Lodge awaiting the rest of the family safari group. There are some beautiful animals in the game reserve here – including a number of zebras! There are also monkeys swinging in the trees on the grounds, and they sometimes jump onto the roof of the buildings!

I’ll try and check in again but I may be out of touch in the parks for a few days.

March 12, 2010

Jambo from Arusha, Tanzania

Kirsten at the hippo pools

Hello from Arusha! I’ve been in Tanzania for 7 days studying tourism development in the country and I have to say — I love this place!! My journey has included a visit to the Ngorongoro crater where I saw my first Zebra (punda milia in Swahili), the Serengeti where I visited the hippo pool and a number of visits to local villages including two Maasai schools . I also had the privilege of meeting with conservation authorities and representatives from some local villages. I have loved learning about this beautiful country and meeting local Tanzanian people.

One of the surprises I have found in Tanzania is how green this country is. The soil is red clay but there are grass, trees, and rolling hills everywhere — it does not fit the arid, desert image of Africa. The weather has been perfect so far – warm and dry, which feels especially great after a cold Boston winter!

visiting with the local children