Sunday Special – Zanzibar, Tanzania


beach-zanzibar

Zanzibar beach – Photo credit: Public Domain

I am a member of several online travel groups. I like to use them for travel tips and inspiration. It was in one of these groups where I learned about Zanzibar, Tanzania. This archipelago lies in the Indian Ocean, a mere 25 – 50km/15 – 30mi off the Tanzanian coast. Historically the island grew spices which continues on today and retains its moniker of the ‘Spice Islands’. It was also a location ideal for traders to make contact for commerce with those living on the Swahili coast. Centuries later the islands fell under Portuguese, Arab, and then British rule. It was in the mid-20th century that Zanzibar sought independence and merged a union with Tanzania, today remaining an semi-autonomous region.

The islands consist of many small ones and two larger ones, Unguja (a.k.a. Zanzibar) and Pemba Islands with its capital of Zanzibar City located on the former. Zanzibar City is considered the heart of Zanzibar and has much to offer. It is divided into two – the modern Ng’ambo and the historic Stone Town.  An interesting tidbit about Stone town is that musician, singer and songwriter Freddie Mercury was born there.

Want to check out Zanzibar? Well this is what I found about its activities and sights:

  • Historic Stone Town is good for wandering its storied streets, seeing quaint shops and visiting cafes. Time spent at Forodhani Market is a must.
  • There are amazing beaches with stunning sunsets
  • Snorkeling and diving at Mnemba Atoll for a fun adventure
  • Visit Prison Island for a somber trip to the Slave Museum and to see giant turtles at the turtle sanctuary
  • Visit Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park to get back to nature and see some monkeys
  • Take a spice tour to learn more about this important trade

These are just a handful of sights and activities that await you in Zanzibar. I can say these islands have moved high up on my bucket list, that is for certain! 

stone_town2c_zanzibar_town2c_tanzania_-_panoramio_281229

Market in Zanzibar’s Stone Town – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by Alex Petrenko [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red Colobus monkeys in Zanzibar’s Jozani Forest – Photo via Wikimedia Commons: Taken and owned By Olivier Lejade from France (P8200036.JPG) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL SPOT – VICTORIA FALLS


Found along the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls provides a stunning border for Zambia and Zimbabwe. The stunning wall of water that plummets from its ledge spans over 1,700 m/5600 ft. There are six gorges that feed water into the Zambezi. Nearby towns of Livingstone, Zambia and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe offer excursions to see the incredible falls.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Photo credit – Wikimedia Commons: Public Domain

Bad Dreams


I hate bad dreams. They stick with me long after I have awoken. I have posted before about my dream life. I have always been a vivid dreamer. Some dreams bizarre, some happy and inevitably a few nightmares. The dreams I recall either amuse me or prompt me to discover what my brain and subconscious are dealing with. In this case I would rather not think about it. However, it keeps invading my waking thoughts.

Before I disclose the images of last nights dream you need to know that I am very afraid of wasps and hornets (and bees). I have been stung eight times, all during my childhood. The last time was by a rogue wasp that somehow flew down the back of my top when I was walking along a creek with friends. I was thirteen at the time. That single wasp stung me six times. My back and shoulders were filled welts, some the diameter of an mandarin orange. I remember craning my neck with my back to the mirror to see the damage this small fighter inflicted on me with just small doses of its venom. And the pain! I shudder just thinking about it.

Last night I had a dream about Africa. I long to visit Namibia on Africa’s southwest coast. I also want to see the cradle of life – Ethiopia. Tunisia and South Africa are on that list as well. It is no wonder I dreamed of this vast continent. But this dream, this dream I had was not an enjoyable one. I do not recall many images, instead I recall feelings. Panic, discomfort, stress, pain and fear. I recall thinking and feeling that this is not what my trip there should be like. I recall crying. The one image I do remember is being told by someone I do not know that I have to let the wasps land on me, that I had to have them swarm me. Not to move and allow myself to be a statue of wasps. I was saying “no, no, NO”. I could hear the incessant buzzing and refused to let these creatures overtake me. I saw that if I did that the rapid beating of my heart would be too much and they would fight and sting me over and over. I was scared, so scared but I refused to give in. I woke up with a start.

Relieved that it was just a dream I tried to settle back to sleep. I woke up with my alarm and the sun, yet I felt incredibly sad. Sad that my mind imagined a trip to Africa in such a way. Or was it something else? Sad that I still have fear of the unknown about my RTW trip? Sad that I did not face my fear? I tried to see the positive. At least in my dream I made it Africa. Perhaps I stood my ground against something I thought was not in my best interests. Maybe I am reading more into than I need to. Maybe it was just a nightmare and I should leave it at that. If only I could – for now the swarming wasps keep coming back to me. I still feel sad today, though not as much as earlier. I try to imagine that my trip will be amazing as it should be.

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL SPOT – MARRAKESH


Noisy, bustling, colourful, spicy, cultural – a beauty within a hectic design draws people into the magic of Marrakesh. Not the largest of Morocco’s cities (Casablanca, Fes and Rabat precede it in size) yet possibly the most recognized. The souks (covered markets) alone come to mind when I think of this captivating city.  The maze of stalls filled with tasty foods, exquisite fabrics, colourful glassware, and enticing spices all the while honing haggling skills can make one’s head spin, I imagine. Add ancient city walls, stately mosques, numerous palaces and beautiful gardens, one can see why travelers flock there.  Even French fashion designer Yves St Laurent owned a home here. In 2008, his ashes were scattered in Majorelle Gardens after his death.



Marrakech

I expect I will be wowed and overwhelmed by this incredible city when I finally visit.

Photo credit: Flickr – Ivan Serra