This is Morag. I know Sam already posted about Zanzibar, but I just wanted to put up a few more pictures, because Stone Town (the old part of Zanzibar Town) is full of amazing images. It was one of the places I was most looking forward to taking some photos on the trip. Getting good photos was not easy and I was not patient enough in the crowded narrow lanes, but here are some images to give you an idea. The rooftop terraces were wonderful places to hang out, catch a breeze and spy on the world around.
But the carved doors were my favourite architectural feature. They were everywhere in all shapes and colours and levels of detail. Fabulous.
I also found it very moving to visit the site of the old slave market in Zanzibar town. An Anglican cathedral was constructed on the site at the end of the 19c, with the altar marking the point where slaves had been tied to the whipping post. The church is visible in the right-hand photo on the top row above, which was taken from the terrace of our hotel. There is a sculpture portraying chained-up slaves in a pit in front of the church, and in an adjacent building you can still see the cramped and dark basement store-rooms where slaves were chained and kept prior to being taken up for sale. Provoked some family discussions on modern forms of slavery. Sobering.
You know how sometimes people will say something is gutt-wrenching? Well our last day in Malawi was what I would call a butt-wrenching 24hrs. (Obviously this comes before Zanzibar in terms of timeframe)
We wanted to see the Nyika National Park, which is in the north-west of Malawi bordering Zambia. The drive up there on Wednesday afternoon included 120km of VERY VERY rough bumpy dirt roads, which took about 3 hours. Man was I glad to get out of the car after that! The campsite is at quite a high altitude – about 2500m – and as a result it was a cold night for camping. We were all wearing long-johns and hats and gloves. Reminded me of Canada, which was nice. This was our campsite view.
Then the next day we rented mountain bikes and went for a three-hour ride in the park. The first part was through a forest and was mostly uphill. We all had to push our bikes through some of that. Then we came out on the plateau. It felt lie you could see forever, except it was hard to enjoy the view unless we were stopped, because the road itself needed a lot of attention. My mum found that very frustrating because she likes to always be looking for animals. A couple of times she nearly rode into the thorny bushes.
Cracked, hard-packed, rutted mud is bumpy enough in a car with a good suspension. On a mountain-bike? Ouch!! Very jarring on the hands and arms and backside. And my legs got tired from all the hills. I wiped out a couple of times in sandy bits or gravel, but nothing too bad.
We passed really close to roan antelope and to zebra – within 100m. That was cool. But the most amazing part was when I surprised an owl that was in a tree close to the road around a corner. When he flew away his wing-tips actually smacked my face.
After three hours of bumpy riding on a hard bike seat we had some lunch and packed up the car for three more hours of bumpy riding (at least this part sitting on softer, padded car upholstery). By the time we made it down the mountain and back to the north end of Lake Malawi we were a bit numb.
"No worries" in Swahili. You probably heard it in Lion King (the motto of Timon and Pumbaa) but it is commonly used in Zanzibar. And with good reason. Definitely a place to chillax. We stayed in this amazing hotel that my Mum found. Check out the cool pics below. Of course, my Mum will do a separate post with the really good pictures!
Zanzibar is famous for its beaches. But after 3 years in Mozambique, we are not short of time at the beach. So we just hung out in Stonetown (the old part of the city - really tight alleys going every which way. Easy (and fun) to get lost in. Also spent a day hanging by this pool just north of town.
This is hard work! I think I need a break.
Yesterday we passed the 10,000 km mark. Here is the route. Note the link at the bottom that opens it in a full new web-page.
Next stop - Lake Malawi. It is a pretty big lake - ninth largest in the world - and sits in the Rift Valley. We could see into Mozambique from the road on the drive down and also from the lake. I waved to my AISM friends, but I don't think you guys saw me.
We spent two nights camping at Fat Monkey's Lodge right on the beach. One night they had a guy playing guitar who was pretty good. I met some other kids here, including Liam whose parents own the Lodge, so it was a cool place to chill. And my mother points out that the sunset over the lake was excellent.
We also spent one night at Mumbo Island, which is owned by Kayak Africa. I think my mum and dad wanted to stay for way longer but it is expensive. We did some cool mumbo jumbo including kayaking and snorkelling and jumping off huge rocks. The people there were super nice and friendly. At night you have to get around by solar lanterns since they have no electricity. Even the toilets are eco-friendly, but we didn't take a picture of them. They also had great lizards, including really big water monitors.
Next stop - actually before the Zambezi canoe trip - was Victoria Falls.
This time we only saw them from the Zambia side - visas into Zim are expensive.
Fairly high water level, so the viewing was a bit restricted.
Viewing was not the only fun to be had. Can I hear you say - "rope swing!" But first "rap jumping" (the process of descending a fixed rope in a standing position while facing the ground). Cool. Third pic is my Dad.
There's a GoPro video - on my helmet. The vid is 5 min long, far too much time to ask from your busy lives... so how about some fast forward! Look for the 360.
And then of course there is the grande finale - rope swing. This time my mum took video from the bottom of the canyon.