Jill's African Adventure
* Rafting the Nile
* Murchison Falls
* A Day in The Life
* Hell's Gate
* Nairobi and Around (Part 2)
* Nairobi and Around (Part 1)
* A Dhow Trip From Lamu
* Watamu: Ruins, Monkeys, Shrews, and Jellyfish
* Hiking in Lushoto
* Changing E-mail Address
* The Problems of Itete
* Village Life
* Hanging Out in Dar
* Zanzibar - Music Festival & Prison Island
* Zanzibar (Jozani Forest & Jambiani)
* Zanzibar (Stone Town & Spice Tour)
* Future Plans
* Safari!!! (Part 7 - Mikumi Park)
* Safari!!! (Parts 5 & 6 -- Rodent and Itete)
February 17, 2005
Zanzibar (Jozani Forest & Jambiani)
The following day was my trip to Jozani forest in the middle of the island in the hope of seeing monkeys. To get to the forest I took a dalla-dalla, which is a mini-bus and the most common form of local transportation. On Zanzibar the dalla-dallas are mostly converted covered pick-up trucks. Riding the dalla-dalla was an experience in itself. The dalla-dallas leave when they are full or when the driver feels like it rather than on a schedule. So the journey began with waiting, waiting, and waiting some more before we finally left. We finally got going and before long we were flagged down by three police officers who then got on with a couple pairs of prisoners hand-cuffed together. After a little while they all got off and the dalla-dalla continued. And then a few minutes later the dalla-dalla did a u-turn, which seemed strange to me. So we kept going for a while and then -- did another u-turn back the way we came. I double-checked that the dalla-dalla was actually going to Jozani. I was told it was. And indeed we had finished with u-turns and were soon headed out into the country. Perhaps the driver was just going back and forth trying to pick up more passengers. I will probably never know for sure...
In any case, I arrived a Jozani Forest around 11 in the morning. My guidebook had said that the best times to see the monkeys were early morning or late afternoon so I was not sure that I would see any. I need not have worried. I saw lots and lots and lots of red colobus monkeys. They were obviously very used to people and took little notice of me and the other people around (although one eating on the ground did watch me watching him for a little while). From the front the monkeys looked black and from the back they were a reddish brown color. They have no thumbs (colobus means crippled), big fangs, and really long tails. I was surprised by how well the monkeys could jump and it was fun to watch them jump around, eat, and interact with each other. It was especially cool because I was so close to the monkeys. It is recommended that you not get closer than three meters, but this proved to be impossible. I would be standing a few meters away and then one would come toward me. One even ran within about an inch or two of my leg. And my guide kept encouraging me to get closer. (He was very knowlegeable on the flora and fauna in the area, but was apparently unfamiliar with the 3 meter guideline.)
I probably could have stayed and watched the red colubus all day, but one my guide and I had determined that I have taken enough pictures we headed across the street to go on a short easy hike through the forest. The forest is called a swamp forest because is gets very wet and muddy there during the rainy season. There were lots of Mahogany trees (not native), really tall palm trees, ficus, and what the locals call walking trees since many of their roots are above ground and kind of look like legs. During the hike we saw millipedes, a squirrel (they look the same everywhere), a couple of skinks (lizards), and black (also called Sykes, I think) monkeys. One of them even had a baby, which I could only tell was there by seeing a second tail. One of the highlights of the hike was hearing the call of the leader of the troupe of black monkeys. I'd try to describe it, but I don't think words will work.
After a few days of staying in Stone Town, I headed out to the East Coast of Zanzibar to a beach called Jambiani. It was supposed to be a nice quiet beach and I was looking forward to a few days of relaxing. And in a sense, the beach was quiet; there were very few tourists. Only two other people were staying at the same place I was. Unfortunately, there were many, many "beach boys" (and girls) about, constantly coming up to us asking did we want to buy this, that, or the other thing. I'm guessing it would be about one person every 10 minutes or so. So I found it impossible to relax. Which is really unfortunate, because these people are earning their living based on tourism, but by doing so are destroying the tranquility, which is the reason the people come in the first place.
The highlight of my two days in Jambiani was going snorkelling. We got out to the coral reef by dhow, a traditional boat -- it had a said, outrunners, and I guess was about two feet wide and two and a half feet deep. (But I'm really bad at estimating these things, so even I wouldn't take my word for it.) The bottom was covered in water, the amount of which steadily increased during the journey and which was bailed out while were were at the reef. In any case, the ride out in the turquoise-green clear waters, shaded from the sun by the sail was rather pleasant.
After about half an hour we arrived at the reef for snorkelling. My equipment didn't fit quite right (water kept getting in my mask) and I had little faith in my snorkel (was surprised every time when it turned out that it worked and I could breathe), but I enjoyed the experience anyway. It is really amazing that there is just a whole other world under the water. And the fish! Just amazing. I saw bright blue ones, angel fish with yellow, pale fish with pastel-y yellow and pink stripes. Fish by themselves and schoold of fish. And I could follow them around. It was great and definitely the highlight of the beach trip.
Posted by Jillian on February 17, 2005 05:20 AM
Category: East Africa
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