Well you heard from Danae about her experiences. Next up is Julie Cheng. Julie and her new fiancee (you did not tell me Julie – Congrats!) went on a mini trip with us before meeting up with friends who are in the Peace Corps in Tanzania. We took them to Zanzibar and Tarangire National Park. From her blog posts (read more at www.sweetlybalanced.com) they seemed to have an awesome time. But I will let you be the judge of that. Here are her thoughts on Tarangire. Thanks Julie!
As you know, this past memorial day weekend I got engaged! Shortly after the trip Jimmy and I took off for an amazing vacation to Tanzania. The main reason for our visit was to see my best friend Sara and her husband Jon while they were serving in the Peace Corps. The first half of our vacation we spent alone on Zanzibar and a mini safari in Tangire. Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania and seriously, an amazing place. We did this trip with Infinite Safari Adventures and I honestly cannot say enough good things about them! Since we were trying to plan half a trip by ourselves and half a trip with Sara and Jon, it was a little difficult to do this, but Alan (The owner of Infinite Safari) was so patient and worked with us for months to come up with the perfect itinerary.
On June 2, 2012 we took off on our journey. After an 8 hour flight we had a full day layover in Egypt, where we did a quick one day tour (More on that later) and another 6 hour flight to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (Largest city in Tanzania), then hopped on another, much smaller plane (About 12 seats!) for a short 1 hour flight to the island of Zanzibar.
We arrived in Stone Town, Zanzibar and made our way to our hotel: Kisiwa House. I absolutely loved this hotel! Not only was it adorable, but it was right in the heart of Stone Town and the staff was more than helpful and accommodating to anything we needed. They helped us get around, gave us tips on where to go and what to avoid, and answered so many questions even on how to haggle with the souvenir shop owners.
Our first day, we wanted to jump right into activities. One reason being so that we didn’t fall into a jet lag trap by taking a nap and the other being that we are the type of travelers who love a jam packed trip so that we can see everything (With a few lazy, relaxing days in between). We headed over to the Jozani Forest, which I first read about in Sara’s blog. They are known for having the rare red Colobus monkeys. After seeing Sara’s pictures I had to see them for myself and let me just say, they were adorable!!
Day two we spent touring Prison Island, which I again, first learned about by reading Sara’s blog. This island is home of the rare Aldabra Giant Tortoise. Jimmy and I took a very small boat over to the island and had a tour where saw the old prisons, hung out with the tortoises and then headed out for some snorkeling in the Indian Ocean. The tortoises were by far my favorite part of this trip!! They were so big and we loved taking pictures with them. We also got to see some adorable baby tortoises and peacocks that were all over the island!
After Prison Island we made our way back to our hotel to freshen up, then headed into town. We wanted to check out the Forodhani Gardens because every night the locals come out with fresh barbequed foods in an open air market next to the ocean. Per Sara’s recommendation I tried the Zanzibar Pizza and Sugar Cane Juice. All delicious. The pizza was more of a dessert though, kind of like crepes. After this, Jimmy and I stuck around to catch a beautiful sunset on our last night in Stone Town.
Our next stop on the island of Zanzibar was up north to Nungwi beach where we stayed at the Flame Tree Resort. While the rooms at this resort were not nearly as nice as the ones at the Kisiwa House, the resort itself was beautiful, secluded, and had an incredibly warm and welcoming staff. My favorite part about this place was the porches, where they served us breakfast every morning. We also had the option to enjoy our lunch and dinners here, but we opted for the sandy restaurant next to the ocean. On our stay here, we mainly spent our time relaxing by the pool, but we did get a chance to go kayaking, which was certainly an adventure. Luckily we had a guide with us because we started off doing great but before we knew it, we tipped over the kayak and had to somehow climb back in it. We tried again and ended up tipping over one more time before we both decided we had enough kayaking and headed back. Regardless of our falls, it was still amazing to kayak in the Indian Ocean!!
In the end, I absolutely loved Zanzibar. It is a place I would highly recommend if you ever make your way over to Tanzania! Everything is beautiful and unique and there are so many amazing things to do!