Monday, 17 February 2014



Day 1: We flew from Arusha airport which in itself is an experience. It’s a small airport only allowing light aircraft, although a month earlier that hadn’t stopped a Boeing 767 from landing there, much to the confusion of the air traffic control tower and the 200 passengers who were expecting to get out at Kilimanjaro International Airport some 50km away rather than in a field at the end of the short runway.

We had far better luck, we sat in the departure lounge with a couple of pilots I play cricket with and they found us a man who could walk us past the security queue much to the somewhat understandable annoyance of a German woman who’d been stood in the queue for some time. It was a queue she hadn’t yet been asked to join and it’s pretty obvious the correct behaviour in a small relaxed place is to join in and be relaxed. For us it was a breeze, 10 minutes after going through security our 12 passengers took off and waved goodbye to the German who was still determined to be first in the next queue she’d joined.

Taxi to the East side of the island we were staying in a simple private villa on the beach at Jambiani, with a front garden that opened onto the impossibly turquoise Indian Ocean.

So yeah, pretty sweet deal.

Took an evening stroll along the beach stopping at a most agreeable beach bar where we befriended a pair of puppies and (not on) a girl called Anastasia.
We were pleased when:
1: She turned out to be an interesting Canadian. And 2: She bought a round of shots.
We moved on for dinner and were disappointed when:
1: The food took an age to come out. And 2: We discovered that it hadn’t been that long we were just in a dry restaurant and time drags when you’re stopped from drinking just after getting to a lovely level of  conversational competence.

After the meal we said our good-nights and I mentioned to Emily how it was so strange that Anastasia had gone all quiet during dinner and almost a bit off with us for no reason. Being more perceptive than me Emily noted that it probably wasn't for no reason as her mood shift coincided with me insisting several times that ‘one of the musical instruments painted on the walls looks like a medieval abortion instrument’. On reflection I can see how one might misconstrue my witty repartee to be inappropriate table conversation with a stranger. 

Being left alone was most definitely a good thing because it allowed Emily and I to finish the night off with a romantic nightcap sitting on the sand, listening to the waves and watching the drunkest man in Zanzibar trying to get back to the pile of clothes he’d left on the beach. His legs and head were in strong disagreement about which was the best way to tackle the five yard journey and so he kept us entertained for the duration of a cold Kilimanjaro beer. At the end of day one we had already decided that we liked Zanzibar.


  1. Great to read this, Glyn. I was in Zanzibar some years ago - stayed in Stone Town. Fabulous little place - I remember visiting a tiny Muslim school (the teacher in me!!) and tramping beautiful little beaches. And Freddie Mercuryville just to add to the mystique of the whole place, I mean Zanzibar, it's like Timbuctou, and such iconic place-names.
    Loved Arusha - stayed there with a friend from Oaklands who was/is working on the Rwanda genocide tribunal. Attended some of the proceedings and listened in to the horrendous testimonies of the events. I remember too drinking in a little wayside pub until the wee small hours and breaking up a fight between two angry (and drunk) locals! And you experience at the airstrip - airport was way too grand a word for it - rang bells, well maybe minus the insistent German traveler! (Graham C)

  2. I've never been , missed a trip back in 2004 on account of Kenyan boading school , but there is lots of Kiswahili literature about it as well. Seems you guys really loved it Glyn , and how do you know how abortion instrumenats look like?