The Massai people once belived that all the cows on earth are promised to them by god. This led to a little bit of trouble because travelling around, they tried to take what´s theirs- even if it was in the hands or lands of others. Due to that, the Tanzanian government nowadays tries to stop this normad lifestyle by giving them land to settle down and farm on. How must it feel as a normad to stand still suddenly and stay in one territory? Does it even change your personality if you lose all the outrageous experiences of exploring and instead seeing the same land every day? I have to admit- after one year of travelling, I also had big questionmarks in my head, maybe that is why I followed the Massai so excitedly every time I met them. What was quite everywhere in Tanzania. But let me tell you our story from the beginning.
Ariving in Dar es Salam, a costal city without costal flair due to the beaches being mostly used for fishing, I needed to aclimatise from jetlag- 8 hours time difference and taking Doxycyclin, the shitty malaria-prevention I was just tired and damn sad to leave Colombia. Nonetheless the exotic flair of Tanzania hooked me up quite fast so continuing up north along the beautiful cost with my boyfriend refreshed my mind. In Bagamoyo, former capital in the German colonisation era, we enjoyed a relaxing vibe camping on the beach and practice our first words in Swahili. Here I also regained more confidance discovering Tanzania as a backpacking-friendly country. We could spontaneously arrange our (more economic) trips and move very flexibly during our whole stay what I truly apreciated- but still, we could not run from the partly sad history of this country. Bagamoyo, “the place where you lay down your heart”, was the port where all the slaves from (Central-) Africa were passing on their way to be sold on the slave market in Zanzibar. In this white-beached paradise only the strongest men arrived after a hard and violent trip in chains, knowing that from now they will never return home. This thought was hard to bear… selling people… indicates owning people… this idea of life is scaring me so much and is not even older than 150 years! But to gain some positive energy from this I try to focus on how mindsets can change rapidly and that change starts within yourself! And for me, the biggest value of life is diversity so learning from history and nature itself is an important step to move towards to a future worth living and protecting. And Tanzania had plenty of lessons for me!
With this energy we travelled up north to Ushongo beach, a barely visited cost stripe, where we enjoyed more camping days right at the beach with very few people. Here I also got to know the hermit crab that made me laugh really hard! This little naked crab is looking for “homes”, may it be shells or sometimes even empty coke-cans, and moves in for a time until he growes and needs to find a bigger house. We could watch them walking on the beach at night and I wondered once again how crazy Pachamama is to develop such a diversity on this planet, on my journey I sometimes felt like a hermit crab: unprotected, trying different homes where to feel most comfi. I also admired maritime wildlife on a snorkling tour to a surreal beautiful sandbank between Pangani and Zanzibar! In general, the wildlife was what brought me to Tanzania and it was very easy to find impressing creatures along all our way- after the beautiness of the Amazonas region I still could not get enough discovering nature and I was excited like a little child for our Safari starting from Arusha even though our way there was a mess, spending more that 14 hours on motorcycles, ferries and busses. In general the transportation here is always very uncomfortable because the streets are very bad, superdusty and busses are from the 80s without AC, dirty, smelly and slow. But the best people we met in public transportation like these guys from Tanga who saved us from getting out of a bus at a random junction in late afternoon we probably would´ve still be waiting there! We even got a city tour in Tanga for free, exchanging our mindsets.
Arriving in Arusha, we prepared for a 3-day-hike to Mt Meru, the “little brother” of the Kilimanjaro. The first high mountain I should climb up to the very top and I got really excited. Starting the worldtrip as a really grumpy hiker, I kind of found a passion suffering for days to enjoy the rewarding view of the top- thanks to my sister Adelia:o) The first 2 days led us from savanna to rainforrest up to dusty vegetations. On the 3rd day we started by midnight to rise 1000 m on partly very steep scee slopes in complete darkness to arrive for sunrise at the peak of the 4566m high mountain. What a feeling, soo much adrenaline! Unfortunately it was bitter cold and we knew that we had to descend about 3000m, let´s say my sleep that night was priceless and my muscles hurt 2 more days!
But as a reward, we started a 2-day-safari to Tarangire National Park and the Ngorongoro crater right away. Together with the family of a volunteer we met at Ushongo beach, we spent 2 amazing days observing wildlife! Big herds of zebras, wildbeests, elephants, hippos, giraffs, baboons, buffalos and impalas were crossing our way and occasionally we could also watch secretary birds, lions, gepards and many more. This was a dream come true for me, seeing all these thousands of animals so close and wild in a surreal landscape. And also the Massai were present again! Living close to Ngorogoro they gave this crater its name: Ngorongoro is the sound they use to communicate with their cattle, sometimes even pushing out a teeth in order to make louder sounds. The value of a real Massai by the way is defined by his possession of cows and children- from up to 5 wifes! In that order. What a life….
All these adventures happened in just 2 weeks, so in the next post I’ll write about chilly Moshi and our trip to the west, the non-touristy area around Mwanza, 2nd deepest lake of the world Tanganyika and best for last: Zanzibar!
A big kiss for everybody who´s still reading- this is nearly the end of one year traveling. But I get more confident about coming home- looking forward to be with my best friends and family and to all the small pleasures in Germany- and making plans about the next journeys:o)