Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Goodbye Africa!

This will be our very last post from Africa.  Our last few days here in Zanzibar has been extremely relaxing. It was difficult to convince anyone to leave the comforts of the resort and the allure of the warm turquoise waters. Although secretly, we also did not want to have to face of exploring in the heat and humidity. So we never did do the planned tour of Stonetown or the spice plantations....The only thing that was frustrating at the resort were the poor smoking habits of the European guests (mostly Eastern Europeans). But I digress...

Our dinner by the beach

What has come to be "our spot" at the beach

Goodbye Africa! 

The last 6 weeks has been phenomenal. We were so blessed to be able to admire and marvel at God's creation with family and friends, so spoiled to able to have extraordinary experiences and so privileged to learn new things. The trip has served as a reminder to always keep everything in perspective, and never to take the basics for granted like food, shelter, clean water, education and a safe country to live in. Most of all, it was a pleasure to have met such warm and joyful people who have turned our amazing adventure into an unforgettable experience. Thank you Africa for everything!

Friday, 11 January 2019


We won’t bore you with too many details with our 5 day stay here other than to say that the water is warm and truly turquoise blue and the sand very white. Instead, we’ll just post photos of our highlights and experiences!

Children so happy to be in warm ocean water

Checking out activities available

SUP style on day 1. Let's see how they go over the next few days...

Easiest way to be a responsible adult

Luckily there are no vultures here (that we know of)

Snack time! Service even by the beach...

OH&S African style. Clearing coconuts for safety

Dining area for breakfast and lunch. Outdoor side

And indoor side

A small selection on the salad bar

Dessert bar

Free cooking classes from Dutch chef Mart Scherp of JRT Netherlands.  This was a fancy version of a poke bowl. It tasted as good as it looked (but Aussie mangoes are better!)

The final product

Choosing what to order at the included Italian diner

Planning to try the all the cocktails, starting with Zanzibar Kiss

The largest affogato ever

The recreation area by the beach

Thursday, 10 January 2019

From The Mountain To The Ocean

Time to say goodbye! Today we began our experiment for a non-cruise way to prevent the end of holiday blues. If an all-inclusive resort stay overlooking the Indian Ocean in Zanzibar doesn’t do it then nothing will. The day started well with breakfast, a cute packed lunch and lots of hugs at the airport as the Chins headed towards Cape Town. The journey had the potential for hiccups with a drive of two hours, two light aircraft flights and another drive, but fortunately all the connections were smooth and the flights were mostly on time. After the third leg it was a huge bonus to see someone holding up a priority pass sign at arrivals in Zanzibar as we walked off the tarmac. There was no food, papers or showers, but it was the best lounge we’ve ever been to because it had it’s own immigration service! Instead of lining up in the heat with everyone else we were able to sit on a couch in an airconditioned room with cold drinks, fill out our forms, have our passports checked and get everything done without getting off the couch. We were then let into the baggage claim area through a door that was on the other side of all the lines.

One last look at the crater

Our packed lunches. Nothing like child labour...

Sandwich and frittata

Goodbye Chins! Thank you for being such fun and fantastic travel buddies

The first flight

Yes the plane is that small that you can see the pilot and co-pilot do everything

The second flight. I believe that is...Ocean!

Our one-hour drive through Zanzibar to our resort Diamonds La Gemma dell'Est in Nungwi was uneventful. The weather is completely different to the cool altitude climate of Ngorongoro Crater. Here it is hot, humid and the umbrella trees and grass lands have been replaced by palm trees, sugar cane and huge durian trees. As we reached the north of the island the hundreds of incomplete houses were replaced by gates to luxury resorts. Tourism is a big industry here catering mostly to the European market on first impressions. At our resort, we noted that menus and the boutique were all priced in Euros.

By the time we checked in and settled into our rooms, it was already past 5pm. We managed to do a quick reconnaissance of the grounds and included perks of the resort. Thursdays was African dinner day! Rather than being at the usual restaurant, it was by the beach with Maasai entertainment. The buffet was surprisingly good. We were impressed with the variety offered and the quality of food. The chicken curry African style was delicious! As we had already seen the Maasai “performance” several times, we opted to head back to our rooms. To the shock of the staff, we were in and out withing 31 minutes flat. Sleep ins for the next 5 nights….bliss!

Our abode for the next 5 nights

Our "balcony"overlooking the Indian Ocean

The large pool

Snacks and ice-cream all included?! 

Milkshakes, mocktails and in-room mini bar too?!? Very happy children

The Ocean is wonderful but it was so hot and humid!

Sunset bar, lounge and restaurant

Time for an African dinner

This was the dessert bar!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Ngorongoro Crater

One of the advantages of staying in a camp within the conservation area itself was time. Because we did not have to drive to the gate and line up to register for entry, we could sleep in a little later. We were also only 15 minutes to the floor itself while it was a slightly longer drive from the gate to the floor.

Our guide, Ready Freddy, was brilliant. He was full of life and information, a vast improvement on our previous guide! The crater, as reported by every other tourist we’ve met, was teeming with wildlife. Animal spotting was easy! We saw a minimum of 25 lions…

It was hard to believe that this was going to be our very last safari game drive, so we did our best to just take it all in, remembering the smell, the feel and what we can see. We were surprised with a bush lunch in a private picnic spot! So privileged to get a hot lunch compared to the other jeeps with cold packed lunches in the public picnic areas… Yeah!

Clean, dust free jeep!

with device charging capabilities!!

A lush paradise for animals

Hello baby zebra!

What you looking at?!! The grey crowned crane, national bird of Uganda

Playful zebra teenagers

A very special lunch!

Freshly made hot food

While the rest had their packed picnics next to their jeeps in the common picnic area

This must be where the game "sleeping lions" came from...

The jackal that just refused to turn around!
On return to camp, we were surprised with another Maasai jumping and singing performance by the fire! Dinner was lovely as ever, chatting with 2 young American couples and an older Japanese couple who had just arrived. Dinner conversation ranged from our travels, to home and of course Donald Trump! As most of us were moving on the next day, we all headed back to pack. It was a nice day to finish off our safari time in Africa.

Our Maasai camp fire

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Moving To Paradise

Another plane trip, another change of scenery! It was off to the unique ecosystem of Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera. A caldera is crater that has progressed to be able to support life. So technically it should be Ngorongoro Caldera. But it was hard enough to find out how to pronounce the darn word properly let alone going into geological specifics! It is believed that if the crater had not collapsed due to volcanic activity eons ago that it would be bigger than Mount Kilimanjaro. The plane trip was short, and we flew right over the crater getting literally a bird’s eye view!

Packed lunch for our travels

The rim and the floor of the crater

We landed at Manyara airstrip where we were picked up by the Lemala Ngorongoro Crater Camp staff. The drive to the camp would take over 2 hours and so we made a brief stop to purchase some Tanzanite, found originally at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. Malcolm put his excellent bargaining skills to use and we got a couple of beautiful pieces. We enjoyed the lush green mountainous scenery driving up to the crater rim, as well as enjoying the significantly cooler weather due to the altitude. We were told that the crater would be flat and warmer but that will have to be verified tomorrow as all we could see today was seemingly just mountain and mist at the crater rim.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing with some much needed down time. The showers here work in a similar way to the previous camp where the water was physically heated with coal and placed into the buckets manually when we wanted a shower and the showers had to be booked 5-10 minutes in advance! Dinner was also communal as like the previous camp with tasty home style cooking food. The staff were as friendly as ever, helping Jonah’s advancement as a Maasai warrior this time improving his spear throwing skills.

Walking to our tent

Our home for the next 2 nights

Comfort inside!

Desk and chair to the left

Secret entrance to the bathroom on the right

Our toilet and "talking" shower, so called because you had to tell them when you want to start and finish so they can physically fill the hot water in for you

Playing doppelkopf during downtime