Ramblers Walking Holidays

Under African Skies: Part Two - Prue Ramsden

Blog post   •   Aug 02, 2012 15:53 BST

From the Serengeti to Zanzibar 5-24 June, 2012

Another day saw a full day’s walk with a guide and a ranger with a gun – we were still in wild animal country and had to be careful. Elephants crossed the road in front of us but we could not approach as they are very dangerous.

Eventually we arrived at an old German fort, now disused and falling into decay. From here we descended a field of long grass finding our own path as we went, then onto the road again, into more long grass to find ourselves almost back where we started, at a visitors centre on the main highway.

The Ngorongoro crater was on the agenda for the next day as we headed back to Karatu for two nights. On our way to the crater we saw a pride of lions, six in all, who had spotted prey in the distance, three wildebeest separated from the herd.

Don’t mess with me!

We watched as each lioness took up position to surround the animals; each one knew exactly what to do as if by telepathy. On this occasion the beasts got away but to see the hunting skills was amazing.

Our journey continued and once in the crater, where the temperature was just above freezing, we saw everything including black and white rhino, lions, zebra, and elephants.

Another walk went from Karatu to the elephant caves. This is a place where, for as long as anyone can remember, elephants stop on their migration route. The caves are rich in calcium and other minerals which elephants require in order to keep them healthy.

The caves, in reality, were huge holes in the rocks where we could see tusk marks where the animals have scraped away the rock to release the nutrients.

After lunch in a local bar, we walked to a Masai house where we had an explanation about the design and uses of old style Masai houses. We had a lesson in making local beer and were shown beautiful bridal skirts, richly embroidered by the ladies of the village, with iconic symbols.

After flying to Zanzibar, we were taken on a guided tour of the town. We went into the dungeon-like building where slaves were held until they were sold, and saw the place where they were tied up for prospective buyers to view, now part of the church built on that spot.

Ahh! A relaxing beach in Zanzibar

We saw wonderfully carved ancient doors for which Zanzibar is famous, and went through the enclosed meat and fish market, through narrow twisty streets and into the museum.

After a fascinating morning tour of a spice plantation the next day, where we saw nutmegs, turmeric, an iodine tree, ginger root, allspice, vanilla and many other medicinal and cooking spices, plus fruits of all kinds, we had lunch, sat on the floor in an open walled hut.

In the afternoon we arrived at our beach hotel, Kichanga Lodge.

Relaxing, swimming, sunbathing, everything you need for a couple of days rest. For the energetic there were walks along the beach or walks to local villages, all within easy reach. This really was paradise.

As with all good things, the holiday had to end sometime and we headed for the airport and cool, wet London.

Our camp at Ikoma