And, as for the food – despite being in a majority Muslim country just as the holy month of Ramadan began (ooops!) I’ve never eaten so much yummy stuff day after day. On the Tazara railway that runs from Zambia up to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania we were given a whole flask of spicy chai for breakfast and every other morning we managed to find fresh exotic fruit on our brekkie plates. Fresh seafood was everywhere in Dar and Zanzibar. Despite calling my self a vegetarian I can gladly devour a plate of fresh prawns or crab. The spices on Zanzibar made all the food taste and smell delicious. We even found mangoes – the one bad thing about leaving Zambia a couple of weeks early was going to be missing the mango season.
Anyway I won’t bore you all too much with the detail but here are a few pictures of the trip.
From the Tazara Train
The Taanzania-Zambia Railway runs from Kapiri Mposhi, just north of Lusaka in Zambia to Dar Es Salaam. At best it takes about 42 hours and with beds to sleep on and a restaurant that serves delicious Chai in the morning and the friendliest on-board immigration officials I’ve ever come across its definitely better than the bus. We met lots of Zambians travelling to Dar to buy second hand gear to sell back in Zambia. Unfortunately our train stopped about 20 hours short of its destination in a really bleak town in southern Tanzania. We were lucky and hoped straight on a bus to the nearest big town.
Iringa turned out to be a little gem of a place plonked at the top of a really steep hill – with a bustling market full of colourful veg and spices, a really friendly hotel manager who helped us change our dollars on a Sunday and a yummy Indian restaurant round the corner.
Dar es Salaam
After living in Zambia – the most conservative of African countries with the sleepiest Capital City Dar es Salaam – Tanzania’s capital seemed to be a cosmopolitan city crammed full of busy, determined people. The fish market was excellent.
Zanzibar really does live up to its reputation. Walking through the cramped alleys of Stone Town you feel like you’ve stepped back a couple of centuries and crossed into another continent. The beaches are magnificent (although I think prefer Lake Malawi with no salt and no tide). And I’ll give the food another mention - Just along from the port at sunset the local fisherman dock and lay out their days catch – crab, shark, prawns, red snapper, octopus…for about a pound you can take your pick for dinner and wash it down with freshly squeezed sugar cane juice.
Instead of getting the Tazara back to Zambia we thought we’d be adventurous and take our luck with public transport through Malawi. About twenty different minibuses, two bicycle taxis, three taxis, two hitched lifts and a coach ride later we finally made it back to Chipata.