I want to start by apologising for the lack of blogs Alan and I have been
writing recently. I wish I could say it’s because we've had no internet
access but that’s not true. The truth is we have been side tracked by
many things, mainly of the beverage type. After leaving Jinja we cycled
to Nairobi and
spent 4 days waiting for a parcel to arrive, during these 4 days we had a lot
of time to write a blog but we also had a bar in the backpacker’s hostel.
Finally our package arrived a we got back onto our bikes heading for Mombasa. The ride to
Mombasa was 6 days on lovely flat roads passing
through our first major national park, the TsavoNational Park.
We'd heard and read great things about the TsavoNational Park
and was bitterly disappointed to see nothing but Baboons, monkeys, Zebra's and
a train. Trains are very uncommon in Africa.
We actually spent our first night camping outside Nairobi next to the train track. We stupidly
assumed the track was not regularly used, like every over railway in Africa. Half way through the night we were abruptly
awoken by a bright light, rumbling of the earth and a loud continuous
noise. Neither of us could comprehend what was happening as we had just
woken. My initial instinct was an earthquake and Alan told me he thought
a helicopter was landing. It took a while to fully understand the
situation but as soon as we realised it was a train we laughed at our silliness.
During the rest of the night we were woken by 4 or 5 more trains, it’s not a
good idea to sleep meters away from a train track even if you think it’s not in
We made it to Mombasa
in the morning and had only heard bad things about the town so we decided to
continue our ride to Shimoni. A friend, Susie, whom we had met in Jinja,
is volunteering in Shimoni so we decided to spend some time with her. The
first night we reached Shimoni we went out for a meal and a few beers with her
and her volunteer friends. During the night the conversation inevitably
moved onto our plans of travel. We had planned to cycle to a town in Tanzania called Tanga and get a Dhow (local
boat) from there to Zanzibar
for $50. Chris the leader of the volunteers mentioned he had got a Dhow
from Shimoni to Zanibar for 1000 shillings ($13), this seemed unbelievable but
we thought we'd give it a go. The next day we had a fantastically lazy
day on the gorgeous white beaches of shimoni. We soon made it back to the
bar and met a fellow Brit who's been living in Shimoni on and off for several
years. We talked about our plans to get a Dhow to Zanzibar and he mentioned he could help us
but it would be slightly more expensive than 1000 shillings, we weren’t surprised.
It turned out boats rarely sailed all the way to Zanzibar
and we would have to get a boat to PembaIsland and from there we could get a
boat to Zanzibar.
It didn’t look promising for our 1000 shilling Dhow so we agreed to get a Dhow
to Pemba the next morning for 4000
shillings. The Dhow left at 8am and took 8hrs slowly sailing towards Pemba. The experience didn’t start off particularly
well for either Alan or I as we soon became sea sick but after a long nap in
the blistering sun we both recovered. But im currently paying for that
long nap as I stupidly didn’t seek shade and the top of my thigh is slightly
sun burnt, ouch. As we began to approach Pemba
the crew navigated the Dhow between many spectacular looking tiny islands, all
with crystal clear water, stunning white beaches and palm trees covered with
monkeys. We made it to Pemba, departed
our vessel and started cycling towards a town called Mkoani on the south of the
island. It was late in the day so we camped half way in what could be
described as a tropical paradise. Today we have made it to Chake Chake,
the capital of Pemba, and bought our tickets for the boat to Zanzibar tomorrow. Later we will finish
cycling to Mkoani and tomorrow we will finally make it to Zanzibar.
Sorry again for not blogging as regularly as im sure you would all like.
We will try to write more often in the future.