First week in Tanzania

First week of Tanzania went by somehow fast, but considering the amount of things we’ve done, quite slow.

First superficial impressions:
– most people live out of tourism or selling products; since everyone is selling more or less the same products and there’re loads of people doing this, it makes most of them very pushy. Sometimes people would follow you for 10 minutes or more trying to sell you something.
– in most places we’ve passed so far, white people are perceived as money bags – small kids who can’t really speak English, would scream after you “give me money, give me money”, many people would rise the price of their products (especially for bus tickets is a pain to know the real price, they would sometimes try to get double from us); it makes me wonder how many people would actually pay $40 to rent a bike for one day…even the $9 I’ve paid would probably be enough to buy the bike all together in a flee market in Berlin
– most locals don’t go to safaris/national parks unless they’re guides; although the entrance fee is much lower for them than for foreigners ($8 compared to $50), they think it’s expensive. I agree.
– Hakuna matata (Swahili for “no worries”) is the favourite phrase, at least when talking to foreigners
– locals really like to teach Swahili to foreigners, they don’t really like using English, although most of them can speak it very well
– lights at night for bikes and sometimes even motorbikes are overrated; so are breaks for bikes in the villages – one can always break touching the right shoe on the front wheel
– the main roads are relatively good, but the moment you get off the main road, chances are high that you’ll end up on a dirt road with so much dust on it, that it will reach your ankles
– the guys are everyone’s brother from a different mother and I’m their sister
– Tanzania is not really a cheap country, especially when everyone is expecting some kind of tip from you (it can happen even when using couchsurfing) and when people increase the price automatically when they see white skin.

So far we’ve passed Zanzibar (one of Tanzania’s islands), Dar es Salaam (former capital, the biggest city), Moshi (the place where foreigners start their hike on Kilimanjaro from), Arusha (the place where foreigners start their safari experience from: Serengeti, if not the biggest, at least one of the biggest safaris in Africa and Ngorongoro Conservation Area are very close).

We couchsurfered in Zanzibar for three nights, apart from that, we used low cost accommodation, either hostels or guest houses, most times with no internet. We took a $35 ferry from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam, apart from that, we’ve only used buses. 10 hours bus drive from Dar es Salaam to Moshi, Tsh 30,000 (about $15) was the longest trip so far.

I’ve decided against spending $700 dollars for a potential selfie with my head in the lion’s mouth (so no safari for me), also $1500 for climbing Kilimanjaro is way over my budget. Instead, I rented a bike for a day and explored the villages around Arusha. Some kids were running after my bike, jumping on the back, holding it with a string.

The two guys I’m travelling with (Luci and Adi) are currently in Serengeti, they just started their four days safari experience today. One day driving, two days in Serengeti, one day in Ngorongoro. I’m in the bus, heading to Katesh, a small place that should have a big Masaai market today and tomorrow and the option to climb a 3400m high mountain.

I’ll meet again with the guys in four/five days, not sure yet where. I stressed them out yesterday because I arrived one hour and a half after it got dark from my bike trip – I wanted to return on a different road and ended up on a very dusty path. They spent the day in Arusha, trying to find a good deal for Serengeti and Ngorongoro. When I’ve arrived, they said they were going to wait one more hour and then start searching. No sure where, no sure what. It’s been fun so far travelling with them. But even so, I do enjoy being by myself these few days. 🙂

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