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  • Day33

    Zanzibar to Bush Camp

    December 27, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

    I got up at 4.30am for breakfast before a 6am trudge on my urchin stinging foot from the hotel to the ferry port. We passed through immigration without much difficulty and boarded the ferry. I sat out on the front deck and leaned against the rail as the ferry prow rose up and down into the dark blue waves that looked like momentary mountain ranges reflecting in the bright morning sunlight. I love being out on the open sea, out of sight of any land and, as I watched the increasing swell go under the boat, I fell into a reverie of my recent travelling experiences. I thought about the extreme cruelty and abuse that so many beings are subjected to in nature. I reflected on the appalling experiences of the human slaves in Zanzibar, the daily cruelty that billions of animals are still subjected to by humans, and the pain meted out to thousands of prey animals out on the Serengeti plains by predators. This then is contrasted with the joys and intimacies of life such as Africans with their children or mother elephants with their young. Looking into the wine dark sea, seemingly as all encompassing as the universe through which the Earth sails, it seemed that life and creation had an unavoidable impulse to explore all possibilities of existence, both dark and light, pain and pleasure, in order to find it's right balance like the ecological balance of the African plains or the rolling balance of the boat on the deep waters that, seemingly benign and gentle, but could claim all our lives quickly should the boat's balance fail.
    After about an hour of sailing, with the swell gaining in strength, and the prow rolling and rising beneath my feet, we sighted land again with huge container ships anchored off the coast and the hazy high rise towers of Dar es Salaam rising on the coast. The ferry edged into its docking position, we collected our bags and had a relatively easy passage back onto shore and found Often and his yellow truck waiting for us nearby. This yellow truck has become our home and we felt that same homely security and affection for it after our four days away from it in Zanzobar.
    We stopped in a nearby shopping centre for some lunch and to get provisions for our cooking groups (including my cooking group) who would be preparing all the meals over our wild camps in the bush over the next couple of days. We then set off for the long drive to our first wild bush camp.
    We travelled through very hot pastoral countryside where the temperature reached 34 degrees and even the wind seemed to burn. We stopped for refreshments and for one of our fellow travellers, Steph, to rescue two chameleons from the road who then bit her for her troubles. Later in the day, we drove into a big rain storm that created stunning cloud scapes around a nearby mountain range with incredible contrasts in lights and shades as dark tree silhouettes on the mountain ridges were set against a white background. The storm passed with a rainbow and continuing stunning views of the mountain range. We finally turned off the road at about 6pm and drove down a red soil road to our bush camp. The ants were out in force as we set up our tents. When we started to prepare and cook our food we were swarmed by insects of all kinds, including flying ants. They flew all over us, down the back of my shirt, into my eyes and mouth. If you turned on a head torch to see what you were doing, they swarmed even more. We managed to cook burgers, fried potatoes, coleslaw and guacamole for our fellow travellers, but it was a deeply unpleasant experience and we were eating a lot of insects landing in our meal. I saw fireflies for the first time floating through the air like fairies and giving off occasional bright flashes which seem almost miraculous in nature. We all retired to our tents early after dinner to get respite from the swarming insects. It was another extremely warm night and I took a long time to go off to sleep under a hazy, starry sky amidst the cacophony of insect calls.
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