Travelling to Tanzania: Zanzibar |Arriving and Day 1

So the trip to Zanzibar started with a 4pm Ferry from Dar es Salaam. Myself and my new Norwegian friends Amy and Sigmund arrived at the Ferry terminal at about 14:30 and were promptly given many offers for assistance. I would not say that this is required but it did help that our bags were carried for us and the porters explained everything that was required. I would recommend finding out what they expect to be paid before letting them carry your luggage to avoid an argument after the fact. We travelled business class which I would recommend as it does make things simpler. The seating is free seating and therefore if you want a good seat you need to be quick on the draw when they start boarding. The ferry trip is 2 hours and was pretty smooth. During the trip we went and stood outside and saw a whale.

When we arrived we found the guys from Kibuki car rentals. I arranged my car before leaving for the trip and then arranged for Amy and Sigmund via WhatsApp while we were in Dar. The guys, who were called Ismail and Ismail, took us to our cars in a parking lot a short walk from the ferry terminal. The cars were old Rav4’s but in pretty good shape. They asked us to take any pictures of dents or scratches. Let us know the tank was empty and we could bring it back that way. They also organised our Zanzibar Drivers Permits. If you are going to Zanzibar I highly recommend them for an affordable car and great service.

I then drove to the Forodhani Gardens Market to meet my Couchsurfing Host, Kelvin. I drove the wrong way down the one way road but no one seemed to get too worried and luckily there were no cops. I found a parking and went to the night Market to get something to eat and to meet Kelvin. I had the famous Zanzibar Pizza with Vegetables. Kelvin took me to his place which was just behind the House of Wonder in Stone Town. I was on the third floor and had loads of space and a double bed which was much more than expected. We then went out for a drink to Taperia where there was live music and dancing. I got home just after 12 as I ate some Cashews on the Ferry that did not agree with me, so left the bar. #overshare

For my first full day in Stone Town I went out to get iced coffee and got convinced by Captain B to go to prison island to see the tortoises and to go snorkeling. This is something that I did after a bit of negotiating.

Prison island was awesome. The trip out there was on a motor boat and took about 30 minutes. On our boat we had about 10 people. There was a group from Bosnia and Serbia; a French couple; an Italian guy (Luca) and myself. We first went to the tortoises. This costs $5 or the equivalent in Shillings. Perhaps it was a little more ūü§¶ūüŹĽ‚Äć‚ôāÔłŹ. The tortoises were incredible with the oldest one being 194 years old. Luca and I got chatting on the boat and so we explored the island together plus we were the only who on the boat that were snorkelling. After an hour of exploring we found our Gladiator (this was the name on the boat roof) boat and went out to the reef to snorkel. The snorkelling was really great. The reef was close to the surface and therefore you could see most of the sea life without having to dive too deep. There were so many different types of coral and tropical fish I wish I just had gopro.

 

After the trip to prison island we returned to Stone Town and Luca and I had lunch and then we went for a walking tour of Stone Town. We started in the Forodhani Garden where our guide explained about Zanzibar’s history and the fact that the park was reclaimed and used to be the harbour. We then went on to the old Fort and to the slave Chambers and past the Market.

The Slave Chambers were quite chilling and I cannot understand how people allowed other people to be treated in the manner that they were.

I then went home to freshen up and I went to have dinner at Radha Food House, a vegetarian Indian restaurant, and had amazing cauliflower tikka masala. I bumped into Luca on the way to Forodhani Night Market where I went to have a sweet Zanzibar Pizza with Nutella and peanut butter. Not sure why I never took any pictures at the food market but there are enough online for you to see what it looks like :-).

I then went home and off to sleep in order to have a great day of exploring the next day

Striated Skies No. 51 – Namesake

51. Namesake

The St James Catholic Church building in this weeks Striated sky was opened in 1901. The church building was designed by George Ransom and built by Father John Duignam and his Filipino parishioners. The Parish of St James started in 1859 to serve the Filipino community of Kalk Bay. Given the spanish legacy of the community the name St James was chosen in honour of the apostle and fisherman, Patron saint of Spain.

The original building stood where the current station stands. When the train made its was to Kalk Bay in 1883 the church became a stopping point for the train known as St James Church Halt. By 1893 a platform was built known as St James’s. The suburb (which was part of Kalk Bay) took on the name St James. The builsing at the station¬†building grew too small and thus was sold to¬†Cape Government Railways for ¬£2000 in 1900. It was with these proceeds that¬†Fr Duignam was able to build the current building.

In 1924, the Golden Jubilee of Fr. Duignam, the stained-glass window behind the high altar was unveiled to celebrate his service to the parish.  In 1947, under the direction of Father Harold Doran, substantial alterations, including moving the entrance to the current configuration the main road, were completed. Below is a picture of the building before alterations were made.

St James has been a popular beach for many years and still retains its numerous colourful victorian bathing boxes. The suburb is a very trendy place to live and is well worth a visit together with its neighbours on the false bay coast. For more history check out¬†KALK BAY, ST. JAMES ‚Äď A brief history illustrated with postcards of a bygone era¬†by Michael Walker.

Random Piece of information 

George Ransom¬†also designed the Markham Building, which when completed in 1897 was the tallest building in Johannesburg (Cnr of Eloff and Pritchard). The¬†large clock imported from Scotland has¬†four faces North, South, East and West. ¬†The building was known as Markham’s Folly as it stood out in the centre of Johannesburg with the clock visible for miles. The building housed the second store of¬†Henry William Markham who arrived in Cape Town from England in 1873, setting up a successful outfitter’s business. Markhams was bought by the Foshini Group in 1968. In 1979 the building was saved from demolition.¬†

More Information on St James

Cape Town Tourism

Cape Point Route

TripAdvisor 

Striated Skies No. 49 – Where is Jan Dissels?

49. Where is Jan Dissels?Clanwilliam is a town, nestled at the foot of the Cederberg mountains, 230km north of Cape Town. The first residents arrived in approximately 1662 although the permanent settlement, Jan Disselsvalleij, was only established in 1725. Sir John Cradock renamed the town after his father-in-law, the Earl of Clanwilliam in 1814.

Clanwilliam is a picturesque town of white Cape Dutch homesteads. It is centrally situated with a variety of attractions around it to satisfy nature-lovers, adventurers, flower-viewers and watersports enthusiasts alike.  The town is the centre of the Rooibos tea industry, in the Cederberg, with factory visits and rooibos products on offer. The Clanwilliam Dam is renowned as the best in the Western Cape for water skiing and is also popular with anglers. 

At present a R2bn project is underway to increase the Full Supply Level (FSL) of the dam by raising the dam wall by 13 m, providing an additional 70 million cubic metres of water a year to downstream farmers. The dam was originally built in 1935 with the wall being raised in 1964. The project is aimed for completion in 2020. As part of the project the realigning of a portion of the N7 road is taking place as the current road will be flooded once the dams capacity is increased. Find out more information here and here.

The Dutch Reformed Church is one of the beautiful buildings that grace the streets of Clanwilliam. Others include the Jan Dissels original home, the St John’s Church, the old gaol, the magistrates court and many more. The Dutch Reformed Church depicted above was designed by Carl Otto Hager and was built in 1864, in the same gothic style as used in his¬†Piketberg Church. The St John’s Anglican Church, shown below, was designed by Sophie Gray and was built in 1866. Sophie Gray was the wife of Bishop Robert Gray. When they arrived in the Cape in 1847 there were 10 Anglican churches and upon the Bishops death, 25 years later, there were 63. Sophie Gray designed 40 of the churches [this could be a future striated skies project ūüėČ ]

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I need to go back to the Cederberg to stay and explore more. I would suggest that you do the same. Check out the links below for more information.

 

 

 

Striated Skies No. 45 – St James the Great

45. St James the Great

This weeks Striated sky depicts the St James the Great,  Anglican Church. The church is situated on St James Road in Sea Point right next to the High School. As I am sure you know, I usually take time to research online about my picture. I tried with this picture and found out that you cannot find everything on the internet. The church has a Facebook page but nothing about their history.

So the story will have to be about how we ended up in Sea Point and taking this awesome photograph…

Do you enjoy walking and discovering new places? Do you wish you knew more about the places that you visit? If these questions are yes then go to the app/play store on your phone and download VoiceMap. We joined a Meetup to walk the Sea Point Promenade, the walk was fantastic and we went for a drink afterward before walking to our car to go home. On the walk back to the car we stumbled on St James the Great.

Voicemap was Co-Founded by Lauren Edwards and Ian Manley, two internationally travelled Cape Townians, this app allows you to go on guided tours without having to be in a big group. The app uses the GPS on your phone to tell you the story as you go. As of today there are 122 tours, spread across 21 countries, with new tours added weekly. (see the list below).

When you go to the website you will see that you can become a tour guide by creating your own tour. All the stories are by locals and narrated by them, ensuring that you get a personal tour. What a great idea and it is simple and easy to use.

Download Voicemap and use it to discover our beautiful Country and many others abroad. Summer is on its way and the days are starting to stretch out, so make the most them now before the Christmas influx.


List of destinations you can go on a tour with VoiceMap.

 

Striated skies No. 42 – The bulb sentinel

42. The bulb sentinel

The Nieuwoudtville Dutch Reformed Church towers over the very small town of Nieuwoudtville. The Church a Gothic Cross style Church was designed by John Gaisford. The cornerstone was laid in 1906. The church seats 500 with oak pews. The town of Nieuwoudtville has between 1000 and 2000 people. The church is built of Tafelberg sandstone and stands out above the dusty town.

The day we visited the area in front of the church was carpeted with purple flowers. The church was open and we went inside. There was a strange history posted on the notice board which you can read below. We climbed up into the church steeple to see the bell. Click here to see more pictures inside the church.FullSizeRender (30) IMG_4205 IMG_4206