Daladala to Jozani forest
nice us back
beer and waiting
shoarma for dinner
ripped of by “friend”
We are taking a daladala to Jozani forest today. The only land park on the island. Jozani-Chwaka forest was protected in 1995 and is mostly known for it’s population of Red Colobus monkeys.
Negotiations for the daladala price. Mzungu (white mans) prices are much higher then local price, but they are trying for even more.. We settle on a reasonable price and wait to get going. It was supposed to be the express, but we stop right outside of Stonetown at another bus stop for about 30 minutes. More people are needed on the bus. We have 4 empty seats, so will not leave till we find 9 people with their luggage and shopping to come with us.
The bus driver and ticket salesman get out and harass people to convince them to take our bus. We watch the entertainment from inside. Our guys are having fun with the drivers from other daladalas and they try to steal each others customers. A few guys are pretty rowdy, and obviously drunk. Tanzania has a liberal drinking culture, but we are on a Muslim island, and it is not even 11.00..
Eventually we are all squeezed in like sardines, and we can leave, Unfortunately we seem to be switching drivers, and now have a drunk chauffeur, barely old enough to have a license. The other passengers don’t seem worried though and he turns out to be a surprisingly good drunk driver.
Dropped at the gate for Jazani forest. It is only about 40km from stone town, and along the way was not much to see. Small villages and lots of greenery. A few chickens and Brahmin cows. We had never seen these cows used to pull carts before!
Outside the gate lives a resident group of Colobus. These are supposed to be the easiest to find. They are. Just after coming off the bus, we see the trees move and the monkeys jump from branch to branch. This is all on the other side of the road to the park, so we wander over. Unfortunately we are not allowed to see these monkeys that live outside of the park and we can walk to on a public road, without first buying a park ticket, as we are quickly informed by the “ranger”. Typical Tanzanian, it’s all about the money..
So we have to leave the monkeys, walk into the park to find the ticket office, get overcharged because of our skin colour (12.000 shillings or 1.000 if your black) and then walk all the way back out again to finally see the monkeys. We declined on having the “free” guide (They expect a 10.000 shilling tip at the end and there wasn’t even one available then) and go on our own. We got all the warnings about the distance to keep, “do not look them in the eyes, they will bite” and all that. A bit unsettling, but this group is obviously used to people and take no notice of us.
Red Colobus monkeys turn out to be mostly black. A bit of white at the chest and eyebrows and red at the back, but only for the grownups. They are cute things, with long limbs and very active. As they have been isolated from the mainland Colobus monkeys, they have evolved differently and now have different feeding patterns and mating calls. They also do not have thumbs, but I don’t know if the mainland ones do..
After the monkeys we walk back into the park. As we don’t have a guide, we have had a look at the map. Pretty simple, there is one loop walk. Very different from our 6 year old guidebook, that mentions different walks, a boardwalk and even full day hikes.
We start off. The forest is tropical, with lots of ferns, but no creepers. Further along there are eucalyptus trees and mangrove. The scenery keeps changing which is nice. We spot some big snails again, a land crab, mushrooms, bugs and more monkeys. These are not so used to people, and do not hang around for photo’s.
The “path” is a bit confusing though. There are lots of other tracks going of, and nothing is signposted. We think we are partially following the boardwalk, although the boards have disintegrated. Another country that does not do maintenance. We are not to worried though, as this part of the park is not big. We enjoy being able to just walk for a few hours, without hassle, without having to worry about being robbed.. bliss.
Eventually we need to leave, as we are supposed to meet George for a beer back in town. We stick our hand up when we see a daladala come our way, but on arrival it looks more like a tour bus. They are willing to take us though, and doesn’t stop as much as the normal daladala. Perfect. It’s clean and not crowded and gets us to Stone town in no time!
We walk over to the Livingstone to wait for George. We doubt the locals drinks here, as it is a very upmarket expensive place, but with a great view over the ocean. We enjoy a beer, watching sunset, but George never shows.
Over to the Night market for food again, this time we try the shaorma. Nice and spicy, but tiny. While debating whether or not to have anything else, we get the standard hassle. “What are you doing tomorrow? Why not take the shuttle bus/ snorkeling boat/ spice tour /etc.” In a lot of ways, Stonetown is quite pleasant, and the tourist shops don’t hassle much at all. Unfortunately the tour guys make up for it and then some! Non stop while we just want to quietly eat something, and most of them are drunk, and not much fun. After this we get the standard “Hey Rastaman! Want to buy some wiet/chocolate/hash?” Again we go through the “No thank you, don’t need any. No really, thank you but no” routine. Not sure what was wrong with the guy, but as it finally sinks in that we are not going to buy anything, he starts swearing at us. What the…? You can’t go swearing at us, only because we politely decline buying something illegal.(?)
Time for us to leave then. As we are heading back up to the hotel, George shows up behind us. He is in a foul mood and starts going of that we are bad people.. He thinks we stood him up. Explaining that we were where he told us to be, and that he was the one that did not show up, he came to the conclusion that is was our fault none the less, as we did not check inside all the beach huts (bandas) to look for him. That is where he was waiting for us.(?) It becomes clear very soon, that he is not upset that we did not meet up, just that he missed out on a free beer, and he now wants the money so he can get that beer.
So we are back at the same place : We still have not been able to talk to a Tanzanian, without them trying to sell us something, or demanding handouts..