Entering Zanzibar Port
We had our first experience with wild animals when we went on a game drive in Kenya. On this cruise ship excursion, we would only get a chance to see a small part of Tanzania. We went looking for more wildlife experiences touring Zanzibar in the rain.
Coming into the port, we could see the small fishing boats in the harbour. Often we would get see the vast contrast between poor locals and the parts of Zanzibar doing much better. We would see this again when we headed out by bus touring Zanzibar in the rain.
As we had found in many of the ports on this cruise, we were docked in a working dock area. Local vendors parked at the bottom of the ship’s ramp. Often we got a display of local entertainment.
Travelling Through the Countryside
Our tour bus headed out of town. We skirted the old part of town. We got only a glimpse of the local market when the driver stopped on the side of the road for a picture moment. What little we saw of old town did not appear appealing but we apparently missed a good city tour.
Our bus travelled through the countryside touring Zanzibar in the rain. We could see a bit of the local life as we passed. We saw new developments and amusement parks. New schools showed the commitment to increasing the education level of the locals. But beside this new development we saw signs of local life that showed that many people were still struggling.
Touring Zanzibar In The Rain
We ran into rain before we hit the Jozani Forest. Our guide promptly used this as a way to reset our expectations about what we would see touring Zanzibar in the rain. The tour description suggested we might see bushbabies, aders duikers, hyraxes, bush pigs, and small bucks. We didn’t.
Our guide even warned us that we might not even see the red colobus monkeys that this park was known for. Apparently they didn’t like the rain. The 50 species of butterflies and 40 species of birds that can also be found in this small area didn’t come out to play in the rain either.
It rained pretty much the full time we were at the park. On our return trip it was a torrential downpour. The road quickly flooded and became rivers. It slowed our return as people drove both ways on one side of the road when the other side was impassable. This is what you will find touring Zanzibar in the rain!
Walking in the Jozani Forest
We arrived at the park in the light rain. There were groups of people crowded by the main gate taking pictures of monkeys on top of the sign. Our guide jokingly said our view from the bus window might be the only glimpse we would see of the monkeys. As the rain picked up in intensity, we began to believe that touring Zanzibar in the rain would ruin any chance of seeing the monkeys we had come to see.
We departed our bus and huddled in the small shelter away from the rain. The tour groups that had arrived early were given umbrellas and off they headed. We were the last group and it took forever to get some ragged umbrellas from the bottom of the barrel. By then the paths were slick from the rain. Some people decided not to risk the walk through the forest.
We walked over slippery paths, stepping over coral and tree trunks along the path. Our guide was determined to give us a nature walk.
Our guide talked about many of the local trees ands shrubs. The forest was a very green tropical forest. We could only take in the views when fully stopped. The rest of the time we were carefully watching our footfalls as we walked.
Monkeys Don’t Like Rain
Luckily we took the shorter path through the forest. At the shelter, we took the bus back to the main road in hopes of seeing some of the braver monkeys. If you looked really closely you could see one or two of the red colobus monkeys. High up in the branches there were small, fast Skyes monkeys (up near the sky) hiding behind the leaves.
When we were finally ready to leave, the rain let up a bit. People scrambled out of the bus to see if the monkeys would come out. One or two of the larger monkeys were entertaining the crowd as the grazing cow watched on.
People crowded around to get pictures of the monkeys. At one point I wondered who was watching who?
Some of the guests did not really appreciate these were wild animals. One woman on our bus went close to touch the smooth fur. Another family was trying to pet the monkeys for a group picture. They all scrambled away when the guides caught them.
Pathway Through the Mangrove Trees
The park continued on the other side of the road. There was a long boardwalk through the mangrove trees. It was low tide and you could see the extensive roots. At one point, the mangrove trees had been severely depleted. You could see the conservation activities and the new growth that was starting. It would just take a long time to recover.
If you looked really close you could see the small red crabs crawling out of the holes everywhere.
The sign at the entrance said this part of the park had turtles, snakes and other reptiles. Of course, we saw none of this on our tour of the park. This would not be one of the cruise ship excursions we would recommend to anyone!
Sailing Out of Zanzibar
We returned to the ship in a downpour. It was time to leave Zanzibar after touring Zanzibar in the rain. We again saw the contrast of this town. The fast speed ferry was new and sleek. The ferry that the locals used for work was crowded and needing repair.
When the cruise ship sailed out as the sun was setting, we could see a very large old town. We would certainly head into town on a return visit.
Visit Tanzania But …
Touring Zanzibar in the rain would not give us a great first glimpse of Tanzania. We did not get a great tour of the Jozani Forest. A forest walk is never a lot of fun in the pouring rain. The description for this tour either greatly exaggerated what we might see or the rain just gave our guide an easy way out.
The old town in Tanzania looked like somewhere we would visit on a return trip. The rain did not dampen those who did the city tour to quite the same extent. We were headed next to Nosy Be in Madagascar. Much like Tanzania, we would only get a small taste of this country as we headed out for a tour of the Nosy Be countryside.
What would you do in Tanzania if you were not touring Zanzibar in the rain? If you have visited Jozani Forest, was our tour typical?