to zanzibar

Back in Russia we decided to visit the island. It's 400 km from Kilimanjaro to Zanzibar and an hour flight. But it wasn't that simple.

February 15, 2017
Zanzibar used to be a slave trafficking center. A pirate hub. Now it' s a place with cleanest beaches and purest water.

Back in Russia we decided to visit the island. It's 400 km from Kilimanjaro to Zanzibar and an hour flight.

At the Kilimanjaro airport they refuse to register us for a flight. They're asking for the copy of a plastic card, with which the tickets had been purchased and a copy of the receipt. A strange situation.

Of course we don't have those, and for the first time I encounter something like this. The situation is worsened by the fact that we first transfer money to the intermediary, and they pay to the carrier, so we don't pay the carrier directly. So the payment details are different.

Later we found out that a QIWI card was used. Perhaps it was for the taxing reasons. But it was problematic for the clients. Kupibilet company simply refused to disclose this information to me.

An hour and a number of explanations later, they registered us. Another interesting thing – first the locals get seated and then the white people.

First we wanted to fly to Dar es Salaam, and then take a ferry to Zanzibar. But the plans change when we land in Zanzibar and realize it's the transit point to Dar es Salaam.

We try to get out of the plane, since we're already here. But they won't let us out. Perhaps if we didn't have any luggage, we would have just walked out. But we did, and it complicated things. So we fly on.

We meet two guys from Russia, who, just like us, want to get to Zanzibar. We soon realize that it's a 20 minute flight and a 3 hour ferry ride. So it's a plane after all.

We land in Dar es Salaam. Look for the local terminal. We get a taxi for 10 bucks and go. On the way we find out that it's 5 times higher than the real price. Whatever.

Some dude is trying to get in a car with us to get $1 tip. We manage to kick him out, but soon find him when arrive to the next terminal. Looks like this guy is the Flash himself :)

Local airports are really sad to look at. We buy tickets at what looks like a news stand. We manage to get $5 off the price. If you do it at the Aeroflot office, they would think you're an idiot :)

They fill in our boarding passes by hand, weighing our luggage in a pile all together approximately. They don't put any stickers, saying they're not necessary. Bizarre division of labor everywhere.

One takes the money, another gives change, the third one gives the tickets, the fourth one brings the papers for registration. And it's like this everywhere. Extremely annoying, but it's the only way for them to make some money.

We buy out 7 seats on a 10-seat plane and fly out to Zanzibar. The flight is only 20 mins, but so much red tape and problems.

Marsel wants to be a co-pilot, and the captain allows. Imagine this, a passenger wants to sit next to the pilot, and they let him. It's only possible in Africa :)

And so we're going back to Zanzibar. After landing we take pictures with the captain, he asks us questions about Russia. Everyone is ok with us hanging around in areas that should be restricted :)

At the exit we are met with a bunch of taxi drivers, who attack the tourists like moths to a flame. Everyone is after the tips. Extremely uncomfortable.

We pick one and hardly fit into the car, 7 people with luggage and equipment. He himself was surprised how we could all fit in :)

In half an hour we get to the north side of the island, to our hotel. There's a contrast between the luxury of the hotels and the nightmares of the local life, like there's been a war or something.

Time to rest, this quest is done…
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