Seeing Tanzania on my roster was a moment of sheer happiness. I have always wanted to go to Africa. I just never thought I would for various reasons. I mean I have been to Africa- if you count a week long beach holiday in a Tunisian hotel resort and a turnaround to Cairo as “being in Africa”. Which I don’t. As far as I’m concerned I have never been to Africa before.
In the week coming up to my Dar Es Salaam flight I could hardly keep myself from talking about anything else. It felt like Christmas! No- it actually felt better than Christmas since there was no pre-Christmas shopping stress involved. By the time I was boarding the plane everybody who knew me for longer than 10 mins also already knew that this was my first ever time to go to Africa-Africa (as we called it) and that I was very excited. The crew found me very cute since I was once again the most junior member and most of them have flown to DAR or Africa-Africa before. They thought it was funny how I kept running up and down to the cockpit, checking up on our current location and taking pictures of the African coastline. The flight wasn’t a busy one, customers were lovely and chatty and everybody was having a great time on-board. I wish I could say every single flight goes like this.
As we sat down on our jumpseats for the approach I could no longer contain my excitement and kept looking outside of the observation window on my door. I even shrieked a little as we landed. The passenger sat facing me looked at me and said:
“Let me guess- first time to Africa?”
“Yes”- was my reply.
“Well- you better be careful” he said.
What could he possibly mean by that I wondered. It wasn’t until later I realised he was warning me not to fall in love with this place and wanting to stay. Because that’s exactly what has happened. Everything I saw in Tanzania was amazing. It is such a raw, friendly and absolutely gorgeous place. The people are chilled and never failed to welcome you with their musical “Mambo, Karibu!” and massive smiles on their faces. I was sold on Tanzania the moment I passed the immigration desk.
A group of us keen to see as much as we can fit into 24 hours booked a tour around the city for the next early morning (6a.m wake up is called a dedication!) and spent the rest of the evening chilling by the hotel pool, chatting to the friendly personnel and stuffing our faces (ok to be honest the stuffing was mostly done on my part but I couldn’t help it -the food was to die for!) at the dinner buffet. I went to sleep that night wishing it was morning already.
It came quicker than expected and before I knew it I was being squeezed into a mini-van and driven around the great Dar es Salaam. Thanks to our experienced tour guide we managed to see everything there was to be seen in our limited time- the churches, the botanical gardens with monkeys running freely around, the presidential house, the beaches, cliffs and shores, the local markets and the omni present crazy traffic.
I came back to Dubai refreshed as if coming back from holiday and not a 5-hour flight. And my list of favourite places on Earth has once again grown a little…
So long my dear readers -I’m off to Morocco in the early hours of tomorrow and should rest a little !