Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 148 - Zanzibar to Da es Salaam, Tanzania

My guide was suppose to collect me at the Jambo Guest House at 7am for a city tour of Stone Town.  8am rolled around and still no guide.  Oddly enough, the guy I met yesterday at the port taxi stand shows up.  A friend of the clerk here.  He offers to take me on an abbreviated tour as my boat leaves at 9:30.  Ok.  First stop was the old slave market.  Couldn’t help feeling awkward knowing that at some point in history, slaves were led, chained together, through the streets to the market.  I remembered RobC saying at one point during our trip, the very place you are at is so beautiful today, yet at one time , long ago, it was , the exact same place where people lost their lives, their freedom, once an ugly place.  Wow.  Not sure how to describe my feelings ...  disturbed, sad.

The old slave market

This chamber housed the women and children, 75 at one time.

 This was the men's chamber, 50 at one time.  The bathroom was the walkway in the center of the photo.

 Memorial to the slaves.  The chains around their necks are the actual ones used 150 years ago.

The Sultan at the time brought slaves (bought or captured) in from Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and a few other countries to Bagamoyo (means lay down your heart) just north of Dar es Salaam where they were put on dhows for transport to Zanzibar, the main east African slave market.  There, they would be sold on the slave market to Europeans and Arabs.  The Sultan, I was told, would whip the slaves, if they cried, which was a sign of weakness, he’d kill them, if not, he could fetch a good price for them.  I was shown the living quarters, one of 15  underground “chambers” where they were chained and kept for days in darkness with no food or washrooms.  If they survived the suffocating environment they were deemed strong and again, fetch a good price.  A church now stands on the market site.  In 1873, a treaty was signed between Britain and Zanzibar to abolish the slave trade in Zanzibar.  Dr Livingston also had a place here and was part of the movement to abolish the slave trade.  The tour continued through the bustling fish market and auction, the Sultans Palace, Hindu Temple and some alleys I had not passed through yesterday.

 Porch of the Sultan's palace.

The fish market and auction

Inside the fish market

The oldest door in Stone Town at over 200 years

I bought a loaf of bread wrapped in newsprint from her and then she charged me a dollare for the photo.

I was met by my tour organizer when I arrived back in Dar es Salaam.  I explained what had happened and he promised to refund the city tour cost sometime today.  Found out my guide had run out of petrol en route to pick me up, said there was no fuel on the island.  Not sure how true that was.  

 Dar es Salaam harbour.

Back at the hotel I decided to take it easy, reorganize the panniers on the bike, service the chain (maybe for the last time as I have only 1000km left in my journey ... wow, it’s almost over) and get some sleep.


  1. When hope is doomed there are feelings for which there are no words to express them, only a lump in the throat. I loved the grateful smile from the lady you paid the dollar to. She felt so special and smiled at the camera the best she could!

  2. "I use to feel sorry for myself because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet". Your seeing some VERY powerful things Bud, and the photos are great! Say one for all Robbie.