Africa’s east coast with Silversea

By Joyce Bruck
This item appears on page 25 of the November 2016 issue.
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Local returning from the fields — Madagascar. Photo by Joyce Bruck

Following a 9-day private tour in South Africa (Oct. ’16, pg. 26), I took a Mango Airlines flight from Durban to Cape Town to begin the second part of my Southern Africa journey: a 14-night cruise to Mombasa, departing Dec. 6, 2015.

To sail aboard the Silver Cloud of Silversea Cruises (Miami, FL; 888/978-4070, www.silversea.com), I paid $7,188. All of the shore tours cost extra.

Several years earlier I had taken the Silver Cloud’s sister ship, Silver Wind, up the west coast of Africa. This time I sailed up the east coast. 

I love to dance, and some Silversea ships provide dance “hosts” for unescorted partners. On this cruise, hosts were provided. Unfortunately, the main dance floor in the lounge was made of marble rather than resilient wood, so it was sticky and the dancing was difficult. However, the hosts were very nice and were good company.

Some ships offer computer classes on “sea” days. This ship didn’t have computer classes, and there was a charge of $30 per day for computer time.

Among the shore excursions offered, on Dec. 11 in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, we piled into big buses for a long drive to visit Shakaland, a Zulu village “cultural attraction” ($129). Before committing, I didn’t realize that this village actually had been built as a movie set quite some time ago or I wouldn’t have signed up.  

Blue monkey in the Jozani Forest Reserve — Zanzibar. Photo by Joyce Bruck

After a short tour, lunch was served, then we were led to a large hut where there was a show of people mostly jumping up and down. There were numerous artifacts of seemingly poor quality for sale. At least the bathrooms were modern. Then we rode back to the ship.

It was raining on Dec. 16 at Nosy Be, an interesting island off Madagascar, and to reach the people and animals there, we took a tender to the larger island, then a boat to a small island, where we waded ashore and had to navigate up a slippery red-clay slope. I didn’t take one picture, in fear of ruining my camera or sliding down the hill.

My least-favorite ship’s tour was “The Perfume Trail and Red Padzas,” on Dec. 17 in Mamoudzou, Mayotte ($149). In a van with a driver and guide, about a dozen of us visited a botanical garden, where most of the flowers there were types growing in my front yard; still, no commentary on the flowers was given. 

Scene in Addo Elephant National Park, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Photo by Joyce Bruck

We drove down the coast to a dark-gray beach and then to a place called Red Padzas, some sort of crater. It couldn’t be seen from the top. Some people walked a little way down the trail, but there were no guardrails. We had lunch by the beach. At another stop, there was entertainment with endless dancing by a few women, including ship’s crew.

For Dec. 19 in Zanzibar, I had booked an independent tour with a private guide I found in a Google search: Daud John Kiango (phone  +255 777 844417, zanzibarmagic@gmail.com). I paid the $135 in a wire transfer to a bank. Since I knew nothing of this person, I was taking a slight risk, but it paid off and was a very good tour.

We went to the Jozani Forest Reserve. The cost for the park and the park’s guide was about $10 and well worth it. There were red colobus and blue monkeys bouncing from tree to tree. Capturing them on camera wasn’t easy.

In Zanzibar City, we went to the fascinating local market (clothing, fish, fruits and vegetables), the old Stone Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and a 17th-century fort. Evidence of an old Arab trading center could still be seen.

South African sunset. Photo by Joyce Bruck

The last port our ship arrived at was Mombasa, Kenya, on Dec. 20. The ship offered an option where we could pay for a transfer to the airport for $29 or pay for a transfer and a “Panoramic Mombasa” tour for $49. Since I was on the way to Nairobi for my connections home and had an 8-hour layover, I took the tour.

After arriving in Miami following a 7-hour layover in Paris, I was totally exhausted. Including the 9-day tour prior to the cruise, this trip had lasted three weeks. I vowed never to go away again for more than two weeks. 

JOYCE BRUCK

Boynton Beach, FL

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.
Local returning from the fields — Madagascar. Photo by Joyce Bruck

Following a 9-day private tour in South Africa (Oct. ’16, pg. 26), I took a Mango Airlines flight from Durban to Cape Town to begin the second part of my Southern Africa journey: a 14-night cruise to Mombasa, departing Dec. 6, 2015.

To sail aboard the Silver Cloud of Silversea Cruises (Miami, FL; 888/978-4070, www.silversea.com), I paid $7,188. All of the shore tours cost extra.

Several years earlier I had taken the Silver Cloud’s sister ship, Silver Wind, up the west coast of Africa. This time I sailed up the east coast. 

I love to dance, and some Silversea ships provide dance “hosts” for unescorted partners. On this cruise, hosts were provided. Unfortunately, the main dance floor in the lounge was made of marble rather than resilient wood, so it was sticky and the dancing was difficult. However, the hosts were very nice and were good company.

Some ships offer computer classes on “sea” days. This ship didn’t have computer classes, and there was a charge of $30 per day for computer time.

Among the shore excursions offered, on Dec. 11 in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, we piled into big buses for a long drive to visit Shakaland, a Zulu village “cultural attraction” ($129). Before committing, I didn’t realize that this village actually had been built as a movie set quite some time ago or I wouldn’t have signed up.  

Blue monkey in the Jozani Forest Reserve — Zanzibar. Photo by Joyce Bruck

After a short tour, lunch was served, then we were led to a large hut where there was a show of people mostly jumping up and down. There were numerous artifacts of seemingly poor quality for sale. At least the bathrooms were modern. Then we rode back to the ship.

It was raining on Dec. 16 at Nosy Be, an interesting island off Madagascar, and to reach the people and animals there, we took a tender to the larger island, then a boat to a small island, where we waded ashore and had to navigate up a slippery red-clay slope. I didn’t take one picture, in fear of ruining my camera or sliding down the hill.

My least-favorite ship’s tour was “The Perfume Trail and Red Padzas,” on Dec. 17 in Mamoudzou, Mayotte ($149). In a van with a driver and guide, about a dozen of us visited a botanical garden, where most of the flowers there were types growing in my front yard; still, no commentary on the flowers was given. 

Scene in Addo Elephant National Park, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Photo by Joyce Bruck

We drove down the coast to a dark-gray beach and then to a place called Red Padzas, some sort of crater. It couldn’t be seen from the top. Some people walked a little way down the trail, but there were no guardrails. We had lunch by the beach. At another stop, there was entertainment with endless dancing by a few women, including ship’s crew.

For Dec. 19 in Zanzibar, I had booked an independent tour with a private guide I found in a Google search: Daud John Kiango (phone  +255 777 844417, zanzibarmagic@gmail.com). I paid the $135 in a wire transfer to a bank. Since I knew nothing of this person, I was taking a slight risk, but it paid off and was a very good tour.

We went to the Jozani Forest Reserve. The cost for the park and the park’s guide was about $10 and well worth it. There were red colobus and blue monkeys bouncing from tree to tree. Capturing them on camera wasn’t easy.

In Zanzibar City, we went to the fascinating local market (clothing, fish, fruits and vegetables), the old Stone Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and a 17th-century fort. Evidence of an old Arab trading center could still be seen.

South African sunset. Photo by Joyce Bruck

The last port our ship arrived at was Mombasa, Kenya, on Dec. 20. The ship offered an option where we could pay for a transfer to the airport for $29 or pay for a transfer and a “Panoramic Mombasa” tour for $49. Since I was on the way to Nairobi for my connections home and had an 8-hour layover, I took the tour.

After arriving in Miami following a 7-hour layover in Paris, I was totally exhausted. Including the 9-day tour prior to the cruise, this trip had lasted three weeks. I vowed never to go away again for more than two weeks. 

JOYCE BRUCK

Boynton Beach, FL