Another day, and so I headed off on another tour. I’ve found that the easiest way to get to interesting places outside of Stone Town is just to sign up for a tour that goes there. With that in mind, yesterday I decided to go to Jozani Forest, a national park about 25km from where I’m staying, whose big claim to fame is its population of Red Colobus monkeys, a species that is only found on Zanzibar. Before heading to the area of the park where the monkeys are found, our guide first took us along a nature trail through the park’s forest reserve, which was a veritable pharmacy of plants and roots that had medicinal uses for everything from childbirth to prostate health.
Once we’d finished our circuit through the forest, we walked out to the main road, where there was a huge mahogany tree filled with monkeys. The park has both Red and Blue Colobus monkeys, but the Red ones are the more social of the two, and so most of the photos I was able to get are of that variety. They were incredibly accommodating to us photo-taking tourists, climbing down the tree to the low branches to give us better views, and playing and jumping together from branch to branch for quite a while. That’s not to say that some of the other people there didn’t try to still push their luck, attempting to touch (!) some of the baby monkeys, despite the mothers being right there. Not the smartest of moves… Even though I was able to see monkeys at various spots in Kampala and Jinja, it was still completely cool to see them so close. These ones looked quite different from whatever species it was I saw in Uganda.
After the monkeys, our guide led us down another path to the Mangrove Boardwalk. They were in the process of raising the boardwalk, because at high tide, parts of it were being submerged. There is apparently quite a large demand for mangrove wood from locals, who use it for building and for fuel. Since mangroves are host to a number of endangered species, the forest in the park is protected. I did the walk with a couple from Sweden, only the wife of whom spoke English. Nevertheless, her husband was very enthusiastic about taking my picture by the mangroves, despite the fact it took him 3 or 4 tries before he was able to work my camera enough that I was actually in the frame…
My transport back to Stone Town arrived just as we were returning from the Mangrove walk, and they dropped me off right back at my hotel. Tomorrow I’ve signed up for one last tour, which will take me on a boat out to Prison Island to see giant tortoises at the sanctuary there, and to do some snorkelling around the nearby coral reefs. This is my life??