You Know You’re in Tanzania When…

Pole Pole means slowly slowly in Swahili, Tanzania
We entered Tanzania in quite possibly the most difficult, unorthodox, and (in hind-sight) rewarding ways possible. After our four-day overland haul we were rewarded with Zanzibar’s white white-washed Swahili architecture, lush spice plantations, and total luxury on the eastern white sand beaches. Then we made our way inland, staying with friends in Arusha, helping a bit at Living Water orphanage, and going on safari in Serengeti’s Ngorongoro Crater. From the remote border towns to the depths of the crater, we experienced a number of wacky and wonderful things that will let You Know You Are In Tanzania When….

– Pole Pole (meaning “take it slow” in Swahili) isn’t just a traffic signal, it’s a way of life.

– Even your capital city has topless tribal pedestrians (no photo, but you can ask Anne for more details).


Border between Mozambique and Tanzania
– Your borders are patrolled by 18-foot long crocs and angry hippopotamuses.

– Your immigration officials are so nice they will negotiate a loan to help you secure an entry visa.


Muslim Karaoke on Zanzibar
– Your in-boat entertainment consists solely of MTV Islam

– The only way to serve your PB&J is on chapati.


Eating seafood in Zanzibar, Tanzania
– All your street food comes on a (news)paper plate.

– When you crack open a Kilimanjaro beer because…”If you can’t climb it drink it.”


Spice tour of Zanzibar, Tanzania nutmeg
– You boast more spices than McCormick.

– Where a beach cover-up literally covers you head-to-toe (*Zanzibar is 97% Muslim)

– Your sultans over-zealous claims lead to the shortest war on world history (*38-minutes.)


The wooden doors of zanzibar
– The doors of Zanzibar are such works of art you are almost afraid to knock.

– More often than not, people clarify where Americans are from with the phrase…”Oh, you’re from Obama-Land!”


Wildebeest migration Serengeti Maasai Mara
– The Serengeti is so spectacular that over 5 million animals make the annual pilgrimage.


Ostrich in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
– You take up bird watching because you’ve already spotted the Big Five before lunch.


Tire shoes in Tanzania
– The term “run-flat tires” takes on an entirely new meaning… especially when you literally have to run from lions (FYI: Our guide had over 15 large scars on his arm and shoulder from a lion attack).

– You find yourself on a bus full of Maasai and you are the one who stands out.


Riding on the bumper of a car in Tanzania
– When standing room only includes the bus’ bumper (photo taken on the way to Arusha at 80km/hour).

  • Lee Rider

    Love the recycled tire shoes! stay safe guys!

  • Jeffery Whalen

    Mike, Pole Pole, my man. What are you eating in the street food photo? Looks ono!

  • thanks for the likes guys!

  • Jessica Festa

    Ha, in Ghana they do the “Obama-Land” thing too! 🙂 Was so great seeing you guys in Tokyo. We must meet up in NYC when you’re back!

    • Jesse, too funny. At the Kenya border I heard there is even a sign that says, “welcome to Kenya, home of Obama” There’s apparently a lot of love around the contenient for our man Barack. Can’t wait to hang again in NYC. Until then, hope to see you on the blog!