can’t believe it but I crashed and slept on the boat until we docked at around
2:15pm. Only 4 hours late!
cars were unloaded first but because we were the first car on we were of course
the last car off. They got 9 cars into the hold and the remaining 3 were parked
on top among the plantains and other assorted goods! All 12 were unloaded
without incident and so was our customs processing. Since entering Kenya all
borders have been a piece a cake to cross.
wanted to get to this lodge where we are staying which is about 10km from the
gate to the Serengeti so in Mwanza all we did was fill up, change money, buy a
coke and hit the road. The first 30-odd km was terrible, just very, very bumpy .
So much so that in many places people had created very nice tracks next to the
road which we ended up using. After the first town things improved dramatically
which was a good thing otherwise we would never had got here before dark.
told me about the place and without that we would have missed it, it has such a
small signpost on the main road. It is really lovely and is right on the lake.
They have rondawels (SA style) and also a tented camp. Because of this they
don’t really like you to camp. They charged us 20USD for 2 people to stay in
one of their tents, which are really nicely set up with 2 single beds, bedside
table and lamps and other assorted furniture. Very luxurious for a tent! We are
having dinner here – they do allow you to cook your own food but Scott is
starving. We didn’t really have a decent dinner last night or breakfast or
even lunch today. SO that’s it, off for our leek soup and talapia (Nile fish).
here we are in the famous Serengeti. We arrived at around 9am this morning. The
place is not cheap, you pay per 24 hour period – 25USD per person plus another
30USD for the car. Plus then it’s another cool 20USD per person to camp.
That’s right, we forked out 240USD for 2 days and 2 nights in the park! This
means that we would have had to leave by 9am on 30 July. That’s a little early
unless you plan to sleep near a gate so we asked to be able to stay until around
10:30am instead. This was arranged for a small ‘fee’. We all know where that
went of course!
set off slowly so that no-one would question our arrival time – wasted concern
really. It was a great drive. We saw so much – heaps and heaps of Zebra and
Wildebeest, maybe gathering for the migration. We also saw lots of birds –
ostriches, secretary birds, vultures and even love birds! We saw elephant,
buffalo, giraffe and more buck than you can shake a stick at. Best of all we
even saw lion and cheetah!! What a day. This was all from the main road in the
park to tomorrow when we head off it on some game drives, who know what we’ll
camp we are at is once again empty except for us and the resident baboon –
sheer bliss. We have been warned to expect crowds tomorrow. Seronera is the main
park HQ with lots of lodges, campsites and people. Oh well, we are in the most
famous park in the world, we can’t expect to have it for ourselves all the
time. The setting here is awesome. We are perched on a hillside overlooking a
vast plain and watching the pink moon rise. Our campsite is totally unprotected
but so far, other than the baboon, which has now walked over the whole car in
search of food, we have only seen a silver-backed jackal. It is nearly dark now
but if we don’t see any more animals tonight I am sure we’ll hear some! Off
to watch the moon – Awesome.
the way, we entered the park at the Western-most gate – Ndabaka Gate.
day spent almost totally in the car looking at animals. Upon waking up this
morning we saw three buffalo across the road from our tent. Good way to start
Lobo Camp we did two of what they call ‘Game Viewing Circuits’ driving off
the main road and following various tracks. One was to the SE of Lobo and the
other to the NW. We saw no new species today but we did see a lot of elephant
and some from pretty close too. We were even mock charged by one! Another
highlight was a really young baby baboon, with it’s mother right on the side
of the road.
then drove on to Seronera and had a quick lunch (of our own food) at the picnic
tables in the visitor’s centre. This part was quite funny. Our permits were to
camp at the Dik Dik Camp but all we found was the Digi Digi Camp. The place was
dirty and crowded but I was sure it was the right place. A severe bout of
wishful thinking on Scott’s part led to us going to the visitors' info to
confirm. Anyway, it was the right place but instead of going straight back
there, we went on two more drives in the region. We saw more lion, for the third
time in two days, a much better view of cheetah and oh yes, 1 new animal –
hippo. Oh, make that 2 – we saw crocodiles as well!
here we are at Dik Dik (or Digi Digi) Camp with four4, that’s right four tour
groups which means about 18 other tents. What a change from EVERY other night on
the trip so far. Oh well, to be expected I guess.
to make supper. I call it Risotto but it’s basically rice with some other
stuff thrown in!
we ended up being just a little busier than planned. We were going to drive to
the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, spend the night there and go into the crater
tomorrow. However, on leaving Serengeti, the exit gate turned out to be the
entrance gate for the Ngororngoro Conservation Area and we had to pay our
standard $25 per person and $30 per car for the one day. We decided on the spot
to make today our crater viewing day, paid the $10 for the compulsory guide and
set off hell for leather to get to the crater with enough time to enjoy it and
enough time to get out and find somewhere outside the Park to spend the night.
The rim camping at Simba is the standard $20 per person and is apparently also
overcrowded and dirty. Sounds like it is a place to be avoided if at all
back to the main business of the day. We arrived at the crater rim descent road
at 11am. This is the closest point to Serengeti but you are supposed to go
another 16km to the exit road to pick up your guide. It was the std crap roads
so we took a chance and asked at the gate if there was anyone there. No problem!
There was a car going down and we were told that we could share their guide and
just follow them. They looked pretty peeved and we found out why from John our
guide, later on. Apparently they had been asked at HQ to share a guide and had
refused. Later, without being given an option, they ended up having to share
anyway. I don’t know why they cared. They had the guide in their car and we
had to follow in their dust. They could ignore us – and they did!
digression that was, let’s try again. OK, the descent road. There’s one road
down into the crater and heading up out . Both are for 4WD vehicles only. They
are steep roads and impossible in the wet. Anyway, down we went. What struck me
first was the size. It may be a crater but at 16km diameter it is huge! Second
was the fact that right at the entrance we saw herds of domestic animals –
donkeys and cattle. The area is run such that the Masai still have their
traditional grazing rights. Ten minutes later I knew that this has no impact on
animals in the park. We rode into the middle of the biggest herd of Wildebeest I
have ever seen!
is my single biggest impression of the crater – the sheer density of the
animals. We saw multiple herds of wildebeest, zebra and buffalo – all bigger
than I have ever seen before. In addition we saw lion, elephant and rhino.
That’s four of the big five in one day. We also saw the standard buck, hippos
and birds. All in all, just lots and lots of animals. The crater is awesome. It
is mainly Savannah, but there is also a big lake, a swamp and even an acacia
forest. The ascent road was also incredible – we went up from Savannah into
almost a tropical forest. It was really great. The nice thing about the crater
is that even though it is huge it is not so overwhelmingly large that you lose
sight of the fact that it is a crater. The walls are always there.
all the excitement we got back up to the top of the rim at about 4:30pm. It was
perfect for us. Three days of animal viewing which we really enjoyed but we were
both ready to move on. We drove about 15km out of the park to this camp which
has hot showers and costs only $5 each. We were, or rather Scott was,
considering one of their bandas but these don’t have hot showers. Odd isn’t
it? So we stuck to camping. Went for the big tent.
did less today than expected. We got here at about noon but heard funny noises
on the car, which Scott felt he wanted to investigate. We hunted down the famous
Masai Camp but decided to give it a miss – there were many, many overland
trucks and tents and loud music which were told was played until 1 in the
morning. Thank you – No.
came to Club Afriko, which basically uses the garden of an unoccupied house for
camping. You then get to use the bathroom – cold water only but we are alone!
Also, we get to use the club’s bar, which is where we are now.
is only about 160km from Ngorongoro. About 80km of it is really bad. Not rocky
but just so bouncy that you have to go slowly. No corrugations either – those
were just in the Parks. The last 80km was on excellent tar, apparently it’s
like that all the way to Dar which we hope to reach tomorrow. Because we
didn’t get too far today, tomorrow will be a long day – over 600km. We may
not get all the way, roads and traffic dictate.
yes, the car. We were hearing clunk noises from the wheel so Scott took it off
to check oils, greases etc. We found no obvious problems so we’ll hit the road
early tomorrow and see what happens. Hopefully nothing and we can drive all the
way to Dar. I want to go to Zanzibar before we head further South.
drove over 600km today but mostly over good tar road. We went Arusha-Moshi
(excellent road) and then down South (also excellent road). This road ends at a
junction about 110km from Dar. About 1/2 of this patch was good because it has
been recently resurfaced. The other ˝ was not so good. Bouncy with potholes. We
got to Dar at around 4pm and then struggled a bit to find the campsite Rob had
spoken about. He gave very detailed instructions but the roads have been 1-ways
in the wrong direction since then so we had to do some backtracking.
shared the place with an overland truck. The guy running the campsite invited us
to join them for a fish braai supper. The food was great but the company
wasn’t too chatty. There were two distinct groups – paying customers and
people in the overland business. We didn’t fall into either one.
have another problem however. The car went fine all day but towards the end our
phantom noise came back. So obviously we didn’t sort it out yesterday. Scott
spent some time with the car again and now at least we know where the sound
comes from – the shocks on the LHS. When he shakes the car very violently, he
can reproduce it. We still don’t know exactly what is causing it or how
serious it is but at least we are closer.
who runs the campsite offered to help tomorrow. He knows a local Landrover guy
so we’ll see if we can figure it out.
a great night’s sleep – I didn’t hear the overlanders come to bed last
night or even hear them pack up and leave this morning, we were up and about
before 7pm. We really are in a nice setting – white sand, blue sea, palm
trees, awesome sunrises and traditional dhows with white sails.
there was no sign of Andy so Scott set to work on the car. We enlisted the help
of one of the guys who works there to rock the car and re-create the noise and
Scott managed to find the source! It was a loose bolt at the bottom of the
shock. He tightened it up and it looks like that is all that was required. Even
three of us rocking the car couldn’t re-create the noise after that!
finally here and it really lives up to its reputation. It is sort of like a mix
between Malta, Seville and Rome. There are wonderful old buildings and, very
reminiscent of Spain, the have incredible wooden doors and equally amazing
balconies. Also, like in Spain, some houses have been beautifully restored and
others are sadly neglected and in a state of disrepair.
are in the Tembo Hotel, splashing out at 85USD per night. It is like a Spanish
Parador – an old restored building with odd nooks and crannies and wonderful
wooden furniture. In fact we have a 4-poster bed! All the furniture in our room
looks old and solid including the wardrobe, dresser and corner stand. In
addition to that it has a wonderful shower. All in all, money well spent.
ate supper on the seafront. Guys put up stalls and cook on open fires. We pigged
out on seafood and stuff for around $2 in total. I drank sugar cane juice! It
was very nice and not as sweet as I expected because they and ginger and lemon
juice as they make it. It is served with ice cubes so probably not the safest
thing to drink but by this stage I am sure we’re a lot more resistant than we
supper we took a stroll through Stone Town staring at doors and balconies and
just at buildings in general. It was great but we got so lost in the winding
alleys that our little stroll turned into a marathon walk!
could happily come here again! We started the day with breakfast on the patio
– watching the dhows sail by. We then went for a walk along the road on the
beach – still reminded of Spain. At 9:30 we started our spice tour. We were
joined by an English couple Philip and Chrissy who are on their honeymoon. They
got married all of three days ago!
tour was great. Just about everything grows here. We saw cloves, cardamom,
turmeric, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, ginger, lemon grass, menthol
and even vanilla. These were only the spices and the ones I can remember. In the
fruit and veg ranges, we saw banana, plantain, casava, litchi, guava, jackfruit
and I really can’t remember what else. It is great to see where the spices
grow and what part of the plant they come from.
also quite a bit of historical stuff too. David Livingstone was here too, is
there anywhere the man didn’t go? We saw his house, a sultan’s palace and
some Turkish baths. Personally I think that our guide gave us a bit of his
personal view of the island’s history but I guess that it will always happen
to some extent. After the tour we went off for lunch. I started with a yoghurt
lassi and then had a toasted veg sandwich. Later I had something that I have
been craving since Egypt or maybe even Libya – a chocolate milkshake!
a siesta we went for a double swim – once in the pool and once in the sea.
Sometimes the sea is really choppy but at other times its like a lake or rather
a piece of glass you see the dhows reflected so clearly. We had the smooth
alternative during our swim. After a shower we went for a walk – Scott had
ordered a small picture earlier for his collection and we went off to collect it
– it turned out really nicely. We had a drink with Philip and Chrissy and
later we’ll have dinner together. We’re going to a place on the beach called
“Blues”, there is apparently one in Cape Town too! It would be interesting
to compare menus. We’re going there because it is a place where I can get my
vegetarian meal and Scott can get his seafood one. The others are joining us
because Chrissy is not a seafood fan and this place offers her some choices too.
Talk about a wide-ranging menu.
tomorrow is our last day here. We have to be at the port at 3pm so will have all
morning here. I’m not sure what we’ll do. Scott has expressed an interest in
going out on a boat and I want to buy a skirt, which should take me all of 5
minutes! I’ve got lunch planned though, we’re going to a vegetarian Indian
others leave tomorrow as well. They fly into the Selous Game Reserve, which
should be a great experience. It is one of the world’s biggest reserves and
also probably the wildest. Large parts of it are completely unexplored, few
roads, even fewer facilities and only 2 or 3 luxury tented camps. I’d love to
go but getting in by road is hard. This is the kind of place you fly into and do
a luxury safari.
well, off to watch some CNN in the lounge before supper. Why not, after this
we’ll be roughing it again until we get to Vic Falls (probably).
woke up to rain this morning so instead of going out on a boat we hung around
Stone Town instead. The rain was on-off so we managed to do some exploring and
lots of shopping. We also remembered that we had neglected to find out about
visa requirements for Zambia. That took some doing. Phone calls to Dar are cheap
and easy but finding a number for the Zambian Embassy! It got done eventually
and now we know that no visa is
required. We also did an update for Robin. Liesl sent a mail – she has
developed hypertension and has been confined to bed. I asked mom to check up on
here, I hope she’s OK.
shopping was basically a wrap-around skirt for me, a really cool T-shirt for
Scott saying “Poach Eggs not Elephants”, some more spices and then the
standard stamps and postcards. We had a vegetarian lunch as planned and then
spent some time waiting in the hotel lounge for 2:30pm so that we could leave
for the port.
boat ride back to Dar was awful. We were literally being thrown around in our
seats to the extent that seatbelts would have been a great help. While waiting
for the boat we got lots of postcards written – we now need to find a post
box. Back at the camp we chatted until midnight – a rare occurrence for us. We
had our first local taxi experience getting back to the campsite. It feels
exactly as crowded as it looks!
is the campsite Liesl and John were aiming for and missed. Not sure how that
happened, it is pretty well marked. We only arrived after 6:30pm due to a vary
late departure from Dar (like 11 am!). The reason for this was not so much the
late night of the night before but the fact that we had to totally re-pack the
car and this exercise always takes time. Also we went to a supermarket to but
some more stocks for the road ahead.
than that, the day basically consisted of driving. Roads not too bad – the
patch near Dar still needs finishing but other than that OK but for the odd pot
hole and washed out bridge. The campsite here is very well organised. There are
2 parts, separated by showers and toilets. One part is for overland trucks and
the other for independent travellers. It’s a great idea. There were two or
three overland trucks there but as far as we were concerned we were only sharing
the site with four other South African guys. They have been on the road for two
months and were aiming to go all the way North or at least as far as possible.
They got as far as Addis where they couldn’t get visas for Sudan and they were
also turned back by the rain. I think that we got a lucky window of opportunity
to cross Sudan and it might be closing again now.