Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 24 Alan's Perspective

The last time I wrote was from Morogoro - fixing toilet etc.

When u do use the rooftop tent and u get to stay in a hotel or lodge u
cannot believe the sort of beds u get to sleep in, sheets with holes in
them, beds that creek everytime u move, comfortable and yes uncomfortable
ones. New Acropol takes the prize for the worst bed ever!!

We set off after breakfast at our normal slow pace (consideration for The
Beast's fuel consumption!!) But before long we adapt to the new game - race
the buses!! U have never seen buses drive as fast as these local people do,
they overtake on solid lines, on corners and up hills - our taxi drivers in
SA could learn from these chaps!!

The road rules are very different here, if u r travelling behind another
vehicle and there is a solid line in the road but he puts his left
indicator on, u can overtake regardless of what u think might be travelling
towards u. If he puts his right indicator on u cannot overtake as either
there is a oncoming car or obstacle in the road or they r turning right.

It did not take Gavin and I long to adjust to this new way of driving. (Not
sure how the ladies feel about our driving-in fact Jen does not enjoy it -
not that I blame her after what she went through).

Just before Tanga Gavin got a $20 speeding fine (his second but the first
one he got off with a bit of help from a soccer ball).

We had lunch at the yacht club in Tanga and then set off for Peponi camp
site alongside the coast line for a one night stay.

The next day we were setting off for Arusha which is the gateway to the
Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti!! On the way we would also get to see
Kilimanjaro. How awesome is all that?

The road towards Arusha has spectacular scenery, some of the best I have
ever seen!!! Look the roads (or lack there of) do tend to take ur eyes off
the beauty of ur surroundings but u have to get to see this countryside.

I was stopped for a very "serious offence" - speeding! With the help of
lots of smiles and a soccer ball we were soon on our way!

Jess and I could not wait to get our first glimpse of the famous mountain.

As we approached Moshi, the starting point for the ascent up Kili, we only
got to see the mountain covered in clouds. What a anticlimax for us!!!

After lunch in Moshi we headed off for the camp site in Arusha (Masai Camp

The camp site was nicely grassed (ground cover variety), but situated on a
pretty noisy road and had pretty dismal shower facilities to boot. One
thing u do get used to on this trip, is cold showers. To have a hot shower
u had to go through the common bar, through the gents and into the so
called showers. Well at least the water was hot there, ur other option was
the ablution block in the camp site with cold water.

Interesting they have a armed guard looking after the camp (felt like

After our delightful lunch we settled for smoked oysters on crackers
accompanied by a few Makers Mark's.

We all wondered off to the pub to watch a bit of soccer and sit around the
fire as it was pretty cold. Jen and Jess were engaged talking to a couple
of local ladies whilst Gavin and I had a few beers.
You do eventually get tired of all the chatter around u so we wondered off
to the tents.

Friday morning we woke up to the din of traffic and people (not to
mentioned dogs barking), packed up and headed out to look for the shops to
replenish some of the provisions. We found Shoprite and Jess and I bought
what was required to eat for the next few days. Once we had packed all the
goodies away I wondered off to the bookshop to see if I could find a map on
the Serengeti whilst Gavin strolled off to a Internet shop to try and
establish where the migration of wildebeest was at this stage.

I got chatting to two of the ladies that worked in the bookstore and asked
them where we should stay in the park. The advice was to stay in Karatu the
first night and then enter the park early the next morning.

We found a stunning place called The Octogon, run by a delightful lady
called Pamela. Initially we were not going to stay here but Jen chirped how
nice it would be if we were to spend the night. Let's face it the gardens
were to die for and the whole atmosphere was relaxing. A reasonable rate
was negotiated with Pamela. The comment that clinched the deal was her
saying " come on guys if I reduce the price any more I will have to decide
whether I cook with butter or margarine!". Enough said as she could
certainly cook! Pamela epitomises Tanzanian people for me, friendly, kind
and a sense of humour.

The next morning we set out for Ngorogoro Crater, arrived at the gate and
paid our $140 per vehicle!! This is just to travel through the reserve and
onto the Serengeti and not even to go to the crater itself.

The park was covered in a layer of mist that gave us a earie feeling.
Scenery to die for!

After driving through to the Serengeti gate and paying $240 per vehicle for
24 hours we set off for our hunt of the wildebeest. In the distance I saw
what looked like dust plumes. Wildebeest were near!!! The excitement levels
rose. As we got closer to the dust it became apparent that all I had seen
was in fact smoke from a bush fire. Not to be put off we drove towards the
camp site we had been allocated. If ever anyone goes to the Serengeti and
they put u in a camp called Dik Dik, rather turnaround. It is worst than
worst. Field mice all over the place, shabby. Ugh!!! It was decided that we
would come back when it was dark so that we could not see the place.

We ended up seeing massive herds of wildebeest and zebra on the plains. An
incredible sight! At some stage a few landrovers came flying past us and
Gavin and I decided that there had to be a kill up ahead so off we sped in
pursuit. Before we knew it we were miles away from our designated camp site
(shame) and had no chance of getting back there in time. But as luck would
have it there was a camp not far away. To cut a long story short it was a 5
star camp and thankfully it was full (at those prices) so we had to head
off once again in the dark to the next place which was 28km away (hour and
half). The trip was long and at some point we stopped for a Jamesons
(fisherman's drink) in the dark. We even contemplated just setting up a
bush camp but the thought of being caught by the officials was not
appealing. Eventually in the distance we saw lights!! Managed to organise
rooms for us. After our day Gavin and I headed straight off to the pub for
a Ardberg or two.

Good stay.

The following morning we saw great a sighting of crocodiles.

I cannot begin to explain the roads in the park, but they are the pits, you
would think that the officials would put some money back into their road
structures. Besides the dust and potholes the roads do not appear to be
looked after at all.

Once out if the park we headed for Mwanza which is situated next to Lake

We camped at the local yacht club for two days. The first night I cooked a
lamb casserole for dinner accompanied by Jess's great toasted sandwiches
and the second night I went on strike so we had dinner at a Indian place.

Monday 21st we washed (attempted) our cars and chilled the rest of the day.
Points to remember, cold showers, mozzies and a noisy singer in the early
hours of the morning.

Tuesday we packed up and after the ladies had been to a local market with a
expat we headed out for Musoma (we have travelled about 6600km now).

We stayed at the Temba Beach Hotel (do not be fooled by the name). It is a
place to avoid (cold showers).

Headed out for Kakamega Forest but did not quite make it do to bad roads
(really) and a heavy downpour....

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Al, well you are certainly covering some mileage sorry taken so long to touch base but we have been at the lodge for sometime and rushing back again tomorrow as builder going on leave and have a possible booking in chalet (ofcourse where nothing has been done)for August so a big rush to get that sorted before builder goes back to Zim. Well the good news is we have comfortable beds, boiling hot showers and not bad grub for you to come back to and recover! Still a trip plenty of us would like to do and that you have the opportunity is awesome, a lifelong memory!

    I have a great photo of Mark "installing breadboards on the path posts" and had to tie him down as he was getting carried away. There is a breadboard now placed at the first pole on the path from the boma area down to the pool for the unveiling of newly created breads! What the other one is for further down heaven knows, I think possibly a place for the unsuccessful breads for the birds! (Mark's ofcourse!) Off for a doppie and bite with Fi! Will keep up with you now that Courtney has sorted me out and we can keep a check on you! How time has already flown! Keep safe and continue the adventure!