Overland Day 25: Tanzania
Hello internet, I’m still alive! The further into this trip we get, the busier our days seem to be. Even when there has been the option of getting online, I’ve not always had the time for it. Here’s what we’ve been up to the past 10 days:
Last day in Jinja and a lazy one at that. Crazy night, of course!
Long day’s drive from Jinja back into Kenya. Stayed in Naiberi again. Most exciting part of the day was probably our evening Scrabble game!
Early start from Naiberi to Nakuru, where we stopped to stock up on food and other provisions for the truck. As soon as the truck pulled up about ten people gathered at the bottom of the stairs and started hassling us to buy jewellery, postcards, artwork, etc. – possibly the most we’ve been harassed so far. Started to get pretty annoyed when they wouldn’t take no for an answer and had to resort to the ignoring tactic.
Reached Fisherman’s Camp next to Lake Naivasha by early afternoon, pitched our tents and jumped onto two little boats for a short cruise on the lake. Saw some hippos! The boat dropped us off at Elsamere, home to the late Joy and George Adamson. Had high tea on the lawn and were joined by a few cute Colobus monkeys. Returned to camp and had our first proper campfire, promptly followed by a ‘few’ drinks and a rather raucous game of Chinese whispers. Oh yes, and twelve bags of crisps in ten minutes … that was a ‘had to be there’ moment.
Started the day off with a walking safari through the Green Crater Lake area. Got to see zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, giraffes and buffalo close up 🙂 Got a little too close to a buffalo at one point though; it was hidden behind a bush and
hadn’t seen/smelt us coming. Potentially startling a massive buffalo is not the best thing to do if you value your life so our field guide immediately stopped and quietly told us to turn around and walk away slowly. I challenge you to try doing this calmly when you’re not exactly sure what is behind you. As our guide told us later, “To be sincere, that was pretty close.” Nice!
After a few hours of walking about, we headed up to the top of the hill to get an awesome view of the lake. Beautiful! Not green though, despite what the name suggests. Apparently it’s the algae that turns it that colour and it wasn’t the right time of year for it. After about ten minutes of being up there, our guide asked if we’d like a group photo and only then did we realise that we were one person short – Max had disappeared! We called out from the top of the hill and from the very bottom towards the lake shore we got a response. Poor Max had got a little carried away behind his camera lens and lost his way. Oopsy. He was rescued pretty sharpish though and we got our group photo after all.
To end the afternoon we went on another boat trip on the lake, home to seven hippo families. Given that they’re the most dangerous animals in Africa, we were all a little freaked out when one surfaced right next to our boat. We got out of there quickly!
After lunch we all hopped back onto the truck and drove to Karen Camp. Quite strange to be right back at the starting point of the trip, only this time with three weeks of experience in Africa under my belt.
This was the last day of the first leg of the trip! Some people who were to join us for the second part had already arrived at Karen so we had a few new faces join us on our outing to the Giraffe Sanctuary and Elephant Orphanage in the morning. Got to feed a giraffe named Helen at the sanctuary, but other than that there wasn’t an awful lot to do. The price was included in our trip but if you have to pay out for it I think it would be a waste of money. The Elephant orphanage was fantastic though. Spent an hour there cooing over the cute little elephants 🙂
Back to the camp for The Big Truck Clean. Everyone pitched in and it took us about two hours to clean the truck from top to bottom. By the time we had finished we were all knackered but some of us had booked ourselves into a spa for a few hours in the evening so it wasn’t the end of the world. Unfortunately, the taxi ride to the spa was quite possibly the most stressful journey I have ever taken. The driver didn’t know where it was but insisted on driving away anyway. 45 minutes later we were late for our appointments and really pissed off so we returned to Karen Camp. Somehow the barman explained to the driver where we needed to go and we finally made it. It was worth it in the end!
Back at Karen Camp it was the last night for a few of the guys on our trip so we made sure it was a good one! Discovered a shot called Springbok – half amarula, half peppermint liquer (tasty and lethal).
First day of the second leg of the trip, which meant a new group. We welcomed another 15 people on board, bringing our group to the maximum size of 24 people. Quite difficult adjusting to having such a busy truck after living in relative luxury for the previous three weeks with only 14 people on the truck. It was quite a long driving day, during which we crossed the border into Tanzania and ended up in Snake Park, Arusha. Quiet night as we were all knackered.
The first of a three-day safari. Today’s safari was in Laka Manyara National Park. Crazy just how different the landscape is to anything we have seen so far. Possibly the most ‘African’ scenery we’ve experienced. The Masai are everywhere and add so much colour to an otherwise bare landscape. Saw elephants in the wild for the first time 🙂 Stayed at Camp Kudu for the night – our tents were already up when we got there. Score!
One of the highlights of this trip so far and probably one of the most amazing days of my life! We had two game drives today; one in the Ngorongoro Crater area, and one in the Serengetic. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and we were witness to not one but TWO hunts – a pride of lions hunting a buffalo (unsuccessful) and a cheetah hunting a gazelle (successful). The lions came up close to our vehicles which was scary and amazing all at the same time. The cheetah hunt was over in about five seconds. It doesn’t look that fast on telly! Wow. A day I’ll never forget.
Our bed for the night was at a bush camp right in the heart of the Serengeti, which we left me feeling quite creeped out. No fences, no guards … all night I could hear hyenas running around near our tents and kept thinking about those stories of people being dragged out of their tents at night. Made it through to dawn without incident. Whew!
Woke up early for our last game drive in the Serengeti. The most amazing sight today was a herd of elephants, who walked up to our landrovers and passed right by us. Every time we get this close to wild animals I feel quite nervous but incredibly privileged. Long drive back to Snake Park in the afternoon and a fun night at the bar. Woke up on my own in the truck at 2.15am? Well done, Hannah!
Started the day off with a Masai village tour – got to the village on the back of a camel! All kinds of awesome 🙂 Spent a bit of time in Arusha in the afternoon and then drove to Marangu. Had our first view of Kilimanjaro along the way. Stunning!
Had a fun evening of power cuts and Scrabble. Unfortunately, Simone and I forgot to close up our tent and an hour of rain meant that everything inside was soaked. Another night’s sleep on the truck, then!
Pretty much everyone has left the camp today; some for a day’s hike in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and others to visit the nearby village and waterfall. I fancied a day off though and am enjoying my own company for the day. The one thing to remember about travelling for a long time is that it isn’t a bad thing to take a day off occasionally. If you don’t have any time to yourself, it gets harder to appreciate all the other jam-packed days.