Published: December 11th 2012December 11th 2012
I have now been on my overland tour with African Trail's for just over a week. We are travelling from Nairobi down to Livingstone in Zambia. It has been incredible to say the least.
After leaving Brackenhurst Conference Centre in Limuru I made my way to Karen Camp in Nairobi where the tour started. Before too long Jay arrived from Sydney (a friend from school). We were introduced to the rest of the tour group who had been travelling through Uganda. Our group is reasonably small due to the low season at the moment but they are all great people, mainly aussies too. There is Jasmine and Dylan who are on their honeymoon (the coolest honeymoon and the coolest couple!), Nora from Germany, Nicky from Aus, Jay and I and then Harley and Rachel from the US who I've become good friends with over the last week.
Our original driver and guide (Bernie) was sick when we arrived and so we had Henry who was great but very chilled out. Our first introduction was on his day off when he was plastered at the bar.
Our fist day involved driving 6-8 hrs to the border of Kenya and
Tanzania. Here we crossed the border into Arusha in Tanzania and camped the night at Snake Park. Many overland tours stay here ad you can tell from the abundance of t-shirt, sports memorabilia and signed flags how many travellers have come through, it was great.
The following day we all agreed to go on the side trip to The Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater for 2 nights and 3 days. One night in Serengeti National Park with two days game safari and one night on the edge of Ngorongoro Crater and a day of game safari. Both included all meals and were absolutely incredible. The landscapes and views of both were amazing and then viewing the african wildlife in its natural habitat was like nothing I've ever seen before. Words cannot describe it. Harley, Rachel and I were like children when were saw our first animals. Squealing and taking thousands of photos. We saw so many prides of lions, elephant herds, hyenas, hippos, giraffe, zebra, wart hogs, antelope, amazing birds, water buffalo, lions eating kills and so much more. The list just goes on and on. The only animals we failed to see were leopards. We saw a
rhino but from very far away so photos weren't possible. During our stay we could see hyenas stalking the campsite at night with our head torches. At Ngorongoro Crater HUGE bush elephants drank from the campsites water tank. We woke the next morning to find elephant poo just a few steps from our tent. It was crazy!! Out of the two days I enjoyed the Serengeti the most for the game drives. We just saw so much and it was beyond amazing. We weren't as lucky with Ngorongoro Crater and didn't see as much, however the crater itself is a spectacular viewing site and it alone just blows you away.
We concluded from our side trip that our tour group as a whole has some pretty bad luck. We managed to have 3 flat tyres, one each day. Jay also managed to smash his window from a stone hitting it, I think our guide Simba still blames him. By the end of the tour Simba probably hated us for the amount of bad luck we brought him. But it was all a part of great fun and the boys became super fast at changing tyres.
As our side trip
concluded we returned to Snake Park for one more night camping before driving half way to Dar Es Salaam. The town and campsite name escape me. We now have Bernie our original driver back. He is awesome and very knowledgeable. Our tour involves a lot of driving on the truck but we all manage to amuse ourselves. The following day we drive to Dar Es Salaam which took about 6 hours due to traffic once we hit the city. Our boredom sitting through traffic was helped when a man selling icecreams came to our rescue. The long drive was worth it once we arrived to our camp site right on the beach. The sand was super white and the water blue and clear. It was paradise! That night was Nora's last night with us so we had a big dinner all together and made a night of it. It was great fun although Nora retired to bed after too many shots.
The following day we took tuk tuks to a ferry where we then caught a 2 hour ferry to Zanzibar Island. I thought our campsite in Dar Es Salaam was paradise. WRONG. Zanzibar is paradise. It is absolutely
gorgeous. Better than any island I've visited before. The sand is extremely white and the water is clear and bright blue. We immediately went on a spice tour in the south which was really interesting and tasty! We then proceeded to the north of the Island where we were to stay for 2 nights but have now stayed for 3. Our third night was meant to be in the South so we could visit stone town but we have yet to be informed to why we have stayed an extra night in the north. We don''t mind though because this place is heaven! It's also nice to just relax for a bit rather than be on the road.
Yesterday we all went scuba diving just off the island. I was scared at first and it took others some time to convince me but I decided to do it. It was also Nicky, Harley and Rachels first time too. Getting used to the breathing under water was hard but eventually we got it. Nicky and I had trouble and our american instructor Josh was determined to keep us under water until we relaxed and got used to it. I'm so
Safari in Serengeti
Winner winner chicken dinner
glad he did because it was absolutely amazing! Under water is another world. It's beautiful with bright coral and fishes. We saw a school of dolphins, octopus shooting ink, colourful fish, eels and so much more. Jas and Dylan have their open water certification so they went on a different dive and also got to see some turtles and amazing marine life. It was the best feeling! Thankfully Jay had an underwater camera and captured quite a bit.
I have just got a traditional henna tattoo on my hand. When skyping mum I don't think she was totally impressed but at least it washes off! The other girls are getting their hair braided.
The weather here is scorching hot. Sleeping is slightly bearable but it's with sand in the sheets that never disappears and fans that do as little as blow hot air on you. Apart from that Tanzania has been an incredible place and so far my favourite as it has so much to offer. I've noticed slight differences in the country compared to Kenya. The people have more defining features which help you distinguish where they are from. The land itself is more developed in Tanzania. Although
it is still a dramatically poor country it is developing more rapidly than Kenya with more roads and houses. Tanzania is a lot hotter and more dry compared to Kenya. Due to religious reasons many foreigners have to cover up shoulders and knees. It's a battle that us girls have had to face in the humidity and heat but we've slowly gotten used to it.
The highlights of this leg of the trip by far have been the side trip to the game parks and also scuba diving. Both were experiences I'll never forget.Dylan also made our long trips worthwhile with his annoying dad jokes that are actually just 'pun' jokes. But he always manages to make us laugh even though they are horrible. In the next few days we will make our way to Malawi. I can't wait. The trip just keeps getting better and better and every bit is just as exciting as the last. I'm missing everyone back home especially as Christmas approaches but this trip is turning out to be one the most exciting, crazy, best things I have ever done and I'm over the moon!!!
Will post photos soon- there are just too
many to choose from.
Until next time x x
There are more photos below