Published: May 3rd 2009October 27th 2008
Not a bad view
The view from our open top Land Cruiser
Arrived late to the campsite just out of Arusha and put our tents up in the dark……interesting exercise considering we’d never put them up before. Had drinks that night in ‘Ma’s Bar’….a rough shack with as much paraphernalia as an outback Aussie pub.
Went into town the next morning for money exchange and to buy ‘snacks’ for the days ahead….something that would contribute to the ’extra baggage’ we would eventually take back to Australia with us. That afternoon headed out to a campsite in a small village just outside of the Ngorongoro Crater. The campsite was an add-on to a flash hotel and we were entertained by a local dance troup that night.
Rising before the crack of dawn we headed off up and into the Ngorongoro Crater arriving at the top of the crater just after sunrise. The crater was still full of mist which contributed to our anticipation of the potential of sighting the big five. We were duly rewarded by a close encounter with a bull elephant, not sure who was more surprised. Descended into the crater as the mist lifted and spent the next four hours or so being continually amazed by the variety and
intensity of wildlife in such a small area. The Crater has a 30-40 km diameter and the rim surrounding it rises about 100m from the level of the base. We managed to see four of the big five on that first morning: lion, buffalo, rhino and elephant. Had a close encounter….the closest when a lioness attached herself to the spare tire on the back of our vehicle. Laurie our expert driver managed to get rid of her with some crazy driving, braking and swerving. What a start to our African experience.
The drive out to the Serengeti rivaled any road we have encountered in Australia. A bone rattling, somewhat horrifying ride expertly negotiated at break-neck speed by Lawrie. Got to the Serengeti where the wildlife spotting continued and we were delighted to see a leopard lying in a tree on dusk….thus completing the big five in one day! We were told that some people can travel to Africa and never see the big five so we felt extremely lucky to have seen them all in one day. Driving around the crater and the Serengeti had the feel of visiting a big open plain zoo. There were so many animals
and so many familiar African animals we almost expected our driver to say “Next we will be entering the elephant enclosure”.
We set our tents up just before dark in our campsite in the middle of the national park. A campsite in the middle of an area that had lions and hyenas and no fences between us and them. No one was game to drink too much that night for fear of a late night toilet trip after a somewhat worrying safety talk prior to going to dinner. We awoke early again and somewhat bleary-eyed due to a restless night’s sleep. Apart from hearing an elephant crashing around and a giraffe checking us out Kirst managed to spot two hyenas sniffing around our tents and appropriately freaked out for the rest of the night. After a positional change in the tent (ie. Jas’s head at the door) she managed to get some sleep by counting sheep (not hyenas) in her head.
The next day was just as amazing. Saw lots of lions, wildebeast migrating,giraffe and elephants. Highlights of the day included lion cubs, large herds of elephants and a cheetah stalking a gazelle (unsuccessful but exciting all the
We made it!
Having tackled the roughest road ever we finally reached the entrance to the Serengeti NP
same). Another bumpy, dusty ride back out through Masai lands took us back to Arusha.
From Arusha we spent two days driving down to Dar Es Salam passing Killamanjaro, sisal plantations and camping a night in Tembo. Camped a night on a lovely beach in Dar Es Salam before heading over to Zanzibar by boat the next day. Zanzibar was a beautiful island with georgous beaches, sailing boats, snorkelling and spices. Had fun dancing at a Raasta bar in Spice Town and met lots of lovely people…some not so lovely though ie: the police that bribed Katey and Zany and the other ‘police’ that tried to set Chris up with a joint.
Leaving the camp at Dar Es Salam took a little longer than getting there as we experienced our fist African downpour and awoke in a flood hastely trying to pull tents down and retrieve thongs floating away in the flood. The main (dirt) road out of Dar Es Salam was a quagmire of chaos with parts of the road floating away and buses and trucks bogged to their axles. Our driver Nick expectedly negotiated a truck full of grumpy people arriving in the dark at Irinja
farm and our last night in Tanzania.
There are more photos below