We arrived in Nairobi at 3am to unexpectedly cold weather which lasted for the two days that we spent in Kenya. Having arrived without much camping gear as we did not want to lug around extra weight our first mission was to find some sort of mattress. We were lucky enough to find big foam mattresses and torches at a local supermarket cheaply, SUCCESS!
After meeting with our tour group we piled our gear into the overland truck which would become our home for the next 40 days. The drive from Nairobi across the border into Tanzania was a long introduction to overlanding however the scenery was beautiful. We passed through colourful villages where we waved to the locals and the savannah grasslands where giraffes roamed in the distance. At the Tanzania boarder we were bombarded by local women selling beaded jewellery and fruit. Once we had gained our visas and changed some money we quickly made our way back to the truck where we drove until we reached the outskirts of Arusha town. We camped at Snake Camp which was well set up with a bar, toilet and shower facilities. After a quick demonstration we were able to quickly
put up our tents without any troubles. That night we had a few drinks with the group before falling into a deep slumber on our very confortable mattresses.
The following morning we left for a three day safari through Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongro Crater and the famous Serengeti National Park. We broke into small groups and hopped into our jeeps which had open tops so that we could sit on the roof for game viewing. Our first day was spent at Lake Manyara, Lake Manyara was a lush and green national game park. We saw baboons, blue balled monkeys, zebra, giraffes, hippos and elephants. At our lunch stop we spotted a herd of elephants with their babies drinking from a stream and wanted to get a closer look. We decided to be a bit naughty and take a little track down towards the stream, we were able to get really close and admire these amazing creatures, this was my highlight of the day. At the end of the day we drove to a viewing point where we could view the entire lake. It was a fantastic first day of game viewing and a great way to begin our
journey through East Africa.
The following day we entered Ngorongro Crater which was absolutely stunning. The temperature dropped as we entered the crater which has its own micro ecosystem. In contrast to Lake Manyara the crater floor was barren making animal spotting very easy. We had a very successful day, we saw a pack of lions from afar, zebras snuggled in pairs, elephants and a pair of rhino which were quite close. In the late morning we had a toilet stop near a lake where some hippos were swimming. Late in the afternoon we left the crater and made the drive past Maasai villages to the Serengeti. We passed Massai boys whose faces were painted in the traditional black and white having undergone their coming of age ceremony.
As we entered Serengeti we were greeted by giraffes who came right up to our jeep which was very exciting. We also spotted a carcass that had been dragged up a tree. We waited at the tree for over and hour hoping that whatever had dragged up the carcass would come back for it. With no luck, it was time to set up camp. That night we free camped in
the middle of the Serengeti where on the way to the toilet we spotted zebras. The previous night the group awoke to elephants and giraffes walking past their tents which made me a little nervous. There were no animals present during our nights sleep but we could hear hyenas laughing and awoke to a lion roaring. The following morning we returned to where the carcass had been left, after half an hour we were about to give up when a hyena turned up to the area which disturbed the leopard that had apparently been sitting at the foot of the tree the whole time! We were lucky enough to see the leopard wonder around for 10 minutes before it returned to its hiding spot under the tree. We have now seen the big five! (lion, leopod, buffalo, elephant, rhino.
We spent the rest of the morning on the roof of the jeep in search of more game, we viewed zebras beginning their migration which was pretty spectcualar. We also saw one poor zebra by itself with not another animal for miles, our guide said that it would be an easy target for the cheetah and lion in the
Lions close up.
area, which we all found very sad. Caught up in all the game viewing Aaron dropped our camera cap over the side of the jeep and had to walk into the park 50 meters against our guides wishes and collect it (the area is heavily populated with lions) He thought he was pretty awesome as he got to walk in the Serengetti. Just 3 minutes down the road our guide spotted a pride of lions eating a zebra. We pulled up right beside them and watched as the male lion gaurded the kill. It was a great way to end our safari days in Tanzania.
In the evening we returned to Arusha where we camped the night before driving to Marangu. We spent two nights in Marangu a small village at the base of Kilianjaro where we caught up on some washing and took a walk through the lush sourroundings passing through coffee plantations, rivers and waterfalls. We were able to walk through the local primary school which was closed as it was Saturday and visit the local tribes Chagga caves and houses. The caves were very interesting, our guide explained that they were used as a defensive mechanisim
against the local Maasai tribes. Our 20km walk also took us through the produce markets and high into the mountains where we we weaved through smaller villages on our way to the local blacksmiths.
After a long drive day and some terrible traffic we finally arrived in the capital of Tanzania, Da Es Salam. The drive into the capital was interesting, we had to be on the watch as often whilst in traffic things are stolen from cars and overland trucks. We thought we had got through unscaved, however we later discovered that the fuel cap had been stolen while we were in traffic. Our camp site was situted on Mikadi Beach which was absolutly beauiful, however the camp ground itself felt like a compound, there was security to get in and out of the campsite and warnings everywhere to remain within the marked areas. We are looking forward to our next stop, Zanzibar Island where we will stay for four nights.
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