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Published: October 20th 2010
It’s been a while that I have been unable to update the blog. We left Rwanda and rolled onto Tanzania. We followed the southern shore of lake Victoria to the Serengeti/Ngorongo parks where we saw some incredible scenery and wildlife before stopping over in Arusha on the foot of Mt. Meru and Kilimanjaro (sadly there were clouds so we did not get to see anything at all) change truck. I had decided at that point to stay extra days in Zanzibar and wait for the next truck coming down this way. I will look forward meeting a new group and do the next leg of the journey and meet extra people even if I feel sad having waved goodbye to some great characters.
So I am now on my own in Nungwi on the northern tip of Zanzibar where I will relax and try to kite if the wind decides to pick up… I have still been unable or was too tired to bring the gear out for a session since landing on the continent. I was tempted to have a go in Entebbe, Uganda (Northern shore of lake Victoria) but crocodiles and hippos were a concern that I could not overlook. Dar el Salaam is also a nice spot and the wind was blowing but with one hour of sunlight left and 300Km of truck done that day it was just too much. Kiting in Africa is de facto challenging; hazards are numerous such as wildlife, water borne diseases, security on the beach, lack of public beach and access to spots… I might have to wait until Cape Town to get some after carrying 20kgs of gear all this way but T.I.A. (This Is Africa)
Serengeti and Ngorongo wildlife reserves were fantastic even if we went in the Serengeti with the truck and did not see that much of it as it is too big and not very mobile but the Ngorongo crater with the jeeps was a truly wonderful experience, being just centimetres away from lions, hyenas, cheetahs and plenty more… We managed to see a Cheetah chase an impala under torrential rain (no photos, it was too quick!), a lion pride sleeping with cubs playing and trying to climb trees, elephants crossing the road were we were, Hyenas stalking buffaloes and many more things… It’s quite hard to summarize and put in words… It’s a first hand experience worthwhile, beats the zoo.
In order to see all that we woke up almost everyday at 5 in the morning and have not explained the daily life on the truck yet. The trucks are Scanias (good suspensions were an option… shame) with custom built deck where you have the seats like in a bus 2 meters above the road, below are all the bags, tents and other necessary equipment in waterproof (supposedly) compartments. We cook, clean, secure and do the dish washing in teams rotating… If you are unlucky like our team; you cook 6 times when others cook once, add to this that if a team member is not your cup of tea then you have some work on your hands! We share tents with one other person (choose wisely!) and you just learn to do it and undo it in all weather and under 5 minutes, get on with the program!
With all these chores and the wide distances traveled or activities your day goes by without realizing it and the pace is frantic… I’m not used to travel in big groups (average so far: 25) and acclimation was a challenge as I don’t like to follow but I survived and will be much more prepared for the new smaller group coming down this way soon and will look forward to meeting the new guide and driver who are always locals. I met the co-owner of the company in Arusha and he facilitated my transfer onto the other truck (that is not a usual thing to do apparently) as it was mutually beneficial as my kiting gear was taking quite a lot of space which comes at a premium on a fully loaded truck.
I am trying to upload about 50 out of 6000 photos of the trip so far onto facebook and the link should display below, its open and you do not need to be on it to watch these:
Best of Africa so far
I hope once again that all is well with you and please know that all the various messages and comments I have received are duly read if not necessarily answered to due to lack of time and access to non-dial up internet… I only managed to call my parents for the first time since leaving France yesterday!
All the best from sunny yet windless Zanzibar!
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