Page 6 of Jabe Travel Blog Posts

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park July 8th 2009

As we wait for the car to be loaded up for our long drive to the Serengeti, I chat with one of the camp staff. Inevitably we end up on the subject of marriage and kids. As a greying, balding foreigner, presumably advanced in years, my unmarried status usually raises eyebrows, and I've long since decided to be honest by declaring that I don't want children (the constant lying in India about my fictitious wife and future brood proved too stressful). He chides me for not wanting children, saying that the Bible orders us all to go forth and multiply. I don't actually take orders from the Bible but, not wanting to add atheism to the list of my dodgy qualities in his eyes, I tell him that I would make an appalling father and it's ... read more
Lion in the shade
Wildebeest mini-migration
Lone jumbo

Africa » Tanzania » North » Lake Manyara July 5th 2009

I have a dismal night's sleep that's only partly alleviated by the egg and sausage that appears at breakfast, and the rest of the day sees me coughing and snivelling. The other three bear the presence of the contagious Englishman with admirable fortitude. Lake Manyara NP is close to the camp and is famous for its hippos, tree-climbing lions, and (at certain times of the year but not now) quantities of flamingos. However we strike out on much that's new and the six hours we spend there seem to last for twelve and the visit begins to drag - yes, just two days in and we're already getting fussy. The highlight is definitely the hippo pool. Here, we are allowed to leave the car and watch from behind barriers at an appropriate remove from the pool. ... read more
Thorn in my sight
Baboon PDA
Pelicans in flight

Africa » Tanzania » North » Tarangire National Park July 4th 2009

The day's delay means that I will be joined by M and his girlfriend K who has just flown in from Germany. There is one other customer, a New Yorker called P who lives barely a block from where I was in my Chelsea days, and when I ask about the Kiwi woman I'm told she has decided not to come. The suspicious part of my nature is fairly sure this was all a ruse on the part of the safari operator to eliminate the possibility of having to send me out on safari on my own. No matter, as the four of us bond quickly, all late-20s or older. It's good that there will only be four of us - the Landcruiser seats five but previous experience has shown that that's barely comfortable for plain ... read more
Elephant dobber
Ground hornbill

Africa » Tanzania » West » Kigoma June 25th 2009

Half the minibus to the Tanzanian border is filled by a family of Indian extraction. The husband, not a subtle man, gets his youngest child's attention then points at me and exclaims "Mzungu!" as though I'd just landed from one of the many places on the planet where being pointed at from a metre away and having your ethnicity shouted at you is considered as courteous and welcoming. I tut, roll my eyes, and shake my head - things have reached a pretty pass if even non-Africans are calling me mzungu. The road runs close to the shore of Lake Tanganyika for most of the distance to the border, and we even pass a paddling hippo at one point. There are three other English speakers in the minibus. Two of them are Rwandans working for a ... read more
Props to Dar es Salaam
Internet cafe

Africa » Burundi » West » Bujumbura June 22nd 2009

The minibus I catch to Bujumbura originates in Kigali, and I'm the only new boarder so I have the least comfortable seat available - and that's without taking into account the sizable lady next to me nor her luggage which is taking up all my legroom. However - and it's possible I dreamed this - the minibus also has aircon so I may be cramped but at least I'm cool. The border with Burundi is reached in barely half an hour and immigration is a model of efficiency. I'm stamped out of Rwanda, stamped in to Burundi, and even have time to change all my Rwandan francs at a price little different to that on Yahoo Finance - all within 45 minutes. Two hours later, after a hilly journey little different to those I took in ... read more
Lake Tanganyika and vegetation

Africa » Rwanda » Province du Sud » Butare June 17th 2009

Though Butare is only about 2 hours from Kigali, all the morning minibus departures seem to be at 6AM. Since the WLP was written, the town has been officially renamed to Huye (part of a nationwide renaming program for reasons I was unable to determine) - I buy my ticket from the counter labelled Butare but board a minibus signed Huye. I doze and listen to music as the tarmac road takes us through more green hills. Butare is a small, clean town that is home to the national university. Within Rwanda, it had long had a reputation for tolerance, and during the genocide many people fled here in the hope that they would find shelter. Sadly, the killing density in this area turned out to be one of the highest in the country. However I ... read more
My accommodation
The Beeb!!!
Road to nowhere

Africa » Rwanda » Ville de Kigali » Kigali June 15th 2009

I warm further to Rwandan minibuses when we leave Gisenyi on time and only half full but the comfort levels drop at Ruhengeri when the remaining seats are filled by other Kigali-bound passengers and their luggage. There are many wooden cylinders in various roadside trees, and it's only later that I figure out that they are beehives. We pass numerous signs along the way - I can't read any Kinyarwanda but the word "Jenoside" in red letters presumably means the obvious, and I come to the conclusion that these are memorial sites from the madness of 1994. There are many. Like in Uganda, carrying one's luggage/goods on one's head seems to be popular. We drive through one village where I see several people wearing Father Christmas hats, presumably for warmth, as well as one fellow in ... read more
Eternal flame

Africa » Rwanda » Province de L'Ouest » Gisenyi June 8th 2009

It's just a short taxi ride to the border with Rwanda and, after a delay due to Ugandan immigration being on a tea break, I'm soon in my sixth country of this trip. The first time in my life I heard of Rwanda was due to the horrific genocide that took place in 1994, but everything I've heard in the last few months has been indicative of a country with an eye to the future. Travellers have told of tarmac roads, scheduled buses with only one person per seat, and a ban on plastic bags. There have also been tales of massive interference in the affairs of DRC, in a bid to control some of the mineral wealth there. So it certainly seems as though Rwanda isn't mired in its tragic recent past. A cramped matatu ... read more
Beer on the beach
Anti-sugar daddy poster
Lake Kivu at sunset

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Kisoro June 5th 2009

As instructed by the Horizon bus company man the previous day, I arrive at the bus stop at 7AM in order to catch the service linking Kampala to Kisoro that passes through Kabale. This is also where the shared taxis depart from and one of the drivers tells me, in tones so solemn I assume he's BS-ing, that the bus passed through 2 hours before. I wait for 15 minutes but there's still no bus, and the shared taxi guy then tells me he's about to leave if I want to go with him. I look inside his car and discover that the stars have aligned for me - not only is he going to leave without a full complement of passengers, but the two women with whom I'll share the back seat are small and ... read more
Gate to the hotel
Congolese mask

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is only 14km from Kisoro but the prices I'm quoted for transport there and back suggest it's more like four times that distance. I'm told that the road is "very bad". I find this hard to believe - though the Mgahinga mountain gorillas are currently in DRC, this is still one of only four places in the world where you can (sometimes) see these creatures. And one rule of Africa so far seems to be that governments will spend lavishly on tourist infrastructure even while ignoring the needs of local people. I grudgingly hand over the money, fully expecting it to be a rip-off. My driver knows that I need to be at the park early in the morning so as to meet my guide for golden monkey tracking, so I'm less ... read more
Flowers and Mt Muhuvura
Some kind of sunbird

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