Page 3 of rrruss Travel Blog Posts

Africa » Malawi » Northern » Nyika Plateau January 16th 2019

The Mushroom Farm really does exist, and it’s a magical place. Sometimes you hear about a place from a few people and when you get there it disappoints. Well, Mushroom Farm managed to exceed our lofty expectations. Thanks to all who recommended it. There’s no gain without pain though. Getting there is far from easy as an independent traveller, and even with your own wheels it’s challenging. A minibus dropped us off by the main road at Chitimba where the Mushroom Farm have a small office. Stanley was waiting there for us and made sure that any transport heading up the hill didn’t leave without us. We had been warned that we might face a wait of a few hours so we were quite happy when, after just an hour and twenty minutes, we were loaded ... read more

Africa » Malawi » Lake Malawi » Chitimba Beach January 13th 2019

The majority of travellers head to Chitimba when visiting this part of Lake Malawi. We opted for a couple of nights at Maji Zuwainstead. We were attracted by the contribution they make to the local economy and the possibility of seeing some development work in progress. It didn’t quite work out that way. Our minibus dropped us off by the main road and we dragged our luggage along a rough track for about a mile to the entrance. Having booked on we were disappointed to find that they were not expecting us but pleased because the walk-in rate is substantially lower than on the website. The downside of not being expected was that the rooms were not exactly in a welcoming condition, or at least we hope that was the situation. Although our “gold” room ... read more

Africa » Malawi » Northern » Karonga January 11th 2019

Getting out of a shared taxi in the centre of Karonga was bedlam. We had to fight off so many drivers wanting to take us on deeper into Malawi and they didn’t seem to understand the idea that we were staying in town. We shoved our way through the crowd and dragged our bags along the dusty road towards the Kapata Lodge.For the equivalent of £15 we had a huge room with air conditioning but the furniture made it seem like a museum and the number of mosquitoes had us slightly concerned about the night ahead. A bit of mozzie killer (from the local Tesco, I kid you not!) and a large net over the bed meant it wasn’t actually a problem. There isn’t a great deal to the town. In her diary Trish described it ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » West » Mbeya January 7th 2019

The bus ride to Mbeya was uneventful once we got going. Having eventually been put on the correct bus, our seats were occupied and the man sat there refused to move. The conductor remonstrated with him but to no avail. Instead we were put in the row in front of our stubborn friend, hoping than nobody wanted to oust us from our new-found seats. We nearly got off the bus on the outskirts of Mbeya because a fellow passenger told Trish we had arrived. The journey from there to the central bus station took another 25 minutes through heavy traffic. Getting off the bus we were charged to get our luggage back. Then we managed to negotiate a reasonable taxi fare to get to our hotel. We opted to stay in the Desderia Hotel because it ... read more
The best food in Tanzania
Learning about Tanzanian coffee at the Ridge Cafe

Africa » Tanzania » Centre » Iringa January 5th 2019

We were feeling pretty grumpy when we got to Iringa. Part of the journey had been up a steep hill with many, many hairpin bends stuck behind enormous trucks moving at walking pace. The rest of the journey had been mostly spent travelling at 50kph as that is the speed limit most of the time and people seem to obey it. It was also punctuated by vicious speed humps which caused passengers to hit their heads on the roof and land back down in gaps between seats as there were not enough to go around. The bus didn't actually go into Iringa but to a small drop-off area a few kilometres out of town. We managed to get a taxi straight away and felt pleased with ourselves negotiating such a good price to get to our ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » East » Morogoro January 3rd 2019

The coach journey to Morogoro was uneventful and fairly comfortable. We were dropped of at the bus station a few kilometres out of town and soon found a taxi to take us to url=;highlight_room=#hotelTmplMama Pierina’swhere we had arranged to stay for a couple of nights. The accommodation is very basic but then the price reflects that, and the climate is so humid that only having cold water in the shower was more of a blessing than a curse. There isn... read more

Africa » Tanzania » East » Dar es Salaam January 1st 2019

So, Dar Es Salaam is not the capital city of Tanzania? Well, you learn something every day. It sure looks like a capital! It turns out that Dodoma is the actual capital but Dar is where everything happens. We opted for a bit of comfort for our stay in the city. The Tanzanite Executive Suiteswas certainly that. We had a MASSIVE suite complete with its own kitchen - not that we used it other than for washing our clothes and utilising the fridge! It was a very good choice ahead of some of the backpacking hardships we were anticipating in the weeks to come. The hotel is located very close to the city's main mosque. Although the country is not specifically Muslim, this area is. Several other mosques were in close proximity but we were never ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » Zanzibar December 30th 2018

Getting to Zanzibar was easy! We flew with Precision Air from Arusha's tiny airport to Zanzibar's International but not-much-bigger airport. It was all a bit rustic but it was a pleasant enough experience. Before we knew it we were in a pre-arranged taxi and on our way to our hotel just outside of Zanzibar town. The Zanzibar Ocean View Hotelwas more or less deserted! It was a little more rustic than we had anticipated for the price but it was ok and the restaurant served a great breakfast. It wasn't all good though. On our first night there was a very loud wedding party but they finished at 10pm which wasn't so bad. Christmas Day was a different matter though and the Christmas party (that us paying guests were not part of) had music so loud ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Ngorongoro Conservation Area December 21st 2018

The third and final leg of our safari took us into the Ngorogoro crater.That meant a very early start with breakfast ready for 6am and departure soon afterwards. It’s quite a drive up to the crater and there’s a lot of altitude to be gained so to maximise the time in the park, sacrifices have to be made. That means sleep is less important! From the rim of the crater the whole world seems to open up before you. It’s hard to imagine that you are in fact looking down on a volcanic crater. Technically it’s a caldera as part of the crater wall collapsed many moons ago. As you approach the crater floor the road gets pretty rough in places. We were so thankful to have Josh from Joash Africa Wilderness Insight at the wheel ... read more
Two warthogs go head to head!
Buffalo licking its nose!
We couldn't believe how close we were to the lions

Africa » Tanzania » North » Lake Manyara December 20th 2018

Our second national park in Tanzania was Lake Manyara.It took a few hours to get there and heavy overnight rain hadn’t helped the state of the roads. Along the way we passed several Masai villages. They are quite recognisable by the round mud huts but as the years go by, more and more Masai are living in brick houses. Once inside the park we were immediately surrounded by a troop of large baboons. They were uninterested in us, but it was a great start to the day. Soon enough they were joined by a troop of black faced vervet monkeys. These two species live peacefully alongside each other – a fine example to humanity. With thick vegetation all around us it was hard to spot anything, but Josh from Joash Africa Wilderness Insight was so good ... read more
Close up and personal with an elephant
Watch out, there are monkeys about!
A tower of giraffes

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