Tanzania

Tanzania

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  • Day11

    We spent the morning driving around and found the same pride from the previous evening and spent along time following them as they walked along the river bed. Thankfully they didn't try to get the baby elephant that we saw at sunrise. Later we saw another huge pride with some playful young ones. Our time in the park was over all too quickly but we have seen alot of wildlife up close. It took about six hours to get back to our truck, thankfully we were passing through some Masai villages and beautiful landscape on the way. Back at snake park they had fed the snakes there once a week live meal. It was quite weird seeing large chickens crowing while sat next to a big snake. We were rooting fir the little white mice who survived the night!Read more

  • Day13

    Free day in the Kilimanjaro National Park, approximately 15km from Mount Kilimanjaro. Walked to Kilaysia waterfalls located at the bottom of a steep jungle covered ravine with three of our truckmates. Quick swim as it was freezing cold.
    Managed a quick glimpse of Kilimanjaro as the cloud covered it except for 20 minutes.

  • Day15

    Our truck is 21 years old, has six wheels and weighs about 9.5 tonnes. It's called Chui, meaning Leopard in Swaheli, as it is our drivers favourite animal. Our driver, Often, is fantastic and is from Nairobi. He has been doing this job for over 20 years, is very passionate and thorough with everything and keeps the truck immaculate and in good working order. It's not uncommon for him to do a full days driving then get under the truck to change something. We have an Australian guide, called Vicky, who is about the same age as us. She is really good at her job and is a good laugh too.
    The day starts with the cook group, who had cooked dinner the previous night, preparing breakfast 30 minutes before it is served , usually toast and porridge or eggs. Meanwhile everyone else is packing up their tent and belongings usually in the dark so we can get away early straight after breakfast. Often people pass the time on the truck looking out, listening to music, reading, sleeping or playing cards, using the big eskies as a table. Not always easy when the beach and sides are open. Roadside lunch stops are quick, with everyone helping the cook team to prepare it, either bean salad, pasta salad, salad sandwiches or cous cous. Some days we just pick up our own food from roadside cafes and stalls, like samosas. On the way to camp the new cook group will be given their budget and have to shop at either a market, roadside or supermarket and buy fresh ingredients for dinner, breakfast and lunch. Evening meals usually take up to 2 hours to prepare as alot of chopping is required. Meals are cooked on the three coal burners and require some careful management as hot water is also needed for washing up as well as cooking the meat, veg and carb dishes. Others put up tents, handwash clothes, sit around and chat, play cards or go to the camp bar. Most campsites are at a campground that is fenced in, has showers that are often heated by wood fires, or cold showers, toilets and a bar.
    Most people travelling are British, although we have some Australian, American, a Maltesse, Danish and an Ecuadorian with generally around 23 people. There are various places that people can join and leave.
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  • Day82

    Drove back down the scary hill and a few hundred kilometers to the Tanzania border.
    Driving in Malawi has been very stressful. There are just so many people on the road (walking, on bikes, on motorbikes…) and huge trucks on sometimes very narrow roads where the highway has become a single lane because the road has degraded on the sides. This is a country whose booming population seems to be seriously straining the available resources. While there’s tons of water around, the lake has been over-fished and there are virtually no trees left as people have needed the wood to build fires to cook.
    The border crossing into Tanzania was relatively straight-forward, though we found the officials to be much less friendly than in other countries.
    After crossing the border, we were struck by how much more developed and green it is in Tanzania. Most villages had very large, brick homes (we saw virtually no huts), very few people were walking on the roads and livestock was tended by shepherds so weren’t darting into the roadways. Trees and rolling hills of farmland were on both sides of the road- a stark contrast from Malawi.
    A few hours after entering Tanzania, our engine light came on and the Land Rover lost power. It wasn’t able to make it up hills. Of course it was getting dark, we were still ~30 KM outside of town, and our cell phone wasn’t working to call the owner for advice. We had to use the satellite phone! So glad we had it, and that it worked. We were told to try to limp the vehicle into town, which we did. Unfortunately, we were further delayed by over an hour when the police stopped us to issue a speeding ticket. We wanted proof of the speeding (police here use speed cameras and WhatsApp to tell the police down the road who to stop. We wanted to see the picture so had to go into the police station and wait for the cameraman to arrive). We eventually paid the $15 ticket before things developed into a new “Locked Up Abroad” episode and then drove slowly into town in the dark. Our worst nightmare (almost).
    Found a hotel, but it was full. Luckily a man in the parking lot recognized our South African plates and came up to us to ask where we were from. He was a South African working in Tanzania. He was able recommend another nearby hotel and was kind enough to escort us there given it was hard to find.
    The next day was spent sitting at the garage (luckily very near our hotel) while the mechanics tried to determine what the issue was. After several test drives and ruling out many issues, it was discovered that our diesel had been cut with kerosene. Apparently this happens because kerosene is cheaper than diesel and we believe the small Total station we stopped at in Malawi before crossing the border was at fault. Luckily they got us up and running again after changing the fuel filter, some sensors, and dumping over 80 liters of diesel (ugh!). We were just happy to be able to get back on the road.
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  • Day9

    We crossed the border again, back into Tanzania yesterday, spending the day travelling towards the Serengeti and passed some giraffes by the roadside. We spent the night at Snake Park, where they have a huge collection of snakes found around this area of Africa. Our guide was very knowledgeable which we found really interesting. They also have a clinic, treating over 1000 people a month, free of charge. It's the only clinic in the area that treats snake bites. They also treat other injuries including burns. In the afternoon we left the truck and went in 4x4 jeeps to a camp on the edge of the Serengeti area.Read more

  • Day10

    Another very early morning to get into the Crater just as the sun rose. It is an amazing place where the wildlife is contained within the 19km wide perfect crater wall, one of the largest unbroken ones in the world that is not a lake. We can see why it is a Unesco World Heritage site. The walls are between 400m to 610m tall and provide an incredible setting for lions, elephants, buffaloes, ostriches, buffaloes, zebra, reedbucks, hippos, black rhino and flamingos! We spent about 6 hours seeing all of these and were treated at the end by another lion kill. This time only two females worked together to catch a warthog and while they were devouring it two packs of hyenas were vying for the leftovers. While this was happening a brave little jackel kept sneaking in for some scraps. We then had another very bumpy fast drive for about another three hours to get into the Serengeti National Park. On the way a lorry passing slowly knocked the top of our landcruiser damaging it all the way along the side at the top. We weren't in the park long when we were really pleased to see a leopard resting on the top of a rock, then an unsuccessful chase by a pride of 20 lions to try and kill a buffalo. Our camp that night was in the heart of the park, no electric fences to keep the animals out. We had a giraffe pass through the camp and could hear animal calls in the night!Read more

  • Day89

    Because of the terrible, corrugated roads, we barely made it out of the conservation area on time - despite leaving at the crack of dawn. We arrived at the Serengeti gate and waited a few hours to enter so we would have time to exit the park (again on a 24 hour fee system) the morning of our departure.
    Serengeti is iconic and exactly what most of us picture when we think of Africa…endless grassy plains, acacia trees, abundant wildlife and beautiful rock formations. The wildlife here has not disappointed. We’ve had 4 separate cheetah sightings – one of a mother and 3 cubs (the cubs may just be the cutest animals we’ve ever seen?), 2 leopard sightings, lots of lions (including young cubs!), hyena, elephant and other grazers.
    We camped one night and then splurged for four nights in celebration of John’s birthday (we needed an excuse not to feel guilty) so we could experience staying in a tented camp. Yes, we’re paying several hundred dollars per night to sleep in a different tent. But, this one has a bathroom, a comfy bed, and includes all of our meals. We’ve also enjoyed a few lunches and a dinner outside. Christy was skeptical given all of our meals while camping are already outside, but it was a great experience with tablecloths, multi-course meals and no dishes afterwards.
    On John’s birthday, we were enjoying dinner outside when a male lion was seen lurking around in the shadows - which was quite surprising given there was a big fire, lanterns and ~12 other diners nearby. Fearless! For John’s birthday the staff made a cake and showered him and the other guests with lots of drumming, singing and dancing. We weren’t quite sure of the tradition, but enjoyed how they sang “happy birthday to Johnny” and invited everyone to come and shake his hand.
    The best thing about staying at the tented camp has been it’s outside of the busy area of Seronera, so we have had very good game drives where we only see half a dozen, instead of uncountable, safari vehicles. We’ve only come across one other self-driver since entering Tanzania and while we’d heard the safari drivers may not be friendly to our kind, we’ve found them to be fantastic and willing to share information about great sightings (they’re all connected by radio so they’re able to basically guarantee their clients see everything in a day or two). On our last day at the tented camp it absolutely poured with rain for hours and hours. We were so happy to be comfortably warm and dry inside a large tent versus in our small rooftop tent.
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  • Day95

    Set out relatively early with a plan to take a ferry across the lake to shave off a few hundred kilometers of driving. Sorted out our tickets and lined up for the ferry, only to realize that each trip took ~1 hour and given that not that many vehicles fit on each ferry and only one ferry was operating, our wait time would be ~3 hours or longer. John had befriended the ferry traffic control guy earlier, which was very handy when we decided to do the long drive versus wait indefinitely for the ferry. He helped us get out of line so we could carry on our way.
    The roads have been very good, but slow-going because of so many villages and schools requiring very slow speeds. At one of the police stops we were waved over, asked for our license and paperwork, then asked if we could give one of the police a ride to Dodoma (hundreds of kilometers away in largely the wrong direction). We again said we were forbidden to take any passengers (true) and were able to go on our way to Kahama where we found a hotel (we couldn’t find any camping along this non-touristy route) to stay the night.
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  • Day147

    We spent just two nights in historic Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Zanzibar was once the center for the slave trade for east Africa and Stone Town was the main administrative port. Narrow winding streets, buildings of stone and coral, and a mix of Arabic and European colonial architecture, mosques, churches and Hindu temples define this small town.
    We found a local guide to take us on a walking tour early in the morning before the full heat and humidity hit. Our guide, Yusef, did a great job highlighting the complicated and often tragic past of this town, including the slave market. The former slave market is now the site of a large Anglican church that was built after slavery was abolished. It was fascinating to have learned about Dr. Livingtone’s legacy in Malawi, then seeing his influence and abolitionist views had a huge impact in Zanzibar. In fact, there was a crucifix made from the tree where he died in Zambia displayed in the church.
    While here, we’ve enjoyed some good food and enjoyed wandering around and getting lost in the maze of streets and alleys.
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  • Day17

    Yesterday we took a two hour ferry across to the spice island, known as Zanzibar. The capital, also Zanzibar, is home to the old trading port area of Stone Town where spices and slaves were traded. Originally part of the Silk Road trading route and later the spice trade. The main exports from the island are spices and sugar.
    We drove up to the north of the island to Nungwi, which is a modernish beachfront 'resort'. Several hotels and bars line the white sand beach and is relaxed and fairly low key - certainly not a party resort.
    After an afternoon on the beach and the obligatory sundowner, we had an excursion the day after to Prison Island and snorkelling. Just off the coast of Zanzibar town, the small island was originally built to house prisoners in 1894. Due to an outbreak of disease, it became a quarantine island instead. Now home to hundreds of giant tortoises bought over from the seychelles some are over 190 years old, love cabbage leaves and a tickle behind their ears!
    Snorkelled just off the island where the reef drops away to deep turquoise ocean. Saw some beautiful angel fish before a fantastic fruit and samosa lunch aboard the boat. Finished the day with a meal overlooking the sea with 6 of the guys from the truck, plenty of laughter and a couple of small drinks.....
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You might also know this place by the following names:

United Republic of Tanzania, Tansania, Tanzania, Tanzanië, ታንዛኒያ, تانزانيا, República Xunida de Tanzania, Tanzaniya, Танзанія, Аб'яднаная Рэспубліка, Танзания, Tanzani, তাঞ্জানিয়া, Tanzanija, Tanzània, Tanzánie, Tanzania nutome, Τανζανία, Tanzanio, تانزانیا, Tansanii, Tanzanie, An Tansáin, તાંઝાનિયા, טאנזניה, तंजा़निया, Tanzánia, Տանզանիա, Tansanía, タンザニア連合共和国, ტანზანია, តង់ហ្សានី, ಟಾಂಜಾನಿಯಾ, 탄자니아, टंजानिया, ທານຊາເນຍ, Tanzānija, Танзанија, ടാന്‍സാനിയ, टांझानिया, Tanżanija, တန်ဇန်နီးယား, तान्जानिया, ତାଞ୍ଜାନିଆ, تانزانيه, Tanzânia, Tansanya, Tanzanïi, Tansaaniya, டான்சானியா, టాంజానియా, แทนซาเนีย, Tenisania, Tanzanya, تانزانىيە, Обʼєднана Республіка Танзанія, تنزانیہ, Tan-da-ni-a (Tanzania), Tansanän, Orílẹ́ède Tanṣania, 坦桑尼亚, i-Tanzania

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