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    • Day 42

      32. Tanzania: Arusha & Maasai People

      June 18, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 75 °F

      On our way inland towards Serengeti, we passed through the bustling town of Arusha, which is in close proximity to Mt. Kilimanjaro, and home to 2.3 million people. We toured a Maasai village, and I took my first camel ride.

      Maasai people are nomadic pastoralists, and male and female roles are well defined. The men protect the women and the cattle & goat herds, the women do everything else. They build and take down the home when they move, they have and raise the babies and handle the food, water, washing - pretty much everything.

      A Maasai man's wealth is judged by the size of his family and his cows. Women fetch 10 cows each when they get married, so men want daughters. Of course, this is not so hard when you have many wives.

      Think you'd rather be male than female? Boys are circumsized at age 14. No anesthesia. They have recently stopped circumsizing the girls.

      We stayed at a place called Meserani Snake Park - they had crocodiles there - i added a rew pix.
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    • Day 31

      Goodbye Africa - It Was Magical

      November 13, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

      My 4-week safari trip around Lake Victoria has come to an end. It is with a crying and smiling eye that I say goodbye to newfound friends, an amazing continent and all the wild animals.

      I can wholeheartedly say that I managed to get everything out of this overland tour that I wanted and then some more:

      1) Managed to finally spot the leopard and thus completed seeing the Big Five
      2) Saw an incredible amount of animals with the highlight being some playful lions 2 meters away from our 4x4
      3) Visited the three most renowned national parks in East Africa (Masai Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater) and other hidden gems (Lake Nakuru, Lake Mburo)
      4) First time kayaked and did Grade V rapids - nearly died, but that story is for another time
      5) Got an interesting, even if devastating insight into the causes, effects and aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda - something I wanted to see since I watched Hotel Rwanda many years ago
      6) Had an amazing time with my fellow travellers on the truck and made friends along the way - even if those looooong drives on the truck kinda suck
      7) Saw four different countries (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania)

      To make a long story short: amazing memories to last a lifetime, great new friends to be seen again and finally saw all the Big Five (gotcha you leopard!) and Ugly Five and invented the Sexy Five (Giraffe, Thomson Gazelle, Cheetah, Flamingo and Zebra).

      Goodbye Africa for now. I will see you later. Asia, here I come.
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    • Day 189

      Snake Park & Camp

      September 20, 2018 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

      Als sei die „Möchtegern-Maut“ nicht Strafe genug gewesen, wurden wir gestern auf dem Weg nach Arusha zusätzlich noch von der Polizei zur Seite gewunken, weil wir wohl zu schnell waren. Sébs Verhandlungskünste hauten uns hier aber verlustfrei raus. 😅 Im Snake Park & Camp angekommen, trafen wir auf eine Trucker Bar wie man sie wohl eher im Wilden Westen vermuten würde. Hier hatten sich unzählige Besucher mit ihren beschrifteten T-Shirts verewigt, die die Wände und Decke zierten. Eine entspannte Atmosphäre, die auf uns abfärbte. Bei gutem Essen und Bier 🍻 ließen wir den aufreibenden gestrigen Tag sowie das gesamte Abenteur Afrika dort gemütlich ausklingen.

      Das Snake Camp verdankt seinen Namen dem Schlangen Zoo, der direkt nebenan ist. 🐍 Hier werden die unterschiedlichsten Schlangen gehalten, um Gegengifte für das gesamte Land zu produzieren und sowohl Einheimische als auch Touristen über die Gefahren und Verhaltensweisen aufzuklären. Wir bekamen einen Guide an unsere Seite gestellt, damit man sich die vielen Schlangen und auch andere exotische, einheimische Tiere nicht nur anschaute, sondern auch vieles Spannende über sie und ihren Lebensraum lernte. Schnell wurde uns bewusst wie leichtsinnig wir mit halbnackten Füßen/Beinen durch die Masai Steppen gewandert waren und waren froh, dass uns eine Begegnung erspart blieb. Kleine, ungiftige Schlangen durften wir sogar kurz anfassen, wie auch Riesenschildkröten. Von den Krokodilen und Kormoranen lässt man hingegen besser die Finger. 😉🐍🦅🦉🐢🦎🐊🐫

      Als letztes besuchten wir hier ein kleines Masai Museum, wo wir nicht nur viel über das Leben, den Alltag, die Werkzeuge, das Zuhause und die Riten der Masai lernten. Am meisten staunten wir über die für uns grausamen, für die Einheimischen ehrenhaften Beschneidungszeremonien, die wohl seit einiger Zeit nicht mehr an Frauen vollzogen werden dürfen. Hmm, wer‘s glaubt... Unser Guide hatte sich selbst Deutsch als Sprache beigebracht und gab sich sehr viel Mühe uns die Tour in unserer Heimatsprache anzubieten. Mal wieder ein sehr sehr netter junger Mann, der sich all unseren neugierigen Fragen stellte und sich gerne mit uns austauschte.

      Und nun cruisten wir noch ein wenig durch die Stadt Arusha, weiter zum Flughafen und danach ging es schon weiter mit dem Flieger nach Sansibar. In Stonetown (Westküste Sansibar) verbrachten wir unsere erste Nacht. Auf Empfehlung von unseren deutsch-polnischen Jeep Vormietern Waldemar und Ewa hin aßen wir abends vorzüglich im „Africa House“ Hotel mit atemberaubenden Blick auf die über dem Meereshorizont untergehende Sonne. 🌅 Fotos zu Stonetown folgen, wenn wir in einigen Tagen nochmals einen Ausflug hierhin machen. Doch nun herrscht erstmal Vorfreude auf Mama und Papa Piec, die morgen auf Sansibar zu uns stoßen. 🤗😍❤️
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    • Day 22

      Journey to the Serengeti

      December 16, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      We had a rare leisurely morning on the campsite with a later breakfast of cereal and cinnamon fried bread at 9am. I packed my tent and possessions for the three day safari in the Serengeti. One vehicle took our tents on ahead which they would pitch at the camp ground for our arrival. After breakfast, we sauntered up to a big display of live rescued snakes and were shown man eating sized pythons and other extremely poisonous snakes like the puff adder and the lethal Black Mambo. It left us all not wanting to stray too far into the long grass on our forthcoming safaris! It was wonderful to see the beauty of these remarkable creatures up close though. We then moved on to see the rescued birds including two eagle owls, a vulture and a stunning looking goshawk. We also saw monitor lizards, several crocodiles, tortoises and turtles. Our final wildlife encounter was to be able to hold one of the harmless snakes and feel its soft, cool, muscular skin and body move through our hands. It was wonderful to see and handle these creatures up so close and the guide was very knowledgable and answered all our questions. Then we were handed over to a Maasai guide who took us through a museum of Maasai culture which was equally informative and fascinating. He showed us a traditional wood and mud daubed Maasai house, the clothing and implements worn and used by the Maasai, how the Maasai pierce the jugular veins of their cattle to draw blood into vessels to drink without harming the cattle in the longterm, and also the initiation rights such as male and female circumcision (female circumcision is no longer widely practiced because it is outlawed) which is traditionally followed by a big celebration. We saw the famous Maasai spears and how they use acacia thorn enclosures to protect their livestock and themselves from predators. We then moved on to a wonderful double row of traditional mud and wooden roundhouses full of colourful jewellery and crafts made by local Maasai women who looked beautifully tall and elegant in their Maasai traditional clothing, with a deep soulfulness that is hard to describe in words as it is a presence only witnessed in the meeting of them. I asked one particular woman, with a deep, dignified presence, if I could take her photo and she kindly assented. We returned to the campsite, had a pasta lunch, loaded the 4x4 safari vehicles and set off for the Serengeti across low tree filled plains dotted with many Maasai herders with their flocks of goats and herds of cattle. We stopped briefly at a Maasai market which was a blazing riot of colour with vivid oranges, yellows and blues of the Maasai clothing combining with the bright colours of the fruit and vegetables. We passed some very large termite mounds by thre roadside. We continued through lush green countryside towards the enormous escarpment at one edge of the rift valley with very high sheer cliffs which we climbed in the safari vehicle for quite some time, looking back over huge forested plains leading to lake shores on the horizon of shimmering turquoise, greys and pinks. We passed enormous baobab trees that must have been hundreds of years old. As we crossed over the other side of the escarpment, we arrived at our next campsite, Flamingo Safari Lodge, where our tents were erected in neat, regimented rows. We settled in to the nice campground where dinner was prepared for us by a chef. There we rested until dinner was served. The three course meal was delicious, with soup followed by fish, vegetables and roast potatoes with fruit slices for dessert. I had a cold shower and retired to be ahead of a 4.30am rise for our morning safari the following day.Read more

    • Day 107

      Meserani Snake Park

      August 21, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

      We arrived at Meserani Snake Park, our home for the night, at around 5.15pm. This campsite is an overlanding institution, run by a South African lady from Durban, known to everyone as Ma. Her and her husband started the camp from scratch in 1993. She now runs the place with the help of local staff, her husband having died, and her children having settled in the US.

      Having looked around and declined the offer to visit the snake park, we decided against an upgrade and went to pitch our tent. It’s the busiest campsite we’ve been on in terms of the number of overlanding trucks here! We counted seven!! By the time we’d put up our tent, the camping area was full of identical tents!! Luckily, we’d camped on the edge of the area so we could easily identify which tent was ours. Those in the middle had fun finding their accommodation later! 😂

      Once we were set up, we went to the bar where we chatted to Ma while we enjoyed a cold drink. She’s a real character. She showed us her ‘stupid book’, where she notes down all the daft questions overlanders ask her! There were some classics in there, including ‘How many different animals make up the big five?’!! We told her about the traveller on our previous leg (who shall remain nameless!), who asked the guide if rhinos give birth to live babies!! She said she’d add it to the book! We found an entry from ‘Katie from Dragoman’ – I can only assume it’s the same Katie who led our West African trip. Her anecdote was about a Sarah from the UK – I hope it’s NOT the same Sarah who joined us on our leg from Cape Town to Vic Falls! She had been on several Dragoman trips, though, so it could be her!! 😂

      Mark was chatting to Ma about motorbike racing. Her brother is Kork Ballington, four time world champion from the same era as Barry Sheene and Giacomo Agostini. He was racing when Mark was stewarding at Silverstone and Brands Hatch. Ma was very proud to show us a copy of Kork’s autobiography, ‘Ballington Uncorked’. There were some great photos in it that brought back lots of memories for Mark!

      We stayed in the bar until dinnertime. Ibrahim had prepared cucumber soup to start with. Mark said it was delicious. I passed on it, given my aversion to the said vegetable! 😂 Main course was stir-fried beef with turmeric rice. It was very tasty.

      After dinner, Nash gave us the briefing about tomorrow. There is another hike to some caves and a waterfall. He told us that it is more challenging and longer than the one we did yesterday. Given that we found that one tough in the heat, we have already decided that we will give tomorrow’s a miss. Nash said he could arrange extra rangers to guide people back if they found the hike too much. He said we would have to wait on the truck if we didn’t walk. We don’t mind! We’ll get caught up on some photos and things while we’re waiting.
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    • Day 35


      November 13, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

      I had said most of my goodbyes last night as everyone else was gifted a sleep in a part from those who were leaving the tour today. But it was still quite sad, taking everything off the truck, saying goodbye to Joe and Josh, our guide, and our driver, and boarding my shuttle. They were great and quite patient with what ended up being an impatient group. Regardless, I would miss the crew, the kiwis especially as we had all grown to be quite close after a month of traversing the challenges associated with managing a budget tour. Nonetheless, I had to move on, and I am glad to have met them all. What lie ahead was a long day of driving, though not as long as I had expected, and then a lot of waiting. I was very used to the big yellow truck that takes double the amount of time to get anywhere due to its size. When I expected to arrive at 5 pm at the airport, we actually arrived at 2 pm. As such, the option to sleep overnight at the airport diminished. In the end, they said I was too early to enter the airport, but they were very nice and were happy to try and organise accommodation. They tried to get me to go to the expensive ones right next to the airport, but I had already enquired at a much cheaper place at a reduced rate because my stay was quite short. They were still very helpful in organising me a taxi to the accommodation and one back to the airport at 1 am. Although Kenya is quite safe, the capital of Nairobi is not necessarily, and so I was nervous about having to organise a taxi at that time. But, this way, my safety was assured. In the end, it was a good idea. It was 100 aud total, but I got a stress free taxi ride, and actually a quite nice hotel that I could shower and rest at. I arrived at about 3 pm and decided I would drop my stuff off and go try some African KFC. It was quite good, but more than anything, the customer service was great, yes even at KFC. The people in Kenya are amazing and so helpful. I got chatting to one of the workers who had been to Sydney and Perth. We spoke for quite a while before eventually I made my order and sat down to eat. Before i left, I got some snacks for my time in Madagascar, as there doesn't appear to be many supermarkets in Nosy Be. After all this, I fell asleep at about 6 pm, I thought I would struggle, but clearly enough late nights assisted with going straight to sleep. In fact, I fell asleep almost instantly. This meant I woke up at midnight, having got 6 hours of sleep. Not too bad at all. Then the travel day begins.

      I have compiled a summarised list of all the significant animals that were spotted during my month long tour of East Africa as well as the locations in which they were spotted. This may help with African travel planning.

      They are categorised based on an East African Animal book, with some facts included where possible.

      Big cats
      - Leopard - Masai briefly & lake Nakuru up close
      - Cheetah - Masai, fastest land animal - up to 112km but only for 300m
      - Lion - Masai, lake nakuru, ngorongoro really closely - females catch the food and males fight among themselves

      Small cats
      - Wildcat - haven’t seen yet
      - Serval - haven’t seen yet
      - Caracal - haven’t seen yet

      Ground primates
      - Olive baboon - ngorogoro and other places - best defence is to run up trees and shower intruders with liquid excrement. Bad night vision.
      - Chimpanzees - haven’t seen yet
      - Vervet monkey - seen at hike in campsite before Serengeti
      - Mountain gorilla - Bwindi

      Arboreal primates (trees)
      - Greater galago - haven’t seen yet
      - Black and white colobus - haven’t seen yet
      - Blue monkey - haven’t seen yet

      Cud chewing mammals
      - Wildebeest - everywhere
      - Thomsons gazelle - everywhere
      - American buffalo - everywhere, most aggressive animal
      - Gerenuk - haven’t seen yet
      - Uganda kob - haven’t seen yet

      Hoofed mammals
      - Giraffes - everywhere, both Rothschild and Masai
      - African Elephant - everywhere, great night vision, can climb nearly vertical
      - Plains Zebra - everywhere
      - Black rhino & white rhino - At lake Naikuru. Black more aggressive. Ziwa just white rhinos. White with bump. Black feed in bushes and babies follow the mum whereas white feed in long grass and babies in front
      - Rock hyrax - Hells gate and morning hike Serengeti
      - Hippos - Seen at Masai (broken leg), lake Nakuru, lake Mboro, Serengeti, and ngorongoro. Kill the most people can’t swim, tread water and stay there to cool down & protect themselves from sunburn.
      - Warthog - everywhere, bend on their legs when they eat because they can’t reach the grass

      - banded mongoose - in Serengeti, popped heads up
      - Hyena - everywhere. Female has a pseudo penis - anal, give birth & signal
      - Black back Jackal - Masai, Serengeti
      - Golden jackal - ngorogoro
      - Hunting dog - haven't seen yet
      - Honey badger - haven’t seen yet

      Birds of prey
      - White-backed vulture - seen Serengeti
      - African fish eagle - lake mboro and ngorogoro
      - Secretary bird - Serengeti and ngorogoro
      - Bateleur - seen unsure
      - Augur buzzard - ngorogoro

      Other birds
      - Lilac breasted roller - Kenya national bird, Masai
      - Lesser flamingo and greater flamingo - Lake naikuru and ngorogoro
      - Ostrich - Serengeti, Masai, Ngorongoro
      - Shoebill - seen where?
      - Grey-crowned crane - On the way to Uganda & in Kenya, national bird Uganda, ngorogoro
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    • Day 17

      Meserani Snake Park Camp

      June 25, 2017 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Tonight we are staying at the Meserani Snake Park Camp, as the name suggests there is a Snake Park attached to the camp site - this does not interest me in the slightest, if anything it scares me so I did not go see the snakes haha.

      I forgot to take pictures of the camp site but it was average compared to where we have been staying, there was no grass and the facilities were average.

      It was run but an elderly couple who were a good laugh, they had set up a pretty good bar with a dart board and plenty to look at on the walls and roof, as you can see from the photos - it was a typical outback bar! There were so many photographs and things to look at.
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    • Day 21

      Meserani Snake Park Camp

      June 29, 2017 in Tanzania ⋅ ☀️ 10 °C

      We made it back to Meserani Snake Park Camp and we were reunited with Chris and Carrie which was nice, it just isn't the same without them.

      Unfortunately we were no longer with the other tour company which meant that we had to set up our own tent again *sigh* and help with cooking / cleaning duties.

      Once the tent was set up it was a race to the shower block as everyone hadn't had a shower for a couple days because of the lack of facilities. I managed to get first shower!
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    • Day 50

      Die letzte längste Fahrt

      February 24, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

      Zum Glück hatten wir alle Platz im Bus und machten uns für die 12 Stunden schön bequem.
      Im Lando frühstückten wir und schmierten wir unsere Sandwich. Das war einbisschen umständlich und ruttelig, aber machbar. :D

      Am Abend kamen wir endlich an und trafen unsere andere Hälfte im Campingplatz.
      Zelte aufgebaut, Fußball geguckt und Karten gespielt.
      Nach dem leckerem Abendessen mussten wir unsere Taschen wieder umpacken. Am nächsten Tag geht's mit 3 Jeeps auf zum Nationalpark.
      Da sollte man am besten so wenig Gepäck wie möglich haben, weil wegen Platzmagel.
      Wir wollten für den nächsten Tag fit sein, also gingen wir früh schlafen.
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