Comfort Inn, Nairobi
$50,- incl. breakfast
Saturday 24 September 2005:
We got up at a quarter past 7. Our breakfast buffet consists of bread, butter, jam, baked egg, warm beans, baked potatoes, warm stuff with potatoes and vegetables, fresh fruit and cereals. Not bad, but pretty expensive for 5 dollar.
By 8.30 we start of to Nairobi. First stop, Gametrackers where we pay our local payments for the safaris. It turns out that our first safari to Tanzania is going to be a private tour. There are no other guests booked on this safari. We are unsure if we are going to be happy with that. The biggest short term advantage is that coming Monday we will be taken to Tanzania by Gametrackers. We do not need to be on a public transport bus at 6 o clock in the morning.
Straight after this we stop at a phone-store (there are many of those in Kenia), and buy a local phonecard for KenianShillings 350 (EUR 3.50). The sim-card is 100 Ksh and we buy prepaid minutes for 250 Ksh. Sensding an SMS is 10 shilling, so we can send 25 of those to the Netherlands. Thank you Orange, for not working (again...).
In the afternoon we buy a few botles to drink and a couple of bread-rolls in a supermarket. We have lunch in a local parc under a tree. We are bored beyond believe. Nairobi is a boring, slow town to us.
We decide to do something in the afternoon, so we call "our" taxi company. We want to go to a giraffe santuary and to the Carnivore restaurant. The restaurant is famous for serving wildlife. We negotiate a price of $110,- which includes everything.
We are driven to the giraffe sanctuary in luxury. Here are a bunch of tame giraffes that the tourists can feed by hand. A ranger is on the lookout for animal abuse, the giraffes will just walk away when they have had enough.
|All the food that falls to the ground is eaten by a herd of warthhogs. When we are through playing with the giraffes, we discover a nature trai on the other side of the road. It is supposed to be a 45 minute walk, so we go in without a guide. By the time we are done walking, we bump into a semi-wild giraffe. Litteraly. The giraffes are placed in this area to get used to living in the wild again. And believe me: giraffes are HUGE when standing at one meter ! By 17:30 we get back into the car and drive to the Carnivore. We send the driver home. We will call when we are done eating.|
The Carnivore menu consists of, among other things, ostrich, ostrich meatballs, camel, crocodil, turkey, beef, lamb, chickenstuff and a couple of other things. We ate till we plopped (crocodil tastes like mackerel, and camel tastes like nothing we have ever eaten before) and called the car at around 21:00 hours.
Comfort Inn, Nairobi
$50,- incl. breakfast
Sunday 25 september 2005
We think there is litle to do in Nairobi, so we sleep in and head for a day of relaxation. We get up at 9 and have a lazy breakfast and a long shower and finally leave the hotel by 11 o'clock. We do some minor shopping and have lunch with donuts in the parc. The rest of the day we do nothing. We dine in the restaurant of the hotel again, and today pay 9 dollar a head.
Comfort Inn, Nairobi
$50,- incl. breakfast
Monday 26 september 2005
Oh what a night. Yesterday we both got the runnings, and Niels was pretty sick this morning. Fortunately we do not have to go by bus to Tanzania,, so Niels can dive straight backinto bed after breakfast. Inge does coca-cola shopping.
By 10 we walk around the block to Gamtracker's office. In half an hour we are on our way. Our drive/guide introduces himself as Attah. Only a day later we figure out he is actually called Arthur. Just a small examnple of the communication problems we are going to encounter. The cook is Robert, and we are off with a standard Toyota Landcruiser.
To Arusha is 250 km, but the jeep can only go 80 per hour. The ride is long but beautiful. Niels is slowly getting better, but more than bread and butter will not stay down for lunch.
At the border we leave the car, and go with Arthur to get the needed stamps, licenses and entrance permissions. The car takes a lot longer to pass the border. Where we take 15 minutes, the car takes 2 hours.
And on we go to Arusha. Along the way we see a lot of Maasai warriors. They walk with cattle or try to sell stuff to tourists. The landscape is very diverse. While in Kenia the soil was mostly red, in Tanzania it is more yelow. Now and again we see trees, now and again we see nothing at all. We have not seen much wildlife, although in Kenia we saw some impala, dik-dik and a few ostriches. In Tanzania we seee quite a few donkeys. Tame or wild we never learned.
We arrive at the hotel in Arusha by 17:00, put our stuff in the room and leave straight out. There is still daylight, so we can look for something simple to eat. We find a lunchroom / restaurant that is willing to serve us with a breakfast sandwich for dinner. Our bill was 10000 Tanzanian Shilling (EUR 7.50). Niels goes straigh to bed, Inge remains on the terrace of the hotel to talk with a few people.
Naaz hotel, Arusha
Tuesday 27 september 2005
We are happy we have had another hotel-night. Inge now runs to the bathroom all night. We got up by 6, and took long showers. Breakfast is toast with butter. Arthur picks us up by 9.
We head for Lake Manyara. We see a lot of the locals along the way, and even spot a few wild giraffes. The landscape is different again every 5 minutes. We arrive at the campsite by 12:30 and pitch tents for the first time. While we were doing that Robert has prepared lunch. Toast and salad for Niels, toast and cheese for Inge.
After lunch we had some relaxation time, so we were bored within 5 minutes. We went into town, and had a nice walk around the village. Most people are nice enough, say hello, and go on with their business. Some we have trouble to get rid off. So we sat on porch of a local pub, and had a cola till everybody went their way. This also gave us a chance to have a look at the street.
When we are back on the campsite, we are loaded into the car straight away. We are going for our first gamedrive in Lake Manyara national parc. Even before we enter the parc we stumble on a group babboons. Once inside the parc we get stuck in a traffic jam. Fortunately the cars quickly dissolve into the parc. We saw elephants, baboons, giraffes, dik-diks, some sort of turkey, a set of rangers and a lioness.
We were supposed to be outside the parc by 19:00, but we saw so many things along our way we started the way back a litle late. We had to rush through the parc at high speed. Not comfortable, but exciting enough. At ten to seven, half in the dark, we almost ran over a lioness ! We had to wait for her to cross the road, unfortunately there was not enough light for pictures. We landed at the gate at 19:00 sharp, and continued along the way to our campsite. Robert had dinner ready and waiting for us: Soup with fish, spinach and fries. Desert was creme caramel.
During the gamedrive we damaged the exhaust. It will have to be fixed tomorrow. Inge has been on the toilet for the rest of the evening and night...
Twiga Camp, Lake Manyara
Wednesday 28 september 2005
We were supposed to be on our way to the Serengetti, but Inge has to have a free road to the bathroom. If we go to the Serengetti campsite, Inge will not be able to go to the bathroom when needed because of wild animals roaming the terrain, and that is not a smart thing to do now. Because there is only us in this group, we decide to stay another night on a "normal" campsite.
We have a slow morning, and leave around 10 o'clock for a town called Karatu. We start of on a japanese built highway that leads up the hill steaply. At the top the road seems endless. We arrive at Karatu by 1130, pitch tents and chill out. Inge is put on a diet: small amounts of coca cola and toast. It seems to work !
At around 14:00 we ghet bored again, and walk to town. According to a sign it was 600 meter from the main road to the camping. It took us more than half an hour. The temperature is high, and neither of us is in top condition. Karatu turns out to be a long street with houses along side. There is a lot to do here. The locals are friendly and less "sticky" than yesterday. It remains warm, but we go along slowly. Inge seems to get a litle better every step of the way. We buy some whole grain cookies and drink cola outside a restaurant. We almost make it to the end of town, before we head back.
We are back at 17:00, and dinner is served by 18:30 : bouilion for Inge and spaghetti for Niels. We take another shower and head in the tents by 22:00
Kudu camp, Karatu
Thursday 29 september 2005
|We get up at 6, because we have to be ready and packed by 7, before breakfast. We leave at 7:30 and head for the Ngorongoro crater. We pass the first gate after an hours drive, and leave the asphalt-road. Arthur knows how a gaspedal works, and keeps the speed up while we drive up the crater on the outside. We have to get to the top, and drive along the rim, before we can descend into the crater. To our horror the higher we go, the darker it gets. There is a huge fog-cloud hanging over the crater. We arrive at the downward road by 9:15 and fortunately the sky is slowly clearing.|
|A jackhal passes by and a herd of cranebirds also joins the view. On the other side of a small hill lies a small pond. The water is filled with hippos. Around it quietly walk karibu birds. In the distance a group of hyenas takes its afternoon sleep. A secretary bird passes in front. We brought lunch along, so by midday we stop at a picknick place inside the crater. After moving on we see that all of the cars have come together in one corner of the crater. We do a car-count and loos track at 30 (!). Something supersensational must be here to look at ! We join the line and wait. After about 15 minutes the supersensation walks by. A pack of young male lion is practicing their hunting skills on a hippo who could not care less. The lions get bored because the hippo does not even blink at them, walk off and have a nap. All of the sudden most tourist loose interest.|
Serena camp, Serengeti
Friday 30 september 2005
|We got up at 6 and had breakfast ith tea and cookies so that we could go on the second gamedrive in the Serengetti early. We leave at 6:30 and right outside the campsite we stumble upon giraffes, zebras and impalas. We are on our way to the garage to get our tire fixed, drive slowly and spot hyena, buffalo, some sort of monkey, topi and waterbock. At the garage are a sort of marmots that seem to be called Hyrax. We leave the tire behind, make a bathroom stop, and are on our way again. We see elephants, ostriches, a lot more impala and continue to be on the lookout. Suddenly in the distance we see some movement. We ask Arthur to stop the car, and with the binoculars Niels recognizes a leopard in the grass. Inge tries to video the animal, but for pictures it is way too far out. We tell Arthur we can not take pictures, so he may move on, and all of the sudden he spots some dirt-trail and takes us to 1 meter distance from the leopard ! With a smoking camera we move on. We never saw any other vehicle near that leopard.|
Simba camp, NgoroNgoro krater
Saturday 1 oktober 2005
We have had a cold and windy night. It must have been windforce 8 ! The tent survived and so did we. At 6 o'clock we get up to see the sun rise at the crater rim, after which we get back into bed.
Robert has breakfast ready at 8. We ate, took down the tent, and sat down. Waiting for what will happen now. Around 10 a new driver and car arrived. Plus the Gametrackers Tanzania manager. We have had a talk with Robert the day before, after the fight with Arthur, and we had already decided not to make to much trouble for Arthur, so we told about the broken down car, and litle more. Arthur still wanted to take the original car to Karatu, a 2 hour drive downhill. The manager told him to shut up, and get the car fixed right here and now, because it is way to dangerous to drive a car without shockabs down the hill. Even without customers onboard. So while we were transported downhill by another car and driver, Arthur was in the garage at the Ngorongoro crater to get the car fixed.
We were brought to Arusha town, where we stopped at a large (south african) supermarket chain. We bought a bag full of school stuff which we want to give out at a local school Monday. The children need our help way more then the salespeople on the street !
We pitched tent, and had lunch. After lunch we walked through Arusha till 18:00 when dinner was served. Robert lives nearby, so he will sleep at home tonight. Arthur reached the campsite by 21:00 with a fulle repaired car. We went to bed at 21:30.
Maasai camp, Arusha
Sunday 2 oktober 2005
This is the worst campsite we have been on all our lives. It turns out the campsite double serves as nightclub. And this nightclub has no sidewalls, so we were bouncing in our beds till 4 in the morning ! If you ever come near the Maasai camp in Arusha, please leave. Find another place to stay. Increddible that tourists are stored here !
We had breakfast at 8 and by 9:15 we were on our way to the Arusha natinal parc. Even Arthur has had a bad night due to the noise, so we take it slowly.
We arrive at the Arusha National Parc around 10:30, pass the gate and stumble right into a herd of giraffe, zebra and warthhogs. Immediately it is clear this is a completely different parc from the ones we have already visited. Everything is green and growing. Trees are all over the place and lots of plantlife. When we drive up the mountain it seems we are in the middle of the jungle ! Arthur tries to bring us to a lake with flamingos in it, so we drive almost all the way around the lake before we find out it can only be reached from within the parc boundries. We enjow lunch next to the lake, and continue on this gamedrive up the hill. In the parc there is also a crater, and we stop frequently to have a look down. Along the way we break out necks on the butterflies. There must be a gazillion here !
We make a stop at the parc-museum and are called outside in a hurry. In the trees surrounding the museum the locals have spotted a group of colobus monkeys. Perfect black and white with the most beautifull fluffy tail we have ever seen.
Naaz hotel, Arusha
Monday 3 oktober 2005
We leave the hotel by 10 o'clock, and pass the border quickly this time. It takes less tahn half an hour to get back into Kenia.
As soon as we hit Kenia we stop at a school. We bought pencils, pens and more school stuff, and would like to give this to the people that need it. We send Arthur ahead to clear a path and wait for his return. All of the students are out in center of the school. It turns out today is the day of the eclipse, we had completely forgotten about. Than 300 children come running to the car to show us to the headmaster. We get to look through a piece of glass that has smoke on it, so we even get to see the eclipse ! We talk to the headmaster and hand him all the pens and stuff to pass out to the children that need it the most. We pass out the pencils to the highest grade ourselves. They have final exams in a few weeks and have to fill in the questions with a pencil.
We head on and arrive in Nairobi by 16:45. We give Arthur our last Tanzanian Shillings (20 Euro worth) and went to sleep under the shower...We go out for some shopping and eat out at a fastfood pizzeria next door to the hotel. Superb food after a weeks worth of overcooked vegetables ! A large pizza sets us back 690 Shilling (lets say 7 euro), feeds two and is worth every cent !
We doi some more laundry on the room, and head to bed at 21:45
Comfort hotel, Nairobi
$50,- incl. breakfast.