After years and years of thinking about this, we finally made the decision: We are going to Africa. On a safari. As long as we can afford. After many, many e-mails and visits to different agencies, we pick "Selous safari" (Hi Valeri !)who make the best offer by far. For round 2000 Euro per person we can travel through Kenia and Tanzania for a full month. We have to make our own arrangments for the airplane, and we need a few hotel noghts along the way, but for every problem, there is a sollution. We pay 600 Euro for the airplane tickets (ex taxes) and the needed hotel nights in Nairobi and Lake Baringo will put us back another 300 Euro. All of that money will take us on 3 organised safaris: The first one (8 days) through the Serengetti in Tanzania, the second one (10 days) all the way up north in Kenia, and the last one (6 days) to the Maasai Mara in Kenia.

Most of the pre-arranging is done by Valeri from Selous safaris. A pretty wild guess (she represents a travel agency based in France, though she is Dutch herself), that turned out SUPERBELY !
On location we are being served by gametrackers. A safari office that has been doing this for quite some time, and is pretty easy-going.




part 1/3

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Friday 23 September 2005: At last it is then that time.. We go to East-Afrika. We have not slept tonight at all, and therefore get out of bed by 03 oçlock in the morning. We are nicely on time for the 5:01 train... We arrive at the airport way ahead of time for our flight to Zürich, where we will change planes. Unfortunately we are using the worst airline in the world (Swiss), and we have onje hour delay. That should take care of our 45 minute changibng time in Zürich. Only during the last few minutes of our first flight it becomes clear everybody has been delayed on Zürich, so we are supposed to make the connection.
After a wild run through the airport we make it in time for the Nairobi flight. After an annoying flight (Swiss... sigh) we arrive in Nairobi by 20:00. It takes our backpacks a full hour to get to us, but we are there. With everything. Our taxi is waiting, and brings us to our downtown hotel.
We pay 3 nights, en decide to go for a walk around the block to get some fresh air. It turns out that is quite impossible. First, in Nairobi there is no fresh air due to air pollution, and second the guard almost refuses to let us out. Too dangerous ! So we grab a bite in the hotel restaurant, pay $11,- and enter dreamworld by 22:30.

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.
Till 13:15 we cruise the crater. The largest of the lakes is almost dried up, but there is plenty water inside the crater. And in water there are flamingo's. We see tons of them. Elephants, zebras and impalas are also available in large numbers. Topi, babboon and wildebeast join the menu.
We spot a collection of cars and think there must be something to do there. We are right, with binoculars we see 2 cheetahs resting in the sun. Without binoculars we see nothing...
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.

We leave the crater by 3 in the afternoon and race over the edge to the other side in the direction of the Serengetti national parc, where we arrive around 16:00. At the visitor center we spot pink lizzard even though we have not had a drop to drink.
Arthur reduces the speed, and on the way to our campground we have a small gamedrive. Our first impression is that Serengetti plains hold a lot less wildlife than the Ngorongoro crater and is a lot wider (duh...). Despite the vast emptynes we still spot neat stuff. We drove by a lions-pit where a full family of lions was lying in the sun. We have seen vultures, ostrich, impala, giraffes, topi and buffalo. We spot a line of cars near a line of trees, and we join hem ofcourse. It takes us a while to find a leopard on a branch in the shadow. Not picture perfect because of the relative distance and the light, but heck. We have seen a leopard ! If only we knew than...
At the campsite we find out we have a flat tire, so that was changed. Robert went into the kitchen and made us soup, rice and something with vegetables. Dinner was served around 19:00 and we closed up by 21:30.

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.
We spot a lioness in the higher grass. She is tailed by 8 to 10 young ! Unfortunately the wind has picked up very much, so as soon as we stop we are attacked by sandstorms. We are left without air to breathe and the cameras are not happy with all of that sand. It looks like the lioness is on her way to a small pack of lionnesses that is gathering along the way. We spot hippos and babboons.
We were back on the campsite by noon, where lunch was served. We packed our stuff and went on our way to Karatu. Litle did we know we were not going to make it.
Along the way the car begins to stink like hell. We stop and look underneath. Already there is a bit of oil on the ground and we suspect it is breaking fluid. After some careful experimenting it turns out the shockabsorber has sprung a leak. Because of this the car gets harder and harder to handle. It jumps from left to right on the rough road, and the further we come, the worse it gets because the other shock absorbers can not cope. Unfortunately there are no quick service garages in the Serengetti so our only choice is to move on and try to get as far as we can. We try to change into another car along the way because on the flat Serengetti a jumpy car is not dangerous, but we still have to climb up the steap Ngorongoro crater side ...
We have no luck in getti8ng a ride. We are however told we have to be outside of the parc by 19:00. Arthur decides to drive a litle faster, and we hold on for dear lives. When we reach the side of the crater, Inge and I decide it has been enough. We force Arthur to a halt, grab some stuff from the car (water, coat, ...) and get out. Riding onward is way to dangerous ! We decide to walk. Arthur stays in the car. He completely fails to see what is the matter. All he can stutter is that we are not allowed to walk. Why we are going to walk, he does not understand at all.
We walk up the crater for 15 minutes, and then it occurs to Arthur that it might be smarter to at least follow us with the car. We in the meantime spot a Maasai village. And the Maasai spot us too. We are swarmed with locals. One of the man turns out to speak (perfect !) english. He shooshes the others away and walks with us for a while.
"You are not allowed to walk here". "We know, but our car is dangerous". After some brief explanation he understands our situation, and offers to walk along with us. He knows the region and its dangers and is willing to help out. It turns out the nearest campsite is a 45 minute car-drive up hill, so we are never going to make it on foot there. Since we are lost for options all three of us walk on. A litle further up the hill it hits the Maasai warrior: we are not doing this for fun, we are afraid to get into our car because it is broken ! As soon as he realises this, he offers to bring us to the top with the village car. Meanwhile another tourist safari car has pulled up behind ours. Arthur has begged the driver to take us along and he does, so we thank tha Maasai very much and step in to this jeep. Both cars arrive at the campsite by 19:15.
At the entrance there is a firm discussion, because we are too late and do not hold reservations, but everything is solved and we are allowed on the site. After dinner we get into an argument with Arthur. He still does not understand we do not wish to ride a car that has no shockabsorbers. Esecially not tomorrow, going steeply downhill on the Ngorongoro crater side. In the end of it we tell him to drop dead, call Nairobi and make arrangements for a new car and a new driver, because we do not want to see hinm ever again.

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.

We leave the parc by 16:15 and head back to Arusha town. Fortunately we are in a hotel tonight, and not on the " campsite from hell again". We do some laundry and head out for dinner. We end up at the same restaurant we ate last time: Jambo coffeshop and lunchroom. We had another superb meal. They even made pre-packed lunches for tomorrow afternoon. We paid a litle under 25 euro for 2 people dinner and lunch.
Bed by 22:00.

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.





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