Trip Start Mar 11, 2009
Trip End Jan 05, 2010

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Where I stayed
Meserani Snake Park
Mikadi Beach Camp
Tembo Campsite

Flag of Tanzania  , Arusha,
Thursday, September 24, 2009

10th – Drove to the border town of Songwe and crossed into Tanzania at Kyela. Had lunch at Tukuyu.  Drove through Mbeya, the regional capital in southwestern Tanzania.  Bushcamping along the road to Dar es Salaam.

Dist cov. =  416 km

11th – Drove through Iringa, Mikumi NP, Morogoro and Chalinze before arriving in Dar es Salaam – campsite is Mikadi Beach Club on the coast.  On the side of the road going through Mikumi NP were elephants, and further away were: buffalo, giraffe, impala.

We didn't get into the campsite until late at night mainly due to the traffic in and around Dar.

Dist cov.  = 672 km

Total Dist cov. =  28, 311 km

See "Zanzibar blog for the 12th to 16th".

17th – Left early and drove to Bagamoyo, which was the capital of German East Africa from 1887 to 1891.  The crumbling German-era colonial buildings have literally been left for nature to take its own course.

Staying at Tembo campsite off the road on the way to Moshi.

Dist cov. = 356 km

18th – Drove through Moshi and into Arusha, unluckily it was cloudy so we couldn’t see Mt Kilimanjaro.  Stopped in town for a couple of hours for people to request Rwandan visas.  The backdrop to Arusha is the impressive Mt Meru.  Staying 25km west of Arusha at Meserani Snake Park.  The Snake Park combines a snake park, massai museum and a bar.  Currently including us there are 8 overland trucks here of different companies (except 2 Kumuka trucks), fortunately not all have their passengers…some are in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater.  Having a barbeque tonight and then off to the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti NP with Fun Safaris tomorrow. 

Dist cov. = 308 km

19th - Picked up by Fun Safaris for a long drive to the Serengeti (In Swahili, Serengeti means Endless Plain) via the entrance of Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and driving past the Ngorongoro Crater.  It took around 6 hours to get to the entrance before we started a 3hr game drive.  Our driver/guide was Kopa (we were in one of 3 vehicles) and he took us to a point in the park suitable for finding leopards.  We saw a gazelle sitting in a bush 5m away from a couple of lions who were lazying around.  I saw my first leopard hiding in a tree, completing my BIG 5 list.  20 mins further down the road we spotted another leopard in full view and it had 2 kills up the tree - a red hartebeest and a gazelle.  Kopa drove around to the other side of the tree, took about 5mins, to get much better views.  The leopard chose to start moving around - yawning, stretching and jumping around the kill.

We made our way to the campsite spotting a hyena running off with a kill stolen from a nearby cheetah.  Our truck moved off 10mins before the cheetah had a little fight with the hyena, losing yet again.  Tonight we were warned about animals that may walk through the camp.

20th - Woke up early for our morning game drive.  Saw 2 solo lions - 1 male and 1 female - before finding a pride right beside the road with 1 male and 3 females.  Stayed here for a while and afterwards passing the raft of hippos found a family of 3 or 4 cheetahs, 1 mother and her grown cubs.  They were hunting gazelle and would of probably caught one if another random gazelle hadn't run into the cheetah's targeted prey.  Watched part of the chase, nothing was killed, but we spotted 2 hyena lurking in the distance.  Went close to 2 giraffe before going back to watch the cheetahs.

Saw a Hyrax, a pink and blue lizard, that is a distant relative of the elephant.  Stopped at the vistor's center to have a look around, there are some good exhibits about the National Park and the animals found within.  Running around were some crazy, jumping Rock Hyrax - another relative of the elephant.

Spotted a leopard up a tree, but didn't hang around for long as there were loads of other vehicles there.  On our way back to the campsite we spotted a cheetah eating its kill and just before the campsite I spotted my 4th leopard in 24 hrs jump down from a tree into the long grass - it may or may not have had a kill in the tree.  Had lunch and packed everything up as we would be driving to the Ngorongoro Crater campsite.

Spent over an hour at a Maasai village, they greeted us in a traditional manner and Paul, who spoke the best English showed us into the village, the center of this one was dominated by a large tree.  Lena was another one who greeted us and he collected the 10,000 Tsh ($8) from each of us.  Then the Maasai started jumping for us and near the end Rob, Tom and myself had a go jumping with them.  We were split into groups of 2, Lene and I were paired together, to be shown into a home and around the village plus the school outside of the main living area.  Interesting to see this village and talk with the Maasai for a cultural experience.

Camping at Simba-B campsite above and on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater.

21st - Drove down into the crater spotting elephant, hippos, flamingo on the lake, 2 hyena close to the road, before coming across a sleeping male lion on the other side of a creek.  Hung around for a while and what seemed like ages the lion began to stir and started to clean itself.  He came down for a drink, before luckily for our eyes jumping across the creek - very athletic and I managed to get a good picture of the initial jump point.  He sat around for a few mins before walking between all the vehicles and all 3 of ours plus a couple of other vehicles moved around to take pictures of him over about 300m.

Managed to spot a black rhino off in the distance, about a km away from the road.  Also spotted a pride of lions, 3 females and a limping male, they hid in a tunnel under the road and we could hear them growling underneath.  Drove around for a while before revisiting this pride prior to a toilet stop.

Had lunch back at camp and we left for the long drive back to Arusha.  We had a Pirate Night back at the Snake Park.

22nd - Free day at the Snake Park.  Went into town for a couple of hours to use the internet, do some shopping and have lunch.

23rd - Chris and Gary have gone into town to do a money transfer with Western Union for the Gorilla side trip.  We should've left at 10am but the queue was long and the person operating the procedure was very, very slow.  Eventually left the snake park after 12, 3 hours behind schedule.  Drove for the rest of the day and bushcamped off the road.

Dist. cov. = 202 km

24th - Drove past Mt Hanang (3416m) into the town of Singida.  Slow moving today as we have a large hole in our new radiator (George Jr.). Bushcamped beside the road.

Dist cov. = 333 km

25th - Drove all day to reach the border at Rusumo Falls, called so due to the large waterfall in no-mans land.
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