Trip Start Sep 01, 2004
41Trip End Apr 25, 2005
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It's time to tell you about the second half of our safari, in Tanzania. Same truck with the same people but we have added another truck with a smaller group that has been on the road longer and does not really want to associate with us much. We have been warned that they feel as if they are just way too cool for us newbies. Group dynamics are so interesting. I make a vow to myself and JoAnn that I will try not to kill any of them over the remainder of the trip(it only got close twice, but I was strong enough to hold myself back). It's crystal clear to me that there are reasons that JoAnn and I don't normally travel with Groups. Our original Group has bonded well and we enjoy these folks a lot. The other two young couples let us hang out with them and the singles seem to free float.
We leave Niarobi and drive south to the border of Tanzania
This is where our Group breaks into smaller teams of 3-6, and transfers to Large Toyota Landcruisers for the rest of our adventures. This is like a sub contractor that is a little below standard for our taste. The vehicles are maintained poorly, the staff is not trained well, and the food is not up to Joseph's high standards. We are making this change because the big trucks are not allowed to go down the steep dirt road into the Ngorongoro Crater. At least we have Julius along to watch these jokers.
The road to Serengeti is long, but very well maintained. Once we enter the park it's a completely different story
We continued on across the Serengeti and things started to slowly get greener with trees and brush. As we got closer to our camp. Sean (the guy from Australia with super keen eye sight) kept spotting nice animals. We got into camp late and dinner was poor. At least the drivers seemed scared now and drove safer. They told us not to go out of our tents at night because they were having trouble with the lions. Sure enough just before everyone went to bed three large females wandered into camp. The drivers chased them out with one of the Landcruisers, but I don't think anyone got up that night to go to the long drop (latrine).
The next morning we were picked up at 5:15, with about a dozen others, to go on our balloon ride. They took us to a very nice lodge, that had real bathrooms with flush toilets, and we met for the trip
We returned for another game drive, returned to camp, packed up and headed for the crater. The return drive across the Serengeti seemed to take forever. That night dinner was poor again with not enough to go around. The next morning we drove down into the Ngorongoro Crater. It really feels as if you have entered a lost world where the animals seem to really thrive. There are tons of animals in the crater but I enjoyed the elephants the most. The huge males with the long tusks make all the elephants we had previously seen, small in comparison. Sean spotted three lions waiting in the grass for a kill
We left the next day, returning to Arusha. We spent the night at the same camp in town and got up early to return to Nairobi. The border crossing went well and we got back to Nairobi in time for a late lunch. We read our emails for the next leg of our journey and said our good byes to all the kids. We were invited by Sean and Kylie to visit them on the Gold Coast of Australia when we get to that part of the world, and it sounds like great fun.
It's time for the next leg of our journey so we take a taxi to the train station for our night train ride to the coast. The train ride is famous for seeing all of the wild animals out the window and the nice meals served. Things look a little worn out when we board the train. The dinner was OK, but nothing that Americans would appreciate. I guess that because we have been on the road for awhile our standards have been significantly lowered. We awaken very early and the train is stopped in a very small town station. After a series of questions I find that a freight train has derailed ahead of us and they are trying to figure out a course of action. An hour later they have decided than once officials in Nairobi get to work and give them permission, they will try and hire buses to transport the passengers on to Mombasa, on the coast. Recognizing that everyone is moving in slow motion I move into fix it mode. I find a small minibus down the tracks, hire it to take ten people to Mombasa at $5 each. I find eight more people on the train that are anxious to leave and we take off for the three hour ride to the coast. We have a flight to Lamu scheduled when we arrive in Mombossa and are very anxious to relax on the beach. Once we get to the airport in Mombassa we find that our flight is going to Malindi in a small prop plane, not to Lamu. We take the flight anyway because it's at least going north on the coast in the right direction. I sit in the co-pilot seat and quiz the pilot about options. He tells me there is a flight right behind us coming in from Nairobi, going to Lamu. We land in Malindi, jump out, buy two tickets and rush to the plane and thirty minutes later land in Lamu. From the airport it's a thirty minute dhow ride to our guest house, where we crash. Don is so tired he doesn't even get sick on the boat. Welcome to Lamu, on the equator, and always hot.
As always, write when you can. We miss everyone.
Don and JoAnn