Safari sorted!

Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
Trip End Aug 18, 2005

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Friday, July 15, 2005

Day the Thirty-eighth - in which we save ourselves a back-track and have a fight with an ATM.


After a lie in we got up to find the dude from last night lurking around downstairs. We paid him for his trouble and located our breakfast. It was very nice, meant to be scrambled egg we think - more like drowned egg.

In need of money, our next stop was the bank to change a travellers cheque. As became a common problem in Tanzania and other places, they asked for the receipt to photocopy. First off, I'm not so happy handing that over anyway, and secondly, we don't travel around with the cheques and the receipts anywhere near each other. As recommended.

Stef has brewed an excellent plan.
The idea was to get a bus to Arusha and sort a safari out from there. The only way to really get to Arusha from Mwanza is to get a bus through the Serengeti. Sounds good, but apparently they are hot and packed and you don't get to see much. And you have to pay the entrance fee.
So Stef thought: hmm if we are going through the Serengeti just to get a safari back to the Serengeti, why not just do it from here? Even if we had to pay extra for the privilege of being dropped off on the far side, and the driver having to make the return journey alone, it'd still save us money.

So, on our map we found a place called Serengeti Travel and Tour. They were very helpful and arranged a decent price for just the 2 of us and a driver in our own 4WD. Considering we were fully expecting to have to trawl the various tour companies for a day in Arusha and then only be able to afford a trip in a minibus with 6 other people, this was awesome. And because not many people arrange a safari from over here, there were no queues and no hassle.

For 180 each [plus park fees] we get our own private vehicle with guide and pop-up roof, 1 day and night in the Serengeti, 1 day and night in Ngorongoro Crater, and then get dropped off in Karatu on the other side. And we leave tomorrow, so we gain days compared to our rough itinerary.

Not bad at all. We had to go to an ATM to withdraw the money, and there was a slight hiccup when the machine wouldn't let us take out enough. But we sorted it, did some laundry, found an internet [where I had the first problem with gmail of the whole trip] and found somewhere that did tasty pizza for lunch. How satisfying is it when you accomplish something and have a plan?

The afternoon was spent lazing, though we did make an excursion to locate a small supermarket for bottled water and foody provisions. This is the first time we've bought water - we need to take a fair amount and we don't want to have to filter that much, especially as the water here is filthy. We treated ourselves to a chocolate bar each.

In the evening Stef went out and took some glorious pictures of the sunset over Lake Victoria.

Apparently he saw a goat being slaughtered, and a marabou stork scared the crap out of him by practically landing on his head. His alarm caused the nearby fishermen to laugh at him.

We were once again a source of amusement when he returned and we went down stairs with our empty bucket to request more water for our evening shower. For reasons known only to her, the lady felt the need to transfer the water from her identical bucket to mine, rather than just swapping them. Anyway, I then set off upstairs, leaning at an angle, carrying a precarious wobbling bucket of water, trying not to spill any. I could hear the lady and her friend at reception snickering behind me. They just stick it on their heads and off they go. Pathetic white people. But then, at least I have advanced enough reasoning powers to figure out the full bucket/empty bucket puzzle...
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travelby on

great idea!
it was a great idea to purchase safari tour from Muanza -just curious to know where did you stay overnight? also did you guys buy food in advance during your two days/two nights in the serengeti?

izzie on

Re: great idea!
I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to reply!!

We stayed in Mwanza in the Ramada Hotel and in the park, in our own tent at the camp sites in Seronera and Ngorongoro.

We bought some snacks and water in advance, but the camp site in Seronera has eateries and in Ngorongoro we were able to pay for an extra two servings from the leftovers of a big organised group trip.

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