Kanga Campsite, Tarangire National Park.

Trip Start Jul 03, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2010

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Where I stayed
Kanga Special Campsite

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Monday, July 5, 2010

We had an early breakfast so that we would be ready for Mike when he came around to do the briefing and take us through the vehicle, equipment route and safety issues.

Finally we were on our way and first stop was back into Arusha to get supplies. The best place is Shop-rite, on the main Arusha Road, as it is quite a big supermarket and has virtually everything you need. Next stop was to the bank further down the road where we were able to exchange some dollars for shillings. With all the food, water and booze the land rover was packed tightly. The meat was safely stored in the fridge (that can be turned into a freezer at the switch of a button) and the other perishable items in the large cool box. Equally importantly wine and beer was put in the fridge so that they would be nice and cool by the time we reached our campsite.

The route to Tarangire National Park was pretty straightforward and it was good to have the on board GPS to make sure we were not straying off course. From Arusha you drive about 84km on the main Dodoma Road until you get to Makuyuni. Don't turn right or you end up in the direction of the Ngorongoro Crater just continue along this road for another 26km until you reach the village of Kwakuchinja. The turn off is clearly marked and it is only a further 8km of gravel road to the gate. On our way we passed a village absolutely teaming with Maasai. It must have been some kind of market for there to be so many people.

After a few hours driving we decided to stop for lunch so we pulled off the road and got out the rolls we had bought at Shop-rite earlier. As we sat down to eat them I noticed a couple of young Maasai walking up to us. I wasn't sure what they wanted as they just stood next to the car. As there were a couple of extra rolls I offered them one each and with that they thanked me and walked back down the road.

We arrived at the gate to the Tarangire National Park having found it a really simple drive. The area around the car park was filled with Vervet Monkeys pillaging from the bins as soon as travellers put something in them. We joined the queue to pay the park fees - payment that can only be made by card since October 2007. Unfortunately there was a small problem with our camping voucher so we had to phone Mike to get in touch with the agent. We ended up paying the $200 shortfall as the agent realised his mistake and would give Mike the money so that we could collect it from him when we got back to Arusha.

Tarangire National Park is named after the river that flows within it. It is the fifth largest national park in Tanzania with an area of 2579km2.

The Kanga Special campsite was marked on the map so we made it down the dusty road. We expected there to be more to the site although we knew 'special' meant no facilities somehow I expected it to be a little more obvious as to where it actually was. Black and blue striped flags hanging from the trees seemed to signal our arrival to what could only be described as a clearing. There were several old campfires dotted about and this was the only real clue that we were at the right place. We put up the ground tent and took out the table and chairs, left all our bags zipped up in the tent as there was absolutely no one else around it wasn't a security risk and went on a small game drive.  On the way we spotted lots of zebra  and giraffe and a large bull elephant close to the roadside. Elephants are synonymous with Tarangire probably because of the large number of Baobab and Acacia trees here. Families of warthogs scurried through the grass their tails held erect like ariels.

Back at the campsite we cooked up a steak stew on the gas and played cards as the darkness fell. The stars are incredible in the bush as there is no light pollution so you see so many more. There was no moon so it was incredibly dark. Throughout the night we could hear rustling in the grass and assumed it was the small herd of zebra we had seen earlier. High pitched squeaks of bats broke the silence as we peered through the gauze of the tent with our torches, trying to make out who the orange eyes belonged to that shone back at us out of the gloom.
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