On our 8th trip we meet people that chose Zambia or Tanzania as their new home countries. They all represent a special type of individuals and we are glad that they share with us their African experiences. There is Russell, shareholder and manager of Maramba River Lodge who came from Australia many years ago. Or Nick, the Englishman managing Foley's of Africa, the Landrover garage where we parked our car. We spend a day with Bernd and Astrid who came to Livingstone with the DED (German development assistance), and talked to Mike and Lary who built up the Mutinondo Wilderness Nature Reseve. In Tanzania we meet the Australian cosmopolitan Darrin who developed the Baobab Valley Camp and up in the North, Renate who designed and created the amazing Plantation Lodge at the Ngorongoro Crater. Norbert, offspring of a coffee and sisal farmer that emigrated from Berlin in the 1930s showed us his fabulous creation in Arusha: Arumeru River Lodge. We meet Anja and Frank who manage the Lutindi Mental Hospital and Claus who leads a Rehabilitation Center in Arusha. Once more we enjoy long conversations with Manfred and Maria, who have been living in Africa for decades, now operating a Workshop and Land machine service station in Arusha.
To meet these great people and learn more about their life experiences in Africa was a true highlight of this trip. As private content has no home in the Internet, we will restrict our trip report to the things in between. Little things...sometimes amazingly big...
From of a pretty hard winter we dive into the subequatorial summer in southern Zambia. We've never been here in the rainy season and are prepared for the worst.
Bigger than life: this little froggy jumped at Maren who really did not appreciate this...
But all our concerns just disappear on the day of our arrival. "Rainy Season" means: it may rain for a while - then the sun comes out again. Everything is green and more colorful than ever. At Maramba River Lodge we see and hear many frogs that start "singing" after sunset. These little guys are virtually everywhere. Some sit in trees, some jump on everything they think is a tree...
Green, green, green: Safari Tents at Maramba River Lodge
Monitor Lizzard sneaking around our tent
Our Camp on Maramba River Lodge
Nick has serviced our car - now we have got a new battery for the fridge, a new rear ladder, new rear brakes, oil and filters. We grill burgers for dinner like we always do on our first evening in Africa. For New Years Eve we go out for a nice dinner in the Lodge Restaurant that has prepared an African buffet. After dinner we drive out to the Vic Falls. By chance the night of the 31st of December is a full moon night. The Falls are opened for a very special event that can only be seen in full moon nights when there is enough water in the Zambezi: the Lunar Rainbow, a rainbow shining in different shades of silver created by the moonlight. Very spectacular. Only few people have come. We are alone, enjoying a bottle of red wine right at the Falls- absolutely wonderful. The next days are pretty lazy. We stroll along the streets of Livingstone, enjoy the lodge and talk to many people. Holiday-Holidays.
The road that had been a construction site with lots of long and rough detours when we came down to Livingstone last year is now in a pretty good shape. We make it to Lusaka in 6 hours and chose Eureka Camp for the night.
African Giant Millipede. These guys can become 28 cm long and live up to 10 years. When attacked they either roll up or they secrete an irritating liquid... ?
On the next morning we continue heading North and arrive at Mutinondo Wilderness at 4:00 PM. It is very nice to meet Mike and Lary again. We talk for hours and have to learn that the two are planning to retire and are now looking out for successors for their paradise. Mutinondo is a place with a very special atmosphere. We make a hike of 6 hours, climb one of the round-shaped hills and enjoy a swim in the river. We both get sunburnt although we started the hike in the rain. At night we light a fire and celebrate our traditional outdoor cooking.
Maren in a typical "rustic" cooking situation
Hiking in Mutinondo Wilderness: An African Highlight
Harmless little snake that we meet on our hike.
Mutinondo is our last stop-over in Zambia. We cross the border to Zambia without problems in Nakonde and check in at the Utengule Coffee Lodge that is operated by a Swiss manager. Camping takes place on the heliport of the lodge which is more practical than romatic. We try Beef Bites and Chapati wraps with a couple of cold beers for dinner in the Lodge Restaurant - delicious!
The route takes us through the Baobab Valley where we stop for the night in the lovely Baobab Valley Camp. The Lodge is run by Darrin who shows us the wonderful chalets. The lounge is located right at the banks of the Great Ruaha River where we sip a beer together with Darrin looking out for the hippos. For Darrin it has been a hard way to develop the lodge up to the current state. He says that "on a bad day" he would sell the whole thing - we don't believe him.
Chalet of the Baobab Valley Camp: one site entirely open to the river.
On the next morning we start at around 8:00 AM. The road crosses Mikumi National Park and we see several elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras and antilopes. Then we have to take a very hard decision. Shall we try to cross Selous National Park or not? There has been extreme amounts of rain and the roads seem to be in terrible condition. Selous is actually on our "most-wanted list". It is one of the wildest and largest parks in Africa. Nevertheless, we decide not to go. It is simply the wrong time. Everything green with little chances to see animals and extremely high chances of getting stuck with our Landy in the frightening deep cotton soil mud. We decide to start over and go to
Very justified: Giraffe-Crossing signpost in Mikumi National Park (Zebras do cross as well)
We arrive in Dar in the afternoon. The Kipepeo Lodge in Dar is recommended by our travel book (Reise Know-how). The beach resort actually appears a bit run down to us. The campsite is crowded by Overlanders (=buses loaded with japanese, australian, british or US teens that sleep in tents that they erect around the bus at night). Actually we like Overlanders. Only in rare cases they really party - in most of the cases they fall asleep even before us. Here it is just too many of them. We decide to eat in the restaurant. When we arrive back at our Landrover even more groups have arrived and we are entirely surrounded.
Overlanders increasingly surrounding our Landy
Although the ocean is nice with really cool waves we decide to leave this place on the other morning. The plan is to spend a few days at the "Peponi Resort". Last year we have been there: a "beach paradise" in the North near Pangani where it is easy to get lost for a couple of days. It is some 400 km to go, so we get up early in the morning and take the ferry to Dar.
The ferry from Dar to the beach resorts takes 15 minutes and saves 50km
Police Controls in Tanzania: a chapter of it's own
Each of the above mentioned "offenses" costs 20.000 Shilling (11€) which is a lot for locals. The nice thing about this: with a smile or a joke they may just let you go without paying. Not so nice: In those cases where they won't let you go, they accept 10.000 Shilling without receipt. That's the system in Tanzania. We have to pay in a "real" speed control: even though we had long decided to obey speed limits however ridiculous it may seem. 43 km/h in a 30 km/h zone somewhere in the bush. As I pay the policemen ask me why I smile. I tell them that this is my tenth control this morning and only the first time that I have to pay. Everybody laughs and I leave the control point with a receipt in my hand and a smile on my face.
Somehow it is a little crazy. Just when we enter Peponi Beach Resort we see Anja and Frank in their Landcruiser on their way out. We have met them on this very spot one year ago and visited them a little later in the Lutindi Mental Hospital that they are managing. Of course we talk for a while exchanging news and addresses.
Baobabs and Palm Trees and fisherboats: the Tanzanian Coast is magnificent
We hang lose at Peponi for three days. Talking to other travellers, eating out in the lovely beach restaurant, walking the beaches. On our first day the sky is hazy and we are lazy - lying on the beach reading a book. What a mistake! After only 2 hours we are sunburnt for the second time. It is not hot, one can't even see the sun but the sunlight intensity is enormous. One more lesson learnt about sub-equatorial sun during rainy seasons. In the following days where the sun shines from a deep blue sky we will use tons of sun lotion.
After three lazy days we feel like we are ready for some more activity. We leave Peponi heading towards Arusha, where we stay in the Masai Camp for the night. On the next day we start over to Karatu, some 2 hours westbound of Arusha. Karatu is the entrance to the Ngorongoro Crater and there are several lodges in the area. We stop at the Plantation Lodge for a coffee and a piece of cake. The Lodge is absolutely fantastic, a green oasis of taste and quality.
Plantation Lodge in Karatu - Nothing left to say
We decide not to proceed to Lake Eyasi as originally planned because the road is really bad. So we we spend the night at the Kudu Lodge which is kind of nice but not much more. On the other morning we drop in at the Plantation Lodge on our way to Tarangire Nationalpark. We meet Renate, the owner and manager of the Lodge who shows us the compound and spends the morning with us explaining to us how she and her husband built up this wonderful place.
Lions & Elephants
We start a game drive in the morning and leave the park at around noon. Two hours later we arrive in Arusha where our Landy receives an intensive car wash. We spend the afternoon and a relaxed evening with Maria and Manfred where we spend the night in their guest apartment.
On the next morning we meet Norbert at the Arumeru River Lodge where we will spend our last three nights.
Arumeru River Lodge..
..where Dik Diks belong to the daily guests
VIP Suite: Meru Cottage
Cosy Place in the Reception Area
We learn a lot about the Lodgelife and the Communal Life from Norbert. Over the entire time that we spend at Arumeru, Mount Kilimanjaro remains to be invisible - hidden in clouds. Only when we leave, as we climb up the gangway to our plane at 7:00 AM we see the majestic mountain as if it would say goodbye.
Money: Mastercard is only slowly penetrating Tanzania. Most ATM accept Cashcards based on Visa
Visa: upon arrival at Livingstone Airport; USD 50 per person (no picture required)
Maramba River Lodge: best camping in Livingstone: USD 10 /person
Comesa: car insurance for Souther/Eastern Africa. Office on the main road. USD 40 for 3 weeks. Can be arranged within 15 minutes.
Eureka Camp: a place to stay in Lusaka. No frills, USD 5 /person www.eurekacamp.com
Mutinondo Wilderness: Great place for camping & hiking in Northern Zambia; USD 9 /person. www.mutinondozambia.com
Baobab Valley Camp: very nice Lodge & Camp in the Southern Circuit in Tanzania. www.baobabvalleycamp.com
Kipepeo Camp: Camp/Lodge in Daressalam, (Overlanders)
Ferry Daressalam: 1.100 TSh (0,60 €) /car (incl.2 people)
Peponi Beach Resort: Nicest Bachcamp in Northern Tanzania, Camping USD 4 per person. Excellent seafood and other dishes in the beach restaurant at prices between USD 5 and USD 8. We pay USD 68 for 3 days camping (with electricity) and 2 dinners in the restaurant (including drinks). www.peponiresort.com
Camping Gas: We have a German System that is not common in Eastern Africa. OryxGas at the end of Market Street in Moshi can fix it! From the city center it is about 2 km on the left hand site.
Masai Camp, Arusa: USD 5/person; www.masaicamp.tripod.com
Tarangire National Park: USD 170/night (USD 35/person; USD 40/car; USD 30/person camping)
Ferry from the beach resorts approaching Dar harbour.
This was a big one, trying to climb up our car: The next second I kicked it away.
Riverside Chalet in the Baobab Valley Camp
Our Camp in Tarangire National Park
One out of seven banana species and a big turtle on Arumeru River Lodge
Our breakfast and lunch table