25.1.2009: Arriving in Nairobi
26.1.2009: Heading towards Serengeti
The grass snake is absolutely harmless.
27.1.2009: Manyara National Park
Hornbill in Manyara NP
Giraffe - relaxed!
Elefants just blocking the track with a tree when we tried to pass by.
There is a lot to say about the beauty of Manyara NP. For us the most stunning thing was to find this tiny little lens without which our camera would have been absolutely useless for the rest of the trip.
We continue to drive to Karatu, the gate to the Serengeti and stay in the Kudu Camp (OK) where we meet Stefan and Josefine a German couple on a BMW motorbike that we already met in the Meserani Snake Park. The thing that starts concerning us is the weather: grey and rainy. Visiting the Serengeti NP or the Ngorongoro Crater is quite expensive (see: Costs of National Parks in Kenya and Tanzania). It is OK to pay this once in a lifetime. But should we do it when everything around us is grey, wet and muddy?
28.1.2009: Serengeti National Park
Memorial and grave of Prof. Grzimek and his son Michael who died here 10.1.1959 in an aircrash (+/-50 years before we arive at this spot)
On every km that we drive out of the mountains and into the plains of the Serengeti the sky gets clearer. Our secret wish in this National Park is to finally see a Cheetah. In years of travelling through Africa we have seen all big mammals - but never a Cheetah. We could hardly belief it's true when we saw a Cheetah only 15 minutes after we had entered the park.
The landscape is magnificent. The Campsite is an open place in the middle of the bush - really nice. A lovely day that we conclude with a Gin Tonic.
29.1.2009: A day in the Serengeti
Serengeti: Migration of wildebeest (Gnu)
Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebras slowly following the rain
Inselberg - here they call them Kopjes
Unfortunately there is quite a population of Tse-Tse Flies in the park. Tse-Tse Flies are really hard stuff. They follow big moving objects, like... our Landy. When they come in through the open window the first thing they do, is hide away in the niches of the car - preferrably somewhere in the floor area. Much later you feel a very strong stich. All attempts to kill the beast fail: you smash it against the windscreen - they survive! Tse-Tse Flies may transmit the "Sleeping Desease" - no good fellas.
29.1.2009: Ngorongoro Crater
Back at the crater rim. the Massai try to sell a foto (of themselves)
The bottom of the caldera lays 1.700 m above sea level, while the rims are about 600 meters higher. The diameter of the crater varies between 17 and 21 km.
Flamingos are predominant in the temporary salt lake (Lake Magadi) down in the crater.
Little Switzerland, down in the crater (just the cows are missing)
The Black Crowned Crane: huge numbers in the crater
Lions: many and massive ones
And than again: zebras - most have just given birth to their cubs during these days
It is a fascinating trip down in the crater. Late in the afternoon we climb up the rim agaiin (which is not very pleasant because the dirt road is quite steep and a mixture of rocks and mud. The worst thing is that the track is very narrow with a sharp drop-off -sometimes hundreds of meters on the passenger's side. We finally make it and arrive at the gate of the conservation area just 1 minute before they close. The rule is: they close it at 6:00 PM sharp. When you arrive a few minutes later, you have to pay the entrance fee for another day....So we are quite lucky for the moment. Soon afterwards we have to realize that the speeding over the rocky tracks was not so good for our tyres:
one of the rear tyres is completely destroyed. It keeps the pressure but is completely deformed. So we carefully "hop" back to the camp in Karatu (Ngorongoro Camp) where we change the tyre.
30.1.2009: Maintenance day in Arusha
We arrive in Arusha the other morning. Our travel book says that there is a garage operated by the German Manfred Lieke. We decide to go there because we had seen that all our tyres need to be replaced. We have 2 spare tyres on board and thus need 2 new ones. We get everything organized in Arusha
31.1.-3.2.2009 Peponi Beach Resort
Day 1: Arrival
Day 2: Do nothing but a walk on the beach: to the left side = Mangroves
Day 3: We sail out to a coral reef. The water temperature is 30°C
Still day 3
Day 4: Do nothing but a walk on the beach: to the right side = village
Still day 4
Still day 4
Sunrise on day 4 in Peponi Beach Resort
Driving back to Arusha we make a detour to visit Anja and Frank who are managing the Lutindi Mental Ill Hospital in the Usambara Mountains. This hospital has been founded some 100 years ago and takes care of mentally ill people from all over Tanzania. We were deeply impressed by the institution which is a branch of the Bethel organization in Germany. Anja leads us through the compound and describes us the way through the mountains to Lushoto. Normally one would take the main road. But in this time of the year with no rain having fallen yet, the 80 km long track right through the mountains is drivable. It is a fascinating panorama route through rain forest, banana and tea plantations with incredible views. In Lushoto we camp on Irente Farm from where we start our hiking tour to Irente viewpoint. The spectacular thing about the Usambara mountains in this region is that they drop off sharply from 2.500 meter altitude opening views over the masai plains from horizon to horizon.
Views in the Usambara Mountains
Tea plantation in the Usambara Mountains
Our Camp at Irente Farm
On our hiking tour
Chameleon on Manfred Lieke's compound
TFSC Garage, opposite of Cultural Heritage Center. Operated by the German Manfred Lieke. Provides service for Landcruisers, Landrovers and Mercedes. Excellent opportunity to store the car in a container garage (30 €/ month). Manfred arranges transfers to/from Kilimanjaro Intl. Airport. The first/last night can be spent on his big private compound outside of Arusha (either guesthouse or camping). Individual service arrangements can be made while the car is stored. Tel: +255(0) 272548587, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Manjis BP Tyre Center. Big selection of all common brands of 4x4 tyres. Fair prices, good and professional service.
Honey Badger Lodge/Moshi: an alternive place to park the car. Contact: Mama Lucy Renju;
Eastern Africa is not an inexpensive region to travel, especially when you want to go and visit National Parks with your own car. The state seems to restrict this kind of individual tourism to the absolute minimum by a high-price-policy.
Entrance Fees National Parks
All parks apply the 24 hour-rule: when you enter at 10:00 AM you are supposed to leave at the same time on the next morning. Driving into the Ngorongoro Crater with a private car costs 200 US$ on top of the 140 US$ that are charged for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (340 US$ in total). A Ranger is supposed to go on board of your car.
Masai Camp/Arusha: Very nice camp that turns into a disco on fridays and saturdays. Overlanders. They have a very good garage that fixed our alternator. http://masaicamp.tripod.com/
Serengeti: Sky, Horizon, and Cheetah
Serengeti: Sky, Rocks, and Road
Serengeti: Rocks and Plains and Sky
Birds of Serengeti: Lilac-Breasted Roller
Birds of Serengeti: Lovebirds
Birds of Serengeti: Secretary Bird
Serengeti: Zebras Crossing
Serengeti: Tired Hyena (early morning)
Ngorongoro: Wildebest with cab
Tanzanian Kids on the Beach
Breakfast in Peponi Resort
Carpark in Arusha