TANZANIA – Tanrangire NP

 

After a good nights sleep we hit the road again, bound for Tarangire, cross country,still plenty of roadworks,but after Kondoa and on to Babati, things became very scenic,clearly very fertile land with plenty of farmers tending their crops, Goats and Donkey’s, very green after the last few days dust and dryness. The last few km pristine tar of course.

Trying to get an early night, when drunken Massai night watch-man kept dribbling on, Michael sent him away,though he did come back a couple of times for repeat performance(and conversation)

Tarangire NP

We followed the river, plenty of animals in huge numbers. Supposed to be many predators, but although we’d seen a lioness by 8:30 am we didn’t see anything else for the rest of the day, a beautiful place once again,lots more vehicles though, all safari tours, this is the safari circuit, so we have to grit our teeth, we’ve been far too spoilt having had everywhere to ourselves much of the time. Still no other overlanders in sight but that might change shortly.

Camping on top of the Rift valley escarpment, overlooking Lake Manyara- all rather splendid really……..well the view that is!!

Keeping our options open on Sudan and Egypt, but too soon to tell right now and got to get visa’s for Ethiopia and Sudan in Nairobi.

Visiting Lake Manyara tomorrow, then to Arusha for some Mzungu time!

TANZANIA – Ruaha NP

 

Ruaha National Park

On entering, we saw some seriously large crocs in the river, as we crossed the bridge and plenty of waterbirds,after a short drive along the river,paying more attention to our surroundings, than the road itself,we had to brake suddenly, as three extremely handsome Lions(a huge male and two lionesses) were having a snooze under the shady trees, right across the road. A beautiful sight, so we just sat and watched a while,after 10 mins or so the male and one lioness got up walked straight passed us, so close you could have touched them. They proceeded to the next tree to indulge in some “sexy times”, although fairly short-lived, I managed to get some photo’s!

Camped in the park,on banks of the river, overlooking extensive plains, a magnificent spot, only us and from our chair’s we managed to see Ellie’s,Hippo,Giraffe,Impala, Warthog, Fish eagle, Hadeda, Saddle-billed and Yellow-billed Storks and many other birds too.

Up at 5:00 am next morning, we saw our lovely Lions again, resting in the dried up river bed, plus a little later on another younger one. By 10:00 am we were cooking in the 36 degree heat , back to drinking litres of water again, like in west Africa.

A film crew reported a pride of Lions had killed a Giraffe, the previous night and were desperately trying to locate them, we also tried on hearing this, but failed miserably.

Elephants at every turn here, many in or on the roadside, so you can do nothing other than wait for them to move off, this can take a long time, especially when melting in the heat of our tin box! We saw the cutest little baby though, playing with his trunk and tripping over his feet…..lovely.

Hot, sweaty and tired, we left the park, along the horrendously corrugated road and camped at Sisa camp, fairly run down and obviously little used, but the two guys rushed around getting firewood and washing out loo’s and showers, so all was fine,several of our “really strong” boxes had broken and cans exploded (even our toothpicks had snapped) due to the state of the road leading to and from the park . When inside it was actually fine and the park itself is wonderful, up there in the Top Ten!

Heading back to Iringa the following morning and still on corrugations, the Landy just stopped for no apparent reason. Trying not to panic, miles from anywhere with the sun blazing down and not a tree in sight, my bush mechanic got to work, luckily he soon discovered a wire to the fuel injector had disconnected itself on the bumpy road, so reconnected once again (and rather relieved) off we went…….then got yet another speeding fine, this time from a not so friendly,I’m just going to pocket the money, as I have no receipts, policewoman.

From Iringa after stocking up on cold drinks,we left for Dodoma, a far too long driving day in 38 degrees, major roadworks, on what will presumably be a great road one day, except the minute you get a few kms of tar, the speed bumps and 50&30 speed limit kicks in so you never actually get anywhere fast and then its back to dusty rubble again……..oh well, we got there in the end, nowhere to camp at Dodoma (believe it or not it’s the capital, not Dar as you might imagine)so we checked into the Cana lodge hotel, after taking some time to find it and a few near punch-ups….between us that is, we calmed down whilst supping a couple of cold beers, this always seems to do the trick when tempers are frayed!

Tanzania – Selous NP to Udzungwa NP

 

Off we went to Selous, via Morogoro, on the main road, a fairly dull, uneventful journey, very dry grey and brown scenery and villages. Morogoro, itself was surprisingly lush and green, lying at the foot of the Uluguru mountains. A nice ,bustling town ,we stayed at a small hotel, Kola Hill Lodge, very nice, clean and reasonably priced ,considering everything here is hugely expensive and we ate delicious fresh fish and chipsies. To be recommended if you are in the area.

I’d been eaten alive by something and my feet had swollen up, all fat and puffy with red spots……most attractive,so I sat with my feet in a bucket of cold water to soothe the excruciating itch, this seemed to help and next morning back to normal.

Drove to Selous, the back way, along a little used road, through forest and well kept villages, before dropping down the spectacular escarpment, across the plains to the edge of Selous. Stayed at a very basic but fine camp, the something annex, which seemed to be the only one, about 15 km from the park entrance. A couple of Massai guys were running it, they showed great interest in car maintenance!

Into the park(and I have to add ,before I forget we saw at least 60+ of the RARE Ground Hornbills!)

Supposed to be the dry season, but clearly the rains had come early here as well and all the large herds we were hoping to see had dispersed, however we now understand why they call this place Giraffic Park, as there were so many, but as always, lovely to see, so elegant and of course I can never get enough photo’s!

Saw plenty of the usual, bad point was that many of the lakeside loop roads just didn’t exist and despite $15 for a map we wasted half a day going down dead ends before retracing our steps to the main park road and heading to east side pools. All very nice but expensive for poor standards.

Spent the night at same campsite then left next morning for Undzungwa mountains, east side not the better known west tropical side. Not expecting much at all but surprised to arrive at a lovely campsite outside park under huge fig trees etc. clearly well used by ellies and other beasts.

Already there was Tomas & marielle and young daughter Tuva 2 (Swedish) – he had worked here as professional hunter for several years, a policeman and best sausage maker (Butcher) in Sweden 3 years running – a character as they say. Elephants and beasts of the night included hyenas. We decided to have a day doing stuff as it was so nice. Next day they hiked to a waterfall, we stayed put , Tomas decided it would be good to buy a goat and have a full on meat fest – Tanzanians love their braaied meat. So off we go to a village with a local guy. Caused a bit of a stir or rather Tuva did, the local kids found this little blonde bombshell very amusing. Bought the goat – paid over the odds with Tomas ( speaks Swahili) then pointing out to the guy we knew the score and he should be ashamed – he got the message.

Big fire, goat dispatched, Tuva came back for “the peeling” as she called it. On the spit we supplied spices etc. . Cooked in traditional old Swedish style – warm, fresh carcass is rubbed with salt then cooked with baste of more salt garlic and oil nice but I have to say a bit tough..

Also shower by Ms ( in dark) using hoisted bucket with valve – very effective, except he discovered he had ants – big ones about 20mm everywhere inc his nethers no biting thankfully as they looked like soldier ants. There were thousands all he could do was brush them off and get on with it . Snake in loo so I declined both until daylight.

That night awoke to what can only be described as gunfire……it was actually, it turned out, a mixture of Baboon poo and figs falling from a great height….but when your in your tent and a gust of wind comes along, gosh was it noisy.

Tanzania – Mbeya to Mikumi NP

So a few day’s have passed, the beast had a new clutch fitted in Mbeya and off we went to Iringa.

 

Travelled the Tanzam highway, very busy with huge lorries and buses going at an alarming speed, downhill and at a snails pace up the mountains. Why is it that we, going at a reasonable speed always get pulled , the first policeman was very nice and let us off, as we’d only been in Tanzania a couple of day’s. The second one fined us TSH 30,000 (£15) and the third stopped us, looked in the landy and ticked Michael off for wearing slippers (flip-flops) everyone else,whose driving it must be said, is quite appalling seems to get away with it. Police checkpoints about every 10 k and a pain in the neck.

 

Motorbikes and Tuk-Tuks more popular here, especially as taxi’s, rather than bicycles, but the few bikes we have seen , have fringes and tassels on their saddles, rather than all the bling they had in Malawi.

 

After a night spent just outside Iringa,which we soon found was a lovely town, very busy and vibrant with a fantastic fruit and veg market, needless to say, I came out laden with sacks of Mangoes, Passion fruit, Oranges and Paw paw’s and all sorts of veggies too. Very cheap, which is nice as everything else, is so expensive compared with other countries we’ve visited.

 

Stocked up with goodies in the only supermarket we could find in the whole town and headed off to Mikumi NP , stayed at very strange camp-site called Tan- Swiss near the gate. I did loads of washing and then the heavens opened, so we rigged up a washing line in the back seat of the landy where it’s been hanging out to dry ever since!

 

After a fruit salad breakfast at 5:00 am we went into the park. Crazy prices $100 for us and the landy for the day, to camp in the park would be another $60 so we decided to camp elsewhere.

 

The park itself was very attractive, mainly grassland,so easy to spot animals. Unfortunately the rainy season seems to have come early and the roads where in a bad way,this made things very tiring for my driver, who coped with the deep mud admirably(I have to say this as I wont do it) but it did hamper our ability to spot the wildlife as we were too busy concentrating on staying on the road, rather than spotting beasts.

 

However we did see many things including Elephants wallowing in the mud, a Jackal chasing a baby Impala, but lost sight of them as they sped off into the distance. Plenty of beautiful Giraffe, with really unusual markings, and a herd of about 200 buffalo.

 

When we came out, the landy was the filthiest I’ve ever seen it, caked all over in dried mud……but at least my washing had dried on the inside!

Photos in albums seem weird to us – web software ishaving a bit of a funny turn so posting again below