MWANZA

 

Currently residing outside Mwanza on Lake Victoria to sort out suspension on the beast. Has not done too badly considering the 70,000k on dreadful roads,although we were hoping it would have waited until Nairobi before a bit of a re-fit as spare parts are obviously more readily avaliable there.

Have set up camp on the beach at Tunza Lodge, a very cool place, run by a nice South African called Jan,whose being very helpful regarding the car, plus he enjoys a beer for breakfast, so can’t be bad! Mainly frequented by local Tanzanians coming out of town to chill on the beach.The Lake is lovely and warm, so we shall be in for a dip shortly,water a few paces away from the car.

Need to fix new shocks first. Weather warm to hot, but loud rumbles every afternoon indicate we wont be dry for much longer!

Ended up staying at Tunza Lodge for four days. We met and spent some time with Russell and Paul, steel men from South Africa, on business, Jacques, who cooked up a great brai for lunch, before drinks at The Yacht club to watch the rugby. Strangely his girlfriend, Vicky, turned out to be a family friend of The Foot family in Devon, who were founders of the Nyika/Vwaza Trust.

 

The following day,whilst having a drink on the beach, a couple from New Zealand, Liz and Chris who we had been in touch with, via a couple of brief e-mails and related to our friend Richard,whose been looking after our garden at home,turned up. No-one was more surprised than us to hear “The Rutters I presume” on the shores of Lake Victoria, it is a small world after all!

 

 

SERENGETI

 

See photo albums

Left next morning on the very, very corrugated road.

Normal method is 50k/hr whereby you only hit one lump in so many, downside is you are largely airbourne so braking & streering is a bit difficult with rear end fish tailing both ways. Trouble was knackered bushes on offside front, meant only one damper/shock and eventualy that leaked oil so with a lot of banging we limped towards Serengeti gate and Seronera main area. About 150k – not pleasant, except for the stunning views coming down from the crater rim, the plains extending as far as the eye could see. Plenty of Masai to admire in their brightly coloured cloaks and blankets, grazing their cattle and waving as we passed by.

big boys - there were 3

big boys – there were 3

We saw 3 male lions just before gate plus others (9 in total) all blond maned and extremely large, beefy, beasts. Plenty of other stuff too, Topi, Cokes Heartebeeste, kirks dik dik (tiny antelope) Bohor reedbuck, lots of Thompsons and Grants gazelles and wildebeeste ( millions literally) all as seen on TV but weird to be here, amongst it all.

Bohor Reedbuck - male -

Bohor Reedbuck – male –

Bohor reed buck female

Bohor reed buck female

more dik dik

more dik dik

 

Camped in another basic site($60) no choice unless you pay $100 minimum for a fancy lodge,so left next morning for a slow drive along western corridor and Grumeti river, because of the rains, this meant the migration has returned

.Shocking road again but improved after a while thankfully. More lions and we counted at least 10 fresh kills with owners absent but vultures very happy.

Landscape varied as rains have just started, so quite green in places but towards western end there were huge numbers of Wildebeest everywhere and bones littering the ground.

On way out, we had to make a detour, as an overturned Safari vehicle was blocking the road. Some poor tourists holiday of a lifetime had gone horribly wrong……mainly down to bad driving, these vehicles fly past at a crazy speed,chucking up the dust, so that you can’t see anything even if you want to. The drivers are supposed to be fined for speeding, but clearly this isn’t enforced, too much money to lose I think.

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We had a fantastic time and it wasn’t as busy as we’d been expecting but due to the harsh corrugated roads, it’s the easiest way to bugger up your vehicle, costing you serious money for the privilage.I too have suffered,developing a horrible tooth and jaw ache,which I put down to clenching my teeth together from the constant vibration, it’s certainly been a bone rattling last few days!

Ngorongoro Crater

 

See photo albums page

Off we went, slightly concernernd about over-heating problem, with such steep hills, Michaels theory that use of low ratio would help ,which it did seem to.Slowly climbed to the top, through the forest, to our camp right on the crater rim, having explored some of the routes on the rim itself on the way. Very strange looking down into the crater through binoculars, to see various beasts, which still look ant sized 2,000 ft below.

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Camp was basic, very expensive for what it is, but we were already prepared for that. We positioned ourself away from the main herd (people that is) chatted to a few Masai guys trying and failing to flog us stuff, before retiring to bed. Before this whilst cooking,we had a visit from a very large and frisky bull Elephant with massive tusks who skipped towards us for a few seconds, but veered off when we shone our bright torch at him as we were beating our retreat!

Up at 5:00 next morning and into the crater itself, forced to take a guide, quite ridiculous as it’s a 25km wide circle,however we got Edwin, who perched on our clothes box in the back, which can’t have been comfortable, but he was pretty chilled.

Drove around a while, saw lot’s of the usual animals,who are obviously very used to people and not skittish at all. Went to a picnic site and cooked up some left-overs for breakfast,but had confrontation with another big bull Elephant, who decided we were on his route and in the way and he was none to happy, I leapt into the car with frying pan and breakfast in hand, Edwin and Michael just kept their distance. The only other car around reversed well out of the way.

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crowned cranes

crowned cranes

kori bustard - huge

kori bustard – huge

A wonderful place, stunning landscape saw many interesting things, including Lions, but you tend to drive around in circles rather alot. Whilst the setting is fantastic,it is incredibly costly, but, we felt had to be done, wev’e come so far.

Cokes haartebeeste

Cokes haartebeeste

Topi

Topi

 

Cokes haartebeeste

Cokes haartebeeste

Arusha

 

Arusha

Was bigger and busier than we’d expected, with some of the worst driving we’ve experienced on our entire trip so far. Had a small altercation with a taxi driver,who pulled out into our path and then accused us of scratching his bus, when in fact he had clipped our wing mirror. This was a battle he was not going to win, we drove off as the traffic gained speed , he jumped on to the Landy on my side and we carried on until being stopped by a policewoman, with the guy still hanging on to our vehicle. Fortunately she was one of the more sensible variety and sent him on his way,warning us to be careful. Some of them are so inconsiderate, rude and just bloody dangerous…….and don’t get me started on the Safari vehicles!!

Having witnessed a couple of minor pile-ups,we found our way to Masai Camp on the outskirts of town, a well run and clean place with a promise of excellent pizza’s which indeed they were. These accompanied the local entertainment night, singing, dancing and acrobatics, which was actually very good, but we headed for bed early, although late for us (11:00 pm) and let the dancing continue until the very early hours next day(I know because I heard it)

The beast went into the garage next day, whilst we pigged out on some delicious food we hadn’t had in a while, steak sandwichs and salad Nicoise… all rather yummy! Problem is our stomachs seem unable to cope with rich food anymore and I, in particular have been suffering ever since!

Shoprite too was a magical experience and we’ve stocked up on butter, cheese, chocolate and red wine…..the finer things in life!

Off to Karatu, fully laden with fuel, water etc, stopped off for the night and our first hot shower in an age at Kudu Camp, before entering The Ngorongoro Consevation area tomorrow.

Lake Manyara

 

Lake Manyara see photos page for more piccies

the rift valley from campsite

the rift valley from campsite

A twitchers paradise, with a huge population of waterbirds. We saw hundreds, if not thousands of Flamingo’s, Pelican’s and Storks,they create a pink mirage effect on the lake, quite surreal really.

flamingos and some!

flamingos and some!

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Plenty of other interesting small birds too,but far too numerous to mention and sadly my camera just isn’t up to it!

The dense forest was equally beautiful to and from the lake, full of enormous Fig and Baobab trees, which in turn were full of Olive Baboons, Samango(blue) monkeys and the usual Vervets that you get everywhere. Some of the babies were just the cutest !

Blue (samango) monkey

Blue (samango) monkey

Saw an ex- pelican’s legs hanging from a branch, which presumably had been a tasty snack for someone.

Again a beautiful place with stunning views along the way.

Although the park has a reputation for Tree climbing Lions, we failed to spot any, but developed crick necks instead!

Rock agama

Rock agama