Day 208-214


TAN 26th June - 2nd July 2007, Tanzania

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Day 208 10/6. Lutengo Morovain Center, 7km SW of Tukuyu, Tanzania
9°20.65'S 33°37.62'E. Miles today 109, Total Miles 19046
plantantionsForgot to mention in the Malawi update to look out for the dried mice lollipops they sell on the side of the road. Bulk purchases are available with ten on a stick if you fancy. Hmmm…Delicious. We crossed into Tanzania with minimal (!) fuss by first purchasing visas for $50 each and then arguing till we were blue in the face with the customs dude. He insisted on charging us a $20 Foreign Vehicle Permit, regardless of the presence of our carnet. However, the scenery on entering Tanzania certainly lifted our spirits. It was truly stunning. Miles of rolling hills with tea and banana plantations everywhere. We reached Tukuyu and trundled off down a bumpy dirt track to the Lutengano Centre, where we heard you could camp. Turned out to be a school, with a few rooms and a nice flat patch of grass for camping. Needless to say, we were soon pounced upon by a number of small children, all very curious on the workings of the inside of a Mzungus (White man) Landrover. We later realised that our camping spot also doubles as a soccer pitch but that didn't bother the kids. They just all simply performed their Beckham/Ronaldo moves around us. Elizabeth, who runs the joint, is so kind and gave us a room that we could shower in and use the loo. All this for Tsh 1750 each! (€1.10) Wonderfully peaceful and quiet night. (Once the kids got bored, that is.)
Day 209 27/6. The Old Farm House, 50km SW of Iringa, Tanzania
8°08.75'S 35°24.77'E. Miles today 201, Total Miles 19247
Awoke to the sounds of a resident, harmonious choir singing. Quite beautiful, really and beats the flipping roosters.anyday. Continued back along the tar road north, watching the scenery change from such lushness to forests of pine trees. About 50km before Iringa, we reached The Old Farmhouse. (€ 2.60pp) Basically, an old farm homestead that they have turned into camping and chalets. For a bit of retail therapy, you can buy all manner of fresh meat and vegetables from their shop (well, actually it's just a shelf at reception.) The tiny thatch bar looked very inviting to sample the monster size Tanzanian beers of Safari and Kilimanjaro. Don't miss their wonderful chocolate brownies and Amarula Hot Chocolates as a nightcap in the bar. Awesome.
Day 210 28/6. Riverside Campsite, 13km E of Iringa, Tanzania
7°47.85'S 35°47.77'E. Miles today 44, Total 19291
We had great hopes for Iringa, as heard there was a Cash and Carry there and our supplies were looking a little dismal. Hah ha…Lonely Planet, bless your soul! What a laugh, it turned out to be a tiny hole with a few dusty shelves sporting a sprinkling of even dustier tinned goods. We made a careful selection of two tins of tomatoes and headed to the covered market, which was amazing. After realising that "Karibou" actually means "Welcome" rather than "a type of fruit" I thought they were all selling, we soon got the hang of things. Yup, we are definitely back in the real Arica. Made our way back to the car, carrying our vegetables in my upturned skirt (there were no bags!) and found that some small Tanzanian boy had taken the liberty of washing it. Oh, Déjà vu! Rob promptly told him, that No, he was not going to pay him and that he must learn to ask next time. "Besides", he grumbled, " I like it dirty!" I wasn't going to argue this time. After driving a bit further and not really in much of a hurry, we pulled into the Riverside Campsite (€3pp) which was a surprisingly lovely spot down a dirt track on a river. In fact, we discovered later, it was a Swahili Language and Cultural Learning Centre, which explained the big group of barefooted Americans all looking very silly trying to master the art of carrying their towers of pristine white fluffy towels on their heads.
Day 211 29/6. Bush camp, 30km S of Dodoma, Tanzania
6°26.66'S 35°47.89'E. Miles today 141, Total 19432
Savannah Heading towards the Serengeti and to save on fuel costs, we decided to take the back dirt roads up to Dodoma, which after an initial fear that we were going to have a repeat of Angola, wasn't all that bad. Besides, it was good to get away from all the trucks and we were blessed with endless Savannah and Masai everywhere, wrapped in the traditional red shukas and herding their cattle. Stopped for our first bush camp in ages, brushed up on some Swahili and watched the sunset over the Acacia trees.
Day 212 30/6. Bush camp, 10km N of Kondoa, Tanzania
4°50.19'S 35°47.73'E. Miles today 123, Total 19555
old road old roadIgnore everything I said about the road. It turned out to be bloody awful. Not impassable, just deep corrugations and very uncomfortable. Poor Dino, just not that happy and shaking himself to pieces. Stopped in the metropolis (not!) of Dodoma and whilst filling up with fuel, my prying eyes could just about make out an advertisement above this shop nearby that looked remarkably like the word sausage. A quick session with binoculars (how sad am I?) and RESULT! Quite a pricey shop, as mostly imported from South Africa but well stocked. He also told us where the bakery was to buy fresh bread and eggs and we highly recommend the super speedy internet café across the street from the fuel station. Just shows that you have to be back in real Africa to get good internet connection. Back on the nasty road for the rest of the afternoon and found a great bushcamp with an even better view. A few Masai wandered by, a little dumbfounded perhaps at our shocking attempts of the "Habaris and Shikamoos" of at the Swahili language. A very unAfrican dinner of sausage, egg, chips and beans for dinner. Sad, I know but hey, we were happy.
Day 213 1/7. Kudu Campite, Karatu, Tanzania
3°20.92'S 35°40.15'E. Miles today 164, Total 19719
african cattleSlept like babies in the bush. Word had spread, as had a few more visits from Masai cattle herders this morning. We were soon back on the bumpy road, which was just awful. Every now and then we spotted a side donkey track to escape to for a few kilometres, which helped regain our sanity levels. Eventually reached the tar section just before the turn off for the Ngorogoro and Serengeti Parks. Wow, not only a change in road condition but a massive change in scenery. Endless flat plains of Savannah, with Masai everywhere and the women all adorned in the brass and bead jewellery. Stretched earlobes, the works! Having decided to spend the night just outside the park in the town of Kasutu, we thought we'd just drive up to the gate to check the entry prices. We knew they would be high but geeshterday…nothing prepared us for this: To get to the Serengeti Park, we had to pay to drive through the Ngorogoro Conservation Area and then pay to drive back again. With $50 pp per day for each park and another $40 for the car PLUS, wait for it, $200 to actually go to the Crater, we were faced with a bill of nearly $800. And that's not including accommodation. Minimal $20 pp for a very basic campsite with little or no facilities. Phew, ok, let's just think about this for a minute. Headed back to Kasutu and set up camp at the Kudu Campsite (€3.75 pp) and came to the decision to head to the bar. Now, there's a surprise. Thing is, we have seen so much game already and apart from the awesome scenery, we just don't think it's worth the money. In hindsight, we should have risked the more horrendously bad roads and gone the long way round and entered the Serengeti from the Western gate. As then we would only have to pay entry fee once. Spent the rest of the evening having a laugh with a bunch of Welsh and Kiwi guys off an overland truck and were treated to some Tanzanians performing very cool traditional African dancing. Man, just how do they shake their booty like that? We were all invited to join in, which proved to be a great laugh. Us white folk just clearly have no rhythm!
Day 214 2/7/6. Masai Camp, Arusha, Tanzania
3°23.08'S 36°43.20'E. Miles today 92, Total 19811
Woke up with the feeling of a decision made. Very sad but no Serengeti for us! We'd much rather put that money towards making the rest of our trip as enjoyable as possible. We still have Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa to explore. And anyway, it's raining and misty and cloudy, so even the scenery would be disappointing. Back on the beautifully (for how long, I wonder?) tarred road, we aim for Arusha to pick up a few things (ok, mainly beer!) at the Shoprite. It's my birthday in a few days and so the love of my life buys me two packets of pork and herb sausages. Score!!!!! Set up camp at the Masai Camp, just outside of town, which was kinda cool. (€3.60pp) You have to like dogs to come here. I stopped counting at seven! I very quickly made friends with the field kitchen chef who was making chapatis (flat tortilla like bread of which he very kindly gave us some to have with our curry tonight, complete with bananas we bought from the market stall outside.) The town of Arusha was quite a cool place actually. Wish we had spent more time there and perhaps if the mist had lifted, we would have appreciated it's beauty a bit more. The whole place smells of coffee, something to do with the endless coffee plantations you pass through on entering, I guess.
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