Not Tine's favourite country due to being ripped off, kidnapped and mugged last time she was here i could feel the mood within seconds. That all changed as soon as we got to Mbayer. Off the Dahla Dahla bus that tried to charge us double the correct price for the journey (welcome to Tanzania) and we found a guest house that worked out to cost 15,000Tsh (about £3 each) per night. Not happy with that, we moved to another place, just as nice and closer to the town for 7000Tsh (about £1.40 each) per night. Had a wonder round the town and found a couple of bars to eat cheap food.
We went to the train station to book our ticket to Dar es Salaam for the next day.
I love train journeys in Africa and i suppose, looking back, i love this one eventually. We are sat at the station, an hour early and we waited, and waited, and waited. eventually the train arrived. Not that that meant we could get on. Three hours later, after the train had been going back and forth in the station to tease us we finally got on. Another hour wait sat in the station and finally, we are on the move. We had brought cheese (the hardest and one of the most expensive thing to find in Africa) and biscuits and a box of red wine (my downfall). I got ....PISSED. A couple of beers to start and then the Red wine. I have to apologise to Tine at this point. Tine, I'm sorry, as she had to look after me and make me go to bed. I woke up at about 2am but the train wasn't moving. We were stopped in a station. And that is where we stayed for the next 20-22 hours. My god, how boring. Nothing to do apart from sit out my stinking hangover. Finally we got moving on to Dar but we had about 20 hours of the 24 hour journey left.
We all got to Dar es Salaam and again the mood between us all was very tight. Again i have to apologise to Tine. I was staying in Dar and she was going straight on to Zanzibar. So i just walked off to get a bus without saying goodbye to her when she had just arrived in a city she is shit scared of. Yes i am a bit of a shit. I did run back to say goodbye but by then, i had made a big boo-boo.
So Dar es Salaam. I loved it. I met an Italian guy called Alex, aka ‘Osama bin Laden’ to the locals. Alex has a long thin beard that slightly resembles Bin Laden’s. And every news paper had him on the front page as he had (apparently) been killed. So everywhere we went, Alex got ‘OSAMA!!! OSAMA!!’ (with a cheeky African smile) shouted at the top of there voice. Well, it made a change from ‘Mazungu!!!’ (white man) for us. The other part about Dar that i loved was the food. Finally Flavour! African food is very bland. Not in Dar. Due to the multi cultural community, African, Indian, Arabic, Asian and more the food was great. This is probably one of the main reasons i stayed there for several days. I just loved the food.
After a few days i moved on to Zanzibar on the ferry where i met up with Tine again. We spent a few days in Stone Town first. Stone town is a beautiful old cobbled street town. The wood work on the doors to the buildings is amazing. The craftsmanship must have taken them such a long time to do just a small section. I also visited the slave markets. Although it has been updated, it still had a upsetting feel to it. The way the slaves were treated was a disgrace. Next we moved on to the east of the island. It was deserted. we must have been the only two clients in the east of Zanzibar. Long white sand beaches to ourselves. The problem was, once you had seen the beach and been for a swim in the sea, there was nothing else to do. So we decided to move on to the next part of Zanzibar. Nungwe was the next stop. I had high hopes for here as i had offered to buy Tine a dive for her birthday. Three turtles, purple paper fish, shrimp, corals that were so brightly coloured. It was a good dive. Next we moved on to Kendwa, about 5k south of where we were staying. They had a full moon party happening in a few days so we stayed for that. I had such a bad hangover that i stayed in bed for the whole of the next day. So we made our way back to Stone town and Tine booked her flights back home to Belgium and off she went.
On my own again for the first time since Zimbabwe (about 4 months). I have to be honest, i got very lonely at this point. I went on to a couple of small villages but nothing too interesting to tell about them. So i aimed for a beach. Penganni, well, south of Penganni but i don't actually know what the name of the place is. I had a few days there and joined a couple of German girls, Stefa and Annika for dinner and they were leaving the next day for Moshi. So i got a lift with them to Penganni and then i jumped on the bus to Tanga as i had left my bag there. I had arranged to maybe meet the girls in a few days. I made a one more stop on the way to Moshi at a place with a view across the Tanzanian mountains and then on to Moshi. I think i spent about 2 hours here as the girls were wanting to move on to Arusha to get a Serengeti safari booked. So i saw Kilimanjaro and moved on. I had planed to climb Kilimanjaro but i had hurt my big toe and i don't think i would have made it to the top as it was black and blue and i was struggling to walk on it for more than 15min.
Got to Arusha, got the Safari booked, and went to bed. The next morning we were on our way to ‘Tarangire National Park’. We saw great wildlife here. Elephants, giraffe, Wildebeest, and of course, Stefa’s favourite, Zebra. But no wild dogs. That was what i wanted to see. We had the night in a plush camp site, it even had a pool. The next morning, we were on the way to Serengeti. The first animal we saw (apart from the gazelles) was a lone lioness. Just chillin out near the water. She wasn't bothered by us. Next a Cheater hidden in a bush. Serengeti just kept on giving more and more. So after the game drive we made our way to the campsite in the park. No fences, no guards, just easy access for any animal to just wonder in to the camp at any time. I was so tired that i was asleep in a few moments. Next day was a half day drive in Serengeti. Start early and we saw loads. Hyena, Golden Jackals, a pack of lionesses, Banded Mongoose, Vultures, Eagles, Secretary Birds, a leopard try to get a Thompson Gazelle and just miss by the skin of his teeth. But NO Wild Hunting Dogs . On our way out we found another pack of lions (male and female) with 8 small cubs.
Next stop was a night in Ngorongoro Crater for the night. We set up the tents. This time the girls set up their own tent.... It was good fun to watch as they didn't have a clue what they were doing. Eventually when the tents were up we went over to the showers, but we couldn't get to them. There was something blocking our way in the camp...... Nelly the Elephant was drinking our shower water straight from the water butt. Outside grazing in the campsite were Zebra. We managed to get within 5 meters of them. We could also hear Hyenas laughing all around the camp and they had already been spotted next to the showers. We all had a bit to drink and decided to get to bed as we were on safari again the next morning. The girls sat in my tent for 5 min before bed. Annika decided to use the pole of my tent to help herself up. Thin tent poles are not very strong and it snapped. So i had a sleepless wet and could night listening to Hyenas walking between the tents.
Next morning was Ngorongoro crater. The view from the top of the crater is beautiful in the morning. The mist is creeping over the edge of the crater. it looked like smoke falling out of the volcano. I wont bore you with the whole list of what we saw here but the highlights were the Rhino, Buffalo and well done to Stefa who spotted a lioness 10m from the side of the road. We stopped and saw about 30 Zebra coming towards her. Yes! We could be on for a kill! She was stalking them and just waiting for them to come to her. they got within striking distance and she bolted out of the grass and the chase was on. She missed! Bugger! Almost saw a kill. Soon after that we left the park and made our way back to Arusha for a night before aiming for Mwanza and lake Victoria.
It took two days to get to lake Victoria. The girls and i just chilled out and didn't really do much here. We ate, we slept, we walked, we ate, we slept. It was good. The girls then made their way back to Dar es Salaam and i jumped on the bus to Rwanda.
I will stop there as this was a long update.
Ben and Sok. xx