Sunday, July 13, 2008
This morning mum and dad departed after spending nearly 2 weeks with us here in Tanzania. It was sad to see them go but I was also glad knowing that their time with us went well.
Anyways, since our last post we've been little travel bunnies hopping around everywhere. Our last few days in cape town were cool. We went to Stellenbosch for some wine/brandy tasting and meals out which was cool. Stellenbosch is one hell of a nice place complete with too many cafes, bookshops and art thingies to deal with. We also treated ourselves to a plush wee B&B for some time out from dorm rooms. The beauty of this move was that the place was otherwise vacant and so we ended up with our own personal chef. Hurrah. Cape of Good Hope was also cool and anothe beautiful spot. The rest of our time was spent in kurdish restaurants, cuban restaurants, hip hop cafes etc etc. Next stop was back to dar.
Going back to Dar seemed a little like going back to the dentist. We knew what to expect and after the niceness of Capetown knew it would hurt a little. In reality though it was sweet. We got through customs easily though and quickly found our meagre swahili and a cab driver. Unfortunately though we couldn't find accomodation for quite a while until we ended up at a rather overpriced dive known as the "Durban." Humpf. The next morning we trudged around and ended up in Kariakoo at the Keys Hotel which was quite fine. After a tilt at the casino we met mum and dad at their hotel. It was great to see them and to sample the chocolate they had bought from home...
Dar with parentals was different. We wandered a lot. To spice things up a little we went for a dala dala ride. Make that an illegal dala dala ride. The four of us and 23 locals...
Next morning our rented landrover turned up and it's driver (Ibrahim) escorted us to Pepone's and Pangani. It was nice going back and seeing our friends and the ocean side spots we've come to love. Mum and Dad enjoyed Pangani a lot and it was nice to be able to show them parts of Tanzania well off the beaten track. Next stop (other than various police check points) was a German cottage in Lushoto called Mullers where we were, quite simply, spoilt. No mozzies either. This spot was high in the hills and a glorious place to rest. Lucky too, cos early the next morning we were getting a ride down into town when our taxi driver flashes his lights at an oncoming bus/rustbucket. Turns out our bus decided to leave 30 mins early and wasn't going to wait for anyman. Anyways the bus ride was flat out hairy. At one stage Kate, Dad and I had random babies on our laps. Also, amusingly, a man got on holding a chicken by it's feet. This was fine with me but mum has a wee chicken phobia and was not totally stoked. Needless to say the locals got a giggle..
So yeah then it was Safari. Our driver turned up early one morning and quickly whisked us off to Lake Manyara National Park. Within 20 mins of entering the park we'd spotted Buffalo, blue monkeys, baboons, giraffes and a rare spotted turtlebird. That night we stayed at Bougainvillea lodge in Keratu (named after a flower? maybe?) where we were pampered. Some nice chap even came and lit a fire in our room. By this, I mean he lit a fire in the fireplace using wood and meths.
Next day we drove into the serengeti via a Maasai boma village and the Olduvai gorge. These stops were mandatory for anyone who's read "The White Masai" (grrrr) and studied genetics. We checked out Homo Habilis! Then around 4pm we got game driving. We spotted us our first 3 lions, some elephants, buffalos, punda's and the odd twigga. Special. Our accomodation was teh Sopa lodge where I spotted a giraffe 30 m from our bedroom window.
The next day was more of the same but the highlights were lions on the prowl, a cheatah on the hunt and a leopard on the sleep. It was amazing. The leopard in particular is a prized thing to see and so we were rather lucky. It was the best leopard siting our guide had had in 4 years. That night we stayed in a tented lodge where we saw gazelles prancing around. They even had guards who use bows and arrows as to not wake the guests if an animal stays too far at night.
We then game drove again the next morning on the way to the crater lodge. On the last morning we ended up down in the Ngorongoro crater with the carnivores. We saw countless wildebeest, buffalo, zebra and around 30 lions down there. Speechless. It was one of the great things to see. We even saw a secretary bird destroy a snake. We all agreed it was the best thing for that snake. Some quotes:
Dad - "11 o'clock - thompson's gazelle! 9 o'clock it's a not-thompson's gazelle"
Kate - "3 o'clock i think it's a lion"
Jeff - where?
Kate - "the other 3 o'clock i mean"
Jeff - nice rock.
Mum - "I hope we get to see a Cougar"
Anyways, it was awesome. I have 490 photos from those 4 days and many more memories. Turns out Kate pulled a lion troop sighting out of the bag on the last morning too so i eat my hat.
Now we are parent-free and catching our breath/darning our socks in Moshi. Kili is not far from here but the urge to climb it has gone. Overrated by all accounts.
In other news we have rebooked our flights and are coming home Aug 28. We stop in Dubai for 3 days and Sydney for another 3. We fly into Chch on the 5th Sept I think. Hurrah. We'll be around Timaru etc for about a month before making some sort of shift to Sydney...
These next 6 weeks involve some time in Kenya, a month maybe in Uganda and a trip to Rwanda. Hee hee.
See you all soon.
Jeff and his trusty master game spotting sidekick Kate.
PS this is my lion photo.