Hakuna Matata

Dar es Salaam Travel Blog

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Hello from Dar es Salaam!

Robin and I started our safari with the African Travel Co (ATC) on Father's day bright and early.  We loaded our bags up onto the bus and met the 25 other people we will be sharing our 30 person overland truck with for the next 3 weeks.  8 people had been on the truck since its original departure point in Nairobi 2 weeks early, had gone to Uganda to do the gorilla trek and visit Masaai Mara and then back to Nairobi to pick us up, so they were eager to meet the newbies! There are 9 guys and 18 girls - this proves to be extreme challenges at the campsites where there are more male bathrooms than female sometimes, and there is always a lineup. Typical. We've got Aussies, Kiwis, Norwegians, Americans, more Canadians and a couple Brits and Africans.  We had a long day driving (about 8 hours) from Nairobi, Kenya, crossing the border into Tanzania to finish at our campsite at Meserani Snake Park in Arusha.  The roads were under construction for about 2/3 of the way which meant the ride was uncomfortable, hot and took longer than it should have.  We did get great views of Kenyan and Tanzanian landscape for the first time, which is beautiful.  We learned our truck procedures and rules (flapping the dishes dry, chores rotation etc) and learned the best way to put up and take down our tents. 

The next day 21 of us headed out for a 3 day 2 night optional excursion trip to the Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti! We rented out jeeps and headed to Karatu, where we stayed for the night outside the park.  Arrived at the Crater first thing the next morning, we drove around the rim (which was completely covered in fog/mist) where we saw our first elephant, baboons, buffalo and zebras on the road! We drove down into the crater and did a game drive until lunch around 1:00 at the hippo pond where about 25 hippos just hang out.  In the game drives we saw lions (Mufasa, no joke.), ostrich, buffalo, jackal, gazelle/impala, wildebeast, flamingo, elephant, more lions, warthogs, hyenas, monkeys and more zebras! It was a great success - such a beautiful area. 

After lunch we drove to the Serengeti national park where we did another afternoon game drive, found Pride Rock (and yes Ali Canning, I took pictures just for you!) and more elephants, giraffes, lions and watched a beautiful sunset and got some fantastic photos.  We set up our tents in the middle of the Serengeti for the night, with no fences.  We had to put everything in our tents (including our shoes) because apparently hyenas will come and steal them in the night if you don't.  We also set up our tents in a semi circle and if you had to pee in the night you had to go right outside your tent door (because you don't know what might be behind that bush) and if you have to go number two, you have to wake your tent mate up and drag them to the toilet with you, so if you encounter some wildlife, at least you have someone to say goodbye to. Just kidding. But actually, lions and elephants roamed around our campsite at night, breaking branches and a lion was breathing right outside our tent and  growled several times - but we survived!

The next morning we drove back all the way to Arusha (another lonng day in the jeep) and almost died doing so.  The 8 person jeep that I was in lost its brakes going down a hill and around a curve, so we went off the road into a small ditch and ended up in the middle of a corn field.  We were all totally fine, a little shaken up but laughed about it soon after and piled into the other 2 jeeps for 2 more hours back to the campsite. I was the lucky un-carsick one that ended up facing backwards, sitting on a box of waterbottles. What fun. 

The next morning we packed up once again and left on our way to Dar es Salaam, a drive that we split into two days.  We drove for most of the day yesterday and stayed the night in Korrogwe, an early morning start and we arrived in Dar about 5 hours later! Here we are now and tonight we will take a pontoon ferry to our campsite on an offshore island to stay the night and then head to Zanzibar in the morning! Can't wait to hit the beach and do some scuba diving!

I have finally been reunited with the ocean, this is the longest I have ever been away from it! Glad to have a break from driving for a couple days and even out my farmers tan.  Zanzibar here I come!
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