Honeymoon Tanzania & Pemba Sept 2005

Sep 27th, 2005, 02:52 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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Welcome back and thanks for the wonderful slideshow and very funny stories.
bat is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 03:23 AM
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Pemba / Fundu Lagoon photos are added. Tonight I will write the reports of Serengeti and Pemba!!

Marynus is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 06:59 AM
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Olduvai Gorge, Ndutu & Serengeti:

The drive from Ngorongoro to Ndutu was pretty long. Fortunately, Olduvai Gorge is somewhere in the middle and makes for a very nice break. My wife bought some things at the shop, while I was looking at the Masai spears. She got a bit worried with carrying a spear on the plan and convinced me not to buy it.

The toilet here was a nice experience again. The little holes in the ground make a hard target for the many tourists with bowel problems that pass there. The open tank below was probably also quite full!! They were constructing a new washroom in this area. We had our lunch at this site with another beautiful view. Then we continued the drive to Ndutu.

Our guide did not make us very enthusiastic for the Ndutu area: “Dusty, Hot, and no animals”! Apparently, this is not the best time of the year to visit the area, because the migration is further north and there are not a lot of resident animals.

After dropping the luggage at the Ndutu Lodge and having a short rest, we went for a short drive through the area. We saw the most interesting animals of the day at the lodge. They had some rabbits, lots of birds, dikdik, bats and a genet!! The genet is a very funny cat-like animal with a long furry tail.

The day after, we drove through the Ndutu area to the Serengeti. The Ndutu area is supposed to be a very, very dry area in this period of the year, but when were there we had a bit of rain. On the way to the park entry we came across some Caracals. They are supposed to be a rare spot during the day.
(I stopped mentioning a lot of other animals like the impalas, gazelles, ostriches, monkeys, because we saw so many of them already).

The Serengeti with its great plains had a surprising diversity of landscapes. We liked the various “kopjes” very much. We found an adult male lion lying in the grass and it stayed so calm while we were passing that it barely moved its head. The lions seem so peaceful that it sometimes surprises some people. In the Ngorongoro crater, somebody was filming lions several hundreds of meters away, while sitting on top of the jeep, when somebody else tapped him on the back to explain that another lion was walking just below him. According to our guide, sitting on top of the Jeep is strictly forbidden, because if you loose balance or get a dizzy spell, you could fall out and the lions are a lot quicker than they seem. The ranger could fine you USD 500.00 for this.

In the Serengeti we found some other lions, having a siesta on a tree. They look a bit large XL pussycats when they are lounging on a tree. A bit further away, a female lion was watching a big herd of buffalos and started approaching them slowly. The herd got a bit nervous, because they had to pass a tricky bit of bush and dried river. When the lion got closer, she realized that she would need the cooperation of her colleagues to catch these buffalos and she discontinued the hunting.

At the following lunch spot, some hyraxes and mongooses were walking around. You are not allowed to feed these animals or the birds, but the temptation was just to big for many tourists (until a ranger came to stop them).

After lunch we visited the hippo pool of the Serengeti. We were allowed to leave the car here to have a good look at them. It is an incredible sight to see about 50 hippos in a pool. We were just wondering how they fitted in there. Before this encounter, my wife thought the hippos the most funny and cute animal, but after seeing 50 of them floating in their little islands of shit (imagine a small pool and keep adding the daily amount of shit a hippo produces and you have a clue what it looks and smells like after many years).
Nobody could resist making a face when we saw a hippo gargling below the surface.

A small hippo got a bit curious when he noticed a small crocodile and approached the crock for some sniffing. The little crock felt scared and snapped at the hippo and the hippo tottered away.

We saw many other animals on our way to the Migration Camp (and a funny small baboon on the back of one of his parents). I already had high expectations of the Migration Camp, because of everything I had read on the internet, but it exceeded my expectations by far! Calling those accommodation tents is very hilarious. Before showing the pictures of the camp we told people that we had been camping. When you show the actual pictures, the reaction is always the same: Is that whole thing a tent for only the two of you? You can sit on the veranda of the tent and hear the hippos in the local pool. When we walked back to the reception/restaurant/bar area, we also saw two dikdik crossing our path.

The lounge area is superb and if you get tired of the couches, you can always go to the deck and sit close to the fire. After a very good dinner, you walk back to the tent with somebody of the staff, because during the evening and night, the hippos and buffalos are walking through the site. We loved the decoration of the tents with its colonial atmosphere. Fortunately, we stayed two nights at this camp!

We had one full day drive in the Serengeti in addition to the shorter drive the day before and the morning drive the day after. During the full day drive we lunched in the Serengeti and we just had to take a picture of the toilet.

The last day of our Safari we had a drive on our way to the airstrip. Before arriving there we found some lions with a fresh kill (a ripped open zebra) and another carcass with some vultures having the remains of a zebra for dinner (they are very thorough!).

We also stopped at some small local shops to buy cigarettes and to go to the toilet. Close to the toilet, about 5 Marabu Storks were walking around. These birds look like big prehistoric birds and when standing up they are about 1.50 meters high. I would estimate the size of there beak to be around 40 centimeters; enough to make some new scary stories.

We were looking around for the airport when we arrived at the Serengeti Airstrip, but you will only find a bar and toilet near the strip. Our tickets clearly stated that we would have to be there one hour in advance for check in, so we looked around for somewhere to check in. When saw other people boarding another plan, we understand that the only thing you have to do it state your name to the pilot, who will look your name up on his list. After that it was quite easy to make a lot of jokes when comparing it to the airports we had seen before (please proceed to gate 16, please put your luggage on the belt etc).

While we were waiting in the plane, the pilot was having a loud telephone conversation just outside the plane. He was shouting about problems with the landing gear, which parts he would need and that he did not want to land in Klein’s camp before, because he was afraid to have an accident. After that, no maintenance or anything was done on the plane and we were taking off! The passengers suddenly all lost the tan they had carefully built up in the previous days!! Everything went well, although I had to get used to flying in a small plane. I had only flown in big planes before.

Hopefully I will be able to finish the report tonight. I think that this forum would really benefit from having a possibility to edit posts. Just entering the right website address in the first post and changing the title of the post would be a good thing.
Marynus is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 01:16 PM
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Pemba / Fundu Lagoon:

In order to get to Fundu Lagoon from the Serengeti, you take a plane to Zanzibar (which stops in Arusha too). Then in Zanzibar you switch to an even smaller plane (12 persons including the pilot). We thought the plane was full when another person entered, but apparently they also sell the co-pilot seat! The pilot just asked her not to touch any buttons!!

When you arrive at the island Pemba, you still have to ride for about 45 minutes and in Chake Chake you will then take the speedboat for another 30 minutes to Fundu Lagoon.

It takes quite a while to get there, but it is worth every minute you have to travel. We stayed 6 nights at Fundu and we were really happy that we have spent some more time at Fundu than when we were planning when we started.

When we arrived a bottle of Champagne was waiting in our tent and we had a glass while watching the sunset. This was surely the perfect kick off for this week. The day after, we walked around a bit in the morning (still used to getting up early) and stayed a bit on the beach. The beach at the resort is not nearly as nice as the beach on Mesali Island. We were lying there and a lot of local people were passing us on their way to work (getting clams at a point of the island?). Especially my girlfriend did not really like that they were looking at her, because she was afraid to offend them by bathing in her bikini (I do not think this was the case: they were all smiling and saying hello).

In the afternoon we took the snorkeling boat to Mesali Island. The island seems to come from a commercial. The water is very clear and when you enter the water at low tide (watch the urchins) you will see a lot of coral and many different fishes. Snorkeling there is just amazing. All the colors and different animals. Because I never dove before it was a very nice experience. The boat to Mesali costs USD 20 and you can go for a full day or half a day (morning or afternoon). If you stay the whole day, notify the waiter at Fundu a day before and they will bring you a very nice lunch!!!

On Wednesday, we went to Mesali again and we had bad luck with the weather. Most of the day it was raining, but still we had fun on the beach reading our books. Some locals are playing checkers and bau (a local game) all day on a desk on the beach. This wooden table in the sand has a sign on it saying “Mesali Project Office”. I still regret not taking a picture of this, because it looked hilarious. The combination of the locals playing checkers, the table in the sun and the machine gun leaning against the table would have given a very nice picture.

Thursday morning we got up early for fishing! It was so nice to wake up on the catamaran with a croissant, some nice music and good weather. We saw some dolphins, flying fishes, turtles, crabs etc. My wife caught a Kingfish of 6 Kg! This was a weight record for this type of fish for Fundu Lagoon. Unfortunately, I did not catch anything, so we booked for Saturday right away. At the night we had the fish for dinner: Kingfish Sashimi as a starter and Grilled Kingfish as the main course.

During the night you will hear the bush babies screaming and laughing. One night, my wife was convinced that we had an intruder in our tent and she woke me up. Even though I was still sleeping a bit, I was alert enough to remind her that we should have bought the Masai spear at Olduvai Gorge. Of course, she had heard some animals outside our tent.

For Friday, we had booked an introduction to Scuba Diving (our first time diving!). After watching a video, we went to Mesali Island by boat and started to train our skills in the water. Rapidly, I earned the nickname “The Cork”, because I was always tending to go up in the water. The only excuse I can come up with is that the belt was maybe not heavy enough, but nobody believed me. The first 20 minutes we were so concentrated that we did not really notice the beautiful environment around us. There are so many colors and different animals!!!
Fortunately, Russel shot a video of the day, so we are able to see everything again. This is also my suggestion for Fundu: If you have never dived, do the introduction day and have the video made. It is the best souvenir you can get and you will have a very nice day. Russel and Cindy (the couple running the diving center) were very friendly and they were able to edit the diving video in such a way that I look a bit less like Mr. Bean under water J

If you are going to Fundu Lagoon, please say hi to them from Luísa and Marijn!!

In the evening we had a sunset cruise with a group on a traditional dhow boat. It turned out that 4 of the 5 couples on the boat got married on the 10th of September too! We all went to the bar and had a lot of fun with the other people.

Saturday we went fishing. This day was not about fun: I needed my revenge!!! It seemed like the nature gods were against me, because as soon as we left it started pooring. It got a bit cold, so my wife went inside the catamaran for a nap. I refused to leave the rods, because I really wanted to catch a fish.

Some hours later (!!!) it stopped raining (I was soaking) and a bit of sun came through. My wife came back on the deck again and a bit later I had a fish. Due to our competitive nature (I had been hearing her stories for the last days) I was very happy to score the 1-1. I was still getting my fish in when her rod also showed that she had a fish. Life is just not fair. She caught a nap while I was enduring the rain and cold and she managed to wake up in time to catch the fish! Both fishes were smaller than the first fish (both 4 kg), so I still have to hear all the stories….

In the afternoon, my wife had her hands painted with Henna by a local woman. It was impressive to see how fast she was able to work and how beautiful it looked!

Again we had our fish for dinner: Kingfish Ceviche for starter and as a main course we had a plate with Kingfish, lobster, gambas, octopus and vegetables. This time, the dinner was not served in the restaurant, but they place our table on the beach. It was wonderful having dinner below the many, many stars!!!

On our last day we played some Bau and wanted to buy of the bau games in Fundu’s store. They are quite expensive, because it is one big piece of wood cut out of a tree. Unfortunately, the games were having wood worms (do not know the name of the animal) so we did not want to risk it.

On Sunday our trip came to an end. We went back by boat, car, plane to Zanzibar, plane to Dar es Salaam and then to Amsterdam. Please make sure that you confirm your KLM flight back. They were having some overbookings and one other couple had to stay and extra night in Dar es Salaam.

Everything about Fundu was great: the staff, the tents, the food, the activities. Now we’re back in the Netherlands to start saving for a next trip and a PADI diving course!!
Marynus is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 01:51 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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Glad you had such a good time and what a way to start a marriage, though you will probably be hearing the fish story for the next 75 years! Congratulation on your wedding and if you travel again, keep us informed, even if not Africa. Your writing style is great and would love to hear more "Adventures of Luisa and Marijn"
Thanks so much for sharing!
matnikstym is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 03:32 PM
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What a great trip report! I'm surprised the airstrip actually had a bar and a toilet. Thanks for sharing
Patty is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 04:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Marynus -

Thanks for the detailed review of Fundu Lagoon - we can't wait! We will say hello for you!

- Lori
lorib1 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2005, 06:23 AM
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Thank you for the nice reactions!!

I hope to be able to write more of these reports after such trips!

Hopefully we will be able to save some cash soon, because we would like to go to Australia next year.
Marynus is offline  
Sep 29th, 2005, 11:35 PM
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Do you think it is worthwhile to repost the stories as just one story?

I think that the title of this thread is not chosen very well. It looks like another thread asking for itinerary help...
Marynus is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 12:22 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Thank you Marynus “The Cork” and congratulations to you and Luisa. This was so funny. The lizard of the scary story must have been a savannah monitor. I’ve always suspected that behaviour of them. I’m so envious that you saw caracals. Instead of going to Australia you should return to Africa and then write another trip report.
Nyamera is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 01:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Glad the Panasonic worked out so well for you. Your trip report is one of the funniest I've ever read -- what a great start on your married life!

jasher is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 02:10 PM
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Marynus -

I don't think it's necessary to post your trip report at one continuous story. However, you should take the sections of the report, combine them and print it out for yourself and paste into a Trip Journal for safe keeping and future referral. I'm sure you'll enjoy it even more, laugh as much as we all have and finally, have something your children can read in years to come.

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