Kenya-Tanzania Trip Report

Old May 4th, 2009, 09:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 420
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kenya-Tanzania Trip Report

Before I start I’d like to apologize for any and all inaccuracies, in particular with some of the animals, maybe someone could let me know any corrections, I do intend researching all the animals but haven’t had the time. Photos will appear later I’ll advise of a link.
Very briefly 3 of us traveled with Sunworld Safaris in a Landcrusier 4WD on a Kenya-Tanzania Private Safari. We flew from the Mara – Nairobi – Kilimanjaro where we picked up our second driver.
Accommodation was triple share, which on the whole worked well.
Thanks to those that have helped me along the way, Bill H thank you for suggesting Ndutu, we loved it.

Day 1 (18th March): Maroochydore - Sydney
On arrival in Sydney found my bag had a hole in it, looked like it had been dragged for miles, and a broken wheel as well.

Day 2 (19th March): Sydney - J'burg - Mondior Concorde Hotel
Had to buy a new bag, found a Strand Bags at the International Terminal and thankfully they opened at 7am as we had to check in at 7.30, so raced straight there, bought a new bag and packed it in the shop.
We traveled Premium Economy, definitely the way to go, although it’s really a yes and no. Reason being there were 7 of us in a section that takes 34 so we all spread out, but because of more room you have a fixed section between each seat, unlike economy where you can stretch out on empty seats. But it was still more comfortable.

Day 3 (20th March 09): J’burg - Nairobi late arrival - New Stanley
Got up early, and waited down stairs for the shuttle bus and because we were chatting and trying to get Biddy’s phone to work, we missed two buses. We’d decided not to buy local sim cards as we really only had the phones for alarm clocks.
Arrived at airport super early in the hope of getting Biddy’s phone fixed, sort of righted it self by the time we were at Samburu. Miraculously unlocked itself!
Flight out was delayed 1 1/4 hrs due to bags without passengers. There was an amazing down pour and Lin's bag was one of many left out in the rain while they searched for the other 3 bags. We’d love to know what happens to these people that check in and then disappear!
Arrived in Nairobi very late, changed money and by the time we reached the queue at Passport Control we were the last in line. Luckily the “locals only” counter was empty and we followed a guy over and virtually went straight through. James from Sunworld picked us up and took us to the hotel and got us settled in.
Had to unpack Lin’s bag and try and get everything dry overnight, she certainly wasn’t impressed but luckily nothing was permanently damaged.
We're still having trouble sleeping, and not helped here because there was constant thumping from a nightclub close by.

Day 4 (21st March): Nairobi - New Stanley
James picked us up at 8.30 and we went to the Sunworld Office for a safari chat, they gave us a hat and t-shirt each.
Headed off for the Giraffe Centre, very busy & bumpy road. We met Daisy 2, who gave us all giraffe kisses; Biddy got a huge lick as well. We fed Daisy and another smaller Giraffe for some time, I was worried that Daisy would burst, but apparently she's pregnant. Daisy is also the one that head butts you if you don’t feed her.
From there we went to Sheldrick’s for the public viewing, the road was horrendous. The gates opened at 11, we met Lina on the way down to see the babies, and gave her an Australian “Animal Rescue” mug. The youngsters were the first out of the bush. They came in and played around in the mud for about half an hour & had some milk; the older babies followed and came in for a drink of milk and a game in the mud also. Lempaute was very naughty, she apparently has been there since very young and is a little too used to people. After they went back to the bush the baby rhino came out and had a wander around.
We only did a little shopping at Sheldrick’s, we didn’t realize they only took cash and didn’t have much on us. Lina mentioned that she loved the cup we gave her and apparently is still using it.
On the way to lunch we had a flat tyre, and in changing it the vehicle slid off the jack, James had to drive on a little to find a more secure piece of ground. We had lunch at Talisman Restaurant, Italian cuisine, and because we were running late we had lamb kebabs thinking they would be quickest, they weren’t, but they were very nice anyway.
From there we raced to the Nairobi National Park, where we sat in the car for 3/4 of an hour while James tried to get us in, even though we already had tickets, not happy Jan!
We used the most revolting toilets in the world! No paper no water.
We were shown around by Wallace who took my camera and backpack, he got in behind the fences and took some good photos, (unfortunately my hands shake quite badly), we saw albino zebra, lions, leopard, as well as up close and personal with a cheetah, which cost us a small fortune. Wallace got 3 of his co-workers to take us in with the geriatric cheetah. We weren’t at all happy with our cheetah encounter, they treated it roughly to the point where we told them to leave it alone. And then Wallace insisted we pay each of the guys, and yes we could have refused but didn’t. Wallace just didn’t get as much as he perhaps should have.
We went back to Sheldrick’s at 5pm to watch the babies come in from the park, had about an hour with them, Biddy’s Lempaute was being very naughty spraying water around, we left here with red mud all of us, including on our one and only pair of shoes, which became “Shoes by Sheldrick”
We had dinner on the way back into Nairobi at Mediterraneo, a pizza pasta place that was quite nice. One of the staff gave Dorothy his phone number and said he'd like to see her again.

Day 5 (22nd March): Nairobi - Samburu Game Reserve - Serena Lodge
Another night of thumping music, yummy!
Left Nairobi at 7.30am & had 2 stops along the way for the obligatory tourist stop & toilet break, bought things at the first stop but not the second.
We drove through a huge pineapple plantation as well as a large coffee growing area, saw Mt Kenya several times, which had a little snow on it.
An uneventful drive out to Samburu, very bumpy road in places and everywhere we stopped people would try and sell us something. Even though the road was pretty rough, we even left the bitumen because the dirt was a little easier in places, it was worthwhile going by vehicle. We loved seeing all the “villages” with all the different stores etc each one a little different from the last.
Arrived around 1.30 and had a very nice late lunch, the chef was very attentive to "Dorothy's" Chilli allergy, taking her (Lin) around to all the dishes explaining what was in everything; he actually did this every meal, which was outstanding. (Lin is highly allergic to Chilli)
It was here that we discovered Blackcurrant Fanta, and I think we drank all they had!
We are really animal people and were delighted when the house cat joined us for lunch.
Just had enough time to go tour the room, tidy up and yet again organize our bags, before meeting James at 4pm for afternoon game drive.
First up we saw Giraffe, Dik Dik, Impala, Baboon, Buffalo. Drove to the dry riverbank, came around a corner and 2 lions had just caught a large male Impala, the female was hanging onto the neck whilst the male, a handsome collared lion, was drinking blood. He finished and wandered off over the riverbed to have a drink of water and then continued on into the bush. The female hung onto the Impala until it died. We drove off after a little while, & came across the male again, he'd apparently called another female lion and 5 cubs. The cubs raced in to feed, the original female also started to eat. The cubs mother just lay on the ground rolling and relaxing, the older collared male kept watch from a distance, as we were leaving a younger male was heading over to feed, we didn’t go back to watch but didn’t hear any fighting.
Further along the river we saw a herd of elephants with a lot of babies, one elephant was digging in the dry riverbed looking for water.
We saw several more Giraffe on the way back to the lodge.
Had a shower and headed to the lounge for a lovely dinner, the cat has taken a shine to us, and we haven’t fed it a thing.
Internet, which we didn’t use, was US$24 for 15 minutes.

Day 6 (23rd March): Samburu - Serena Lodge
We had a good night sleep, although it was very hot & were ready for James by 6.30, but he'd had another flat tire.
As we came out of the room and glanced at the riverbed we saw 3 African Wild Dogs, James said he has only seen them here once in 7 years.
On this drive we didn’t go down to the river but headed inland, the view of the escarpment was brilliant, and there was a flat top mountain, can’t remember the name, that looked a little like Ayres Rock.
Didn’t see so many animals this time, we saw Reticulated Giraffe, Dik Dik, Gerenuk Gazelle, Grevy’s Zebra, Waterbuck, Oryx, Mongoose, Impala.
Headed back for a fabulous breakfast, more Blackcurrant Fanta and the cat joined us again, and then came sat down in the room with us!
After breakfast re organized our bags again and had a swim in the pool. Wrote postcards and generally relaxed. Whilst by the pool a bull elephant came very close eating the grass and rubbing up against a tree, several people were repeatedly asked to move away from the ele who wouldn’t have had any trouble stepping over the wall, eventually a couple of Masai guys chased him away, because a particular group wouldn’t move away. We went on another game drive at 3pm,
James spent a long time trying to find leopards, but to no avail. I’m convinced there aren’t any leopards in Africa.
We saw Giraffe, Grevy’s Zebra including 2 doing the dirty deed. We then came across a large herd of elephants and their babies, some very new and they walked all around us. Also saw some Giraffe head butting and neck fighting, as well as lions sleeping on the other side of the riverbed.
Another excellent dinner and finished their supply of Blackcurrant Fanta!
Overall we loved Samburu, food was excellent, the staff were all very friendly and helpful, the scenery outstanding!
The room was very comfortable, although a little cramped with the 3 single beds; we stacked our bags on top of each other.
We certainly look forward to returning there in the next year or so.

Day 7 (24th March): Samburu - Sweetwater’s Game Reserve - Tented Camp
After breakfast we headed for Sweetwater’s, stopped at the Equator and got hassled at the shops, watched the water display, which didn’t work, no matter what he tried.
We we're in tent no 9 overlooking the waterhole. It was very comfortable and roomy.
Sweetwater’s was amazingly dry, or I should say desperately dry, and we could see fires on Mt Kenya. The meals were good, staff ok, the lady in the shop was too bored to be bothered serving us, her loss.
Not much in the way of animals on the afternoon game drive, in fact to be perfectly honest I don’t remember much about Sweetwater’s. Met some lovely American’s at dinner, thoroughly enjoyed talking to them, and hope our paths cross again. Whilst at dinner a White Rhino came to the waterhole to drink. They put hot water bottles in our beds, which definitely weren’t needed.
I think because it was soooo dry Sweetwater’s wasn’t a favourite, although the lodge area was quite pretty and the acacia trees were stunning.
sallysaab is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 01:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Very nice and detailed report!
Thanks for getting smiles on to my face here and there
I agree: It's worthwhile to hit the road sometimes instead of flying-in as it gives a feeling of the country one is traveling.

I found some similarities............

We also found the Cheetah "encounter" disgusting at the Nairobi NP; exploitation of these gracious cats by the "care taker". Not to mention the much tooooo small enclosure.

Lempaute is also one of "our" orphaned elis at Sheldrick's and we also LOVE to have a meal at Mediterraneo.

sallysaab - I wonder why you fear some "inaccuracies" regarding animals! Wasn't the Sunworld guide supposed to point out, educate and enlighten besides the guides at camps? I am just wondering........

spassvogel is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 01:45 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 624
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Welcome back, glad to see the report appearing.
You had some great sightings at Samburu, even seeing Wild Dogs just to make us all feel really jealous.

I think there is a lesson for us all to avoid wild animal petting wherever it occurs, even though it is almost irresistible.

I understand the rains failed this year, or were much lighter, so perhaps Sweetwaters is still very dry.

Look forward to the next instalment.
twaffle is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 02:02 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 624
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I meant to say, I think the flat rock you mentioned was Ololokwe … I also noted its resemblance to Uluru.
twaffle is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 04:14 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 646
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
sallysaab, thoroughly enjoyed the first installment. Looking forward to next one. Will keep in mind the blackcurrant fanta when in the area! Dick
rsnyder is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 01:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 420
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
SV, yes he told us names when we asked, but between his accent-our ears-remembering when we got to the lodge, things would have gotten confused. We did make notes as we drove, but the bad bumpy writing was an issue as well.But more on that later. Love your Cat!
sallysaab is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 01:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 420
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
twaffle, in hindsight perhaps we shouldnt have gone in, but you dont know until it happens. It did purr, dont know if it was in anger or joy.
Thanks for the name of the rock, looked at Google Earth but just wasnt convinced that was it.
Dick, can you post Fanta to us!
We have had to enter Fanta rehab!
There is also Passion and Pineapple which we didnt try, the blackcurrant was really refreshing.
sallysaab is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 01:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,125
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Welcome back, sallysaab, and thanks for starting your report! Lucky you with the wild dog sighting! I need to try the blackcurrent Fanta next time. Looking forward to more.
Patty is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 01:46 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 788
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for your report -- I'm really enjoying it and look forward to reading more. Wild dogs at Samburu!! Woo-hoo! What luck, and I'm so glad to hear that. Samburu was one of my favorite places in Kenya, as well.

I'm always happy to learn about new soda flavors -- something to look out for on my next trip.

twaffle -- "I think there is a lesson for us all to avoid wild animal petting wherever it occurs, even though it is almost irresistible." Well put. Thanks. Sallysaab, I'm not judging you for wanting to do this, because it would be very hard indeed to NOT want to put a cheetah, given the chance. I appreciate that you posted your negative feelings about the experience. I suspect there are a few places where hand-raised animals probably can be petted with no harm to animals or humans, but in general I don't think most of those places are available to tourists.
MyDogKyle is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 02:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 420
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Day 8 (25th March): Sweetwater’s - Lake Nakuru National Park - Sarova Lion Hill
Left Sweetwater’s about 8am, nothing at the waterhole this morning. A pretty uneventful drive except how many “Equators” are there? Stopped at the Rift Valley lookout, absolutely awesome, but desperately needing rain. Once again we got hassled by the stallholders. I spoke with Jack who was very nice and explained all about the Rift Valley while I was taking a movie which I really appreciated, except for Biddy, in the background constantly saying “Dot we’re going to the toilet”, he also pointed out where his family’s house was etc, I happily bought an elephant from him at an exorbitant price mainly because he didn’t give me a hard time. Lin dealt with Grace and of course hit it off because her dogs’ name is Grace and Biddy’s bloke gave her a seriously hard time.
Saw a rhino along the way. Arrived in time for a late lunch.

By the way, so far none of the lodges have been very busy.

On the afternoon game drive we saw a 10 White Rhino, 3 Black Rhino, lots of Zebra including a very young baby, Eland, 1 lion Sleeping, Eagle Owl, Dik Dik, Giraffe, Warthogs with piglets running of course, Tawny Eagle, Flamingo, Pelicans, Impala, Cape Buffalo, Water Buck. The flamingo on the Lake were rather spectacular even though we saw about a third of what should be there, when they took to the air the pink on the underside of their wings was a deeper pink we were told we were watching the Greater Flamingo.
Watched a Masai dance before dinner which was enjoyable as they didn’t appear to be bored, as so many of these “organized” dancers through out the world seem to be.
Food at Lake Nakuru was not as good as the others, had to listen to some very bad guitar playing, we tried our best to ignore the guy much to the disgust of a couple across from us.
They put hot water bottles in our beds, which once again weren’t necessary, but of course in winter would be greatly appreciated. The room was quite comfortable. The shower interesting.
sallysaab is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I chuckled at your question of how many equators are there?

Wild dogs in Samburu? How fantastic and what a lucky sighting! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your grip.
atravelynn is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 05:57 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 9,356
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dogs in Samburu and black currant Fanta! Sounds like the trip of a lifetime already.
Leely2 is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 07:36 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Fanta might have a little too much carbonation for my taste, but the dogs would have just the right amount of fiz.
atravelynn is offline  
Old May 6th, 2009, 04:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 646
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
sallysaab, you will have to wait 'til Nov for the black currant post. Wife really liked the passion fanta. Lodges (Tanzania) didn't have a great variety of flavors but maybe one in Samburu will have. And, wild dogs to boot!! Dick
rsnyder is offline  
Old May 6th, 2009, 03:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 420
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Day 9 (26th March): Lake Nakuru - Masai Mara Game Reserve - Serena Lodge
Left Lake Nakuru around 8am with a short game drive on the way out of the park. Long drive to the Mara, James didn’t take the short cut because it was too dusty.
On a horrid stretch of road we were passed by a big green bus with a picture of Michelle Obama on the back, as well as mud flaps with “The First Lady” on it, the guy was driving like a maniac on a shocking road with lots of road work and diversions, he passed us twice before we lost him for good, and it was like “look out here comes Michelle again” really expected to see him wiped out on the side of the road.
We saw Zebra, goats and warthogs along the side of the road like you see cows and sheep etc.
Topi, Zebra, Impala, Masai Giraffe, Warthogs with babies, Wildebeest, Lioness, Eland, Cokes Hartebeest, Eles, Ostrich, Hyena, Mongoose, Hippo, Dwarf Mongoose and Irax. We notice every time we see Warthogs they run in the other direction, James said they were camera shy.
When we arrived at the Mara the wonderful plains and the flat top Acacia trees overwhelmed us.
Our room number 94 was the very last to the left of the lounge area, and I remembered reading on Fodor’s about a path leading up to a lookout, so off we went, great view.
The room was comfortable, beds ok. We hung our clothesline out across the balcony, but decided it wasn’t a good look for those up by the pool, which in hindsight was good as the monkeys tried to get on the balcony we had to tap their little fingers to get them to move, thank goodness we didn’t leave the balcony doors open whilst on a game drive!
Because we had to keep the room closed we got a fan but some dill played a round with the knobs and set the timer to only work for a couple of hours.

Day 10 (27th March): Masai Mara - Serena Lodge
Went on a game at 6.15 watched the sun come up and the hot air balloons taking off.
On our game drive today we saw Giraffe, Topi, Eland, Warthogs, Thompson Gazelle, Impala, Hippos, Eles, Black backed Jackal, Bat eared foxes, Secretary bird, Marabou Stork, Hyena, Zebra, Black chested Eagle, Lion & Lioness and 3 other lions 1 of whom was pregnant, Crown crane, Wildebeest, Crocs, Egret, Ostrich, Buffalo.
We saw a female and two youngish male cheetahs who we followed for a while, and then 2 of them decided to jump up on the vehicle, 1 eventually jumped off and when the other looked like jumping in, James rocked the car so he'd go, I was close enough to be able to tell you his (the cheetah) teeth were beautiful and he didn’t have bad breath. James told us about one time when a cheetah got on the back of the vehicle and jumped inside, it got on the front seat with him, he lent across opened the door and pushed him out. We thought we were pretty cool having the cheetahs on the vehicle, but when we got back to the lodge it appeared it was very common, and people had also seen the “non-existent leopards”.
Had breakfast by the Mara River, and a little upstream was a large pod of Hippo’s. Saw a 4WD with 4 young men in it pull up by the river and amazingly one of them started throwing stones at the hippo’s and crocs, they moved off pretty quick when they saw us. Had our first bush pee.
There were lots elephants eating on the Savannah Grasslands, which are burnt off to regenerate the grass, the burnt off areas where extremely green. The scenery was just amazing, we completely fell in love with the Mara, even picking out a spot where we could pitch a tent for good.
This place is unbelievably beautiful, with animals dotted all over the place it’s just sensational!
Crocs, Egret, Ostrich, Hippo, Buffalo and a couple of Hyena, one with a Zebra skin it was carrying around.
Arvo drive, saw ele's with a month old baby, as well as an old matriarch, Zebra, Topi, Thompson’s Gazelle, then we came across a lion and lioness who were obviously going to get up to no good, we decided to leave them alone. Just about 50 metres away was another lion “in waiting”. In between the lions we saw 2 big vultures building a nest.
Then we saw jackal, eland warthogs, ostrich, Marshall eagle, which is the largest in Kenya and he had a stork he was eating.
We went on the night drive and saw the usual plus Genet cat, white tailed mongoose, rabbits, hippos, crowned cranes sleeping on the top of a dead tree, pretty uninteresting and the longest 2 hours we've ever had.

Day 11 (28th March): Masai Mara - Serena Lodge
“No pressure” has become the word of the day, as well as Hakuna Matata, especially in regards to the “non-existent” leopards
Went on an early morning game drive, Dot had an upset tummy, too much fruit, and considered not going.
We headed off towards the Serengeti, seeing 11 hyena's, a large herd of buffalo, zebra, crowned crane, ele’s, gazelle, serval cat, topi, wildebeest, white egret, warthog, ostrich, black backed jackal.
Had a huge breakfast, we found all the food boxes to be over generous, surrounded by a herd of zebra, buffalo and ele’s just amazing!
Lin and Biddy had another bush pee, but Dots stomach decided we should get back to the lodge asap.
Re packed again in readiness for our next leg.
Whilst in the room doing our notes Biddy had to chase another baboon away that was trying to get in.
Also when we were walking back down to our room there was a lot of activity by one of the drains, and we’re sure they were killing a snake.
In our opinion, the Mara is magnificent even without the migration, to sit in your room and watch the zebra and giraffe etc is outstanding.
Last arvo drive in the Mara, a great drive, beautiful evening, big black clouds a thunderstorm on its way. We saw Topi, Impala, and Warthogs that didn’t run! Thompson’s Gazelle, Zebra, 3 Cheetahs and 1 very agro buffalo, Crowned Cranes, Eles, Mongoose, Lion, Jackal and a very pregnant Cheetah.
The heavens opened as we were about to do the long walk to dinner, had to get out our very stylish brollies, 1 with ice cream cones the other with cupcakes, needless to say no one tried to “borrow” them when we left them at the lounge door, we did grab proper ones for the return walk.
Dinner this evening was a Kenyan theme, which meant Lin had a very limited choice so she decided to stick with salad, the first mouthful of coleslaw was a disaster as it apparently had a chilli sauce on it. The area where they were cooking the food was not undercover and their make shift canopy didn’t work, so you had to use a brolly.
Before I forget, most the lodges seemed to wax/polish their floors, which made walking in the wet quite dangerous, just something to be aware of as you slip back to your room. Also we had advised all the lodges of Lin’s Chilli allergy, and the coleslaw was overlooked much to the Chefs horror.
Samburu and the Mara were undoubtedly our favorites in Kenya, we wouldn’t stay at the Mara Serena again, but would look probably for a small-tented camp.

Day 12 (29th March): Masai Mara (Fly) Nairobi (Fly) Kilimanjaro - Lake Manyara National Park - Serena Lodge
Went out early for the game drive and as we were walking up to the lounge area the smoke alarms were sounding, we thought it must have been wake up calls, but no. Staff were running around trying to find the guilty smoking parties.
The roads were very wet and slippery, great fun sliding a round.
We saw Impala, Zebra, Ele’s, Topi, Gazelle, Hairy Necked Waterbuck, now that’s what has been written in the notes and I’m hoping it’s supposed to be a Defassa Waterbuck, Ostrich, Warthog, Zebra with a sleeping baby, Buffalo, Vultures, Marabou Stork, Secretary Bird, Crowned Crane, Black Backed Jackal, Baboon.
Got back in time to have breaky, grabbed our bags and head up to wait for word that the plane was about to arrive, James dropped us at the airstrip with all the other fatties, and lucky for us the plane actually took off with a big struggle.
After reading on Fodor’s about the weight of bags on little planes, we were pathetically conscious of not being over weight, not buying things we would have liked etc until we got past “the small plane”. So when we get to the parking area with our underweight bags, it was like OMG, the other bags were huge and the people were huge, and in all fairness I must admit that Lin and I aren’t lightweights either, we considered that Biddy who is small balanced us out.
We were the last to get on, and of course they filled the back of the plane first so we had to force our way through to the seats at the front with our backpacks in tow, we were told we should have left them at the back of the plane, so they got passed back over everyone’s heads and tossed at the back.
It was a little 14-seated plane, and I struggled to get enough air, really had to concentrate on everything but breathing.
The plane left about 15 – 20 minutes late, and it really struggled to actually get going. We were really worried about connecting with our International flight to Kilimanjaro, as we had a 20-minute change over.
Arrived at Wilson, Nairobi waited while they got our bags out of the plane and we verified that they were ours and they put Kilimanjaro labels on them. We were rushed into Immigration and the man wasn’t happy at all because the Immigration person wasn’t anywhere to be found so the grumpy Visa man had to process us, and then we were told to go to the toilet and then sit outside on the bench and wait, we were about to sit as requested but were then told the plane was ready, we looked around for the plane to learn the damn one we got off was the one we were getting back on, so much for panicking about missing our flight, this time the plane took off like a rocket with just 4 of us in it.
Arrived at Kilimanjaro and met Francis our next driver. Had a boxed lunch in the airport car park and then headed off for Lake Manyara.
On the way he pointed out Mt Meru and Kilimanjaro, also saw the signs for St Jude’s School, which we couldn’t visit because it was a Sunday and they were also on school holidays. We pay for the education of one of the students there.
We really noticed a lot of difference in Tanzania, the woman dressed differently, the roads were much better than in Kenya, lots of houses had started being built but the people had apparently run out of money before they were finished.
Passed through Kauta were there was a huge market along the train line, where the train to Nairobi stopped.
Then we went through a place called Makurmea, which had rice paddies and banana plantations.
Next big town was Arusha, which went on forever, high-rise buildings and traffic lights. Appears to be a much more affluent area.
We passed through Monduli, which is the Tanzania Military Academy
We noticed also that the kids in Kenya were much more friendly than here.
Masai herdsman tending their goats and cattle everywhere, some more friendly than others, which you can understand constantly living in a cloud of dust caused by the safari vehicles racing past. Masai on mobile phones out in the bush was interesting, yes I know they can, but it wasn’t what we expected, and anyway how come they can get a signal in the bush and we in Australia cant.
The countryside was quite green. Passed through Mtawanbu, which translates to river of mosquitos, it was a big town with a market and street artwork everywhere, which they left out in the weather over night.
We had a short game drive in Manyara National Park, which is the Western Escarpment of the Rift Valley, the other side of where we’d been in Kenya.
This area was like a rainforest, with lots of baboons, Sykes Monkeys, Bushbuck, and Silvery Cheeked Hornbill Birds, Impala, Ele’s, Masai Giraffe, Wildebeest, Eurasian Roller bird, Guinea Fowl, Warthogs, Buffalo also some elephants with a very little baby that couldn’t work it’s trunk, it stood in the middle of the road tossing a piece of grass around.
In the distance we saw lots of flamingoes on the lake, we also saw Dik Dik, Hippos and White Egret.
We headed up to the lodge as the park closes at 6.30, checked in to room 64 out of 67 another long trek. The room was another with mozzie nets over the beds making it very hot, but at least this room had a fan that didn’t really penetrate the nets.
We left the room to go up for dinner and a local guy materialized out of the bushes, he walked us up to the lounge/dining area. Actually he scared us as he kept appearing and disappearing out of nowhere.
We had a nice meal, not a buffet. The assistant manager introduced himself to us, saying only a couple of people were staying overnight.
Did a bit of shopping in the gift shop.
sallysaab is offline  
Old May 6th, 2009, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 642
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great report Sallysaab, thanks for taking the time to write.

Sounds like you had great wildlife viewing with the Samburu lion kill, Nakuru flamingoes and all the Mara sightings. I smiled when you mentioned the baboons trying to invade rooms at the Mara Serena, as I saw 2 large baboons scale a balcony into a room, with 2 gardeners in hot pursuit during my 2005 stay.

Interested to read that you sponsor a student at St Jude's as I do too. I'm going to Gemma Sisia's presentation in Hobart this evening. Are you catching up with her in Sydney?
Looking forward to more...

Treepol is offline  
Old May 6th, 2009, 08:54 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 624
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sallysaab, enjoying the continuing report but interested to know why you wouldn't return to Mara Serena as that is one of the places I am considering for next year.
It does sound like you have had wonderful sightings.
twaffle is offline  
Old May 6th, 2009, 09:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 420
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Treepol, no we dont get to meet Gemma, I'm actually on the Sunshine Coast, and we wanted to organize a function for her, but she wasnt interested, I'm guessing we just dont have the population here. It's a shame because it was to be a big African night,would have been loads of fun!
Loved to hear about your evening.
sallysaab is offline  
Old May 6th, 2009, 09:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 420
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
twaffle, no reason other than been there done that I guess.
The lodge was fine, staff were nice, food on the whole good, fabulous views, but we'd like to see the Mara from another situation. I havent checked anything else out, but perhaps a small tented situation.
Also when everyone headed out for the games drives, we virtually went the same way each time. my thoughts were to stay somewhere else and see a different area.
sallysaab is offline  
Old May 6th, 2009, 10:35 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 624
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Did your Sunworld guide mention the Mara Bush Camp which they run? We thought we would combine the 2 as that would give us different areas. Mara Bush Camp doesn't sound as luxurious as some tented camps but that wouldn't worry us too much.
twaffle is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information