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Trip Report RTW based around Tanzania and South Africa

Trip Report RTW based around Tanzania and South Africa

Jan 28th, 2006, 01:24 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,479
Trip Report RTW based around Tanzania and South Africa

Part 1
Hi All
We are back from our RTW trip with One World, with the Tanzania portion organised through ATR. Thanks for all the help we received from all of the Fodorite crew. The trip was fantastic and we are so happy with what e did, what we saw and who we met!!!

After eight months of planning, it all came together.
Our itinerary was:
Dec 23 Sydney – Toronto (We were able to upgrade to business using our points which was great). The plane was late getting into LAX so we missed our AA connection. Got into TO at 9.30 pm rather than 5.00 pm.
We met up with our 14 yr old daughter who has been living in TO with my brother’s family since August. Letting her go was the hardest thing I have ever done, but the best. We spent Xmas with my family. Tony’s brother & sister in law who are living in NYC also joined us in Toronto and London.

Dec 28 Toronto – London – I paid for an upgrade to World Traveller Plus which was well worth it. Used Just Airports. We will never use them again. I gave the driver a GBP 6 tip and he demanded more saying he had waited more than 45 minutes yet we came out before the arrival time as we were early. They also wanted to charge a 50% premium to drive us to the airport on NYE – at 4.00 pm, not during the night. I used another company who charged us a straight fee. We stayed at the new Ibis London City in the City which we got for a great staff rate. Highlights included the Tower of London, the London Eye and dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s bistro - Boxwood.

Dec 31 London – DAR
01-Jan Fly : Zanair : Dar es Salaam international to Arusha
Accommodation : Arusha : Moivaro Lodge
Safari : Tanzania Northern Parks : overland safari
02-Jan Accommodation : Karatu : Gibbs Farm
03-Jan Safari : Ngorongoro
Accommodation : South Serengeti : Olduvai Tented Camp
04-Jan Accommodation : Central Serengeti : Ronjo Flycamp
05-Jan Accommodation : Central Serengeti : Ronjo Flycamp
06-Jan Accommodation : South Serengeti : Ndutu Lodge
07-Jan Accommodation : South Serengeti : Ndutu Lodge
08-Jan Accommodation : Ngorongoro : Serena Lodge
09-Jan Fly : Zanair : Manyara to Zanzibar : via Arusha
Accommodation : Zanzibar Island : Pongwe Beach
10-Jan Accommodation : Zanzibar Island : Pongwe Beach
11-Jan Accommodation : Zanzibar Stonetown : Dhow Palace
12-Jan Fly : Coastal : Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam
Fly : TC7908 : Dar es Salaam to to South Africa
12-18 Jan Staying with friends outside Durban
18 Jan Fly to Capetown
18-19 Jan Caledon Villa STELLENBOSCH
20-23 Jan Accommodation: The Peninsula All-Suite Hotel
23-Jan Tour with Selwyn
24-Jan Fly: Capetown-Victoria Falls
Accommodation: Mercure
25-Jan Fly: Vic Falls – Jo’burg – Sydney
26-Jan Sydney on Australia Day.

Miscellaneous Info.

We ended up with quite a lot of Columbia. Lots of stone & khaki and Rocco vests
Shopped around for Malarone.
We are happy with the performance of our Fuji 5500. Our small IBM X20 thinkpad was perfect for downloading our photos. I had a half gb card but bought another full gb card which we never used. We managed to download every night. The big surprise was how my daughter took to the canon video camera we bought at the last minute. We used 6 1 hour tapes. Every camp and lodge other than Ronjo had facilities to recharge our electronics. The 4 outlet power pack worked like a dream as it only requires one adapter. Two sets of binoculars between the three of us was plenty. We have two small paklite soft bags that convert into backpacks that we bought 15 yrs ago plus a larger backpack. While we carried cameras and binoculars in our safari vests, we carried 2 carry on bags each. Our baggage was never weighed even on Coastal which has a total weight limit of 15 kg.

January 1st

Arrived in Dar after a reasonable flight from London on BA. We had hoped the plane was going to be half empty, but it was relatively full despite it being New Years Eve. It turned out two of our seats were right at the back with a wall behind us, with my seat being across the aisle. I noticed that there were four seats empty in front of me. I quickly moved into the row in front and sat in the middle. Then the flight attendant told my husband and daughter that there was a row of two on the other side of the plane. We ended up having a reasonable sleep. The captain woke us at midnight to announce the New Year.

We awoke to see Mt Kilimanjaro. This turned out to be our only sighting as it was in cloud or a dust haze. The arrival in Dar was pretty simple. We did not have visas but this wasn’t a problem. Our Zanair rep took our money, passports and applications to the authorities. We then headed off to the domestic terminal. Our plane was supposed to leave DAR at 9.10am but it quite a bit later. As we were returning to DAR with Coastal, ATR had very helpfully arranged for us to leave a large suitcase with them. This was a godsend as my daughter had been in Canada for 4 months and we had travelled via Canada and London so had winter clothing.

After eventually left DAR and taking a very short flight in a very small, very hot plane to Zanzibar, we transferred into a larger plane for our flight to Arusha. Tony was caught up in taking pictures of the planes etc. Just after we left we realised we had left our carry on bag with all our drugs (including $600 of malaria tablets) on the first plane which was going onto Pemba (a smaller island). We told the pilot but we were convinced that was the end of the bag.

The flight to Arusha took around 2 hours. The landscape was very dusty and dry. Our ATR guide, Reggie, was there to meet us. We had requested Reggie as he was recommended by previous ATR customers. A lovely guy. Explaining our problem with the bag he got right onto it. Another flight was due in at 2.00pm so he expected it to come up on that flight.

We then headed through Arusha to the Moivaro Lodge. The town of Arusha was bustling even though it was New Years Day. The trip to the Lodge went quickly. Reggie reckoned he would be back around 4.00pm with the bag. The Lodge is set in very green grounds and gardens. Our bungalow fitted all our needs. The beds were all adjoining and set under one very large net. The level of maintenance on the curtains etc. was slightly below par. We had hamburgers for lunch and warm soft drinks. That was one thing we were to learn. While it seemed always possible to get cold beer, it wasn’t the same case with the soft drinks.

We tried to spend the afternoon by the pool, but it was too hot and the sun really burnt. Some guests took a guided walk but we were still trying to cope with jet lag. 4.00pm went by and no Reggie. My fear was that we would be spending the next day getting our malaria tablets replaced rather than heading off on our safari.

Dinner started at 7.30pm which we found was the norm throughout Africa. We headed up around 7.00 pm to find our bag sitting in reception. Reggie had spent all afternoon at the airport as they kept telling him it would be on the next flight. Everything was still there -what a relief!

Lots of people at the Lodge had climbed (or attempted to climb) Kili. It sounded wonderful but we certainly weren’t sorry that we would not be climbing it. Very strenuous and a lot of people don’t make it to the top. Maybe if we were younger and fitter.

January 2nd

Woke up after a greatly needed sound sleep. Petra from ATR met us for breakfast to discuss our itinerary. We hadn’t settled on whether we would go to Lake Manyara or straight onto Gibbs Farm. We then found out that the short rains in November/December were cut very short and that the Serengeti was basically a dustbowl. The migration was stalled as the wildebeest were waiting for the rains. She recommended that we go to Lake Manyana as it was quite green as it benefits from ground water from the ranges.

We also found out that the airstrip at Lake Manyana was under repair and Zanair wouldn’t be able to pick us up so we would have to drive back to Arusha on the 9th from the Crater for our flight to Zanzibar.

The trip through Arusha was interesting as it is the centre where they are holding the Rwanda genocide trials and it was quite strange to see a modern court building with lots of satellite dishes in a dusty African town. It also means that Arusha is quite a cosmopolitan centre with many different nationalities.

We stopped at the Barclays ATM to get some Tanzanian money. One thing to keep in mind is that the bank is not in the main part of town but rather about 3 Km away. You do need a driver and time to get there. We took about USD 400 with us with over USD 50 in one dollar notes. I was quite worried as we had read on the forum that only new notes would be accepted. We had absolutely no problems.

Reggie, our driver, is Maasai so on the way to Lake Manyara we stopped at a local Maasai market and experienced a Maasai butcher shop where they were slaughtering goats at one at one end of the lean-to butchering them and actually BBQing them on the spot and the Maasai would happily buy the cooked goat and eat it straight away. Reggie was kind enough to give us a try of some kind of offal from one of his friend’s plate which wasn’t bad as long as you didn’t think about what you were eating. At the same market we purchased some dried beans from a Maasai woman. I think we made her day as we paid 3,000 shillings which is the equivalent to $3.00US, we put the beans into one of the socks that the airlines give you and used that as a steading base for the camera when we took shots out of the car.

We experienced our first game sightings at Lake Manyara, and we were very excited when we saw our first lion in the distance, not realising that we would see many more along the way. We also experienced our first safari lunch which consisted of a quarter of dry roast chicken, boiled egg, fruit , dry cake, chocolate bar which we thought was pretty good considering we were not realising that this would be the staple for the next nine days.

After three hours on safari at the lake we proceeded to Gibbs Farm which is a lovely coffee plantation on the side of a mountain with stunning views of the valley. We had a lovely meal there with most of the produce actually grown on the farm. We went for a walk around the farm and they had a great vegetable patch with pretty well every thing that you needed from artichokes to lettuce to beans and cabbages.

I remember one Fodorite was disappointed with the room size at Gibbs Farm but we found our room was very spacious with two double beds.

January 3rd

After a good night sleep we started the morning with a hearty breakfast served in the dinning room at Gibbs. After breakfast Reggie informed us that he had been to the doctor the previous night and he had been told that he had a bad case of malaria and that he would not be able to continue with us on the safari. We were a little perturbed firstly for Reggie’s sake, and secondly, for us as we were really enjoying his company and knowledge, to his credit he had organised another driver by the name of Justin, who had driven overnight from Kilimanjaro so that we would be able to leave on time.

After loading the 4X4 we set off at 8.00am for Ngorongoro Crater. It was a quick trip as the road to the Crater had recently been paved, sealed and paid for by the Japanese government, which had cut the travel time from three hours on shocking roads to one hour.

The descent into the crater was absolutely spectacular (and hairy). Much has been written on the crater and we weren’t disappointed.

That’s it for now. Happy to take any questions and comments.

Sarvowinner is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 02:39 AM
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Welcome back!
Can't wait to read more!
Kavey is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 05:39 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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Welcome back and thanks for the quick report. As I leave in a few days, I am down to my last chance for shopping--I want to make sure I am clear on "the 4 outlet power pack worked like a dream as it only requires one adapter." A basic surge protecter that is dual voltage?

Glad that you had a great time!
bat is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 05:55 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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hello again sarvowinner:
I know what you are describing--what a great tip! It was NOT on my packing list--we have 3 pieces of equipment that will need re-current charging-so a great idea. Thanks
bat is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 05:59 AM
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Glad you were reunited with your luggage so soon and did not have to worry about during your trip. Plus you didn't miss any malaria pills.

Hope Justin turned out to be a good guide too. At least the transition from one driver to the next seemed done well. That's a plus for ATR.

Looking forward to the Crater and rest of the trip.

atravelynn is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Hi Sarvowinner,

I cannot get past $600 worth of malaria tablets - how many people travelling for how long? Was it 3 people for under a month? What tablet were you recommended to take?


ps great to here your trip was a huge success!
KayeN is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 01:01 AM
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Still working on the rest of the trip report but quick answers to Bat and Kaye N. Justin was a lovely guide who was very obliging.

Bat - I think you are on the right track. We used the simple 4 outlet board(not current converter) you would use at home when running multiple appliances from one power point with the plug adapter. We didn't need to worry about voltage as our appliances all run on both 110 & 240 volt. I must say that we had problems charging my husbands old Nokia in Canada with the 110 system but I think its a glitch as we have used it several times in North America in the past.

KayeN - we needed 21 days of Malarone for three people at around AUD 8.00 a day. (that's 2 days before we arrived, 12 days on safari and 3 days in Zanzibar)I specifically asked for the Malarone as we had heard negative thingsabout the side effects of Larium. That would have been a lot cheaper. I will get some refund from my health fund.
Sarvowinner is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 07:16 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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thanks Sarvowinner:
I just re-read your post. Very interesting about the Japanese government paying for paving the road. Did you learn why?

Looking forward to more when you get a chance. (installments are fine if you can't do it all in one sitting--can you tell I really want to hear about Olduvai and Ronjo!)
bat is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 09:42 AM
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Welcome back! Looking forward to the next installment.
Patty is online now  
Jan 29th, 2006, 10:47 AM
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Hi Sarvo. Thanks for checking in so soon; you must be exhausted.

Really enjoying your report and very much looking forward to the rest.

Welcome home!
Leely is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 03:12 AM
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Part 2
Jan 3rd – continued

The road quality certainly deteriorated after we entered the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. I brought several inflatable neck pillows from $2.00 shops which were great for cushioning some of the jolts. The landrover had a pop up roof which has pluses & minuses but considering the sun, I think we were better off than those people with slide back hatches. For three of us, we had two seats at the front and a bench of 3 at the back which worked really well.

We passed a Maasai show village before the crater descent. ATR had advised against visiting one and rather spend time with the Maasai at Oldupai Camp. I’m glad we followed their advice as other travellers were highly disappointed with the experience.

The day at the crater was excellent. We saw all of the Big Five bar leopard. Definitely if you are visiting Lake Manyara, do it at the beginning because it really had nothing on the crater and the Serengeti.

While you do see a lot of vehicles, the almost magical quality of the crater makes up for it. We initially saw elephant in the forest, followed by a pair of lions in mating mode right by the side of the road near the swamp. In the background were buffalo and elephant. It is only male elephant that descend into the crater. Many are older – looking for the softer grasses and greenery as they were losing their teeth. Our guide told us that the legend about the elephants retreating to an elephant graveyard derives from this.

A pool filled with hippos is the main picnic area in the crater. Justin warned us not to eat outside the car as the kites were very ferocious – he wasn’t kidding. We could see people being attacked and when I walked to the toilets (the far right is a sit down toilet), a kite swooped and hit me on the back of my head. No damage but it did give me a fright. Caitlin & Tony had fun posing with buffalo horns under a large fig tree.

There would have been around 40 vehicles at the picnic area. Overall on our safari, Leopard seemed to be the predominant operator followed by Ranger. We saw a lot of Good Earth on our trip as well as MKSC – which probably wasn’t a surprise as we were staying in their camps. I only saw a couple of Roy vehicles.

There were some vehicles seating 8 or more with every seat taken. It certainly didn’t appeal to us.

While we were eating lunch, a major drama was unfolding back at the swamp. Two buffalo battled to death right behind the mating lions. Those who witnessed the joust said it was breathtaking. The two beasts collided with a huge impact and one just fell to its knees and collapsed. We went by less than 30 minutes later and it was very sad. Several buffalo were nudging the body trying to wake it. (Tony & Caitlin don’t agree with this view)

The other major highlight was on the other side of crater where there is a kopje overlooking another hippo pond. Standing right on top of the kopje was a solitary elephant overlooking the domain. It then moved down off the kopje and wandered around the hippos and the vehicle. The light was quite spectacular and the elephant was almost black from the mud.

Our ascent was even more dramatic than our descent. The road is very steep and rough, looking back over magnificent views.

Oldupai was the next port of call. The hills surrounding the crater quickly changed to flat, dusty and dry plains. We seemed to have the road to ourselves. We turned off the road and drove for what we thought was an eternity over the plains, but probably the entire trip took around an hour. Suddenly we were there. We had no inkling where the camp was until we arrived. Several Maasai were waiting for us and took our bags. The bar and dining tent are built right into the kopje and our tents are built right around the perimeter. We had requested a tent that would accommodate all three of us but ATR had tried to dissuade us. However, at Gibbs Farm another couple told us that they had been told there was a problem with overbooking. MKSC had asked if they minded sleeping in a dome tent away from the kopje. They weren’t keen on the idea so we suggested they tell their guide that we were happy to squeeze a 3rd bed in. When we arrived, this was the arrangement, so all were happy.

Our beds had been arranged across the tent and it was quite tight but certainly liveable. We were dying for a shower as we were so dusty but there was another treat in store. Our guide Francis gathered us up and took us across to Sunset rock – another kopje. We had him to ourselves while it seemed there was a lot larger group gathered at another rock. Francis was a well spoken Maasai who was only too happy to share his thoughts and beliefs and shed some light on the Maasai way of life while we watched the sun go down. That hour added significantly to our African experience.

There was almost no game to be seen as it was so dry. The migration would be passing through by if the rain had met predictions.

We headed back in the rapidly darkening twilight to enjoy our first bucket shower. We were filthy but so were our clothes. This is where we developed a washing routine by putting our clothes and washing detergent (we bought a small packet at the supermarket in Arusha) in the metal washing bowl and filling it with the shower run off. We had enough water to wash and shampoo ourselves as well as wash and rinse three sets of clothes. It was so dry they were dry by morning.

Our ablutions were finished by dinner time. There were about four large tables in the dining tent. Nationality appeared to determine the seating plan. There was quite a number of French. Dinner consisted of a vegetable soup followed by steak & veg and cake with crème anglais. Reasonable South African wines were available for 25,000 shillings. We had quite a lively conversation with two other couples. We actually saw quite a bit of them over the next few days as they stayed at Ronjo and our paths kept crossing on the safari trails.

Facilities to charge our appliances were provided in the bar. Unfortunately when I first plugged mine in, I plunged the whole camp into darkness. The staff didn’t seem to be phased at all and brought the power up immediately. I was bloody embarrassed tho. I plugged into another outlet with no problems.

A wonderful fireplace couldn’t overcome our fatigue and bed beckoned. A Maasai warrior in full regalia with spear escorted us to our tents. The stars were amazing but we couldn’t find our familiar Southern Cross even though we were slightly below the equator.

January 4th

Breakfast included bacon,eggs and toast. Travellers we met back in Arusha warned us about the walk down the gorge to the museum. They undertook it and ended up walking 14 km in a massive sand storm where they couldn’t see or hear anything. Taking their advice, we forwent the walk. I’m sure it would be much more attractive when it rains.

We really enjoyed our stay at Oldupai given the drought. At both Oldupai and Ronjo, you are really away from everything.

After breakfast, we set off for the Serengeti.
Sarvowinner is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 06:52 AM
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Thanks so much Sarvowinner. I enjoyed your descriptions of the crater. Your comments about Olduvai are very helpful (thinking about the walk). If you can slip in any advice about Ronjo in the next day and a half that would be great.
Thanks again.
bat is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 03:07 AM
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Just a few of hints for Bat before Part 3.

Take lots of wet wipes I had about 50 & we ran through them with in the first three days.
Take lots of moisturiser, lip balm & sunscreen.

My air plane socks made ideal beanbags as the ziplocks were getting really scuffed and torn in the car.

A small torch each is a good idea. It is DARK when the generators or lamps go off.

Highly recommend a respite at the Serena Serengeti. The lunch buffet was excellent - lots of salads and the chef's grilled kebabs and sausages to order. We loved thepool - fantastic view over the plains. We arrived jut before 1 and left at 4.30 for an late afternoon drive. They only charged us for the buffet - USD 20.00.

The only disturbing thing that I would have avoided was the hippo pool north of the Serena Serengeti. It is in Tsetse fly area (the only bad patch we encountered) but the water had almost dried up and the poor hippos were squashed together in their own excrement with crocodiles right by them. It was very sad. Hopefully the rains have alleviated their distress.

Visit the Visitor Centre at Serenora before doing any game drives.

Caitlin & Tony became totally adicted to sudoko ( I gave them each a book of the puzzles for XMAS)& filled in their down time working through the books.

If you like to have coffee on your drives, make sure they carry creamer or even better pick up some small tetrapaks(200ml)of UHT milk from the supermarket in Arusha or theshop at the Naabi Gates.

Try to get a clear idea on what exactly you are doing for the day. This is hard because you don't know the terrain, distances etc. but if we had known more we perhaps would have rejigged a few itineraries but really I have only fantastic memories.

Part 3

I must say that off road and the secondary roads were much preferable to the “main” roads which are bone jolting to say the least.! There were a lot of vehicles at the Naabi Gates, we thought this was because of the bureaucracy but we found out later that the drivers try to delay their entry as the park fees are paid on a 24 hour basis and the gates are a good distance from the Seronora River where the game is mainly congregated given the drought. Tony & Caitlin had a great time with a group of beautifully dressed children. Only one little girl spoke English and she ran the show. Tony gave them our camera and they loved photographing each other. I spent the time chatting to one of the couples we met the night before. They were looking to visit a resort the following afternoon which sounded like a great idea.

Eventually we left about midday. Our guide pulled up beside a small thicket just inside the gates to show us a cheetah. Next we drove off the main road to a kopje that has two lionesses perched on top. Lake Manyara was starting to look quite tame!

This is where if I had known better I would have insisted on a visit to the Wildlife Centre at Serenora. It is very good. Equivalent to exhibitions at North American national parks. We went at the end & really enjoyed it but it would have enhanced our three days in the Serengeti. It provides a very good overview of the geography, geology and ecosystem. This would be my disappointment with Justin in that we didn’t discuss what we were doing. Our initial two days with Reggie were much more collaborative, whereas Justin was slightly passive. I hope I am explaining myself correctly as he was lovely, obliging and was a good animal spotter. We asked him to organise an afternoon at a resort with a pool for the next day and he got right onto it via Petra at ATR in Arusha.

Our game drive along the Seronora started off with the discovery of a recently killed buffalo that was almost untouched. We saw amazing game along the river, mating lions, a leopard in a tree, lots of topi, gazelle and hartebeest, several single male lions and hippo. A highlight was a pride of 4 lionesses and 4 juveniles sleeping almost on the road under a tree. One young cub wanted to play and went around every adult who ignored or swatted him away. His siblings also couldn’t raise a finger. Finally he lay down looked up at us, gave a half hearted growl & fell asleep.

There are lots of elephants around the river as well as giraffes. The crossing points attract herds of wildebeest and zebra. The zebra had lots of foals. So cute!

We then headed off to Ronjo which is in the middle of nowhere. How Justin found the camp is beyond me! One special aspect of the drive in and out is the colonies? of hyena on the plains. There are at least 50 out there. What a weird scary animal species! The females are 20% bigger than the males and the cubs especially the females are the only mammals to routinely practise siblicide. The females are born pumped full of male hormones. Aywayyou get to see a lot up close on the drive into Ronjo.

The camp just appeared out of nowhere. This time Caitlin insisted on her own tent. She needed a break from M&D. We had a blissful shower and did another wash at the same time. Justin had told us that lunch reservations had been made at the Serengeti Serena for the next day so would do a 6.00am start with a packed breakfast. Bat - I really recommend this respite from the dust.

We had sundowners by the fire and headed into dinner which was quite similar to our dinner at Oldupai with our new found friends we met at Oldupai. Our tents were very comfortable with shower and toilet out the back, semi-enclosed by a thatch wall – definitely semi-open to the wilds. Despite our total exhaustion, Tony & I were woken a couple of times during the night by hyena and lion but I wasn’t scared. There were lit lanterns in front of all the tents to scare the animals off.

The camp manager woke us with hot coffee and water for washing. He told us that he was very worried about moving about at 5.00am as the lions were still very close and, in fact, they had been right out the back (not the front where the lantern was lit) of Caitlin’s tent – WHO slept through the whole thing. While we didn’t spend a lot of time at Ronjo as we were up so early and got back quite late, we really enjoyed the experience. The fire was a great experience and we had a great laugh at dinner. The staff were very obliging, but we didn’t really need a lot other than dinner, shower and a comfy bed. No generator so didn’t need to worry about recharging.

Sarvowinner is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 07:05 AM
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Thanks so much for all of the tips--I am printing this out and taking it with me.
bat is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 12:10 PM
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Really enjoying this (of course!) and can't wait for the next installment.

We'll be at Ronjo in June. Interesting because I'll be the one in the tent by herself. I hope, like Caitlin, I just sleep through any terrifying noises.
Leely is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 05:06 PM
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All the best on your trip Bat - you are going to have a fantastic time. I'm trying to find your itinerary as you have been such a proflic poster that it must be way down the posts.

Leely - Caitlin loved her couple of nights alone and also she really liked Ronjo overall - she says being away from it and sitting by the fire looking at the stars made Ronjo one of her favourite camps. Also the good time we had with the other couple that we met makes a big difference in your memories.

The fact she slept through the lion roars will make a good story for several years to come. Her father slept through a Stray Cats Concert so you can guess where her genes come from!

I forgot to say - we went back to the buffalo kill on a our way to Ronjo and only the bones were left. The next day there was no evidence of it at all. Africa is very efficient in its disposal system.
Sarvowinner is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 07:39 PM
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Thanks again
Here is the itinerary:
3 nights Arusha
2 nights crater
2 nights Olduvai
2 nights Ronjo
5 nights split betweeen Nomad camps
5 nights Zbar

I was reminded once again tonight why, at least in part, I planned this trip--friends came over to say good bye and asked about the itinerary --and I got to the part where I say ". . . and then we fly from the serengeti to zanzibar . . ' I love those words!
bat is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 07:42 PM
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My favourite since I got back has been: "while I was cruising on the Zambezi just above the Victoria Falls" - I feel like Katherine Hepburn in African Queen
Sarvowinner is offline  
Feb 1st, 2006, 07:51 AM
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I am really enjoying your report! Thanks for taking the time to put it together and share it with us.
sundowner is offline  
Feb 16th, 2006, 02:39 AM
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The next morning we left very early for our drive – We stopped to watch two jackals. The jackals kept coming up and lying in the shade of the 4WD. We would move to get a clear photo & the little buggers would just move back up & lie down in the shade. I think they are beautiful animals. At a kopje we also saw a pair of dik diks. We also went back to see the hyenas. We returned to the Serenora River. Due to the dry, the animals were concentrated up & down the river and surroundings. The river was still running and the grass and reeds were very green. The colours in the early morning and late afternoon are much richer.

There was no evidence of the buffalo which had killed the previous morning except for some blood and lots of animal tracks. It is amazing how efficiently Africa deals with death. In Australia, the roads are carpeted with road kill but we saw none in Africa.

We headed north from the river through woodland to Hippo Pool. We experienced our first Tsetse flies – not pleasant, but insignificant when we reached the pool. This was the most upsetting sight we saw on safari. There was at least 50 hippos lying in a putrid inadequate pool of mud & excrement. There little tails were going on stop sloshing the sludge over their bodies trying to keep wet and covered. The guides were also upset. It was obvious that things were not good – I hope the rains alleviated their misery. We left this place very quickly.

Our lunch and afternoon by the pool at the Serengeti Serena was lovely. The lunch buffet was one of the best meals we had in Africa. There lots of fresh, interesting salads. The chefs bbq’d kebabs and great sausages. We were very impressed. If we ever revisit theSerengeti, I would definitely take another respite there. The views over the plains are great. They only charged us for the lunch and drinks – not the use of the pool.

After our wonderful sojourn, back to the Serenora. We spent a magical hour in amongst at least 100 elephants crossing the river and walking around us and wandering off across to the horizon. They are just such wonderful animals. The shadows grew longer as the matriarchs rounded up the stragglers.
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