Caross News

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tanzania to Nairobi

Trekking in the Usambara mountains

We arrived in Loshoto to rain, rain, mud and more rain. This did not look good for 5 days walking in the mountains. We shacked up at a local hotel, drank beers and sat around the fireplace where we met our guide for the trek - Aggrey! A route through the mountains and villages was established and off we went. Little did we know what awaited us. We stayed in local guesthouses (nothing like SA and Ross had close encounters with bedbugs), we ate in local restaurants (thank goodness no tummy trouble), walked our little legs off (average 20km per day) and had plenty opportunity to greet communities. Children flocked to see us (who needs Hollywood. Muzungu's head for Africa) and often shrieked with delight when we managed to greet them in Swahili. Kids enthusiastic to practice their English greetings would start yelling out their greetings when we first appeared over the horizon until we again disappeared over the horizon. We even learnt a ouple of new greetings. "How is your condition?", "Hello Teacher", "Hello Fundisi". At times it was quite draining having people want to see us all the time. We found refuge in a local catholic convent. It was peaceful, warm and the food was great. What a treat to have quiet time to just be! The birds in the area are quite something. We just continually were gazing through binoculars and frantically flipping through birdbooks.

Rock art hunting in Kolo area

We headed south west from Arusha, the Safari capital, towards Dodoma the administrative capital after about 150km of bone jarring rutted road we arrived in Kolo. Quite why the capital is so hard to get to one can not figure. We passed broken trucks all the way. In Kolo, a guide hopped on board, Caron was stashed in the back of the car and Ross's 4x4 driving skills were challenged to find the elusive but plentiful art. The guide had only a few words - 4x4 and drive forward. A guide that does not want to walk, has no responsibility for the car and no sympathy for anything mechanical can have some terrifying expectations of a Landrover! At times Caron looked back and could not believe the terrain we had covered. The art was well worth it. There were many pictures of game: elephant, giraffe, cats. There are over 140 documented sites in the area!

We camped at a community campsite - a dry riverbed! It was beautiful. We thought at last we had our quiet piece of African bushveld. We were provided with a security guard who happily arrived later in the evening clutching his radio. Need we say anymore but our peace and quiet was no more!!!!

Climbing Mt Hannang (3450m not a molehill)

Our contribution to the local kitty was to stay at the base of the mountain at a community members field amongst the cows. She was paid a camping fee and also watched the car. On the first evening she brought us fresh milk still warm from the cow and looked very excited. Caron on the other hand did not know what to do with milk hot off the teat! She smiled and at first said she did not drink milk but promptly changed this to thank you this is wonderful. All she could think of was brucillosis!!!! Each time the lady saw us she enquired about the milk. She even threatened to bring us more. We smiled sweetly, declined this most generous offer and boiled the milk and drank it with ovaltine.

Hanang is a free standing peak that rises from the plains at 1600m to over 3000m. It is a really striking climb, from the village below first through dense forrest, then thinner forrest, finally into thick fynbos like vegetation.

The 'northern circuit' - blitzing through the great game parks and burning holes in wallets!

What can I say here except Ngorongoro is awesome. The Serengeti is wild and wonderful. In 4 days we saw more game (up close and personal) than we would have seen in 12 days in Kruger. However we had to deal with local tour 4x4, hectic weather (yes it gets very cold in Africa), little or no facilities and huge pressure to make the exit deadline time of the parks. I guess it is all part of the experience. The migration is a site to behold. I have never seen so many animals moving in the same direction with a real purpose. Vultures circle above waiting for the weak to drop off and lions hide in the grass taking their time selecting their next meal.

Tanzania Road Rules

Tanzania only has one road rule - size. The smaller vehicle gives way. Should a bigger vehicle be on your side of the road, the bigger vehicle gets to nominate which way you should go to avoid colision, that is what his indicators are for!


All Caron can say is that they were expensive, had a limited selection and they HAD NO RUSKS!!!! Long live the local street vendors!!!!

Entering Kenya

We attempted this via the Masai Mara. Big mistake. There is no official borderpost there and we encountered our first - 'eish we have a problem' situation! For most money would get them out of this but not us. We had time on our side and eventually got across. The details we will spare you.


The legendary 'Nairobari' has had us being rather cautious. We have adopted the local method of transport - 'taxi' - yep, it is the real thing. We part with good money and do not share the ride with 22 others. We have spent a couple of days here just relaxing, reading, doing the washing. A haircut was one of the more exciting events of the week. In many ways Nairobi is like Jhb. The crime here seems genuinely bad. Funny, there are adverts for anti-carhijakking courses.