Monday, 20 September 2010

Part 6 - Tarangire NP

The beauty of Tarangire is that it is easily accessible from Arusha.  You drive about 90 km on a tarred road, and then turn off onto a gravel road, but it’s only about 7km from the gate.  For us coming from Manyara, we headed to Makunyuni and then turned and headed for about 25 km towards Dodoma before looking for the turnoff.  We’d thought we’d missed it (the kms on the signpost and in our book weren’t very accurate) but eventually found a big sign to the national park at a small village.

We arrived at Tarangire at about 1.30 pm, extremely surprised to find so many cars there (we thought it wasn’t a very popular place) – there were about a dozen game drive vehicles.  Dru went in to pay, only to be back a few minutes later, saying the TANAPA machine was broken and we’d have to pay in dollars.  I’d have been pretty pissed off if we hadn’t had any hard currency on us…

Part 5 - Lake Manyara

A back-breaking road, 4 hours and $140 later, we had made the journey from the Serengeti gate, through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and out the gate onto lovely smooth tarred road heading for Lake Manyara National Park. 

We stopped in Karatu briefly to get fuel and buy some cigarettes, where we got ripped off by getting charged double.  Word of advice – whenever someone quotes you a price, halve it at least!  We also found a supermarket there and got some cold beers, ice and a couple of sausages which in the end cost us about P300 ($45) – expensive because of the meat.  We decided to give the wine a skip, which was P100 per bottle – no matter what the make. 

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Part 4 - Serengeti NP

Leaving the Ngorongoro headquarters around 9 in the morning, we set off for the Serengeti gate.  The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) used to be part of the Serengeti National Park, but was annexed because the national park does not allow for human activity (which the NCA has with the Maasai living there).  So the NCA shares a border with the Serengeti; it's just a matter of driving from the NCA straight into the Serengeti Plains. 
Maasai village in the NCA
The drive itself from a scenery point is nice, changing from the montane forest of the crater rim, to the dry open plains with a few gazelles and giraffes dotted around.  The drive from a road point is an absolutely shocker... 

Friday, 17 September 2010

Part 3 - Ngorongoro Crater

Mountain pass from Iringa to Morogoro
Mountain passes – Iringa to Morogoro, Tanzania
The drive from Iringa to Morogoro took a bit longer than expected.  The road was pretty good for about the first 50 km going through some spectacular scenery.  It’s along the mountain range and you need to go through some passes to get through.  The first pass was pretty steep along winding roads with quite a few bumps.  It’s here where we managed to lose part of the hi-lift jack strapped to the roof. 

From there the road got decidedly slower – they are currently doing road works along the mountain and that involved a lot of stopping and starting and bad roads in between.  There was also noticeably a lot more cars and buses flying along which made concentrating on the roads really important.  Actually along one the bends, there was a massive accident of 2 trucks – how they managed to do it we have no idea.

Part 2 - Ruaha NP, Tanzania

Getting the roofrack fixed...again...
Back at the workshopMbeya, Tanzania
After finally getting through the border, we made for the nearest large village – Mbeya.  There we had to find another metal workshop to fix Kruger’s roofrack, since the temporary fix hadn’t worked too long.  After getting the gas bottles & petrol cans off the roof, the guys started welding with Dru directing – they weld without any protective gear, not even sunglasses!  After about 45 min, the job was done and it was time to head to Iringa, the nearest village to Ruaha National Park.  We had debated whether to go to Ruaha or skip it and spend it in the northern parks, but decided on the way to give Ruaha a go. 

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Part 1 - Botswana & Zambia

Elephant Sands, Botswana

In August 2010, we left our life in Gaborone, Botswana and headed to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - our home for the next 3 years at least...  We decided to drive the few thousand kms, visiting as many of the national parks as possible in the time allowed, before settling down to life in Dar.  This is a record of our trip...