Wildlife and Spice Island with Vee and Angelo on Sparky – Days 19-37

Days 19-37

Day 19

This morning, for those that haven’t had enough of hiking its off to the Golden Monkeys. A great morning for them, then its time for our journey to take us to the next country….Rwanda!

Again, if you like the different shades of green and mountains, then you have come to the right place, “the land of a thousand hils” is breath taking and amazing as we weave and wind up and down the mountain side highway until we get to Kigali the capital. It’s a sad night as well though because we all have to say our goodbye to Marco. He has been a wonderful guy with the best humour ever.

The evening is spent having a few drinks and going over the trip.

Day 20

We start off by heading to the Genocide memorial which has been placed in honour of the million people that lost their lives in the 1994 genocide, a very very sad state of affairs and a very moving day but good education and awareness.

Talk about bad roads as soon as you cross the border… in this instance its more like craters…. We make a very slow journey to the little village of Nyakanazi where we stay in a very local guest house and are treated to some local Tanzanian food.

Day 21

All smiles this morning as we are heading inland and back to the amazing lake Victoria. Besides some road construction the morning passes easily and its always welcoming to get off the overland truck and take the ferry that will take us across the lake.

Its big shopping for the next few days and all groups have the task of planning, shopping and buying our dinners for the next couple of days.. ha ha ha.. I think Authur enjoyed.

We then head off to our camp that is right on the banks of the Lake, with a little beach as well, absolutely fabulous place, a cold drink in hand with the cool breeze blowing, I reckon we had a little piece of heaven by our feet.

Day 22

Its wildlife time again and excitement is in the air as our journey today leads us to a game reserve just outside of the Serengeti – The Grumeti.

But before that.. if the craters that we have passed so far were bad.. well Africa never fails to disappoint with another hefty “African massage”. We get to our camp in good time and people have enough time to go and have a refreshing drink in the lodge that’s not too far off.

Most of the guys are so keen to be doing the night game drive, BUT the weather gods have other plans in mind for us. Just before dinner its starts to rain literal elephants and rhinos.. that’s how heavy the rain was… and unfortunately the drive had to get cancelled.

Day 23

Never the less… this morning one or two people go out on the game walk. Then all roads lead to the Serengeti National Park.

But whats a day without incident.. an hour and a half later at the entrance gate we had some card problems (the card that lets us into the park)… but we were lucky enough to be graced by a lone bull elephant that kept everyone entertained while we fixed the problem. We start our dive and all hopes are on seeing some of the cats we haven’t spotted so far. No disappointment, we came across lions a few times and a hippo that thought he was posing for Vogue magazine, amongst many other animals. A beautiful sunset as we head off to our bush camp for the night.

There are no boundaries at these camps so hence there are always animals walking about the camp. At this stage I have told a few tales about some of the incidents I have personally experienced… the greatest one was me walking into a pride of about 15 or so lions while they were on the hunt! Lucky enough they did not find me appetizing enough and 2 mins later they brought down a buffalo a mere 100m away from the camp. One can only imagine the excitement in the air… But luckily for me, no close call tonight… just a few eyes here and there and the hyenas playing close to camp, a wonderful place to camp.

Day 24

We are out of camp at the crack of dawn and still all hopes are there for the elusive leopard…

An amazing sunrise was in store for us. There were elephants galore, buffalo, giraffe, lions but still no other cats. Finally we hear a rumour that both cheetahs and leopards have been spotted and we race off to see if we can finally see them… but again we are unlucky as the roads leading up to where the sighting has been is so bad that we have no choice but to turn around or face been bogged in the middle of the park.

None the less, dear Angelo tries a few more routes to take us there but to no avail… its pointless the roads are too bad… We make it out of the gates just in time for it closing. A quick lunch then what was meant to be a 10min or so check in process takes us again over an hour, this is Africa!

Well, it’s fun times when you have to pee and there is no bush in sight! What to do? Well, you improvise and make a Maasai blanket toilet tent of course

day 24

En-route to camp we make a quick stop over at a Maasai Village for those that hadn’t had the opportunity to visit one earlier. Then off to camp on the rim of the Crater! Another spectacular spot!

Buffalos, elephants..? Not today…. its just a nice and chilly quiet night.

Day 25

If you think you’ve seen sights then you ain’t seen anything yet! I think the gods were very happy the day when the Ngorongoro Crater was created, it is one of the most breath taking places that I have seen… and needless to say I have seen quite a few places!

day 25

The guys head off in 4 x 4 vehicles to do their game drive…flamingos, hippo, lions, elephants, amongst other animals. In my opinion the animals are an added bonus because just being in the Crater is definitely a “must do” in this life time. Its been a fantastic morning but unfortunately still no leopards or cheetahs… but hey, that’s wild life for you. Its been a fantastic time anyway.

day 25 2

We sadly say goodbye to Alfonso today and head out to Arusha for a yummy BBQ.

Tonight we are also changing trucks to Pumba and also merging groups. The rest of the night is spent with people saying their goodbyes for those that are ending the trip. What better way to do this than to dance the night away.

Day 26

Sad morning for all today as we have to say goodbye to our beloved driver Angelo. He made the most heartfelt speech that failed to leave a dry eye in the house! Big softy! We have spent a wonderful month with this man that I fondly called “Dad”. Never the less the journey must continue and we make a stop over at the local Nakumat supermarket… but its no comparison to the ones in Kenya! A bit of shopping then we hit the road. Well, they don’t call these adventure trips for nothing, we start experiencing some truck problems but after a few tries and a few times stopping, our recently joined driver Shep eventually manages to get us going! We are also celebrating Adam’s birthday and all are in high spirits even though we arrive at camp near dark… nothing that a nice burger, cake and a beer can’t solve! Happy birthday Adam!

Day 27

Bright and early we try and make tracks so as to avoid the notorious traffic in Dar but the truck decides otherwise! Some more road side stopping as the truck plays up… this time its taken a bit more time but good old Shep manages to get us going again.

It was very nice when one of the local villagers who spoke no word of English came to check us out, said a few words in Swahili then left, mmmm strange……But 20 mins later he comes with his Tshirt filled with Oranges… doesn’t say anything to anyone, puts them down and heads back home. After about 30mins of waiting and thinking he might come back for them we figured out that it was just an offering from the heart. Honestly how wonderful is that? We embark on our journey and we are lucky enough not to encounter too much traffic and manage to get to camp just before it gets dark. So instead of the intended arrival time of 3pm, its more like 6pm.. buy hey.. T.I.A.! After a refreshing jump in the pool with the Indian Ocean just an eye’s blink away and a Kilimanjaro beer in hand the day’s delays are all forgotten and to top it up is a wonderful sea food BBQ.

Day 28

The holiday from the holiday is how we like to say when we head on to the magical island of Zanzibar. A nice smooth ferry ride in this morning sees us in ancient Stone Town with its old buildings and Narrow streets. Just enough time for check-in before we get whisked away to a local house where we have a wonderful locally prepared meal using spices from the Island. Everyone can agree with me that it was DELICIOUSSSSSS!!!

The rest of the afternoon is spent going through to the spice farms, some time for seeing, tasting and guessing which spices are which right from the plant. Our guys are also in for a treat as we have a coconut climber who goes to the top of the tree and sings the Jambo song from up there and shows off some of his acrobatic skills.

The day is not over yet…

A quick shower and all pretty clothes put on, we head off to have some sun downers at Mercury’s bar that was named after Freddy Mercury who by the way was born on the Island.

To top the day off we then go to the very famous night food market. It’s a real food lover’s paradise, from sea food, to the very famous Zanzibar pizza, sugar cane juice and many other things. After gorging ourselves we make our way home. Its been a very long but exciting day for all.

Day 29

This morning some head straight to the beach while some go and visit Prison Island where they get to have interaction with the Giant Tortoises, one of these big giants is as old as 187 years! Others are off on the town tour to discover the rich history of this wonderful place.

Midday and we are off to the North beach… oh what a welcome site it is with sandy white beaches and blue water..and…

COCKTAIL HEAVEN

No, its not time to relax just yet, we have the famous sun set cruise… and boy did we have a good time! On a local dhow boat with local guys making music with bongo drums, by the time most got to the second drink they also got their dance on. Ha. We were having so much of a good time that a passing boat having the same cruise, hijacked our boat (in the nicest possible way!). One minute we were passing each other, the next they were all jumping onto our boat… abandoning theirs.. all fun and games.

The rest of the night is spent dancing away..

Day 30

Low key is the way to go after such an interesting night. The morning is spent with guys doing nothing but getting their tan on.

I think they believed me when I told them that I was once white and the African sun had magical powers that have turned me into this golden brown colour. Ha ha ha!

Day 31

Sunshine, beach and water. What more can you ask for….

Some of the group go off and do some snorkeling and diving.

This evening we have a huge group dinner as we will have to be saying goodbye to 6 of the family members..

Day 32

Early morning for some who go off and visit Prison Island.. and a very relaxed morning for the rest of the group.

We leave at a breezy 10am and head back to Stone Town, this is after most tried to get us to stay another day or two… but unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and we have to move on with the safari.

A quick stop over in Stone Town for lunch and a relatively easy ride back to Dar arriving in good time for a swim and a relax..

This night is always early to bed as we prepair ourselves for the next two days which we always promise to be quite hectic.

Day 33

As promised 04.00am wake uo today, there is nothing worse than the Dar traffic.. believe it or not.. even leaving camp as early as 04.00am you will still encounter traffic jams.. T.I.A

But we manage to weave our way through and make our stop in a small town where we have Chapati and omlette for breakfast..

Besides the great scenery that we pass this day we have some game watching to look forward to as we do 50km of our journey through Mikumi National Park, this park is renowned for having some of the smallest African Elephants and we are lucky enough to see some of these as well as the usual, zebra, buffalo and impala..

For those that want to go local, we stop over in Mikumi town where most try the famous Tanzanian speciality Chips mayayi.. (chips and egg omlette) amongst the various other local foods.

The drive continues and we pass some exceptionally beautiful land scape.. so 14 hours later we arrive at our destination.. it’s been a long day, the longest on the trip, but since we are having dinner at camp today at the very beautiful bar that is traditionally built its happy days for all. Everyone is looking forward to having the famous chocolate brownie and hot chocolate laced with Amarula.

Day 34

Again an early start this morning as all are up by 05.00am and leave at 06.00.. very hilly and mountainous terrain so we have to make a start…

We are crossing borders as well and going into the warm heart of Africa… Welcome to Malawi!

12 and half hours later we arrive at our camp that is set just on the shores of Lake Malawi with its beautiful little lounge close to the lake.

Day 35

Ok, big day today as we have decided to stay on at this camp for two nights.. most of the group have decided to do the challenge of walking the 34km round trip up to Livingstonia. This is the place where there was a church built in honour of the Scottish missionary David Livingstone, but besides the church the views are beautiful and there are some waterfalls that you can pass and trust me by this time you will want to have a swim. Unfortunately for the hikers today it is to be one of the hottest days. There is also the mushroom farm that can be visited where you can have a most welcome cold drink and a spot of lunch while having one of the most amazing views..

Ok that being said, I did warn everyone that the only way that I would do that walk was in a car!

The few that knew that they would not be able went with my option and used the car up.. caught up with some of the hikers just over halfway up and most abandoned their walk up and got onboard the vehicle! Had a quick walk on top and went back to the mushroom farm where they had some lovely drinks and some lunch.

But bravely there were 4 guys that managed to do the whole 34km.. tired.. blisters… but they did manage to complete.. they didn’t want to hear the name Livingstonia… but none the less they were glad that they did.

Day 36

A bit of excitement to this day as we are looking forward to a pig on the spit and a fancy dress party. Always some of the biggest fun comes from actually getting the costumes… as no one knows exactly what to expect. All good fun as you get some of the most hideous costumes and the fun bit is you doing secret santa for the whole thing.

If you didn’t know Malawi has some of the greatest wooden carvings. We stop over at the biggest markets and as always guys end up adding a few kilos to their bags. As you always find some of the most amazing stuff at great prices..

We arrive at camp in very good time for people to have a swim.. while we wait for our pig to get ready..

We meet up toward the end of the day to exchange gifts get dressed up and the party begins. Not too much of a party tonight but great fun.

Day 37

The day is started off easy with most people relaxing. A few go on a village walk and are lucky as there is the local market day on, then later on some do some horse riding.

Today we are going out into the village for a meal at the chief’s house where later on the kids treat us to some singing and dancing and before long everyone is on the dance floor leaning a few moves from the kids!

 

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