Wednesday morning begun with a breakfast and then a six hour drive to the Maasai Mara National Park. We arrived at the campsite about one o’clock, had a lunch and then our first game drive in one of the largest national parks in Africa. A brilliant start on our two nights stay. Thursday we spent all day in the park.
Except for the normal antilops we saw mongoses, girafs, buffalos, wildebeasts, zebras, rhinos, warthogs and vultures we also saw elephants for the first time. We also got to see more lions, under a bush we found three cheetahs and we also got to see the rare leopard twice! I’ll let the pictures speak for themself once I can upload them at home.
The campsite consisted of nice walk in tents which also had WC and showers in them. Sofia managed to slip in the shower and hurt her back and elbow. It seems like it’s only bruises so she was lucky. Later in the evening our “house gecko” had crawled down in the toilet and scared the shit out of poor Sofia. No lucky evening for her this Thursday.
Just for your information we have experienced some technical problems. First my cellphone broke down and then we had no internet for a couple of days so here comes a few updates in almost a row.
The border crossing between Uganda and Kenya went smooth considering all the great trucks waiting in line to get through. We spent the first night in Eldoret, a place that did not impress me much excep for the fireplace in the bar.When We got close to Nakuru town the police stopped the truck claiming we were speeding. Jackson the driver was brought to the police station and the rest of us got stuck in a parking lot outside the station.
Since we had to stop here anyway to withdraw money and do some shopping we did that meanwhile Often sorted out the problems at the police station. Obviously corruption within the police is very common. Besides, the truck can only do max 80 km/h but the police claimed it was 90. I call bullshit! 3 hours and 10000 Kenya shillings later Jackson was free again and we could continue to Lake Nakuru National Park and our first really good game drive.
In the park we saw many different kinds of antilops, lots of buffalos, vervet monkeys, baboons, columbus monkeys, zebras, some wildebeasts, rhinos, fish eagles, flamingos and also lions. We camped in the park and in the early morning we could hear the lions roar!!!
We broke our camp at Bunyonyi Overland in the early morning setting the course for Lake Mburo. Mostly the road was good but it had it’s bumps and bends also. We arrived at Lake Mburo in the early afternoon.
We spent the afternoon on a walking safari with the guide Dorothy. She said there was only one liowan in the park, which we if course didn’t see. But we saw a lot of other animals like water bucks, bush bucks, elands, impala, warthogs and zebras. We also saw some cheeky vervet monleys.
At the camp site, which was not fenced of there was some warthogs walking around and even some nasty baboons. Later in the evening when we were having our dinner around the camp fire we also saw the hippo’s coming out of the water. We could also hear the lion growl in the distant which sent shivers down Sofia’s spine. Despite being afraid she managed to enjoy the starlit sky and the experience.
An experience she did not enjoy so much was sleeping in a tent on the ground. It made me snore worse than ever and kept her awake. Once again we broke camp in the very early morning and started to head for Jinja which is a good days driving away. At about 10:30 a.m. Jacksson, the driver stopped at the equator. There is a small “monument” and a line painted on the ground there.
We did the water tricks, watching the whirlpool swirling in different directions depending on what side of the equator we were. And on the absolute middle the water don’t swirl at all due to the magnetic pools being equaly strong.
And then we finally arrived to Jinja and guess what? Often tricked us again. The promised tents turned into challets with a wonderful view over the Nile river. We’re staying here for 2 nights so we are happy.
Right after the border crossing we entered Chobe National Park. From all the national parks I’ve visited so far during this trip Chobe was the most packed one. With animals that is. Hundreds of elephants, giraffes, buffalos, gazelles, antiloops, zebras and so on. And they were everywhere! We spent well many hours in the park before sundown. Just before sundown we sneaked out of the park and bush camped not far away from the entrance. When we woke up in the morning we found big cat prints close to our camp. I wonder if an lion might have been passing by?
After breakfast, back into Chobe National Park again to finish the adventure. After driving many hours on sand roads, getting occasionally getting stuck in the sand, bumping around and seeing many animals we reached the southern border of Chobe and searched for a place to bush camp. After a while we found a place that looked good. During the late dinner in the darkness we heard noises around the camp. Using our torches we got a glimpse of what we thought was a hyena. Quickly doing the dishes and putting everything we don’t need away we got ready. We aligned our chairs in a circle, back to back, armed with our torches waiting in the dark.
And there, suddenly we heard a noise again. Someone pointed his/her torch towards the noise and there it was. The hyena trying to sneak around in our camp. It was an amazing sight! That night I could not sleep, I just lay there hoping to be able to get a glimpse of the animal again. I heard a lot of noises but I saw no hyena. Sooner or later I fell asleep after all.
Now we are on our way to Maun again. Maun was a nice place and for the new comers it’s going to be a good time with the Okawango Delta and all that. We stay at the same time as before. We even park the cars in the same spots. The biggest difference is that it’s so dry now. The sun has more or less burned away the grass, the trees and bushes are getting dryer and dryer. You could say that this part of Botswana has turned into different shades of brown.
While some of us go exploring the Okawango Delta I spend most of my time around Sedia Hotel or in Maun. One of the days we decide to have a BBQ party which turned out really nice even though we almost had to fight over the ”braai”. We also met a German (or if they were from the Netherlands, I don’t remember) couple that was doing a similar trip through Africa but on motorbikes instead. It was nice to exchange some experiences.
After the border crossing between Botswana and Namibia I can’t really remember much of the road until we hit Rundu which was nothing special either except that it was a town. Continuing a bit southwest we would soon come upon Grootfontain and a hour driving or so outside we visited the Hoba Meteorite which is the largest known meteorite on earth.
After the meteorite we aimed for Etosha National Park, the last chance for us to see lions on this leg of the trip. When we got there we set camp a couple of kilometers from the entrance so that we could enter the park the first thing in the morning. The sunset was amazing this night.
The following morning we entered the park and asked the rangers about the lions. They said that the lions had taken a zebra this morning and that they now probably hid somewhere so chances to see them are probably very small. A little bit discouraged by this we went on on this safari. We saw plenty of animals in the early morning light and after a couple of hours driving we saw the carcass of a zebra surrounded by vultures. I guess that was the one the lions had taken earlier in the morning then.
And then, over a small hill crest and around a bend there they were! The lions! And plenty of them. I think we counted to 7 lionesses and a couple of cubs. While we sat there in the cars just admiring these majestic cats something happened in the bushes to our left. One single male lion emerged. All the lionesses walked up to him and saluted him, it was a quite fantastic sight!
The lions walked just around the cars, some of them were so close so we could have patted them if we would dare stretch out our arms, but that would probably be quite foolish. We continued through the park and finally we got to see some wildebeest in a herd as well. We also came upon a dried out lake and drove out to the viewpoint which was pretty cool. After exiting the national park it was time to find some place for a bush camp.
Twyfelfontain or /Ui-//aes as it’s called on the local language (click language) is Namibia’s first world heritage site. It contains petroglyphs or rock carvings that is supposed to be up to 6000 years old and made by the hunter/gatherer people who lived here. A really magnificent place and if you take the guided tour you get some extra value for your money if you can persuade the guides to talk some click language.
The next day our journey towards the Skeleton Coast started. This would lead us through massive parts of wasteland which was one of the coolest parts of the entire trip. Generally I think Namibia had the most amazing nature and experiences even though I’d say the entire trip itself was an ultimate experience in itself. And then, the Skeleton Coast which is more or less the whole coast from the north of Namibia down to Swakopmund. We spent a whole day just driving around in the Skeleton Coast National Park and looked at various things. Some stranded ships, some deserted mines, an old oil rig and so on. II also took the chance of dipping my toes in the Atlantic Ocean but that was a very unpleasant experience since the water was ice cold!
20th of February, the official start date of the expedition trip. We started to move west out of Dar Es-Salaam. Soon we would drive up in the mountains, away from the larger roads. After about one day of driving we arrived at a national park called Mikumi National Park which we entered. Saw the first animals of this trip which was nice. No lions but we saw elephants, giraffes, buffalos and many gazelles. We stoped in the village of Mikumi for the night and a spent the evening at a resturant and some bars there.
We countined along the road and eventually we found a stone age site which turned out to be a quite large piece of land that had been severely eroded by weather and wind. It was a cool experience walking around in the area though.
On our journey through the southern Tanzania we would come upon some various towns, Iringa is one of them. We went out for a dinner and some nice time and found a very simple resturant but the food they served was world class. We also had to eat with our hands but that kind of adds to the experience. Further on we would arrive in Mbeya where we wanted to party one night. The locals tried to take us to a place with disco lights but we wanted something more local.
We found the kind of place we were looking for and had a blast at that place. One of us almost got married off. What a night, what a night! Our last stop in Tanzania was in a small town called Tukuyu where we spent the night in a hotel because it was raining so much.
Continuing towards the border to Malawi we found a crater lake on the GPS and thought we should check it out so we headed into the jungle. After some hour or so of driving in the jungle we came to a stop where we left the cars and started hiking on a trail.
It was a slippery path between large ferns and tall trees. Somewhere along the path we saw a gigantic spider web which even made me feel a bit unconfortable for a moment. We pressed on further into the jungle over slippery rocks and under huge dead branches. I think we walked for a couple of hours but no sign of the crater lake. Even though walking upon a ridge we couldn’t see the lake so we decided it was time to make a descision of some sort.
Getting lost in the jungle after dark is not a good thing to do so we started to back track and eventually we would end up in the clearing where we left the cars. Getting into the cars and having dry clothes on again we started to drive back to the main road that we had left many hours earlier. Proved to be easier said than done but we made it.
We searched for a good place to make camp for the night just a couple of miles from the border to Malawi.
Also, the gallery is updated with pictures from Tanzania!