Watching the sun rise from the top of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Menu - About Us
Menu - Maps
Menu - Our Vehicles
Menu - Preparation
Menu - Home
Menu - FAQ
Menu - Contact Us
Menu - Video
Menu - Photogallery


Tanzania Trip Journal from January 02 to 23, 2008

Follow this link to return to the Tanzania Photos Pg. 1 and Tanzania Photos Pg. 2.

Country: Tanzania
Duration: Jan. 02 to 23, 2008.
Distance Traveled in the Country: Approx. 2500km on the motorcycles and another 1000km in a 4x4.
Most Memorable Impressions:
Tanzania, has it all. Incredible National Parks from the famous Serengeti and Ngorongoro to the highest Mountain in Africa Kilimanjaro National Park.  If animals and mountaineering is not your cup of tea, the beautiful coastline and warm waters of the Indian Ocean do not disappoint.  We were fortunate to experience the best of Tanzania, starting with climbing Kilimanjaro.  Challenging and at the same time most rewarding.  Proud, exhausted and very cold we stood at the summit on Jan. 11, 2008, something that we both had been looking forward to for a long time.  We continued our adventure on an unforgettable four (4) day Safari through the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.  Timing is everything in the migration of the animals and we had a chance to see 1000's of wildebeest and zebras migrate.  It is amazing to see these animals run as fast as your vehicle moves, running for miles continuously, jumping across roads and leaving behind only dust.  Animals as far as your eye can see.  We also encountered the big five (Black Rhino, Lion, Elephant, Leopard and Buffalo) with an added bonus of three (3) cheetahs.  Tanzanian coastline is beautiful and most important there are still places off the beaten track.  It seemed we only touched on Tanzania and will have to come back for more.
Our Favourite:
- Climbing Kilimanjaro.
- Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Fuel Cost: 1530Tsh to 1700Tsh/litre ($1.40 to $1.55CDN/litre) for Unleaded Fuel.
Accommodations: Camped all 21 days for between $6.00 to $10.00US/night. Not including Park Campgrounds, which range from $60 to $100/night (not cheap).
Exchange Rate: 1100 Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh) = $1.00CDN
Border Formality Costs: Visa = $50.00US/person; Motorcycle Customs = Free with Carnet de Passage

Jan. 02, 2008.  The Rusumo Waterfall is roaring and the water looks like chocolate.  Definitely one of the most scenic border crossings we have experienced this far.  The border post on the Tanzanian side takes about half an hour.  Checking the Visa we notice that immigration had placed Mike's Visa in Ruby's passport and vice versa for Ruby's Visa.  After all the confusion is sorted we are riding along perfect tarred road over rolling hills.  It is getting late in the day and the sun is setting as we reach Nyakanazi.  There are small settlements of two (2) or three (3) houses along the road, but the first village with so called "accommodations" is Nyakanazi.  The room is only $6.00CDN/night.  The village has no electricity, therefore once the sun sets, generators all over the place kick in.  Our generator was conveniently located right outside our room window.  We were reinsured that it would shut off at midnight until 5am.  Yeah five (5) hours of sleep.  Not a touristy place at all, the owner pulled me into the kitchen to show me the food available.  There was raw chicken and cow pieces hanging in the door and loads of eggs.  We communicated to have Potato cooked with eggs.

Jan. 03, 2008. A day of riding lay ahead.  We leave Nyakanazi early and are cruising along at a nice speed of 100km/hr, eating away the kilometers.  After Kahama the road splits, and 20km into the paved road we stop and clearly can see on the GPS that we are heading toward Tanguru, instead of Itobo. We back track to a small village and here was the fork in the road, not paved.  It starts out not bad and then sand and more sand.  66km took us three (3) hours.  We both dropped the motorcycles in the deep sand.  It was impossible.  As we finally reach Nzega, there is a large traffic circle and pavement.  What the heck.  We realized that we should have stayed on the road to Tanguru, as the GPS showed the B3 has the main highway, but they actually paved another road further north.  This little mistake cost us a bit of time, but we still made it to Singida before sun set.  The scenery around Singida is quite different.  Large bolders of rocks dot the landscape and the town lies on the shores of a small lake.  We take a room in a hotel, which actually had a television set, first TV since Cairo, Egypt.  After some local street food of very tough kebab and greasy French Fries we actually watch Terminator 3 (one bad movie).  

Jan. 04, 2008.  The nice pavement stops at Singida and we cut across to Babati, approx. 120km of dirt/gravel road. The roads north and south of the capital Dodoma are very bad.  We join up with the north road at Babati to Arusha.  After riding the Moyale road this seems not bad.  The corrugation is about 20km and then new pavement starts at Lake Manyara all the way to Arusha.  The day is clear and we have an undisruptive view of Mt. Meru (4566m).   Arusha is a busy little town with too much traffic.  We head directly to the Masai Camp located 3km out of town on the old Moshi road.  There has been mixed reviews about the Masai Camp ($10.00CDN/night).  Some love it and some hate it.  We were not impressed.  The camping area is not very large and up to six (6) more Overlander trucks take over the premises.  Three (3) shower and three (3) toilets can not accommodate over a 100 people.  The main issue we had was the bar/restaurant turned into a very loud Disco from 10pm to 4am.  No matter how far away your tent was set up it was like being right there.  The weekends are the worst as the locals enter the campsite and all available spaces are taken up by vehicles.  If you want some piece and quiet do not choose the Masai Camp.  This probably has been the worst campsite we had been on since the start of the trip.  After all that we actually stayed for 13 days or should I say the tent and motorcycles were parked at the Masai Camp for 10 days while we hiked Kilimanjaro and saw the Serengeti.  In the evening we met a Belgium/South African Couple, Jo and Jan, who had been traveling from Europe down the east coast on two (2) foldable bicycles.  Again a very nice couple, who originally sailed up from South Africa to Belgium and then took the land route back. As timing has it Alex and Katja also arrive for one (1) night and we caught up on their travel route as we had last seen them in Bahar Dar, Ethiopia over a month ago. We also received an update on the Kenya situation, as both couples had been stuck in Kenya at the outbreak of the riots. The border to Uganda and Ethiopia had been closed and fuel not available in remote places.  We had been lucky that we left Kenya five (5) days before the election to Uganda.  It would have been a shame to have missed Uganda and Rwanda on our journey down the east coast of Africa.

Jan. 05, 2008. Our main goal for the day was to arrange the Kilimanjaro climb and Serengeti/Ngorongoro Safari.  Tropical Trails is located at the Masai Camp and we got a quote from them. For comparison we rode into Arusha and spoke to Sunny Tours, who had been recommended by numerous other travelers to us. Sunny Tours came in $600.00CDN cheaper.  We choose the Marangu Route (also called Coca Cola Route) mainly as it was the cheapest option and because the huts were waterproof.  Another option was the Macheme Route, said to be the most scenic, but required pitching a tent.  The cost was an additional $400.00, due to more porters and gear to be carried.  The Marangu Route has basic huts along the route and as the route approaches Kilimanjoro from the east, it makes for better picture opportunities. Originally we only planned on taking a two (2) day Ngorongoro Safari, but than decided with the weather being perfect (dry season) and the migration of animals being in the right spot to spend the cash and book the four (4) day budget Serengeti/Ngorongoro Safari (tented).  Total cost of all this fun was a whopping $3700.00CDN.  But was it ever worth it. We paid in local Tanzanian Shilling around 4,700,000.00 Tsh.  Try pulling that kind of cash out of the ATM machine when the largest withdrawal at a time is 300,000.00 Tsh in 10,000.00 Tsh bank notices.  Our pockets were bulging over.  They only accepted credit card for half the amount and then charge a 5% surcharge.  We opted for all cash in the end.

Jan. 06, 2008.  We packed our clothes and arranged our gear for the Kilimanjaro trip.  A trip into Arusha to buy some of the essentials like toothpaste and stuff was a waste of time, as on Sunday afternoon all the stores were closed.  We caught up on laundry and the usual maintenance.

Jan. 07, 2008. We decided to leave the tent and motorcycles at the Masai Campground for our six (6) day Kilimanjaro trek and four (4) day Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater Safari.  Sunny Safaris was going to store our motorcycle gear and anything else that was not lockable on the motorcycles.  The tent was completely empty and we informed the security personnel of our plans.  Sunny Safari's was supposed to pick us up from the campsite at 8:30am, but arrived at 10am.  All we had packed for the Kilimanjaro climb was sleeping bag, and some clothes (incl. motorcycle rain gear), everything fit into one of our 40 litre water proof bags.  At the Sunny Safari office we squared up the outstanding bill of 2,142,000Tsh (all in 10,000 Tsh denominations) and choose each a winter coat and gloves.  Not the best quality, but we hoped it would do for the trip.  We met our guide Salvatory and left the Sunny Safari office in Arusha around 11am.  En route we picked up two (2) porters, and the cook.  Just outside of Moshi we stopped to buy groceries for six (6) days and by 2pm we had arrived at the Marangu Park Gate.  While Salvatory was paying the park fees and registering us, the porters and cook arranged the gear and we had lunch. Registration takes approx. 1 to 2 hours and we started our hike with Ernest the porter/assistant while the guide was taking care of the paper work.  The Marangu Gate is at 1800m. The forest trail leads through thick and lush treed area. This area receives most of the rain.  The humidity is high and luckily the trail is mostly shaded as the afternoon sun beats down on us. The Mandara Hut lies at an elevation of 2720m and 9km from the Marangu Gate.  The trail is well maintained and after three (3) hours we arrive at our first night hut.  We are joined by a Romanian couple later.  The cook prepares supper while we get comfortable in the huts.  Fully fed we go to bed at 8pm.

Jan. 08, 2008.  We rise and shine at 7am and have a full sausage and egg breakfast by 7:30am. By 8am we hit the trail with our guide.  The pace is very slow to ensure proper acclimatization.  From the Mandara Hut we continue to hike through the forest and see black and white Colobus Monkeys.  After half an hour we emerge into the grassland, also called the mooreland.  We climb from 2720m to 3740m over 11km, taking in the beautiful flowers and scenery.  We are blessed by blue skies and are able to see the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi.  To the south-east we can see Lakes Chala and Jipe and the distant Pare Mountains. Three (3) hours into the hike we stop for lunch and then arrive at the Horombo Hut at 1pm.  When we booked this trail we requested an extra day at Horombo Hut for acclimatization.  We rested for the afternoon and after supper went to sleep.

Jan. 09, 2008.  Our acclimatization day encompassed breakfast at 8am and a day hike to the Zebra Rock at 4000m elevation and then continue to the Saddle at 4300m elevation and return to the Horombo Hut at 3740m elevation.  Total 7km.  The Zebra Rock is a low cliff with light and dark vertical bands, which were caused by water seeping down the rock face from above and leaving light encrustations on the dark lava rock.  We have a full view of the jagged peak of Mawenzi (5149m) to the right of us as we hike up the trail into the highland desert.  As we reach the Saddle at 4300m we get a closer view of Kibo and the trail from the Kibo Hut to the summit.  The Saddle is strewn with boulders and lava gravel and parasitic cones.  The whole exercise takes us three (3) hours and we return to the Horombo Hut for lunch, followed by afternoon rest, supper and an early night sleep.

Jan. 10, 2008.  We leave the Hut at 8am and pass through a field of giant senecios, which have tall stems which act as reservoirs for the water needed for large, cabbage-like rosette of leaves.  Another 11km lies ahead of us through the highland desert.  Barren land and not much survives at this altitude.  The wind is cool, but we have perfect hiking conditions of blue sky.  We take the lower trail to the Kibo Hut, as we had hiked portions of the upper trail the previous day to the Saddle.  Breathing is definitely getting more difficult as we ascend.  The lack of oxygen sometimes causes tingling fingers/hands and feet.  But this only lasts for 10 to 30 minutes and it seems the body acclimatizes.  It was strange that both Mike and I had the tingling at the same time/same altitudes.  Walking slowly we reach the Kibo Hut at 1pm (4700m).  We are assigned a bunk bed in the stone built house with dormitory rooms.  By 4pm almost every bed is taken.  Everyone is bundled up in there sleeping bags trying to get some rest.  It is freezing.  All the huts have no heating.  After supper at 5:30pm it is bed time.  The wake-up call comes at 11pm.  It is hard to get any sleep, as your mind races through the upcoming climb to the summit.  Mike has an upset stomach and is unable to sleep.  We both are monitoring our heartbeats, breathing, coughing etc for symptoms of altitude sickness. 11pm arrives and we gear up.  I wear two (2) pair of pants and three (3) jackets plus the motorcycle rain gear.  During the last four (4) days we had made acquaintances of numerous other climbers to be summiting with us. In total we were around 18 people.  One was taken down on the rescue stretcher at 5pm and another person at midnight due to altitude sickness.  Salvatory advised us that one of our porters was used to take down the person at midnight.  It is normal to have 2 to 4 people a day being rescued from Kilimanjaro.  Two (2) Koreans from our room also became sick and did not attempt the climb.  We later found out that another three (3) people stayed behind due to sickness. 

Jan. 11, 2008. 12:20pm we were the last ones to leave the Kibo Hut.  Everyone else had already left between 11:30 and 12:00pm.  Salvatory, our guide, led the way.  His walk was steady to keep us warm.  Ernest, the assistant followed us and would be helping either one of us if we should get sick.  Mike and I are both breathing heavy, whereas our guide with his hands behind his back walks ahead of us humming a tune, as if it is a stroll in the park.  Our first rest stop of two (2) minutes is at 1:30am at the Hans Meyer Cave.  Our hands and feed start to freeze immediately as we stop.  We are at 5140m, level with Mawenzi Mountain.  We push on.  Oxygen available is half that at sea level.  We start to pass other climbers. We stop again just below the Johannes Notch.  Balance is harder to keep and we seem to stagger more than walk.  It is 3:30am, Salvatory tells us another 30 minutes and we will be at Gillman's Point.  The last stretch is scrambling to the top and suddenly we stand in front of the Gilman's Point sign 5680m.  A round of hugs and congratulations and we decide to push on for the summit.  The trail follows the rim over Stella Point to finally reaching Uhuru Peak. On route we pass a couple more climbers.  The stretch from Gilman's Point to Uhuru Peak is estimated to take 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  At 5:15am we are the first to summit Kilimanjaro on Jan. 11, 2008.  The wind is hauling and temperature dropped to -25 Deg Celsius not including the windchill factor.  My hands are frozen and Ernest helps me to get the Canada flag out of my pocket.  Mike removes the battery from his money belt and places it into the SLR Camera.  Battery life is limited at these temperatures and most people make the mistake of not keeping the camera warm, resulting in no pictures at the summit.  This small task also freezes Mikes hands. Ernest takes a picture of us infront of the Uhuru sign at 5896m.  We smile for the camera, the wind trying to rip the Canada flag out of our hands.  We made it.  All we cared about now was to get down asap.  By 6am we had returned to the Gilman's Point.  Salvatory has a smoke at 5685m (we shake our heads).  At Gilman's Point we wait for 15 minutes for sun rise.  A picture of the sign, the eastern glacier and the inner crater and we are descending Kilimanjaro.  In the light we can not believe we actually hiked up this steep trail 6.5km from the Kibo Hut to the Uhuru Peak, elevation change of almost 1200m.  By 7:15am we are back in the Kibo Hut in the sleeping bag to warm up.  Mike is feeling worse.  He has a hard time breathing and his cough sounds like water in his lungs.  By 9am we decide to descend without the guide, who was going to catch up.  Mike needed to get to a lower elevation fast.  The 11km to the Horombo Hut seemed to go on forever, we were both really tired.  We reached the Hut by noon and laid down.  Mike still did not feel better and decided to skip supper.  My stomach was also upset, but I went for some soup and met a German doctor on route to the summit.  He inquired about Mike's health and offered to examine him.  I told him that if his condition should worsen during the night, I would get him.  Which also meant a rescue evacuation from the mountain. 

Jan. 12, 2008.  During the night Mike's condition improved and by 7am we walked back 18km to the Marangu Park Gate.  Here we received our much earned certificate to prove we made it to the top.  I realize that anything can happen at altitude.  Five (5) people a year die on Kilimanjaro due to altitude sickness.  Exhausted we climb into the truck to return to Arusha. The standard tip of a minimum of 10% for the guide, porters and cook we paid at the Horombo Hut (310,000Tsh or $270.00CDN).  By 3:30pm we returned to the Masai Camp.  Our first shower in six (6) days followed by washing clothes and taking care of some blisters.  We repack for the next day, as we leave for a four (4) day Safari.  Unfortunately it was Saturday night and the Disco was blasting until 4am in the morning allowing for no sleep. 

Jan. 13, 2008. We were exhausted both due to no sleep and because the last six (6) days of hiking Kilimanjaro was making itself felt in our bodies.  I was walking as if I had just run a half-marathon.  We were picked up by Abdul, the driver/guide and Felix, the cook at 9am in a Toyota Landcruiser with a liftable roof. The rear had five (5) seats, lots of room for just the two (2) of us. It was loaded with gear and food for the next four (4) days.  We were glad that we could just sit back in the vehicle and be chauffeured around. At the turn-off to the Ngorongoro Conversation and Serengeti National Park, we stopped to pick up some coal for cooking.  We were instantly surrounded by local Masai women selling traditional necklaces and other items.  We chose a couple of necklaces, which would have cost us in Canada 20 times as much.  In Karatu, we stopped for lunch at a very nice campground, and Felix prepared from scratch a great meal. (He is an amazing cook and does produce unbelievable dishes over just a coal fire).  From Karatu the road climbs toward the Ngorongoro Conversation Area, giving way to a great view of Lake Manyara.  At the entrance gate to Ngorongoro Conversation Area, Abdul takes care of all the entry fees, while we check out the information office.  Entry fee to the Ngorongoro Conversation Area is $150.00/vehicle valid only for 24 hrs.  Each person has to pay $35.00/person valid only for 24 hrs.  Camping is $30.00/person/night.  The same fees apply to the Serengeti National Park.  Even though we are only passing through the Ngorongoro Conversation Area on the first day, all fees have to be paid for just 3 hrs.  We calculated that over the four (4) days it would have cost us in a private vehicle a total of $1120.00 not including truck rental, fuel and food/drinks. $600.00 for the vehicle, $280.00 for our entry and $240.00 for camping.  We are lucky in Canada to pay only around $130.00/year for our national parks. At the Ngorongoro Conversation Area gate the pavement stops and the dirt roads begin.  It is a steep narrow climb up the Ngorongoro Crater, we come upon some buffalos en-route.  At the top we are rewarded with an amazing view as the full crater opens up infront of us.  We continue onwards to the Serengeti National Park, as we will spend the last day of our Safari in the Crater. From the high plateau we descend into the flat plains of the Serengeti.  Driving along the dusty road we see in distance clouds of dust and animals moving at the speed of about 50km an hour.  Then the herd of animals get closer and we realize it is thousands of wildebeests migrating toward Kenya.  We are in awe of how fast they run.  The sight is unbelievable, we stop the vehicle and the wildebeests start to cross the road by the hundreds right in front of us.  Timing was everything.  Wildebeests could be seen as far as your eyes could see.  The numbers are overwhelming.  We had come at the right time to see the migration of animals.  At the Serengeti National Park entrance gate, we visit the information booth and Abdul pays all the fees.  From here it is only another couple of hours to our campsite.  The campsite for $30.00/person/night is very primitive.  No showers and the two (2) toilets had seen better days.  We set up the tent and Felix cooks us a delicious meal.

Jan. 14, 2008. Three (3) game drives are planned for the day. Morning, afternoon and late afternoon.  After breakfast, we are off on a 6 1/2 hour game drive until 1:30pm.  In the first three (3) hours we see not much of animals, but then pass through huge herds (1000's) of Zebra.  Female Impalas graze peacefully, while one male Impala stands watch.  In the high grass two (2) Hyenas wait to have their chance to steal someone's food.  Then another vehicle spots a Leopard sleeping in a tree.  We get close to the location and watch through the raised roof top.  Every so often the Leopard stretches and moves its head.  Again we are fascinated and could have spent hours observing the Leopards every move.  En-route to the camp, we spot another Leopard resting high in the tree.  It is amazing that our guide can actually spot them, as Leopards blend into its surrounding seamlessly.    After lunch and a two (2) hour rest, it is back to another game drive.  We are in the search for lions, but so far everyone we had met has been unsuccessful in spotting them.  We even talked to the official tracker, who was trying to get to a higher point to see if he could pick up the signal of the radio collars located on some lions being studied.  He had lost contact with his lion group four (4) days prior.  By 5:30pm we had given up hope to have an encounter with a lion.  Game drives are not allowed in the Park after 6pm and as we head back to the campsite we get word that four (4) male lions had been spotted quite a distance away. Abdul is determined and decides to head for it.  We reach the location by 6:30pm, the sun setting behind us and there they are four (4) large male lions feeding on an unidentifiable animal.  We watched for 20 minutes, hearing bones being crunched and then two (2) lions get into a dispute and roar at each other.  Wow, can it get any better (maybeJ).  Abdul takes down the roof top and advises us that if we get stopped by a Ranger, we should say that we were lost.  Back tracking the trail we see the ears of two (2) female lions peek out of the high grass.  They seem as curious about us as we are of them.  This must have been the females that had caught the food for the four (4) male lions. We return to the campsite, stopping en-route to take a picture of a herd of Elephants, after 7pm.  We were looking for animals over 9 hours and it seemed like time flew by.

Jan. 15, 2008. We are up at 5:30am for a 6am Morning Game drive and watched the most spectacular sun rise over the plains in the Serengeti. Two (2) Hotair Balloons appear in the horizon.  We visited the Serengeti Visitor Information Centre, and truly enjoyed the informative plaques about how the Serengeti park came about, its preservation of animals and what animals can be found in the park.  Half way through our walk, Abdul chases us down to inform us of an animal being killed by a lion close by.  We run to the vehicle and are off.  We feel like we are on an important mission, the location is close to the Hotair Balloon Centre.  We arrive, just in time for another five (5) vehicles to pull up, but the lions are hiding behind brush and grass and are hard to see.  We had a much better encounter the previous night. We ended our morning game drive, by having a delicious brunch prepared by Felix, took down the tent and were on our way again by 12pm.  Our destination is the Ngorongoro Conversation Area.  At this point we had not seen a Rhino or Cheetahs. Mike's favorite animal is the Cheetah.  Abdul was still hopeful that we might see one en-route.  After checking out of the Serengeti National Park and before entering the Ngorongoro Conversation Area, the road passes through open plains of grass land and then there they were.  Three (3) Cheetahs right beside the road.  We spent 30 minutes in total fascination.  It was incredible how close we got and that they seem not at all to be disturbed by us.  They are such beautiful animals.  We told Abdul that if we could see a rare black Rhino, he would save us money, as we would not have to visit another game park.  Almost an impossible mission, as only 23 black rhinos exist in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro area.  But we would see.  Continuing our back tracking, we encounter another female lion lazing on a rock in the sun and then we climb back up to the Ngorongoro Crater.  Our tent is set up at the Simba campground at the top of the Ngorongoro Conversation Area.  The site is beautiful, with a large grassy area, and good facilities.  During the night a large thunderstorm moves through the crater and over the campsite.  We can hear warthogs and buffalo grazing beside the tent.  Nature at its best. 

Jan. 16, 2008.  We descend into the crater at 6am, the road is very steep and rocky.  The Ngorongoro Crater is a volcanic caldera, the collapsed upper cone of an ancient volcano. The crater is home to numerous animals and with the sun rising the thousands of Flamingos gleam colorful on the crater lake.  The scenery is spectacular and hard to put in words, unless seen and experienced in person.  A couple of male Lions try to hide in the tall grass, but get up every so often to drink some water.  Then we get information about a black rhino spotting.  There it is the last of the Big Five, lying in the grass a hundred meters away from us, every so often it would lift its head to check out its surroundings.  We spent half an hour with him.  When observing animals, time flies by and we could spend hours watching them.  We both have to use the rest stop (too much tea).  Abdul takes us to a beautiful day rest stop beside the lake, where hippos launch and two (2) massive elephants wander along the edge of the lake.  I am surprised of how fast they move.  In the end they actually are only 10m from us and are so beautiful.  Our visit to the area is complete and we are happy that we had seen everything we had hoped we would.  After lunch we return to Arusha.  Stopping at the Sunny Safari Office to pick up our gear and then it was back to the noisy Masai Camp.  Both Abdul and Felix were great and made it a fun and memorable Safari.  I wish I could take Felix home with me, as his food is to die for. We gave Abdul 115,000 Tsh ($100.00) and Felix 85,000 Tsh ($80.00) tip.

Jan. 17, 2008.  We decided to stay an additional day at the Masai Camp to use the Internet, wash clothes and repack our gear.  Our luck the internet was not working.  Tired from pushing onwards without a rest, we decided to head to the Tanzanian Coast by Tanga to relax for a couple a days. 

Jan. 18, 2008.  During the night I got sick and threw up all night.  In the morning, being very weak, we push on to Tanga a 450km ride.  I was pretty much on autopilot, glued to Mike's rear tire.  We stopped once for a couple of minutes and Mike realized any longer rest and I would not move again.  It is rare to see Kilimanjaro without clouds and as we passed Moshi, we saw the top peak through the clouds.  Fresh snow covered the peak, one last picture and we say good-bye.  At Tanga the road turns to dirt and follows the coast line to Peponi's Campsite (30km south of Tanga and close to Pangani).  A beautiful place, run by Denis and his family ($9.00US/night for camping including power).  The nicest campground on the ocean we have encountered on our travels.  The facilities very clean, nice restaurant, the campsites set between tall Palm trees have covered palm leave huts, overlooking the ocean.  The swimming pool is clean and the water is bath temperature.  The tides are huge, and the beach is covered with beautiful sea shells.  The Pepi, Peponi's dhow, is anchored at the shore.  Feeling miserable I decide to go onto Antibiotics again.  After dispensing of most of my supper, I was finally feeling better.

Jan. 19, 2008.  Peponi's is one of those places were you arrive and maybe never leave.  We both relaxed, updating pictures, journal, walking along the beach, hanging out in the swimming pool or lazing in the comfortable lawn chairs.

Jan. 20, 2008. Another day relaxing.

Jan. 21, 2008.  We were supposed to head on, but as previously mentioned it is hard to leave paradise.  The campsite was deserted and we hired the Pepi (dhow) for five (5) hours to sail out to the sand island.  Lunch was packed for us and we had the captain and his two (2) helpers, stop at various spots en-route for some reef snorkeling.  The sand island is approx. 30 minutes from the main land, and maybe 50m by 100m in size.  Turquoise blue water surrounded this idyllic spot.  A canapé was set up for us and lunch served.  It was just the two (2) of us on our own little island.  On our return to the mainland we set the sails and stopped for one final snorkeling expedition, where both of us got attacked by jelly fish.

Jan. 22, 2008.  A long day ahead of us, as we cover 700km.  We back track to Tanga and then take the main tarred road, past Morogoro through the Mikumi National Park.  Normally motorcycles are not allowed in National Parks, but since this was the only through road we were able to ride through an animal park.  We saw actually quite a lot of animals on our way through, from Giraffes, Wildebeest, Impalas, Zebras to Elephants.  The Elephants were again right beside the road and gave me the opportunity to film them via the Helmet Camera.  After Mikumi the road follows the Udzungwa Mountain National Park.  Road conditions deteriorate as we start to climb a mountain pass.  Black dark clouds start to build and a large Semi Truck stalled climbing the mountain pass, causing another Semi Truck to stall as well in the passing lane.  The road is completely blocked, we are able to get through by going off the road into deep mud.  The scenery is beautiful.  Monkeys continuously cross the road or laze on the side of the road. 50km past Iringa is the turn off to the Old Farm House Campground.  The rain is heavy and the dirt road into the Old Farm House is a river.  It is funny how the most challenging situations always happen at the end of a long tiring day.  The Old Farm House is well known among travelers.  We are able to set up the tent under a straw covered hut out of the rain.  We signed up for the supper, which was $12.00/person, expensive for Tanzanian standards, but what a treat.  It is served in an old converted bush home.  Oil lamps are used for lighting.  A table for two is set and we have an incredible three (3) course meal, starting with a delicious leak soup, fresh baked bread, followed by roast beef, vegetable and sweet potatoes meal.  For desert a yummy moist chocolate cake.  The atmosphere perfect, as we were the only ones in the room, with large shadows drawn on the mud walls from the oil lamp.  Lets just say we did not expect that.

Jan. 23, 2008.  After a great meal the previous night, we could not resist to spoil ourselves with a good breakfast in the garden of the Old Farm House.  Another 500km of riding was scheduled for the day plus checking out of Tanzania and into Malawi.  Border crossings our favorite (not). From the Old Farm House we follow the road south-west through Makambako to Mbeya.  One last fuel stop before Malawi.  The road south from Mbeya is twisty as it winds its way through the hills.  The scenery turns into Banana Plantations and lush green dense bush.  The clouds are disappearing and blue sky greets us as we stop at the Tanzanian Border Post.  The money exchanger touts were quite aggressive at the border and we waited until entering Malawi to change our left over Tanzanian Shilling.  Good-bye Tanzania, another country we will have to return to visit the more remote places like Lake Tanganyika, the Selous Game Reserve and of course the Island of Zanzibar.

© &