It occurrred to me the other day that I haven't actually described Kenya and now that I'm in Tanzania I probably should as the lanscape has changed. One of the first things that struck me when I got off the plane was the green, although coming from desert this would make sense. The rains had made Nairobi lush with vegetation and the earth a vibrant red brown clumping and spliting the ground into hazardous tracks for vehicles. There was also clouds, something Egypt just didn't have.
Driving towards the border with Tanzania the landscape changes from green low trees with wild petunia looking plants to mountains and open grassland. The villages we pass through look poor, but children happily wave at the Mzungo going by. Corrugated metal, wood, sometimes brick it definitely feels more like Africa now.
Day 13 4th was spent on the truck.
Day 14 5th Snake Park, Tanzania.
Snake Park is the place we mostly stayed at the past few nights. It actually is a snake park as well as a campsite, although I never got around to having a look as the bar always got in the way.
Anyway 14 and 15 were game drives. The first day we went to Manyara National Park and the second down into Ngorangoro Crater. Both were so fun. I got to ride in the passenger side of the 4x4 and spent most of the time hanging out of the roof, wind, rain, bugs all in my face. Definitely wouldn't have been allowed in the UK.
At Manyara we saw Baboons, Impala, Bushbuck, elephants, giraffes, storks, flamingoes, zebra, wilderbeest and hippos. The landscape was a lot drier at the Park, but there was also the wonderful green of the forest which looked very like jungle. My favourite moments involved the animals coming near the truck. The first time there was just this small family of elephants which we'd been watching for a while and were about to drive off. Then the car radioed behind that they were going to cross the road. The truck behind was lucky they crossed meters from where they parked. The second moment was towards the end basically we'd seen baboons all day so we weren't really stopping to look at them anymore, but as we were driving we happened to come across more and more of them, including a mother carrying her baby underneith her. So we stopped and suddenly we were surrounded. I got some great pictures.
That evening we stayed at another campsite with the most amazing colonial inspired bar and once again mince for dinner (my first three nights all involved mincemeat. Last night was Potki a layered meat and veg dish that's cooked all day so yummy and also yay not mince).
Ngorangoro Crater was just as amazing as the Manyara except we also got to see lions. Turns out they were on their honeymoon so spent their time lying around and mating, twice in fact whilst we were there. Apparently when lions are on their honeymoon they don't eat for ages something like seven or nine days so the Zebra and wilderbeest were quite happy frolicking in the background. Oh we also saw Hyena.
After lunch the group split with me and five others heading back to the Snake Park and the rest onto the Serengeti. It was nice though I got to spend time with just a small section of the group, there's twenty-five of us not including Kate, Jenny and Jason so there's always someone to talk to.
Day 16 8th
The others still being at the Serengeti meant today was pretty much a free day. The night before though Kate had mentioned a Maasi walk so after breakie we, me Lorriane, Liz and Faye, went on this amazing tour. It started off in the museum being led through by our lovely Maasi guide. As you appraoched each room a different scene would light up and he would explain what was going on and tell us about their culture in general. The manquins were funny especially the guy waiting to be circumcised he genuinally looked scared. The museum came out at a group of huts with lots of women selling beaded and leather goods if it wasn't for the fact the tour hadn't finished I could of quite happily spent ages there.
Anyway our guide then changed and we were led to a permanent Maasi village. The Maasi are nomadic, but this family had settled so that the children could go to school. The children were lovely, although their clothes looked so tired and worn all they wanted to do was hold your hand and be swung in the air. They were so happy and loved the Mzungo who came to play with them everyday, they didn't realize we were a different group of white people.
Randomly I was talking to one of the children and happened to be wearing my Nottingham hoodie so was pointing out my name and school when the guide overheard. He told me that Nottingham University sponsor the education centre here and if we liked we could visit it. It wasn't very far away at all and once again the children were great. They liked giving me high fives and then they sang for us 'In the Jungle and Baa Baa Black Sheep', soo soo cute.
The clinic was the next place on the tour. It's such a wonderful idea Ma and BJ (the owners of the campsite) are such great people. The clinic all began because BJ was so affected by a story a local nurse had told him. A little boy had come into her clinic with his parents and was diagnosed with some blood disease that required a prolonged amount of treatment. Anyway the nurse had gone for a while but later came back to find the boy dead in her surgery. The boys parents unable to afford his medication had killed him. So Bj's clinic is free and all the profits from the campsite including the bar go towards keeping it running, so it really is a case of drink for charity.
Our tour ended in a Maasi cattle market. The purples and reds of the Maasi are so vibrant. Visually it was a treat being stood in a place with such a high proportion of them. Even the cows (possibly bulls, all had horns) were intersting to look at as they had this weird humped back.
After lunch I braved the Arusha market, I say braved because I was the only white person and as such stood out. It was like being the local celebrity with people eager for my attention calling Mzunga. I got to haggle again. I ended up buying 4m of material for 10000 shillings he started of at 25000 so I don't think I did too bad. The rate is roughly 2000 shillings to the pound.