We drove slowly through Mikumi this morning and saw a few animals along the way but nothing that we haven't seen already. No big cats unfortunately. The park itself reminded me of driving through the New Forest from Fordingbridge to Cadnam in the spring when everything is really green. It took about the same length of time too. There were a few gravel tracks forking off for the game drivers but the main road through is tarmac and there were lots of local trucks driving through and beeping at us for going too slow.
We then had a short drive of about 5 hours to Dar es Salaam:-
"Dar es Salaam (Arabic translation: "house of peace"), formerly Mzizima, is the largest city in Tanzania. With a population estimated around 2 500 000, it is also the country's richest city and an important economic centre. Though Dar es Salaam lost its official status as capital city to Dodoma in the mid-1970s, it remains the centre of the permanent central government and continues to serve as the capital for the surrounding Dar es Salaam Region.
In 1859, Albert Roscher of Hamburg became the first European to land in Mzizima ("healthy town"). In 1866 Sultan Seyyid Majid of Zanzibar gave it its present name. Dar es Salaam fell into decline after Majid's death in 1870, but was revived in 1887, when the German East Africa Company established a station there. The town's growth was facilitated by its role as the administrative and commercial centre of German East Africa and industrial expansion resulting from the construction of the Central Railway Line in the early 1900s.
Being situated so close to the equator and the warm Indian Ocean, the city experiences generally tropical climatic conditions, typified by hot and humid weather throughout much of the year. Annual rainfall is approximately 1 100 mm and in a normal year there are two distinct rainy seasons: "the long rains", which fall during April and May, and "the short rains", which fall during October and November."
Thing only other thing of note on today's drive was the fact Mandla got pulled over for speeding again. He wasn't speeding and was deliberately only doing 15kph in a 20kph speed limit, but when he challenged the policeman (a brave thing to do all things considered), the policeman told him to just give him enough money to buy a coke and he'd forget about it and not write a ticket….talk about corrupt!!!
We drove into the centre of the city, a huge detour for us, to drop off Elisabeth who will be leaving the tour today. The hotel she had booked is in the centre of the city and recommended by Nomad. We were very impressed with how luxurious it looked!
Elisabeth was sad to say goodbye to us and we spent quite some time saying goodbye and investigating the hotel lobby before Mandla said we really should go if we want to get to the campsite before dark.
We then drove into town where he miraculously found somewhere to park the truck so that we could spend an hour getting cash (there are no ATM's on Zanzibar) and allowing Vincent to get more supplies again.
Afterwards we had to drive another 3 hours to get to camp! As the crow flies the campsite is just across the river from where we were parked up and there is a car ferry that crosses regularly throughout the day. However, this ferry sank a few years ago and a lot of people, including many tourists, were killed. The ferry still runs but only small cars and walkers or cyclists are allowed to use it. For the rest of us, we have to drive a long way around!!!
It was a horrendous drive, made worse by the ridiculous traffic which was like something you would expect to see in the capital cities of Asia! We arrived eventually though.
I really like this campsite. It's on the beach and there is a really nice bar/restaurant full of lively people. We had an opportunity to upgrade tonight but after seeing the hut we could stay in we decided to stick with our tent.
There are also houses you can rent behind the campsite away from the beach but they cost about $50 a night, a bit out of our price range!
Lea is staying one of these tonight because technically it's her last camping. Lea will be leaving us on Zanzibar to make her own way on from there. A shame seeing as we've been with her since Cape Town.
Amy is also leaving tonight but, as she was planning to go to Zanzibar anyway, has got Mandla to arrange for us to be on the same boat tomorrow. For some reason she isn't booked into a house.
You're probably wondering why I keep referring to the rooms as houses and I'll tell you. After dinner Lea took us to see her humble abode, a walk of nearly 10 minutes! But it was well worth it. The house is on 2 floors and is similar to a ski chalet. The ground floor has a small hallway and bathroom and the upper floor is an open plan bedroom leading onto a huge balcony supported on big wooden poles. It's very beautiful but she needs the mosquito net they provide!
The bed is also one of the biggest I've ever seen; she's likely to get lost in there. We all laughed though when we noticed the way the pillows were set under the sheet. Its looks like she's trying to hide a dead body in there! Poor Lea didn't like it when we mentioned this and became convinced she wouldn't sleep worrying about dead bodies all night! Oops!
One other thing I haven't mentioned today is our new addition. Vicky is from Germany and will be staying with the tour until the very end, right through Uganda.
It's a shame we don't get to spend more time here really because this is a really nice campsite and it would be nice to spend some time on the beach. But there will be plenty of nice beaches on Zanzibar, with nicer water to swim in.