Archive for ‘June, 2016’

Farewell Tanzania

It has certainly been a challenging and interesting two years but now it is time to go.  It seems like yesterday…  Packing, saying goodbye, getting on a plane to go somewhere new.  Arriving in this strange place where things did not make sense (and a lot of the time still do not!) and everything was so alien.  Time is an amazing thing.  Suddenly, we are comfortable, familiar, have friends, know our way around; it feels more like home.  And now it is time to go, to start all over again, somewhere else.  I am excited, sad and a little scared to face the world outside Tanzania.  This has been a place of simplicity, of no frills, no extras, only the essentials are present, everything is practical, nothing is superfluous. Flying into the so called developed world seems rather shallow in many ways but also feels exciting to be able to have choice and efficiency once again.

Being here, among people whose poverty dictates their way of life in many ways makes you humble.  It makes you question your existence back home and the way we live our lives.  Strange thing is, once we return it is easy to fall back into it and it soon becomes “normal” once again.  All these thoughts are going through my mind and I am not sure what to expect or how I will feel but I know that it will be ok!

So, our last few weeks here have been busy and very reflective.  Are we happy to go? Would we like to stay?  Will Thailand be good?  Where else can we go?  Life is too short and there is too much we want to do still.  In the meantime, we have enjoyed friends company and appreciated nature around us.  Leaving makes you realise how beautiful things are and what you will miss, I guess that what I like about travelling and moving around.  There is a constant appreciation and little is taken for granted.  It makes you feel more alive.

Today, we are off to Maramboi for the last time.  One of our favourite places where we can enjoy Lake Manyara and the animals that roam freely around the lake.  I hope to see some elephants with whom I have fallen in love with.  I truly hope humans do not kill them all! Maramboi is one of those special places where you go once in a lifetime, I have been lucky enough to go 5 times and to see this fabulous scenery at various times of the year.  This final time, we went with good friends, had a laugh, enjoyed being together and listening to the lions roaring at night.


Sunset over Lake Manyara


Stinky, dead wildebeest



Fluffy, puffy plant



Zebra enjoying the dust


So, I went rather wistful on the flora this time!  There are so many beautiful plants and flowers here as well as hundreds of small butterflies of all shapes and colours.  Instead of looking for the large things, I went looking for the ones we often do not notice.

After Maramboi, it was our last week in Tanzania.  Packing, saying goodbye and more packing.  It feels odd to go, exciting but sad.  Also a little scary to go somewhere new and to leave a place that has become familiar and has begun to bear fruit in terms of friendships. So no more blogs about the wilderness or big beasts!  Thailand is next so expect temples and culture from now.  In the meantime, we spent a day in Istanbul which is one of my favourite destinations, walking and being amazed at being in a city after two years in Tanzania.  Istanbul is truly beautiful and walking around is a pleasure to the senses.  The food was also good and the sweet shops were very visually stimulating.  First stop, Turkish ice cream followed by pastries, Turkish delight and chocolates.


I wondered how I would feel being in a city again with all mod cons.  I was a little worried that I might be too overwhelmed and want to hide in my room.  This did not happen! Being in a city was wonderful.  Lots of variety, food, beautiful buildings, electricity, water pressure for the shower….  It made me realise how much I had missed being in a city with so much to look at.  So now I am torn between variety and stimulation versus wilderness and space.  Is there a way to have both?!

Off to Portugal we go, more culture, family and lots of delicious food!


Friends come to Tanzania, finally!

In March 2016, David and Jackie arrived!  This being our only visitors during our stay in Tanzania meant that we were extremely excited, especially as they were bringing chocolate and books!  So we got cleaning and planning and finally they were here.

What better way to see Tanzania than being taken on one of our adventures…  We started with a few days in Moshi where we managed to pretty much take them everywhere (it is not a big place) including Mataruni Waterfalls, the local market (obligatory) and the famous sugar cane plantation (the posh place as we call it).

Here are some of the highlights of their Moshi stay.  First stop Mataruni waterfalls, a beautiful walk through jungly forest, chameleons and a stop at a local banana beer bar. Dave seemed to somehow find this vomit like drink quite pleasant…  After having been warned about Jackie’s “episodes” around water, I am pleased to say that the day was incident free and much enjoyed by all!



Dave enjoys his bucket of sick, sorry, banana beer


Jackie interacts with a two horned chameleon, check out the freckles!

There followed a trip to the Usambara Mountains and yet another waterfall walk where once again Jackie came out unscathed.  I, on the other hand fell flat on my face in a shallow bit and got soaked.  At least I was not wearing shoes…  I think it will make me laugh for years to come.



The rock of mandatory poses



The crossing of doom, how I fell in that and got soaked will remain a mystery!


The Usambara Mountains are truly beautiful covered in virgin tropical rainforest which is sadly being lost rapidly due to deforestation.  Negatives aside, it is a delightful place to visit and we dragged Dave and Jackie up to Irente Farm, a lovely drive with far reaching views and sparsely populated mountains.  We had a really nice stay and highly recommend Irente Farm for their hospitality, delicious food and amazing walks.





Women dancing in Mambo, as they do!



Our balcony



Mambo Cliff Inn, spartan, basic and very nice.


I want to stay there!



And now for the scenic drive down…  A little steep at times



The roads are in need of some tlc



Crossing the river bed




Dave’s photo of a hornbill in flight


Strange creatures lurk in Tanzania….

Staying at Mambo Cliff Inn was definitely a step down the luxury ladder.  Our bedroom door did not close at all.  Dave and Jackie had no power and no water in their room but had a lovely mattress, apparently.  The food was good though, beans and rice.  What more do you need…

And off we went to Tarangire where we went even further down the luxury ladder and put up our tents in the park.  This is my favourite thing, camping in the wilderness with the animals walking about, no frills, basic toilet and shower and a campfire.  Perfect!



So many lovebirds!


Tarangire river


Lilac breasted roller


Leopard tortoise leisurely crossing the road



Morning view from the tent


Our neighbours


Crossing goes well


Tsetse flies


Dave’s home


Cute little cubs with angry looking mums



Jackie admires the view



Dik Dik



Weird campers….


Dave has fun playing with his camera and a solar light


When it rains, it rains!


Our rescuers!  Top guys.

Stuck s

Yes, we are stuck

Stuck (2)

Very stuck!

One thing I learnt in Tarangire was that crossing rivers during the rainy season is not a good idea.  Well, the middle was ok but the sides were kind of like soft sand which sucked our car in.  After trying to dig whilst Jackie stood across the river looking out for lions, we came to the realisation that the car was truly stuck.  No mobile signal but who to call anyway…  Luckily, our friends were with us or else we would have had to walk and hope not to be eaten by lions and whatever else lurks in this wilderness.  On a positive note, the river was beautiful, the water was warm and there were pretty birds around.

So, throw in a few blokes, a couple of cars and plenty of hours and our tank was finally ready to roll.  Unfortunately, next day we went for a drive in heavy rain and got stuck again…  Say no more!  Coincidentally, I was driving both times but this has never been mentioned by anyone out loud.

After our muddy stay at Tarangire we decided to return to Moshi and snuggle up in our own beds.  Dave and Jackie, intrepid as they are, went off to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.  They had a very eventful time with their car breaking down twice, a buffalo rubbing its head against their tent as they tried to sleep and they witnessed baboon destruction on a large scale.  Apparently the baboons had got into a kitchen area in the campsite and eaten all the food and drank all the wine, they then went on a rampage and destroyed everything.  Their party was completed by smearing everything with poo!  Wish I had seen that although apparently the smell was not welcoming.  Very amusing stories that they will not doubt be telling for years to come.

We were finally together at Maramboi where luxury was on the cards.  Maramboi is a really beautiful tented camp which is unusually not horribly expensive.  We had fun getting muddy in Lake Manyara and Dave got up close and personal with a Maasai.


Happiness is a free cocktail (or a few)


No idea where this was but they look silly


Have a good look Dave!



Walkabout in Lake Manyara



Mud skating



Flamingos and pelicans


After a restful two days and nights spent walking, watching animals, swimming and reading it was time to return to Moshi once again.  However, there were still a few days left to fill so what better than to go to Simba Farm and do a little hike over to the Shira Plateau.  Off we went to West Kilimanjaro to stay in an old working farm with the most fantastic views.


Simba farm



Walk down to the river, lush and green


Not a bad place to rest



Big horse vs small horse



Mount Meru


On the way to Shira Plateau, beautiful views of Kili



Kili disappearing into the clouds


Out of focus leopard prints



Maybe the message was not clear….


Up high in the clouds



One of the river crossings



Jackie studies the river crossing


Pretty bug



A spot of modelling by the river



Are we nearly there?



Back at the farm for a spot of horse riding

Our walk up to the Shira Plateau turned out not to be very exciting although none of us (apart from Joshua who has been to the top, show off!) had been that high before.  It was remote with dramatic gorges and views of west Kilimanjaro.  We were amused to see a couple of local guys walking to the ranger post with flip flops on their feet as if they were doing a casual stroll.  Jackie and I got a bit of altitude breathlessness which was unpleasant but fortunately cleared quickly enough.  At least we can say we have been on the slopes of Kilimanjaro at 3,766 meters.  Exciting indeed!!

And so, Dave and Jackie departed leaving bereft and lonely and once again without chocolate.  Not long remains of our time here but the memories will last forever (unless we get Alzheimer’s which would be a bummer).   

%d bloggers like this: