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!
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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).