A 5-day safari in Tanzania with 2 Swedish girls and a Brazilian
07.12.2007 - 07.15.2007 28 °C
Written: July 15, 2007
As I'm writing this, I'm watching the red sunset over the yellowed and dry plains of the Serengeti's savannah. It had been a few days since I've written and left Uganda. After arriving in Kilimanjaro in the late afternoon, I took the complementary bus to Arusha. It's remarkable how different the countryside of Tanzania is to that of Uganda. While Uganda was lush and green, Tanzania's is yellow and dry and sometimes mountainous. Arriving in Arusha in the evening was an experience. As I got off the bus, flycatchers, touts and other disreputable types were trying to sell safaris and other things. I then found the hotel booked for me only to leave in disgust at the quote of $85 USD/night.
After walking around for an hour, I found the Centre House Hostel, a place ran by the Arusha Catholic Diocese for $8 USD/day including breakfast (w/ eggs!).
Day 2: I started my search by going to the tourist board office where I found Andrew from Shidolya tours. I went back to his office at the AICC (where UN Rwanda tribunal was taking place I checked it out for a bit) got some info. It was also there that I met the 2 Swedish girls (Ida and Maja) who would go on the same safari with me. After walking around for most of the day comparing packages and prices, we agreed on a 5-day safari that includes Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Tarangire with the Kilimanjaro Crown Bird Tours. Taking out money was a big hassle due to the 400 000 TSh limit. I ended the day buying a ticket at the Dar Express office for the morning after getting back to Arusha with the hope of catching the last ferry to Zanzibar.
Day 3: After making sure my planned itinerary changes were okay with my travel agent, Jennifer, I met up with the girls for the safari. I then found out that they had been attacked on Sokoine Rd. at 6:45 p.m. just 15 minutes after I had passed through to buy my Dar Express ticket! They had been jumped by 10 people and during the process, they were yelling and screaming but no one came to help them. The thieves even used weapons to hit the girls and Maja even saw one of them raise a machete against Ida before she kicked him in the back. The girls lost a lot of money, camera, passports and credit cards. They were however fortunate to come away with only scrapes and bruises but the most serious consequence was shock.
There was more bad news for the girls as Maja didn't get the 400G TSh she was supposed to from the ATM prompting me to make the joke, "Even the banks are stealing from you!"
Though the girls were tense from the incident of the previous day, it wasn't long before all of us and Erico (Brazilian lawyer studying Biology) were enjoying the amazing sights in the Lake Manyara National Park. We saw elephants, giraffes, baboons, flamingos, hippos, warthogs, dik-diks and many more.
Today, after an early drive throug the Ngorongoro Conservation area we arrived at the Serengeti where we saw liones, leopard, wartebeasts, gazelles and zebras. Then watched the sunset and we have an early game drive in the famous Serengeti tomorrow morning!