A few days ago we returned once more from a tour through Africa and as per we usual send you a little report with photos. As always, the roof tent worked great, this time also in really heavy rain, which often lasted for hours. After we were a bit under-whelmed by Malawi last time, we now discover the heartland with forests, lakes and very friendly people. It is almost as if people get friendlier the further we get away from the great lake.
In Southern Tanzania we're amazed by the large-scale tea plantations, explore the Mikumi National Park and have lot of luck - around lunch time, a leopard strolls past our car, not even 10 metres away! We have waited for a long time for exactly such an encounter! The rainy season dishes out heavy downpours - despite the continuous rainfall our roof tent stays dry and we enjoy the cool nights after very hot days. For a few days we park the car at the coast and ferry across to Sansibar on a small fishing boat. Once there, we tour spice plantations, explore Stonetown and snorkel the island's reefs.
Back on the main land the sun scorches the lowlands and we flee into the Usambara Mountains - here we are greeted by luscious green and temperatures around the 20 degree mark. The Irente Camp - which we can highly recommend to all travellers - provides for some well deserved relaxation. Onwards we journey to the national parks in the north, for instance the Tarangire Park. We are especially impressed with the amount of flora and fauna on offer in Lake Manyara National Park.
The first day of the new year starts with a lion visit at the camp ground. A pride of 10 lions wanders from the park into the camp and close-by village. After a short stint of panic amongst the villagers, we observe from within the safety of the roof tent how the lions retreat behind the tents, no 20 metres from us. A group of Massai warriors armoured with spears and clubs start the chase. Less than half an hour later, the warriors have overcome two of the lions and driven the remainder of the pride back into the park. It takes a while before we understand their motives - their cattle is their livelihood - and they have to defend it. Two hours later the park's rangers arrive on scene...
High up on our wishlist was the Ngorongoro Crater - so we don't let the hefty entry fee of $400 for two persons plus car deter us. If there has ever been a Garden Eden, that's what it must have looked like! We navigate our car through large herds of gnus, springboks and zebras. Even rare animals such as rhinos, lions and jackals make an appearance. It is simply a fantastic park and in our opinion worth every penny of the entry fee.
The last days we have to reschedule unfortunately - a defective alternator and a faulty injection pump means we have to delay a visit to the Arusha National Park for our next trip. We stay at the Arusha Hotel instead, which is the famous midway mark of the Cape to Cairo route. A few days later the Cruiser is back in action, however we will only see it again in the summer of 2015, when our journey continues from Uganda to Rwanda.