Tanzania, Africa travel journal – day 4

categories: Travel

I managed to sleep well until 5:30am at which point I was slept out.

After trying to sleep for another half hour I succumbed to consciousness and caught up on some of my video podcasts on my iPod. Jack, who I am rooming with is mostly deaf without his hearing aid so I did not have to worry about waking him with snoring or my early morning video watching. It turns out he had only managed to sleep to 5am as he had had a 5 hour nap the day before.

We had a buffet breakfast including cereal, sausage, pork and beans, potatoes, toast, pineapple, local (small) bananas, local mangos, coffee and tea (also local). Before we took off on our tour the 11 missing pieces of luggage arrived to much rejoicing. I went and got Rick who had already gone over to the Precision Air office which was across the street. Thomas arrived with the 2 drivers (Edward and Bashiri) and 2 Range Rovers. We stored half our luggage at the hotel and packed into the Range Rovers. We drove across town to the office for JR Tours. We met the owner Barbara who is from Norway and came over 25 years ago as a missionary. She married a Tanzanian and had to quit her assignment. They had already been showing around missionary groups when the country was opened to tourism in the 90s. Now they employ 12 drivers and 60 people total. Her husband also runs an architecture firm in the same building that is doing church projects such as a school for orphans (funded by Peace Academy from Minnesota) and a dispensary in the Masai area.

We headed out of town to the park at Lake Manyara. Bashiri told us that the name comes from the Masai language where imanyari is the Masai name for the acacia tree. The Masai use branches from the tree traditionally to make corrals for their cattle as the tree has 2-inch thorns. As we drove out of Arusha, we drove past a large market, a new cultural center and the Bethel internet Cafe.

We stopped at a store that sold many beautiful crafts such as baskets, wood carvings, batik, tanzanite (very expensive $700-1500), postcards, etc. The prices seemed expensive but a number of the people shopped and we stayed for some time.

We drove out of the lush area around Arusha into more scrub land where we saw numerous Masai villages as well as Masai herding cattle (ng’ombe), goats (mbuzi), and sheep (kondo). The traditional red and purple that the men wear and the royal blue that the women wear stands out in this fairly brown area. We drove into one town that had a large Masai market day but only stopped long enough to take a few pictures as we were not invited.

We stopped for lunch just outside the park at Mto Wa Mbu (Mosquito River). We parked the Range Rovers in a private compound of a bed and breakfast. When we turned the corner into the backyard, we were in a lovely garden with a table set with linen table cloths and wine glasses. It was a lovely spread with a celery soup, saffron rice, slaw (with mangos), beef, fish, potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas and a fruit salad.

The top of the Range Rover opens up so that you can stand up and see the animals while you are driving. That turns out to be harder than expected on bumpy dirt roads. We saw elephants, baboons, giraffe, blue monkeys, impala, dik diks, termite mounds, eagles, hippos, flamingoes, pelicans and more. It was like being in Africa.

We stayed at a lovely safari hotel with individual bungalows and a beautiful flowered garden. The dinner was lovely with very attentive service.

by Chris Christensen

I am the creator of AmateurTraveler.com, a popular travel blog / podcast. I am also a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast, The Bible Study Podcast and the Passport Marketing and PR Podcast. I am the owner of BloggerBridge.com and a software consultant.

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