Sib and Pris left Jungle Junction in Nairobi at noon on the 17th of May and headed for Uganda. This was where the two of us split.
Our plan now was to head south and to drive to the Serengeti via the Ngorongoro crater. Although prices were expensive to get into the parks (Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are two different parks with two separate fees to get in 50 USD per person and 40 USD per car under 2000kgs and 30USD each for camping!) we thought we couldn’t drive past the Serengeti without having a look.
We left Nairobi on a Friday afternoon at 3pm just before rush hour and headed south towards Arusha. We only did 80km before we found the ‘Bush Camp’ south of Nairobi, which was a nice site with cold showers but good food and bar. Alex the manager let us use the warm showers in another room.
The next day we crossed the border into Tanzania which was pretty straight forward. The only disappointment was Nic and Lily like me had to get a visa so instead of spending 50USD just for the pom to get a visa we spent 150USD! We arrived into Arusha late at 3 in the afternoon. The road west out of Arusha was under construction for about 40km so our speed was slow. A bit annoying but nothing you can do. We got to Makuyuni and turned north west towards Karatu and the Ngorongoro crater.
It was getting dark and we are still 12km from Karatu so we decided to turn off the road and follow signs 4km up a dirt track into the forest towards a campsite and lodge. We got there and it is nearly dark and the place is obviously closed down and we have but choice but to park the car and get the tent out.
Meanwhile there are mossies flying everywhere and I am paranoid about malaria so I am trying to cover up Lily and myself as Nic is getting the tent out. It is late and Lily is mishaving but it is not surprising as she is hungry and tired. I leave her in the car with the car keys and help Nic. I then realize Lily has locked the car from the inside and she is not able to open the car as she is now crying. Fortunately the boot door is open so we are not completely locked out with her inside. This causes quite a commotion as we eventually unlock the car and get her out into the tent with a big telling off. This causes more crying and noise and we are soon discovered by a local who appears to know the owner of the lodge but is completely drunk or high on drugs. Nic decides it is risky to stay so after getting the tent out we repack in the dark and stuff it in the car. A hassle yes but we do not want to be visited by this man and his mates at 4am when we are 4km from the main tar road. We head down the bumpy dark track and head towards Karatu and the Kudo lodge whom a guide had told us about. We find it after following a nice man on a motorbike for 2000 shillings and we find a great campsite with water, hot showers, a swimming pool, lodge, bar and restaurant. The rooms are 100USD (off season rate) but we decide to camp for 40USD (20 each). It is a relief to find this place and we get Lily to bed at 9.30pm after a bowl of cornflakes and milk. She soon fell asleep and so did we.
The next morning we left the Kudo lodge late and headed 14km to the gate for the Ngorongoro crater. We paid 200USD (156Euro) for entry and camping and Lily was free.
We drove to the crater edge and have the most amazing view of the crater and the game. It really was breath taking. With binoculars you could see the elephants, buffalo and tiny cars moving around the reserve. Awesome. We would have loved to have gone into the crater but couldn’t justify the daily car fee of 200USD.
We headed to the one and only public campsite called Simba campsite. It was quite nice with fairly good views of the crater mainly from the shower block. It was the coldest camp yet and as we huddled together around the fire and heard the hyenas whooping around the camp throughout the night.
We woke early 6am and headed for the Serengeti gate and to exit out of the Ngorongoro conservation area before our 24 hours was up. If you go over by 5 minutes they charge you for another day! Ouch.
The Serengeti plains were spectacular and we had the chance to drive into the plains and watch the game and let Lily have a run around shouting Serengeti, it was easy for her to say this as it sounded like Spaggetti.
We checked out at Naabi hill from the Ngorogoro crater and paid for the Serengeti National Park (same amount as the Ngorongoro crater 200USD). Before we left we climbed the small Naabi/Rocky hill and took in the amazing views of the plains and the dusty road cutting through the park.
We continued in a northerly direction and spotted a male lion silhouette on the rocks and then about four other lionesses just lounging around. Amazing.
We continued onwards and started noticing larger herds of animals and when we got to the Maasai Kopjes we saw the migration. It was absolutely stunning being amongst masses of wilderbeast including elephant, zebras and lion. After driving around the snorting animals we found the unfenced Dik Dik public campsite and set up our tent at sunset. It was a lovely spot, which we had all to ourselves. We managed to squeeze in a cold refreshing shower before dark. Sadly it rained so we couldn’t enjoy our wet camp fire quite so much.
We left our campsite early in order to see as much of the park before our 2.55pm cut off. As we crossed over the submerged road/bridge over the Grumeti river we saw at least eight crocodile to the left of us and to the right there were more than 4 hippos splashing around. It was scary as at least three of the crocs had their mouths open as they waited to catch fish or us!! Nic got out to take a photo and when he looked over the edge, he got a fright as one of the crocs close to the side also got of fright and swam away!
We left the park after a great two days and headed on the lovely tar road to Mwanza and stayed in the St Dominics Hostel for 25,000 shillings (10 euro) plus breakfast. It was good despite my really painful sore throat. Mwanza has malaria but our room had a mossie net, and the three of us all shared in a small double for the night and sweated! They did have larger rooms with two but we got there late in the day so most of the rooms were taken.