Africa · 8 Days · 10 Moments · November 2016

Africa trip

13 November 2016

He also explained that the Balboa tree (Rafiki's tree in Lion King) is hollow and is often used by hunters. They hide inside the tree to camouflage themselves! At a market later, we also learned the Balboa pods can be ground up and made into a juice. Manny had many questions about the the Maasai and could NOT wait to see a lion, he kept Donald talking most of the 7 hour drive! Donald told us that as a child his fathers words of wisdom when fighting or hunting was to be really good at 2of3 things: much 2.learn how to fight...well able to He also had a great quote something along the lines of "when you are looking for your lunch, you better have better plans than someone looking to make you their dinner" We arrived at the hotel pretty late and the front desk said they were worried when they hadn't heard from us (we showed up a day late). They said they checked all of the airlines, "Africa is a big place to get lost". Whoops 😐
Along the way Donald shared information about the animals, plants, and people we passed. The hyena is called Shenzi (like in Lion King) which loosely translates to stupid, the hippopotamus is the most dangerous animal in Serengeti due to its ability to stay submerged for 6 minutes, weighs several tons, has a family of about 14-16 and they are all very territorial. He also shared that the Acacia trees were the trees spread throughout our entire drive but there are about 120 species and we would see many of them depending on the region we were driving in. The trees are used for firewood, local medicine, and to build the Bomas- tradition Maasai huts. There are 126 tribes in Tanzania, each village houses about 100+ members. He told us that the donkey is referred to as a Maasai pickup truck and the baboons are their "local terrorists", always stealing food and bananas.

7 November 2016

We started in Arusha, a small city with an airport and lots of history. Donald showed us his church and told us he grew up in the area. He explained that boda boda bikes are the popular transportation (small motorcycle). On the way I saw a boda with two adults AND two children aboard! The driving is also very sketchy. The horns are used not only like we do in the US, but to let smaller vehicles know you are passing or to tell animals or Maasai children that you are behind them. I only saw one speed limit sign. Donald assured me that everyone was aware that villages were 50 km/hr and everywhere else was kind of undisclosed. There were times he got up to 120 km/hr on the paved roads (about 75/mph in a huge extended Land Rover). Donald told us our drive would resemble a slide show, the same type of trees and plants but as we traveled they would vary based on the region we were in.
Yesterday we left Arusha around 11:30 am in a private Land Rover to get to central Serengeti where the Four Seasons Lodge is located. We arrived right around 6:45pm- right at sunset. It was absolutely the most amazing drive I have ever taken. Donald, our guide, was friendly and knowledgeable, and spoke English quite well. He spouted little stories and bits of knowledge the entire way. He even gave us fun Swahili words to bring back to our "corporate meetings" with us.

6 November 2016

Finally we had a man who owns a jeep meet us at the hotel and talk prices. The drive will take about 7 hours and about $780. It's so expensive due to the two national parks we will have to drive through. Each park costs about $50 a person and an additional $20 for the car itself. Upside? It will essentially be a day long safari drive.
Arrived at Kilimanjaro around 8:30pm. Had to wait in line for our visa at $100 each. All of our luggage made it! Thank goodness- they made us heck our carry-ons that we packed SO carefully in case they lost out other bag. Around 10pm we boarded a bus to Arusha after Manny tried to negotiate a local taxi. The bus took about an hour and took us to Silver Palms hotel where we got their "last room" at $65 for the night. They had hot water and two twin beds! I slept like a champ! We woke up and had complimentary breakfast. They had many options but as Manny suggested, we stayed away from any meat. We had avocado and hard boiled eggs (the yolks were as white as the rest of the egg!) and tea. Manny spent the rest of the morning negotiating with Martin, the bellhop/concierge/go-to man of the hotel, on different ways to get to the Four Seasons.
View from the hotel
Safari outfit #1

5 November 2016

At Kilimanjaro airport
Food from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro