Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 324 – Tanzania to England

August 25, 2010 – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to London, England

Our day begins with us waking up at 2:15am.

Our first flight of the day – Dar es Salaam to Cairo – is scheduled to leave at 6:15am, which means we have to be at the airport by 4:00am in order to check-in by 4:15am. And since you always have to factor in “Africa time”, we’ve given ourselves some cushioning in case of any unforeseeable delays, ie. our 3:00am pick-up turns into a 3:30am pick-up, our taxi driver doesn’t show up at all, etc. Luckily none of these things happen and we arrive at the airport with tons of time to check-in. So after going through the standard airport procedures, we have a snack and wait for our flight to start boarding.

Actually, the theme for today turns out to be “Waiting”…

After boarding the plane we wait for it to arrive in Cairo at 10:45am. We then have to wait for our next flight – Cairo to London – which doesn’t leave until 4:20pm. We board this flight and have to wait for it to land in London at 8:45pm. This process is followed by us waiting for our baggage to be unloaded, waiting for the Tube to take us into the city and finally waiting for our adrenaline to subside so we can go to sleep.

By the time all the waiting is over Eric and I have been up for about 24 hours.

But we are overjoyed to be in a familiar place – our home in London – my friend Erin’s condo. And like always, she shows us nothing but wonderful hospitality from the instant we arrive on her doorstep.

Day 323 – Tanzania

August 24, 2010 – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

It’s our last day in Dar es Salaam, out last day in Tanzania and for that matter, our last day in Africa and it feels strange.

Eric and I have grown to love Africa’s raw beauty. It’s often described as a place that’s indescribable until you visit and after spending four months here, we’d have to agree – we’ve become very comfortable here, but we still don’t really get it. All we can think of to do on our final day is wander the streets, enjoy the sunshine and take it all in. We know this won’t be our last time in Africa but I’m already missing it.

So we spend the day reflecting, walking around familiar areas and exploring new ones - we aren’t going to be dormant today. We visit a few of our favourite haunts for food & shopping and explore Dar’s “waterfront” before heading home to bed.

Our flight leaves at 6:15am tomorrow morning, and given our recent history of “time failures”, I check it almost hourly throughout the day to ensure we have the correct departure time. After one final check, we line up a taxi driver for 3:00am Wednesday morning and call it a night.

Tomorrow’s going to be a long day.

Saturday, August 28, 2010



Noun – a ghostly double or counterpart of a living person.

Doppelgangers we’ve encountered on our trip:

Dave Jackson – Eric’s cousin Allison * – Willie Lypko * – Rob Pue – Eileen from TCA * – Ryan Maglunob * – Eric’s brother, Chris – Michael from E.R.A. – the president of our condo board – Carly Price * – Eric’s cousin Mike – Jake from TCA * – Stephanie * – Eric’s Nana – Tammy from Luciani’s – Mark Bellamy – Hugh from TCA – Eric’s Uncle Paul – Robb Walker – Tom Young – Sandra Meret – Hunter Collins – Robyn’s Mom, Joan – Eric’s cousin Charlotte – Patrick Haye – Geoff Hendry * – Geoff George – Lisa Lupia* – Linda * – Eric’s grandfather, Garry – one of the custodians at CanWest – Scott Chappel – Eric’s Mom, Anne – Jeff Schouella – Frank from TCA – Ryan Painter * – Janet Harrison – Kramer (aka. Michael Richards) – David Suddaby – Carl Kam – Darren Frost – Nick Beaton – Jan Kabenak – Clint from TCA – Eric’s Grandpa Tony * – Jamilah Ross – Jason Blanchard – Shannon Litzenberger * – Sam Yamada * – Jeff Osborn – Chris Rock – Joey Giaimo

* indicates the doppelganger was of a different race than “the original”.

Day 322 – Tanzania

August 23, 2010 – Stone Town, Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

This morning we wake, have breakfast, unsuccessfully try to avoid the touts at the ferry terminal, buy our ferry tickets and then catch the 11:30am ferry to Dar es Salaam.

The ferry ride is a bit rough and we find ourselves relieved to be on shore. We walk to the Econolodge and check-in for the third & final time because tomorrow our African adventure ends.


The way things work in Africa, Eric & I have decided not to say our “adventure” is over until we have landed at Heathrow, gone through British customs and are on the Tube, heading into the city.

We head up to our room and the process of sorting, downsizing and repacking begins. We spend the remainder of the day figuring out whose carrying what, what we will leave behind and trying to figure out how heavy are bags are. We’re doing this now because we want our last day in Tanzania to be “logistics-free”.

And of course, our last trip to Dar wouldn’t be complete without a final visit to Mamboz, the awesome BBQ place on the corner.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Days 320 & 321 – Tanzania

August 21 & 22, 2010 – Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

After thoroughly enjoying Zenji Hotel’s breakfast of Spanish omelettes, homemade breads & jams, fresh fruit, juice, coffee, tea and some “chocolate loaf” – aka. cake – Eric and I go off in search of a new place to stay. We were hoping someone might make a last-minute cancellation but alas, no such luck for us.

We have no problem finding alternative accommodation and we check-in to the Karibu Inn, which is conveniently located right in the heart of Stone Town and next to the Radha Food House. It’s no Zenji Hotel but it’s clean & quiet and right now, that’s really what matters to us.

After visiting with Zanzibar’s infamous Mr. Mitu, we book ourselves in on one of his spice tours for the following day. He’s the owner of one of the original spice tour companies on the island and is very no-nonsense, which we appreciate in a tour company.

Afterwards, Eric and I decide to do some more sightseeing and walk over to one of the largest buildings in Stone Town, the House of Wonders. It was once the ceremonial palace for Sultan Bargash, but is now the Zanzibar National Museum of History and Culture. In the main hall there’s a life size mtepe, a traditional Swahili sailing vessel made without nails, and in a backroom there’s an exhibition describing the significance of the kanga, a Swahili fabric very similar to a chintaji. The exhibits are simple, yet interesting but I have to say the museum is worth a visit just for the views from the third floor balcony – you’re able to take in a 360 degree view of the city and the ocean.

Following the museum, we continue walking around the city and the waterfront and we wrap up our evening with some chicken & chips at Malindi’s.

The next morning we go on Mr. Mitu’s Spice Tour, which is a lot of fun.

Our tour guide walks us through the farm and points out all of the different spices, fruits and vegetables, while letting us smell and taste almost everything. We see nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, curry, vanilla, pepper, cocoa, oranges, pineapples, coconuts, soursop, jackfruit, tangerines, cassava, annatto, lemongrass and coffee.

We learn that besides producing nutmeg, the nutmeg fruit also supplies mace… the kind you eat, not the kind you spray in someone’s eyes.

We have the joy of smelling fresh vanilla. Vanilla is a very expensive product in Zanzibar because it’s very delicate and must be harvested completely by hand.

Being the chocolate lover that I am, I’m very excited to see how it’s grown…

…and Eric takes it upon himself to sample the fresh oranges.

After the tour of the farm, we stop in a nearby village for some lunch and then we’re taken to a secret beach just north of Stone Town for a quick swim.

Following the theme of the day, we go for dinner at a nearby restaurant specializing in fine Swahili cuisine. They have a great menu filled with interesting spice and fruit combinations. I enjoy king fish in a coconut milk & cardamom sauce, while Eric has a Swahili chicken curry. Both of our dishes come with a selection of sides including lentil daal, roasted vegetables, pumpkin in a chili-mango sauce, sautéed spinach and chapatti, and then Eric has spiced rice, while I have sweet potatoes. It’s delicious and a great way to finish off our time in Zanzibar.

Day 319 – Tanzania

August 20, 2010 – Pongwe to Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

As most of you know Eric and I aren’t good at being idle for too long, so after two days of doing nothing, we’re done.

After breakfast we check-out of our tropical paradise and take a taxi back to Stone Town.

We were so enamored with the Zenji Hotel – home of the BEST BROWNIES EVER – that we book ourselves a room. However, since they’re a very popular place, they only have room for us for one night. So we take full advantage of this night and use the free WiFi, enjoy a freshwater shower and greet the brownies when they come out of the oven.

Eventually we wander back through the alleys of Stone Town to make a return visit to Radha Food House for a late lunch / early dinner.

Days 317 & 318 – Tanzania

August 18 & 19, 2010 – Pongwe, Zanzibar, Tanzania

For the next two days we…






Day 316 – Tanzania

August 17, 2010 – Stone Town to Pongwe, Zanzibar, Tanzania

After breakfast our taxi arrives and whisks us off to Pongwe, which is a very small town on the east coast of Zanzibar. It’s known for its idyllic tropical beaches and its tranquility, which just so happens to be why we’re going.

We arrive an hour after leaving Stone Town and are greeted by white sand, aquamarine water, thatched beach huts and silence.

We take off our shoes, go for a walk along the beach and discover there isn’t much to do around here but relax…

This will do just fine.

Oh, the Things I’ve Eaten

Yummy yummy, in my tummy…

Banh Beo – Banh Khoai – Banh Nam – Bee Boon – Beef Lok Lak – Bobotie – Bo Ne – Bun Bo – Buah Keluak – Bunh Song – Burger King – Cao Lau – Chakalaka – Cha Ca That Lat Kho To – Char Kway Teow – Collon – Com Ga – Falafel – Fatir – Fuul – Gado Gado – Gallayah – Geng-Garee-Guy – Hamam Mahshi – Hokkein Char – Hokkein Mee – Hu Tieu – Kofta – Kushari – Kuen Tew Lakna – Laksa Asam – Lentil Daal – Mahshi Kurumb – Masak Lemak Nenas – Mealie Pap – Muttabel – My Quang – Naan – Nasi Campur – Nasi Goreng – Nem Mia Lui – Nem Neung – Nuss Farooj – Nshima – Pad Thai – Pakoras – Pat Pet Moo – Pong The – Popiah – Potjiekos – Pizza Hut – Rambutans – Rojak – Roti Canai – Samosas – Soto Ayam – Shish Tawouq – Ta’amiyya – Tamarinds – Ugali – Yam Woon Sen – Xima Phu – Tom Yam Soup – Leek Soup – Mushroom Soup – Sour Fish Soup – Fish Amok – Fish in Banana Leaf – Fish & Chips – Hake & Chips – Chambo & Chips – Calamari & Chips – Squid Salad – Glass Noodle Salad – Papaya Salad – Banana Sprout Salad – Bangers & Mash – Claypot Pearl Noodles – Scissor-Cut Curry Rice – Coconut Sticky Rice – Mango w/ Sticky Rice – Sticky Rice Bread – Sticky Noodle Soup – Sticky Toffee Pudding – Malva Pudding – Sweet Corn Ice Cream – Fruit & Coconut Milk Jelly – Coconut Pancakes – Banana Pancakes – Curry Pancakes – Green Curry – Chiang Mai Curry – Penang Curry – Curried Tuna & Jackfruit – Roasted Pumpkin – Laos Pumpkin Soup – Laos Khamu Breakfast – Laos Deer Salad – Australian Bush Damper– Malaysian Murtabek – Indonesian Murtabak – Hainanese Chicken Rice – Balinese Smoked Duck – Smoked Oysters – Smoked Mussels – Smoked Roan Antelope – Oryx Fillet – Ostrich Fillet – Crocodile Fillet – Kudu Fillet – Kudu Biltong – Oryx Biltong – Springbok Biltong – Impala Stew – Zebra Steak – Goat Satay – Garlic-Butter Crab – Chili Crab – Chili Garam Ayam – Fried Chili Fish – Fried Red Snapper – Fried Minced Pork & Jicima – Stir-Fried Pork w/ Basil – Stir-Fried Pork with Kampot Pepper – Stir-Fried Frog – Spicy Pork Stir-Fry – Pork Lotcha – Pork Dumplings – Pork Knuckle – Minced Pork w/ Grilled Eggplant – Fried Yellow Noodles w/ Pork – Pork & Stilton Pie – Steak & Kidney Pie – Venison & Red Pepper Pie – Cottage Pie – Banoffee Pie – “the Donutello Donut” – “the Tom & Cherry Donut” – “the Jon Lemon Donut” – “the Yammy Yamato Donut” – a Chicken-Floss Donut – Peanut Chicken Satay – Sweet & Sour Chicken – Chicken Shwarma – Tandoori Chicken – Pepto-Bismol – Immodium – Ibuprofen – Ciprofloxacin – Novafloxacin – Doxycycline – Dirt – Dust – Sand – Grit – Grilled Clams – Grilled Scallops – Grilled Lobster – Grilled Mussels – Grilled Octopus – Grilled Squid – Grilled Frogs – Grilled Snails – Grilled Prawns – Steamed Prawns – King Prawns – Long Beans with Prawns – BBQ Prawns – BBQ Stingray – BBQ Braaiwors – Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce – Wild Colchester Oysters – Isle of Islay Oysters – Wild South African Coastal Oysters – Carlingford Lough Oysters – Farmed Knysna Oysters – Oyster Omelette – at least 3 mosquitoes and a whole lot of Coca-Cola to wash it all down…

Day 315 – Tanzania

August 16, 2010 – Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

We’re woken up to the sound of the prayer call. This wouldn’t normally be a problem except it’s about 4:00am and we were hoping to sleep in.

We eventually manage to get back to sleep, only to be woken up again at 7:15am, except this time it’s by an air-raid siren.

It looks like we’re not sleeping in today…

We later learn the air-raid siren goes off twice a day to remind the population of Zanzibar of when they gained their independence from the Sultan.

Why can’t they just send out a text message saying “don’t 4get – we’re free from the Sultan :-) LOL”?

After a great breakfast on the rooftop of our hotel, we head back out into the city and wander around. We enjoy the ocean breeze, do a bit of souvenir shopping, scope out some places to eat and check out the former slave market.

In the 1870s, the first Anglican cathedral in East Africa was built on the old slave market site and today the only remnants are the holding cells in the basement of St. Monica’s Hostel, located beside the church. We take a quick tour of the site, which includes a brief history of the slaves’ living conditions, the founder of the church and how the cathedral was constructed.

There’s also a “trick question” at the end of the tour, which I get right.

During the cathedral’s construction, the Bishop used it as an opportunity to train many of the former slaves in various trades and unfortunately, a significant construction error occurred. The question was to look around the cathedral and see if you could spot “the error”. I noticed that the 12 columns in the interior were installed upside down, which is correct.

It’s good to know I’ve still got it…

We also discovered the BEST BROWNIES EVER. They’re from the Zenji Hotel & Cafe and they become an addiction… we have one almost every day we’re in Stone Town.

For dinner, we find a wonderful restaurant called “Malindi’s Takeaways”. They serve roast chicken and chips.

That’s it.

We had seen it from the outside earlier in the day and decided to check it out. When we walked in and asked for a menu, the guy just said “no menu – chicken and chips”.

At this point, we knew we were home…

Day 314 – Tanzania

August 15, 2010 – Dar es Salaam to Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

With our packs on our backs we make tracks to the ferry terminal to catch the 10:30am boat to Zanzibar.

And as you can probably imagine, our journey is not without its share of offers for taxi rides. One driver is even so generous as to offer us a ride across the street… literally. We’re directly across the road from the terminal and yet he’s insistent on giving us “a good price”.

We decline his offer and walk the 30 feet.

Safe and sound in the waiting area, Eric and I watch the world go by…

We watch Zanzibari beds go by, chickens in boxes go by and brightly dressed families go by. Eventually it’s our turn to go “bye”, so we grab our bags and board the boat.

We spend the next 2 hours watching National Geographic safari programs, in between glimpses out the window to see if we’re there yet. It’s amazing how your appreciation of these movies changes once you’ve seen the animals in the wild.

About 2 hours later, we see the coastline of Stone Town and it’s a very welcoming sight. The architecture is quite different to what we’re used to and a certain energy seems to emanate from the city. We eagerly await the chance to explore the city.

It doesn’t take us long to disembark and after a confusing experience at customs, we set off for our hotel. Zanzibar is part of Tanzania but it seems to be treated as a separate country, so you have to go through the whole arrival process again… filling in forms, medical checks, stamps, etc. At least we don’t have to pay for another visa.

As we leave the terminal, we’re greeted by some “friends” – touts and hustlers offering tour guide services and hotel recommendations. And even though we politely inform them we already have a place and can find our way on our own, they still insist on escorting us.

Our hotel of choice, the Warere Town House Hotel, is tucked away down a little side street so it takes us a few tries to get there, but we manage and soon find ourselves being given the royal tour by Jimmie the manager. Once we’re settled in, Eric and I set off to explore the town and search out some food.

Stone Town is a very popular tourist spot and this is currently its high season, but we’re having a helluva time finding a restaurant open for lunch. There are people walking all around and yet almost all of the restaurants are closed – what gives?

Well we get our answer when we find a small café with a sign in its window explaining that since it’s Ramadan, it won’t open until sunset.

Aha – now it makes sense!

Ramadan is an Islamic holiday where people fast between sunrise and sunset, and Zanzibar is a predominately Muslim community.

Thankfully some restaurants do take pity on those who don’t celebrate Ramadan – ie. us tourists – and are open for lunch. We come across a small Indian restaurant – the Radha Food House – and we’re welcomed in. Not only is the food good but the guy working it is really cool and friendly, so it quickly becomes our “local joint”.

After a satisfying meal, we continue exploring the streets, the alleys, the waterfront and the market. Stone Town is a great place to wander around – it has lots of nooks & crannies to check out and you can really feel the history in the air…

I think we’re going to like it here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Days 311-313 – Tanzania

August 12-14, 2010 – Arusha to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The day after our safari, we just hang out in Arusha doing the usual “hang-out day” kind of stuff – checking the Internet, watching a few movies, wandering around the city, etc.

We catch a bus back to Dar es Salaam the next morning and for some reason, we’re not dreading the 10-hour ride this time. Maybe it’s because it’s our last bus ride in Africa… hopefully.

I actually both start and finish a book on the ride – the same one that Eric started and finished on the same bus getting here. The book is “Like Water For Chocolate” and it’s a perfect read for such occasions as long bus rides.

Once in Dar we check in to the Econolodge, where we stayed previously, and then immediately head out to a BBQ place on the corner for dinner. We’re starving and BBQ is a great way to end a day.

We decide to spend one more day in Dar es Salaam before sailing to Zanzibar – our final African destination – so we can mail a few postcards, complete some souvenir shopping and make a return visit to our friendly, neighbourhood BBQ joint…


Day 310 – Tanzania

August 11, 2010 – Ngorongoro Crater National Park to Arusha, Tanzania

Tour Day 5 – Ngorongoro Crater National Park

After breakfast, descend into the Ngorongoro Crater for game drive. Picnic lunch at the hippo pool, afternoon ascend to the crater rim and drive to Arusha.

I’m starting to feel a little repetitive with all the safari entries, so this time I’m going to let the photos do most of the “talking”…

It’s cold, it’s foggy and it’s early, but I’m still revved up & ready to go.

We descend into the crater just after the fog has risen up from the floor, so this is our first glimpse of this unique ecosystem.

What makes the Ngorongoro Crater one-of-a-kind is that it’s developed its own balanced ecosystem which provides the animals in it with everything they need, from food to water to shelter. And since it has such steep sides, once most animals arrive, they don’t leave. As a result the herd sizes can get quite large…

Thankfully, there’s a good selection of predators on site to keep the herds in check.

Between here and the Serengeti, Eric and I have now seen the entire lion family – lions, lionesses & cubs.

Andrew takes us up to a look-out point on a hill which is believed to be the peak of the mountain prior to it collapsing in and creating the crater… wild!

We continue to cruise around, though Eric and I aren’t really on the look-out for animals. It’s just so cool here that we’re really enjoying the landscape on its own… there’s everything from savannah to marsh to forests.

For lunch we stop at a hippo pool and although we can see them off in the distance, we’re more concerned with the flock of small birds our sandwiches have attracted.

I feel like they’re trying to figure out the best way to attack us and steal our lunch.

Eventually our food is eaten – by us – and the birds leave, so we continue cruising around.

This is the last safari for our trip and as we ride around, we both try and take as much of it in as we can.

Eventually Andrew lets us know it’s time to go …

… so with one final glimpse of the crater, we make our way back up to the camp to pick-up David, pack-up our site and head back to Arusha.

But not without snapping a “family photo”, of course.

Just me and the boys.

We arrive back in Arusha late afternoon and after saying our good-byes, Eric & I rush up to our room to have a long-awaited shower.

Recapping our safari, we both agree this is definitely one of the highlights of our whole trip.

Thank you Andrew, David & Masha from Sunny Safaris – you made our Serengeti experience amazing!

Other Uses for Your Travel Guidebook

In some circumstances, travel guidebooks can be reliable sources of information. But most of the time they’re just extra weight in your bag. So to help you feel you’re getting your money’s worth after buying one, here’s a list of other uses for your guidebook:

- as Toilet Paper and / or Tissues

- as a Fire-Starter

- as a Bug-Killer

- as a Booster-Seat

- as a Card Table

- as a Fan

- as a Tire-Wedge

- for Origami

- as Wrapping Paper for Presents and / or Fish

- as a Stepping Stool

- as a Weapon for Self-Defense

- as a Meat Tenderizer

- as a Boat Anchor

- as a Nut-Cracker

- as a Cutting Board

- as a Dumbbell

- as a Doorstop

- as a Paper-Weight

- as a Club for Protection from Baby Seals

- as a Hat and / or Helmet

PLEASE NOTE: Feel free to try this with any travel guidebook, including “the Lonely Planet”, “Rough Guides”, “Let’s Go”, etc.

Day 309 – Tanzania

August 10, 2010 – Serengeti National Park to Ngorongoro Crater National Park, Tanzania

Tour Day 4 – Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater National Park

Morning game drive, brunch at Seronera Campsite. Game drive as you leave Serengeti and proceed to Ngorongoro National Park. Dinner and overnight at Simba Campsite.

We wake up in the dark – again – which reminds us of winters in Canada, minus the cold.

It’s not really our choice to be up at this ungodly hour, but Andrew has suggested a sunrise drive. A trip to the Serengeti probably isn’t complete without one, so we happily oblige him… he is the expert, after all. The sun rises at 6:30am so we need to be on the road by 6:00am in order to make sure we’re in a prime location for this “once-in-a-daytime event” as Eric calls it… he’s not a morning person.

We stumble on over to the toilets only to find ourselves face-to-face with a spotted hyena.


Not only are we closer to it than yesterday, but it’s also dark out. I don’t like the dark at the best of times, let alone when there’s a set of shining eyes belonging to a predator who’s jaws could crush our skulls like a corn chip staring back at me.

So we carefully make our way back to our campsite, where Andrew assures us there have been no known human attacks from hyenas in the Serengeti and we’re perfectly safe. We trust him – and I really have to pee – so we cautiously walk back to the toilets – Eric in front, of course – and the hyena is gone, which makes the experience a whole lot less stressful.

We have a quick bite of tea & toast – David has promised us a full breakfast when we return – and drive out to a nice quiet spot where we wait for the sun.

It arrives in full force, making the early wake-up totally worth it.

From here we head out onto what becomes a very, very, very successful cat-viewing morning.

It starts with us witnessing a full-grown, male lion – black mane and all – make a kill.

Yes – you read correctly… Eric and I actually see the “circle of life” LIVE IN THE SERENGETI!!!

The lion started off running briskly across the plains and all of sudden it has a burst of speed and snags a young Grant’s gazelle. Seeing this happen is extremely rare, so we both feel pretty lucky.

A mere few minutes later, we almost witness another kill as we watch a cheetah stalk a different herd of gazelle.

It doesn’t actually catch anything, but it’s still pretty awesome watching the attempt.

As we cruise around, we’re fortunate enough to see a lot more lions.

Similar to yesterday, we spot a mass of 4x4s off in the distance and we head on over to find out what’s going on.

We arrive to find 6 lions – 2 males and 4 females – in an intense stand-off. According to Andrew it looks like a “foreign” lioness has wandered into another pride’s territory and they’re not impressed… meaning if she now tries to leave they’ll kill her. She already looks as if she’s seen some action – she has patches of blood on her and isn’t moving around too much. While we watch, things take a turn for the better – maybe? – as one of the male lions appears to change his mind. It looks like he has decided to take her as a mate and possibly start his own pride. He lies down beside her and the others seem to back off.

Eventually the two groups – the original pride and the newly-formed one – split up and go their separate ways, so there’s no further bloodshed today, which makes it a happy ending, I guess.

Just to wrap up our morning of cats, we spot a serval hanging out in a yellow-bark acacia.

The three of us cruise around for a bit longer before returning to camp for brunch. David has made a feast for us – Spanish omelettes, crepes, sausage, chips, mixed vegetables, toast and fruit salad. We are spoiled!!!!

This is what we usually look like when we’re out on safari.

After breakfast, we pack-up the camp and then hit the road. Our next destination? The Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

We’re both very reflective on our way out of “the Geti”. This has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we’re both sad to say good-bye to this little piece of paradise.

Four hours later, we arrive on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater to find a very different climate outside. It’s foggy, windy and chilly – ‘tis a bit of a change from the hot, dry and dusty climate of the Serengeti. Thank goodness I have all my vintaji – they should help keep us warm.

There is only one public camp ground in the conservation area – Simba Camp – so it’s pretty full, which is another change from our campsite in the Serengeti.

I imagine this is what the base camp at Mt. Kilimanjaro must look like.

After we set up our camp, we spend the remainder of our day relaxing, eating dinner – mushroom soup, beef curry, rice & vegetables – and trying to stay warm.

In case you don’t recognize him, this is Eric, aka. “my Sherpa”. Because of my back problems, he’s been doing double-duty with my bag for the last few weeks. Thankfully, I am now able to carry my own pack once again, so he’s off-duty.

Day 308 – Tanzania

August 9, 2010 – Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Tour Day 3 – Serengeti National Park

Full-day game drive in Serengeti National Park, overnight Seronera Campsite.

A whole day for exploring the Serengeti is almost a little too much – one can only spend so much time driving around looking for animals before needing a break.

Thankfully Andrew understands this and he adjusts the schedule by breaking up the day into two parts – an early morning drive and a late afternoon drive. This way we get to see the animals when they’re most active, and when the sun is its strongest and the animals are resting, we get to have a rest too. And better yet, we get a hot lunch… I can’t wait to see what David comes up with.

Eric and I had set our alarms the night before so we would be up and ready on time. But as it so happened we didn’t really need them – our tent was attacked by a Cape buffalo at about 5:00am, which tends to make one wake up pretty fast.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t so much a “buffalo attack” as it was a “buffalo tripping over one of our tent’s guide-wires while grazing”, but either way it gave the two of us quite a start and it provided good entertainment for our neighbours who watched it all go down from their “bug-screen TV”.

Our morning drive starts off with as much excitement as our wake-up. We spot a lioness having breakfast and at one point she gets up and “expels” some of it into the tall grass. We can’t believe the smell – we’re probably 10 metres away, but it smells like we’re right beside her! It’s equally disgusting and fascinating, though Eric thinks it’s significantly more disgusting than fascinating…

It’s early and there’s a lot more to see in the park, so we continue on.

Just around the bend from the pooping lion is a herd of Cape buffalo grazing among the trees… I wonder if the one who woke us up is in there?

This line of buffalo is massive and goes on forever, though according to Andrew, it’s just a small herd compared to what you get during the annual migration in the Serengeti.

Why can’t we all just get along?

We haven’t driven far when we come across a grouping of other safari goers... sometimes you don’t see the animals so much as you see the cluster of 4x4’s looking at the animals. We pull up beside the other vehicles notice everyone looking towards a rather large tree in the distance. What could it be?

It’s a leopard!

Yes, it’s hard to see but the tail hanging down from the top right branch is what gives it away. This is the first time we’ve seen a leopard in a tree since starting our safaris in Africa and even though it’s far away, it’s still pretty cool.

The morning drive continues to be exciting as we see giraffes, elephants, gazelles, topis, red hartebeests and much, much more. Our “taking care of business” break takes place at a hippo pool, much to Eric’s joy since hippos are one of his favourites. We spend time trying to count all of them while taking in the sounds of them laughing and farting…

On our way back to camp we come upon a large herd of elephants crossing the road. We give them an extra-wide berth as two of the males seem to be jostling for position....

Seriously, why can’t we all just get along?

When we arrive back at camp once again we are exhausted but ecstatic.

From 12:30-4:00pm we enjoy a hot meal – David has made tilapia, vegetables & chips – and have a small siesta. We even manage to get in an early shower so as to avoid the evening rush. There are only two showers and toilets for a campsite that sleeps at least 60 people, so I’m sure you can imagine the logistics of this.

Our evening drive is every bit as successful as our morning drive, if not more.

We see a spotted hyena beginning its evening of scouting.

We’ve seen hyenas before, but just not so close and for so long – they’re usually running away from us.

We also pass a pair of secretary birds on our way to see our very first, not yet seen on safari, we can’t believe our luck, CHEETAH!!!

Both Eric and I are unbelievably excited. We had pretty much given up on seeing a cheetah because they’re very elusive and the Serengeti is so big. But not this time…

Our drive wraps up with us watching a band of bandit banded mongoose scurrying to their nightly meeting… try saying this three times fast.

While David provides his best meal yet – pumpkin soup, beef stew, vegetables and the Tanzanian staple of ugali…

… Eric provides the entertainment.

Right now Eric’s being just like his father – all I want is a nice photo and this is what I get...