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Johannesburg to Nairobi
Overland adventure
from 22-09-1997 until 23-10-1997

It has been some time ago now that we started to prepare. Thanks to our experiences from last year, everything went prosperously. Just like the year before we prepared us thoroughly. At this moment we can picture everything better because we learned from last year. Again we have booked at JAMBO SAFARICLUB.
There we are in front of the check-in at Schiphol airport. For the second time we leave for Eastern Africa. Last year we had such a wonderful time that we fell in love with this beautiful continent.   This time we are a little bit earlier, to be certain that we do not get a place on the waiting list again. However again we get the message that the plane is already full. Somewhat disappointed we tell our story from last year and ask how this is possible. A charming lady explains and asks us to wait for a moment. “I will go see what I can arrange for you,” she says. It takes a while but then we receive the message that there’s room for us in the business-class.

The flight goes well. (How can it be not the case)? Just after sunrise we land in Johannesburg. At the airport we meet two more pairs who will make the journey with us to Nairobi. Again DRIFTERS is our tour operator. In DRIFTERS-INN we meet the rest of our travelling-party. We are with a group of 16 persons. Tonight we shall get an explanation about what we can expect these coming weeks. We have dinner at a nearby-located pizzeria. We don't stay up late, because our departure the next morning is planned at 5.30 hrs.

24/9 Johannesburg - Bubi-river (Zimbabwe)
This morning we leave very early to cover a large distance to Bubi-river in Zimbabwe. Before departure we admire the car with which we travel. Also we are being introduced to GUS. He is our guide. Contrarily to what we expect this is a closed car and not an open one like we had last year. Afterwards it appears to be necessary.
On the way we do not see anything special. As soon as we arrive in Zimbabwe this changes. We see many rocks en very beautiful coloured trees. It seems as if it is autumn. Our first stop is at a place where a lot of curios are being sold. Enormous statues and very tiny animals are being offered to sell. Our attention however is drawn by a little river that we crossed shortly. On our way to that point we meet a little boy who is surprised to see us. The fact that he sees us appears not to be his greatest surprise. That he sees us walking astonishes him most. He asks us therefore "why are you using your feet"? After 15 minutes rest we go on.  Towards the evening we arrive at our destination. We seek a place at the campsite of the Lion and Elephant Motel. While we make our camp I suddenly see at the corner of my eyes a male and a female Nyala at a distance of not a thirty meters. Gus lets us know that this is one of the most rare sorts of antelopes. And we stand eye in eye with two beautiful specimens.
Tonight we have dinner at the motel. First we take a dive in the swimming pool.


25/9 Bubi-river - Zimbabwe Ruins
This morning we leave at about 7.00 a.m. This night it was blowing hard and our tent is full of sand. With a break in Bulawayo we reach Zimbabwe Ruins at 13.00 p.m. After a delicious lunch (bacon, white beans and tomatoes) we prepare us for a visit to the Ruins. The local guide (Francis) gives us a tour. He explains everything. The sentences "are we together now", "can we proceed now" and "penetrate your eyes" we can dream within no time. Half of the explanation we do not understand because his English is not very good. (Just like our English.) However we do understand this. The Zimbabwe Ruins are the greatest and most important structure of stones south of the Sahara. The Ruins are built from the 12th till the 15th Century and are remainings of the Middle Aged Shona-Karanga civilisation. On top of the mountain the residence of the king has been built. From here he had a view over The Great Enclosure, where about 60 women stayed. The tower of the Enclosure is pictured on the 1 dollar coin of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe means by the way "great houses of stone".  After our visit to the Ruins we return to our tents.  A number of Cervet-monkeys pay us a visit. They are willing to be model for our camera’s. When they are cleaning themselves or one of the others of fleas you can hardly stop with taking pictures. Suddenly my flashlight works. One of the Cervet-monkeys, I dared to reach within 3 meters, walks towards me looking threatening. This little monkey frightens me and I realise we have to do with wild animals here. Gus cooked dinner in the mean while and we can start with dinner. We have the agreement that Gus takes care of the food during our trip. We do the dishes and cleaning. If needed we help him with the cooking of course.

26/9 Zimbabwe Ruins - Matobo Park
Very early we leave the Ruins in a drizzling rain. The way to Matobo Park shows us again many colourful trees. As the morning progresses, it brightens up and at about noon we arrive at Matobo-Park. On a nearby situates campsite we set up our tents and make a quick lunch. Along a small path to the campsite we see another pair of impalas and cows. (What a combination). This afternoon we'll make a game-drive. Matobo-park has a glorious landscape with a lot of koppies and huge rocks. It's the purpose that we are going to make a foot-safari, visit the prehistorically cave-paintings of the Bushmen and the grave of Cecil Rhodes. According to the local guide (Bruce) the chance is big that we see rhinoceros.
For the foot-safari we are divided in two groups. We decide to join the second group and first wait at the car. Advantage of this is that when the first group sees wild animals, we will go there too. Don't they see any wild; we can go to another place. The first group doesn't see anything at all during their walk. Bruce decides here fore not to let the second group go at all.  It's very hot and we don't have any objections against this solution.
We have a little chat at the car. Bruce appears to be an excellent storyteller. Before we know it, half an hour has passed. There's decided to continue to the cave-paintings. On our way we look around for wild (and especially Rhino). Not long after that we see a number of animals in the distance. We (including Bruce) can not recognise what kind of animals it concerns. So Bruce decides to get out of the car to walk towards the animals. We stay as faithful dogs in the car. It appears tot be gnus. Not interesting enough for Bruce to wait for. A little farther we see a substantial number of sable antelopes and a waterbuck.
After driving around for a while we go to a little parking lot, get out of the car and make a climb to the cave-paintings. The cave-paintings are fenced in with wire netting to prevent destruction. Also here Bruce gets in splendid form and in an emotional story (at which he almost gets tears in his eyes) he tells something about the Bushmen end his experiences with the few remainers. A little visit to the grave of Cecil Rhodes is also on the program. Cecil Rhodes is buried on top of the highest hill (the view of the world) and his grave is surrounded by little koppies. Cecil Rhodes is one of the founders of previous Rhodesia. Here we look at the sunset. After the sun has disappeared behind the hills, we descend the hill and leave towards campsite. It's already growing dusk and as a strike of thunder at clear sky we see, quite close to the road and right at the place Bruce got out the car earlier this day, three large, heavy animals. Rhino everyone wants to scream out. We see the three grey shadows slowly grazing, disappear in the dusk. At our return dinner is as good as ready and we can enjoy a good meal again. Ellen and I decide that it's our turn to do the dishes.

27/9 Matobo Park - Hwange National Park
The campsite we will stay overnight is situated close to the border of Hwange NP. It's a half-day's drive. At the hottest time of day we arrive and there's hardly a place of shade to find. Fortunately there is a swimming pool from which we have a wonderful sight on a little lake and the bush. The campsite is situated on top of a hill and is, to our amazing, visited by a number of warthogs. The afternoon we pass in the swimming pool.
At the end of the afternoon we leave for Hwange NP to make a game-drive. On our way back we will make a night-game-drive. We drive over a dusty road and see a vulture sit in a tree. The local guide suspects there is a beast close by with a prey. Through the bush there's nothing to see and the guide doesn't muse to check. So we drive on in the direction of Hwange NP and right before we go into the Park we see warthogs and giraffes. During the game-drive we see among others impalas, zebras, gnus, bushbuck, ostriches and many birds as the lilac breasted roller and the yellowbilled hornbill.
On our way back, we make, as is promised, a night game-drive. Our expectations are high. However we see nothing at all. Almost at the end we make a detour to search for a group of lions, seen yesterday. This is not to far from the campsite. Also without any result. At return on the campsite we shine around with our electric torches for a while. Suddenly we see lots of glowing eyes. Which kind of antelope it concerns we cannot see, but funny it is.

28/9 Hwange NP - Victoria Falls
Again it's not far till we reach Victoria Falls. We are sheltered in a DRIFTERS-INN under construction. After unpacking our things, we leave to make reservations for the next day. Ellen is going to make an Elephant-safari and I will join the rafting. After the reservations we visit the waterfalls. Just like last year it's breath-taking. Now we look especially at the left side of the waterfalls. Last year we saw the right side and the Zambia side thoroughly.
Tonight we eat at the INN and take a little walk into the village. We are being warned for the way back. They advise us to take a cab because the INN is bounded by a place where wild animals do appear. We are hardly on our way or in the middle of the road there's a porcupine.  We go to bed early thinking of the probably rough day we'll have tomorrow.

29/9 Victoria Falls
We are getting up early, because Ellen has to report very early for the Elephant-safari. The purpose is they are going to search for wild at a very early hour this morning in Zambezi NP. First they are introduced to the elephants. They are allowed to show what they can and then departure is due. The trip takes approximately 2 hours (including a rather decadent breakfast in the middle of the bush). Wild is nowhere to be seen, except for warthogs and impalas, that is all.
Not much later than Ellen left; I go with most of our travelling company on the way to report for the wild water rafting. It is supposed to be a spectacular raft with 24 rapids from grade 1 up to 5 (the world-hardest). Rather an exciting feeling. As a group we decide to row ourselves. The other possibility is to let us row. Than you can hold on more firmly. We start with an instruction. The instruction is a story on it self. It's been done so amusing that right away a relaxed atmosphere is being created. When however I hear the names of the rapids (as THE DEVILS TOILET BOWL, STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN, THE MUNCHER, COMMERCIAL SUICIDE, GNASHING JAWS, THE TERMINATOR, THE WASHING MACHINE, OBLIVION, etc) the feeling comes over me to take a moment to study my insurance-papers. Before we' re going down the ravine, we are divided in groups of eight. The descent is already an adventure by itself.  It's slippery and it goes sheer downwards. First we have to do some exercises. Than we start at the fourth rapid. The first three rapids we do not pas. Right at the first rapid, (Morning Glory) one tumbles out. At the second (Stairway to Heaven) we all go. I, myself am in the back and at the third rapid (The Devils Toilet Bowl) the persons in front of the boat comes to sit on my lap. Apparently we are doing something wrong and our guide says, "that occurs me again of course". I sympathise with him, because I also don't feel at ease anymore now. While just before the beginning I heard that one of our group is recovering from a hernia and another has a whiplash. Now we find out that the boys in front are afraid to hurt the water and do not listen to the explanation about how to take the rapids. On the whole it causes such an uncertain feeling at the only person who has experience already is on the verge of tears.  Remain two persons, and I myself am also counting how many rapids we will have to take before noon. Naturally I am not planning to risk my body. There is the fourth rapid coming up (Gullivers Travels) and there we all go again into the water. Time for a talk. This is not going to work.  It's a deal that everyone rows the boat through the rapid. Full of passion and with a lot of verbal noise we take the fifth rapid (The Muncher). Party-time! All together we applaud with our paddles on the water to end with their touch to each other’s above the water. The other rapids are taken with success this morning. That while we notice boats go down around us regularly.
At noon we are offered an excellent lunch. I am thinking about quitting. My body is more important to me. After one decides to change the division in the boat (I will sit in front with Ed) and the appointment that everyone pays attention and keeps on rowing especially at rapids, they are able to convince me to go on.
It helped. While other boats turn over once and a while, we stay put in our boat during the entire afternoon. Until we arrive at the last rapid (The Oblivion). This is a wall where you have to wrestle through. Something only a few is granted. Generally it's a matter of fortune when you are able to take the rapid sitting in the boat. We have to wait for our turn. One by one a boat departs direction Oblivion. It seems as if you volunteer for your own execution.
Now it's our turn and with a hell of a noise we force up against the wall to then almost make a salto backwards.
We have had it I keep in mind. Afterwards I have no regrets to have persisted. It has been an experience I'll never forget.
After this there’s an intensive climb out of the ravine on the program. It is a war of attrition. The moment I come up I cannot even see the drinks which are promised to us and I need half an hour to recover.
Back in Victoria Falls I meet Ellen again. She passed the afternoon on a bike together with Karin. We are going tot DRIFTERS-INN to rest and prepare for watching the video of the rafting.  After seeing this Ellen is relieved she didn't go with us. The night we close with a buffet in a hotel.


30/9 Victoria Falls - Gwabi-Lodge (Zambia)
We leave early. There's a rather long trip to Gwabi-Lodge in store for us. Zambia looks a lot more needy compared tot Zimbabwe. We have to do some shopping for the next days. Gus tells us that it will be more and more difficult to buy them. After arrival in Gwabi-Lodge we set up our tents and pack the things we'll need in the coming three days for our canoe-safari. After we did this we take a quick dive in the swimming pool. The pool lays high so we have a beautiful view over a branch of the Zambezi-river and the sunset. This night we'll have dinner in the local restaurant. For the first time we are somewhat disappointed in the food in Africa.

1/10 Canoe-safari
This morning we leave at 7.00 a.m. for a trip of 65 kilometres. Everyone has some feelings like, wait and see if all goes well. None of us has (much) experience with rowing. The first distance, at a branch of the Zambezi-river, offers a good opportunity to practice. From the start there's a firm wind against which we have to row. Everyone has yet a little fear for hippos.  However the first kilometres we only see friendly people standing along the river. One washing clothes, another playing at the waterside and again someone else fishing. Before we take our first break, we haven't seen any wild - on exception of some birds. Maybe we are all glad for it too. Resting is not more than keeping our boats against each other and let us drifts on. When you form such a large block, hippos will see you as one object and you don't have to worry. Therefore you have to keep paddling close after each other. It is hard however with this strong head wind. We reach the Zambezi-river. Time to paddle again.
The Zambezi is much larger than I expected. It does not take long till we see the first hippos. Our guide for this trip, named Sunday, shouldn't have told us that during the previous trip two women were pushed out of their boat. But it goes well. As long as you don't block their escape-route and stay together, it will keep on going well. Along our way Ellen starts to feel her shoulders and neck. The lunch stop during approximately half an hour is very welcome. With the wind it's nice and cool on the water, but on land you feel how warm and variable it is. Although almost everyone paddles with a bare upper part of the body, I decide to keep on my T-shirt as much as possible.
We are on schedule. This afternoon we have to do another 12 or 13 kilometres. We are on our way for about half an hour, and after seeing another number of hippo's, we discover a few elephants at the Zambia-side of the river. Fortunately we are at the right side. Because of the hard wind we don't risk the crossing to the Zimbabwe-side of the river. This is too bad because on the Zimbabwe-side lays Mana-pools. Mana-pools is a National Park and the chance we see wild is a lot larger there. However the risk is too large. Close to the bank we slowly approach the elephants. If they only stand still. Fortunately they do and it makes a beautiful picture. It's a group of totally eight elephants.
We put our boats ashore a little further and take our pictures. A moment we startle as one of the elephants makes a move towards us, but this appears false alarm. After a twenty minutes look we continue. Physically Ellen is put to the test and I also feel tiredness coming up in my arms. We stay overnight at Elephant-island.  Just before we arrive. Terror strikes into Ellen and me. At a distance of about one and a half-meter before our boat a hippo suddenly dives under. We do not dare to do anything at all and we let us float over the place of the disaster. We are scared stiff.
The first night at the bank of Elephant-island is not really a cosy night. Most of us feel some pain somewhere or are miserable. Right in front of us we see hippos in the water and the sunset is breathtaking. But it seems as if most of us have trouble to concentrate on this. After dinner almost everyone hits the sack right away and thinks about the coming two days. At night we hear hyena’s, lions and hippo’s of course. It starts blowing harder too.

2/10 2nd day canoe-safari
The previous day we did about 30 km. Today the same program. Weather conditions haven't become any better however. It's still blowing harder and leaving our overnight-stay we have to wriggle along three hippos. The wind makes it tough for us and we have to work hard to make progress. On our way we see a number of hippo’s again. We try to paddle as close to the bank as we can. As soon as the tip of the canoe catches any wind at all, you turn up to be full in the wind and you must crowd on al l sails (though we don't have them) to catch up with the group again. At noon we rest again at a place with a marvellous view. It seems like nobody has any fun at all. Gus and I say to each other "when this trip is over and everyone has done his work, this will be one of the highlights of the tour." Afterwards it appears to be the case. This afternoon we have to row about 10 km. Just before the end we cross the Zambezi-river. This occurs between two hippo-families and we therefore need to stay out of the wind well. We pass an Elephant and about 200 meters further we make our camp. Behind us large groups of elephants and buffalo’s move along. Gus, Ellen and two more travellers prepare the meal that everyone longs for. Suddenly there is consternation Ellen cuts a piece of the top of her little finger and it bleeds firmly. We are going to seek a first-aid-box, but this appears not to be present. Fortunately Chris and Carla have something to disinfect, a bandage and plasters with them.
In spite of the pain Ellen keeps herself well. From Gus she receives a nice cup of wine (blood thinning) and from now on she gets the nickname " Stony" Yet she now and then is dejected. Surely it's no pleasure and certainly under these circumstances.  My great fear is the danger of infection and the risk of that.
Nevertheless we can enjoy a beautiful sunset. The hippos in front of us in the water match perfectly in this picture. After our meal we chat some more and then decide to go to sleep early.

3/10 3rd day canoe-safari
Today the last kilometres are on the program. Ellen hasn't had a good night. There still is a firm wind. Because her finger bothers Ellen and it is better that she keeps her hand up; I row the last kilometres. On our way we meet another buffalo and before we know it, we reach the end.
From here we'll make a foot-safari.  In companion of an armed guide we begin our trip. In contrast with that we are used to with the foot-safaris, this time we see rather much wild. The animals we see are among others: waterbuck and impalas. However the confrontation with an Elephant is the hit of the trip. All of a sudden an Elephant stands right in front of us, no 15 meters away. The guide pulls his gun for our safety. The Elephant looks up for a moment and then follows his way in a different direction.
Back to the place where we started our trip, we wait for two speedboats.  The 65-km we covered the last three days, we do a bit faster now. Not until now the kilometres we covered and the numbers of hippo’s present here impress us. We see some more buffalo’s, a crocodile that crawls into the water, an Elephant and many birds among which are bee-eaters that have their nests in the banks of the Zambezi.
At our return to Gwabi-lodge we visit a little village nearby. We arranged this with Sunday. The village contains thatched houses and it's impressing to see how people live here. Women are busy making beer. We get explained how this is done and of course we have to taste. With all due respect, it doesn't taste at all and seeing that the beer is made with water from the river, we are very careful. We get explanations about all kind of things.
This night during dinner the first stories of our canoe-safari are being told already. Satisfied feelings prove to take place for earlier annoyance.

4/10 Gwabi-lodge - Petauke
At 6.00 a.m. we leave for a long journey to Petauke. It's not sure we make it before sunset.  Gus hopes we do, because parking in the middle of nowhere entails a lot of risk. During one of the previous journeys in such a situation all tents were stolen. We can use the rest. During the trip most of us are sleeping. At the middle of the day we pass through Lusaka. Here we buy our groceries for the coming days and some souvenirs.  The remaining distance proves not to be possible before sunset, so we have to seek a suitable place to camp. Towards sunset we take a turn into a sandy path. We drive along little houses and attract a great deal of notice. Going further away from the road, it seems to be a little quieter and Gus decides to stay the night here. We aren't ready with our tents, or the first children arrive already. Everything we do is being watched closely. Gus is getting nervous soon and tries in several attempts to make clear that he doesn't like this at all. It takes a long time to see the result, but finally it works. Yet we continuously are on our guard and take good care of our things. This night we sleep very restless.

5/10 Petauke - South Luangwa
Before we open our eyes, the first children are standing around our camp already. We decide to eat quickly and clean up to be able to leave as soon as possible. The leftovers and drinks we give to the children.
At 13.00 p.m. we arrive at South-Luangwa NP. It is very hot and we are fond of every little spot of shade. Here we'll stay two nights. Today there is nothing on our program. The campsite lays at the half-dried-up river Luangwa. There are many hippos and crocodiles. For tonight we can book optional a night-game-drive. We decide to go for it, because now we are here, we have to experience everything, we think. Not everyone decides to go along. At approximately 16.00 hours we leave in an open jeep. At the entrance of the park I arrange that we can go into the park. This on itself is quite an enterprise. Back to the car all of a sudden there's a man standing next to me. You can see immediately that it concerns someone who has great influence. He asks us where we are from, where we are going and how we like Zambia. We cross the bridge over the Luangwa. It's full of hippos and crocodiles. In the park it doesn't take long before we see the first wild. At both sides of the car we see impala's. A little bit further we see a male bush-goat. The elephants, giraffes, zebras and many antelopes don't take long to wait for. Then our guide says we shall drive faster for a while, because further into the park this morning lions were to be seen. After we saw a few buffalo, we arrive to an open spot. It starts to grow dusk, but far away two lions are spotted. We drive to the place where the lions are and approach them to a distance of five to ten meters. In our open jeep it feels very close. The engine is turned off. It smells awful here. Probably there is a dead body in the neighbourhood. We continue our way and not even far away from the lions we take a rest.
Something to drink is being served and everything is being prepared for the night-drive. We are prepared for a disappointment, but at the same time hope to see some more than in Hwange NP. It takes a while, but then we see in succession a surval, white tailed mongoose, genet, honey badger, puku and the previous seen sort of antelope. Satisfied after seen these mainly night-animals, we slowly go our way back. Suddenly a leopard crosses the way. Everybody is in a commotion. It happens about three times a week that you can see this beautiful animal. The leopard stands still for a moment and then disappears into the wood. Every one of us is excited to experience this. We drive on and almost immediately after we see a hyena. We follow the animal and arrive at a den into which are two hyenas. The grown-ups at the den are walking nervously up and down. Quickly some pictures are taken and we decide to leave the animals in peace. Before we reach the bridge over which we also entered, we see another hippo trudge over the land and a crocodile laying half on land and half in the water.
 At our arrival the stragglers are being overrun by the stories about what we have seen. A bit later the stories from their side are told. After Gus told us that tonight an Elephant actually walked through the campsite, we hear the following event. In spite of the warning not to walk towards the river, two gentlemen from our group did so anyway.  In the possession of a little ball and in company of the dog of the owner of the campsite, they approach the river. The ball comes into the river one way or another and before they know it, the dog follows. Before they know it, a crocodile snaps the dog and draws it under water. The pet didn't come up again.
After having heard this story with disbelief we ate the in the meanwhile prepared food and went to bed after a few good beers.

6/10 South Luangwa
After a night an Elephant has been very noisy, we prepare ourselves for an early leave tot a game-drive. We see a lot of elephants, zebras and impala's. Also many birds among which de saddles-billed stork, bee-eaters and cranes we see. Further we see another family of warthogs with young ones and a water-goat. Crocodiles and hippos are not to be missed also. After driving a few hours we return to our camp. We enjoy a good lunch and use the rest of the afternoon to be idle.
Tonight there's another night-game drive on the program. Will we be as lucky as yesterday? At 16.30 hrs it's time. Directly from the start the guide puts on steam. In the back of the park lions have been seen. Much attention to the in the meantime seen wild, we cannot give.  We see a lot of wild pass before we have to stop. Right in front of us a group of around three to four hundred buffalo cross. It's not coming to an end.  But then however finally they all - except for a few doubters - have crossed. Quickly we drive on. After a small half-hour, while it has become almost dark, we leave the lions for where they are. We drive in the direction of a hill to continue to take a break and have a drink.
From here on the night-game drive begins. It takes a while before we see anything. First there are impala's. And just like yesterday we are in fact are on our way back before we again perceive a leopard. This time the leopard is stalking. A little bit further three impala's stand still. How beautiful it is to see such a magnificent animal sneak. The leopard walks right along our car. It's a matter of time that the attack will begin. For a moment the animal makes the impression to begin, but then it bends through its hind legs again. Because we must leave the park at a certain time, we cannot stay longer. Satisfied with what we have seen, we leave the leopard to its own peace.  Not far away from here a porcupine walks close to our car. Nervously it seeks a way out. It's a marvellous sight to see the porcupine hop. Finally it finds a way through to disappear from the way and the animal rushes into the dark.
We also take a look at the place where the hyenas were yesterday evening. We are lucky and again it is beautiful to see the young hyenas run from one to another entrance of their hole. Altogether again this was a very successful game-drive.


7/10 South Luangwa - Livingstonia Beach (Malawi)
Today we leave early to cover a great distance. We do this to create another extra day at Lake Malawi. We drive firmly. At noon we do our groceries in Lilongwe. We eat something here at a kind of fast-food restaurant. It strikes us that we become the French fries in a little plastic bag. A substantial amount of drinks is bought. What Gus has predicted comes out. It becomes harder and harder to come by good food. After passing an hour in Lilongwe we continue again. With a firm speed we reach Livingstonia Beach an hour before sunset. Here we'll spend the coming three nights. We sleep on a protected piece of ground belonging to a big hotel. At the beach there is a bar where you can take a drink till late at night. Fatigue strikes and we decide to make it not too late.

8/10 Livingstonia Beach
This morning we are waked by a number of Fish-eagles. They are close by and are looking for fish. Accompanied by a lovely sunrise it is a nice way to wake up. Today is Ellen's birthday. From Gus she gets a bottle of gin with three cans of tonic. This morning we enjoy the sun and the water. Around our tents we are visited by Velvet-monkeys. Also there are clipdassies (rock hyraxes) which we can admire from nearby.
This afternoon we go hunting for curios. We receive a warning for the youth from the neighbourhood, who like to pack that what you just bought. What they don't tell you, is that you pay more in many of those cases than the price of the curios. We are hardly on our way whether we are being accompanied by a number of boys. Quickly we make clear that they cannot expect anything from us. They don't give up fast. But with staying friendly and alert to what they do, we prevent a difficult situation.
After dinner we leave for the bar at which we celebrate Ellen's birthday with some drinks.

9/10 Livingstonia Beach
This morning a visit to Fisherman’s-village is on the program. We hardly did arrive in the village or Ellen has a child on each hand. It is beautiful to see how villagers are repairing their fishing-nets and drying their fish. Along the beach it's crowded by coloured nets. All of a sudden everyone is in commotion and panicking. Everyone runs to a little water, which is strewed with waterhyacinths. There's yelling and suddenly two men arrive with long sticks. They wade a little bit into the water and start to hit something we cannot see. It appears to be a large crocodile, which caught a goat. About threehundred villagers encourage the men and we stand right in between. Cheers sound when the goat is saved and the men come out of the water triumphantly. This commotion is at the same time the end of our visit to this village. We return to our camp after we are invited to come back in the afternoon. They are going to decoy a fish-eagle with a fish. This last news we tell Gus, who says, "we can do that ourselves too".
This afternoon we indeed will try ourselves to decoy the fish-eagles with purchased fish. The fish-eagles which waked us this morning again. As soon as everyone stands ready with his or her camera, Gus goes into the water and throws the fish a couple of meters away from him. The fish-eagle doesn't hesitate long before it takes off for an elegant flight to angle the fish out of the water. This we repeat another three times. The rest of the day we laze around.

10/10 Livingstonia Beach - Lake Shore
Today we go on our way to Zanzibar and will cover the first stage. The road is known as bad and we shall not be able to do many kilometres. The road is full of potholes. The whole day we sit on or in the car. At the end of the day, when we are on top of the truck, Gus has to pull out for a herd of crossing cows. The coincidence wants us to drive right along a large acacia-tree. Ellen is the victim and she is from top to bottom full of grazes. She bleeds firmly and I am filled with fright. But again she stays (outwards) rather calm. Again Chris is the saving angle and she treats the wounds.
One hour later we arrive at the place we stay overnight.

11/10  Lake Shore - Morogoro
 We leave again for a long trip. Soon we cross the border to Tanzania. The landscape changes gradually. Many tea-and bananaplantations give the landscape a green sight. After a two hours drive this changes again into a dry landscape. At the side of the road we use our lunch. After that we land in a hilly landscape. Here there's plenty of green again. We continue our way along a river and now and then we see a monkey.
Also we see the local people walk in Masai-clothes. For a moment there's some talk of camping in the wild, but Gus decides not to do so. It is getting rather dark and this is the reason he takes the first opportunity to pitch the tents. At a local hotel we can stay overnight on a by walls surrounded area.


12/10 Morogoro - Zanzibar
There's a busy day waiting for us. We have to catch the boat to Zanzibar. In the afternoon we arrive at Dar-Es-Salaam. A hectic town, where we quickly get the impression of leaving as soon as possible. There's one hour left before the boat leaves. After about three hours we arrive at Zanzibar. As soon as we leave the harbour, we come into another world than we were used to the last weeks. Zanzibar is an island of spices and was one of the most important tradecentres of Africa. The largest slave-market of Africa was here too. Now we stand in the old city of Zanzibar "Stone Town". A special sphere immediately surrounds us. Here we meet our local guides and after a lunch in a local restaurant we leave direction Nungui. This place, in the north of Zanzibar, has pearl-white beaches. We stay overnight in a cottage during the coming nights. It strikes us that in Zanzibar every day the electricity is turned off during two hours. At the beach there's a little bar (provided with an aggregate), where you can enjoy a beautiful sunset. With a delightful bounty feeling we seek our beds.

13/10 Zanzibar
Today we visit a nearby village. The people are somewhat reserved towards tourists. Taking pictures is advised against. Too often there have been made promises to these people who were not held. You cannot blame them for that. The village is laying under palmtrees. People here live mainly from mutual trade and fishing.
In water with an open connection to the sea, we are offered a sight of nice coloured fish and seaturtles. This part lays in a protected area. The weather is changing everytime. Then the sun shines and then there are threatening clouds again. Over the beach we walk back to our cottages. The beach is loaded with fine shaped shelves. During the rest of the day we lazy around at the beach and once and a while take a dive into beautiful coloured water. Together with the passing dark clouds this has a special effect.
The sunset of tonight was stunning. At the terrace of the local restaurant with a cocktail in our hand we admire the sun going down. A little bit later we go to a thatch hut to eat a local dish. It's very simple but that's the way it should be.

14/10 Zanzibar
Today exists mainly of snorkelling. First we exercise ourselves. It's ludicrous to see how we walk into the water with our flippers on. For both of us this is the first experience with snorkelling. Bit by bit we proceed into the water. But then suddenly we see little black balls at the bottom. With our swimming-glasses pressed to our faces we see that it concerns sea urchins. For a moment I lose my balance and promptly I get a spine into my heel. I'm not the only one who has to experience this. Margaret falls backwards too and lands with her hand in the middle of a sea urchin. We are both treated with a local medicine. With the juice of a papaya the little wounds are smeared in. Again I go into the water. It's a wonderful world. Close to the border it swarms with nice coloured little fishes.
The whole morning we practice here. After lunch we leave with a dhow on sea to snorkel a bit further at a reef. Here my eyes are really opened. We swim through schools of fish. A little dive and you can admire the coral nearby. I can't get enough of it, but constantly diving down has tired me and I decide to search for the dhow again. Not much later we leave.
At our coming home we meet our other three travelling-companions. They have been sea-fishing and with three Tuna-fish and a King-fish they are walking proudly towards us. At the bar we talk over our experiences of the day.
Again sunset is marvellous. Tonight we consume the caught fish. Although neither of us loves fish, it tastes well.

15/10 Zanzibar
Today we leave from Nungui to Zanzibar Town. On the way we make a short spicetour. Also we visit a church in Stone Town and a dungeon which was used to hold slaves in prison. This afternoon we drive on to Jozani Forest. From whole Zanzibar only here the Kirk's Red Colobus Monkeys live. There are only 1500 of these very nice looking monkeys left in the whole world. We just enter into the wood or are already surrounded by the monkeys. They are getting so close that it wouldn't be any trouble to touch them. They jump to and from us and we are inclined to take pictures from every position they take. We feel that we have to leave much too fast.
The evening however begins and we leave for the Africa-hotel. Here we look at the sun going down while we enjoy our drinks. For a moment we go to our hotel to change and freshen up. After everyone is ready we leave for an Italian restaurant to have a nice dinner.

16/10 Zanzibar
Today is our last day on this beautiful island. This morning we go shopping in Stone Town. There are lots of souvenir-shops and we stroll around a lot. This afternoon we are going to a nearby little island named "Prisoner Island". Here stands a ruined prison, which never was used. We cross the water in a little boat. Another touristic attraction are the large land-turtles. It's disgusting to hear that newborn turtles have to be kept behind locks to prevent they are taken by tourists. After passing two hours on the island we are leaving again. The sea has become rough and I don't feel at ease in this little boat.
After we pack our stuff, we leave towards the boulevard. The boulevard is filled with booths where local people try to sell their food. After the assurance of our local guide that it's safe to taste we catch our chances. The food is delicious and we must take care not to eat too much in view of our crossing back tot Dar-Es-Salaam. Contrarily to the way from Dar-Es-Salaam, the way back will take place in a slow boat. Predictions are that at least half of our group will be seasick. This prediction is based on experiences with former groups. We sleep on the lower deck on mats. The movements on the boat are substantial. But when we arrive in Dar-Es-Salaam everyone is feeling rather well. This in exception of a few swellings which most of us have. Flees???


17/10 Dar-Es-Salaam - Arusha
Today we leave to do a great distance. Final purpose is Arusha. On our way we don't see too much of the environment. We sleep a lot and the weather is not too well either. After a long drive we arrive in Arusha. On the program it says we stay for one day before we leave tot Serengeti NP.
A number of doesn’t feel too much for this idea and we try the option of leaving a day earlier. This works out and we are glad with the idea that we can enjoy the wild a day longer. Tonight we dine in the restaurant at the campsite.
The weather is still not too well and we hope it will stay dry.

18/10 Arusha - Serengeti NP
This morning we have to be ready at six to prepare for our trip to Serengeti NP.
From Arusha we first take an asphalt road. We see more and more Masai. After a while we turn right into a sandroad and then a long very bumpy road begins towards Ngorongoro Crater. The bumps are taken with a for the circumstances high speed. We have to hold ourselves firmly to prevent hitting our heads continuously. After about three hours shaking through we reach the first hills. In the village that is situated here, we get the needed food. We proceed our way and after another hour driving, we arrive in a different landscape. Here everything becomes greener and it seems as if we are landed in a jungle. A little more and we reach the lips of the Ngorongoro Crater.
We allow ourselves some time to enjoy the view. After our visit to Serengeti NP we shall see the Ngorongoro Crater again. We are looking forward to that already.
We drive further and after seen numbers of Masai, zebras, giraffes, Thomson gazelles, grants gazelles and topi's, we arrive at the border of Serengeti NP. Both left and right of us we see large plains with the previous mentioned animals.
The coming nights we'll camp wild close to Seronera campsite. We have barely entered Serengeti NP when we see a hyena. A little further we see another two and a secretary bird. We drive on because it is getting rather late already. After a few kilometres we see three female lions accompanied by a beautiful fullmaned lion. The females pay all their attention to a lonely buffalo, while the male is laying himself down. Immediately after this we see a group of elephants. It starts to grow dusk already. And just when we think we have reached the place where we will camp, something strikes our eyes. At a distance of less than threehundred meters straight from the place we shall stay overnight, we discover a group of eighteen lions consuming a buffalo. Most lions are fed laying around resting. The lions that are less in order still munch. In our car at a distance of about ten meters we observe everything and see how once and a while they fight for the best place at the buffalo. Meanwhile it has become as good as dark and quickly we drive to the place we sleep to set our tents. During the preparations for the night the thought keeps playing through my head that a little further eighteen lions are laying. The only reassurance we have is that they just had their meal. Sitting around the campfire we eat a delicious meal and all of us have only one opinion about the fact that the group staying in Arusha, missed a lot. (Afterwards we hear that it rained all day in Arusha). We cannot refrain from shining around us with an electric torch once and a while. You can see shining eyes proceeding their way. At the moment the first one has to pee, you realise one has to walk into the dark. With the lions around it stays exciting.

19/10 Serengeti NP
Strange enough after one of my best nights in Africa, we wake up at about 5.30. The guides tell us we had company last night of a few hyenas. During breakfast everyone wonders if the lions are still there. The answer doesn't stay out for long, because half an hour later we depart for another game-drive during the whole morning. After we have driven out of the path, we already see it. The lions are still there. Again we see them eating rests of the buffalo.
One lion takes the place of another lion. There's much going on around the carcass. Lions play with eachother, drive away a vulture and once and a while one signals that another one is getting too close. After looking for an hour, the last two lions walk away together. Leaving the prey behind. We too follow our way and a moment later we see a dik-dik along the side of the road. A bit later we see another couple of lions. A male with beautiful manes and two females. One of the females discovers a zebra in the distance.
In the course of the morning we see many more animals. Among others there are elephants, baboons, zebras, buffalo’s, waterbuck's, Thomson gazelles, topi's etc. Just after a break I see in the distance lots of vultures circling around in the air. I point this out to the guide and he goes towards the vultures. A little further he leaves the road (officially this is not allowed). Then we cannot believe our eyes. Under a tree there's a cheetah laying with four young ones. We don't stay long because it is forbidden to do so. Weather the vultures are (in)directly connected with this, we don't know, but it is a beautiful sight.
Meanwhile morning has passed for a great deal and we decide to go back. On our way we again see much wild. It has become hot and at the campsite we search for a bit shade. This afternoon there's another game-drive on the program. Because of the heath we decide to leave somewhat later than planned. Few of us do not agree, but much wild isn't there to be seen anyway with this temperature. After the temperature has gone down a bit, we leave for our second game-drive this day. The lions that were in the neighbourhood we don't see anymore. It takes a while before we see the first wild. It's a group of banded-mongoose. Actually they are night-animals and it's nice to see them hopping around. We proceed our way and after seen more frequently occurring wild, we stop. A leopard someone calls. How I look around, I don't see the animal. But then suddenly I discover it in an acaciatree. The animal is hanging with his back-legs over a branch and is drowsing nicely. Slowly there's more movement in the leopard. Will he get out of the tree? Once more the animal yawns, he stands up and stretches to slowly turn around and a bit further he starts to lay down again. This doesn't take long. He walks towards the stem of the tree and climbs smartly down. For a moment the leopard sits, looks around and then disappears into the bush.
It's a piece of good fortune and we ask ourselves what else there is to be wished (nothing). All together we have been standing here for more than an hour and we decide to go back to the camp. Before we leave a jeep is driving towards us. In it are the in Arusha remaining travelling companions. How much did they not see by not joining us for this extra day? In the camp we exchange the stories. Now we hear also that the weather was bad in Arusha. On their way they saw two hunting cheetahs. This naturally compensates the pain for a part. Together we eat around the campfire, and dirty as we are from the last two days we seek our sleepingbags.

20/10 Serengeti NP - Ngorongoro Crater
This morning we again leave for an early game-drive. We discover that we don't have a party every day. The case is, we see very few wild. Once and a while in the distance something is perceived. We drive to a hippo-pool. Because the largest part of the pool has become dry, the hippos and crocodiles are laying close to each other. It's a large group of hippos and the crocodile’s are very big. Here we stay for about half an hour. Just like before we don't see much wild when we return.
At noon we pack our things and after lunch we leave direction Ngorongoro Crater. Towards the crater the weather changes. More clouds are appearing. As soon as we arrive at the lips of Ngorongoro Crater, we are in the middle of clouds and it has become cold. It rains too and we set our camp as soon as possible. Dinner is made, while everyone seeks for a dry place to stay. Quickly we eat our food to soon find our tents to sleep.

21/10 Ngorongoro  Crater - Arusha
It rained all night. There are few dry places to find. Everyone is cold. Slowly the weather is clearing up. Today we shall go and see the wild in the crater. The Ngorongoro Crater is 260 kilometres large and 600 meters deep. At the moment when we have made the descent into the crater, we get out. We stand right next to the jeeps. A group of zebras walks towards us and passes at a distance of almost 50 meters. A bit further there's a lion walking with her young one. The presence of the lion makes a large group of wildebeest flee. Further we see among others hyenas, buffalo’s, a secretary bird, jackals, marabous, hippos, Thomson gazelles, zebras, elephants and at a distance a black rhinoceros.
The only way back out of the crater is wet and muddy. When we arrive at our camp, the tents barely dried. Yet it is time to pack. This afternoon we return to Arusha. The road has become very muddy by the rain and once and a while we see cars stuck in the mud. Just like before the driver keeps a high speed. We are shaken through continuously. Yet we have confidence in the driver and after a long drive we reach Arusha.
The weathercircumstances become worse again. The sun is nowhere to be seen. Quickly we set our tent. From this moment on it starts raining again. The whole evening and night it keeps raining. Everything becomes wet and dirty. Fortunately this is our last night in the tent.


22/10 Arusha - Nairobi (Kenia)
Early in the morning we leave for Nairobi. Just outside the campsite our car breaks down. After an hour this is repaired and we can actually leave Arusha. All of a sudden the clouds break open and we see the Kilimanjaro at a distance. At the border it is full of Masai offering curios to buy. Masai surrounds us and everyone wants to sell you something. One feels uncomfortable sometimes by them pressing and pulling. After the formalities at the border we drive on towards Nairobi. Getting at the hotel we pack our things out of the car and take a nice warm shower. Tonight we will have dinner at a nearby hotel and there we say goodbye to Gus. He leaves this night for Johannesburg.

23/10 Nairobi - Amsterdam
Today we pass in Nairobi. First we say goodbye to a few travelling companions. They go on to Zimbabwe. This morning we pay a visit to the former house of Karen Blixen (Out of Africa). Before we leave we have to go by the bank to change our money. At the bank who advertises with the words: "this bank costs you the least time" we are busy for half an hour to change the money. This probably is caused by the fact we are the only customers at the moment. We take a cab to the Karen Blixen museum. Including the driver we sit with seven in the cab. In the museum you get a good impression about the life of Karen Blixen.
This afternoon we visit the centre of Nairobi. The last purchases are bought.
The last hours before our departure last long. But then it's time to take a taxi to go towards the airport. In a worn-out cab which is loaded again, we arrive at the airport. We say goodbye to the remaining travellers. With a number of them we make an appointment to keep in touch.

24/10 End
The way back is going prosperously and in spite of our many beautiful experiences we long for home after a month in Africa. Not much later in the Netherlands we hear there has been an attempt to a coup in Zambia and a hurricane on Zanzibar caused three deads. This last news explains the bad weather in Arusha.
We shall remember this vacation for a long time and it certainly will not be the last time we have visited this beautiful continent.

                                                       copyright: Paul Janssen