I could take the nice tarred road out of Uganda, but the scenery on the northern slope of Mount Elgon was to tempting. The road became more bumpy and dusty with every mile, but bigger also the people smile. From time to time i had to stop for a photo, or just for the stunning view, or simply to give way to a big truck on narrow roads. Time schedule got lost. Instead of a few hours drive i needed all day to reach the Kenyan border post. The last village before frontier i found a fuel station where the diesel pump worked by hand. Can’t remember when i had such a laughter with tank guys filling up my diesel tank.
On travel, there are times of joy ..and there are times of repairs. Happy to see my Land Rover again, but there was quite few things to repair, to improve and to test again. The clutch must be replaced, as the pedal didn’t work properly too. To replace the word battery seemed to be an easy thing, despite the narrow place under the seat, that’s why i also put some switches and wiring in different places. Wondering why the new board battery won’t charge lead to a problem on the controller of the dual-battery-system. We took it out and put a manually switch between the batteries instead. Now the fridge didn’t work anymore. A few coffees later, and after i took some cash in hands, Gabriel could fix my precious fridge. There was more small things to fix, including a photo lens (fixed quick by Nikon Service in Thika Road Mall), but meanwhile i learned to be patient on traffic jam too. There seems only one rule on Nairobi’s streets: no rules! The start of rain season didn’t make it easier to navigate trough the city, especially at night. On the camp of Jungle Junction soaked the terrain to a muddy flat.Just right to test the couple new Maxxis off-road tyres i got here. 🙂
At first sight of the scenery i got confused. A girl was dancing on my dirty Land Rover and many spectators were watching her. As i noticed the film crew with all the equipment and the loud music from the back, i realized my Land Rover gonna be part of their music clip. I didn’t find that clip on internet now, but desperately wanna see it when it’s published. And i’ll share it with you!
A crowded ferry sets hundreds of people over to the southern beaches of Daressalam. At Kigamboni i found a little paradise to camp and got stocked for more than two weeks. Every morning i watched early sun pushing trough the clouds and chased them away, made my coffee with the friendly words of the staff, did some laundry or small repairs before taking my book to the hammock at the beach.
There’s always been people to talk with too. As i met energetic Radhia, who told me about life here and all the many ideas and projects she has in life. Or two young volunteers just finished their time on a project in Rwanda and were on search for a perfect beach before heading back to Europe. I offered to drive south to more remote and unspoiled beaches …and we found was we were looking for: A lonely, white sanded beach with crystal clear water.
Silence woke me up early in the morning. Camping in African bushland is always a great experience, with vast scrubland or desert around. For my new „friends“ joining me trough Maasailand there’s all new kind traveling. Little things has to be learned, like to cook and dishwashing with a little amount of water or to use a shovel if you’re going to bush toilet. The nature gives back many little things too. The chirping birds, slightly waves of the wind, the scent of wildflower …and sometimes annoying flies.
The path lead us to a dusty, little town called Naberera, where we get some more supplies from a tiny shop. I asked for banana beer to let the girls taste it later that day. The shop lady was shouting into the backyard and few minutes later a guy appeared with the ordered drink. Meanwhile my tourist girls started to go around and having fun by making selfies with locals. It wasn’t the first time i noticed they hardly try to avoid having me on one of their selfies. Although we started as friends, i feel treated as a tour guide for free. This feeling persisted when i stopped next to a village for the opportunity to meet real village people. A dozen women gathered under a big shady tree to listen to man who taught them something or gave a speech. The girls wanted rush into the village, as i hold them back and told them to wait till we get invited from the inhabitants. Not long after that two younger men arrived, started to talk in Kwisahili with us. He asked us to wait and got an elder man, presumably the chief in village, who spoke some English. He looked uncomfortable but couldn’t refuse the repeated request of the girls to show us the village. While i tried to learn more about the village and life, the girls had fun taking selfies, teach them Dutch phrases and asked them several times to jump around as they expect all Maasai people doing it permanently. The chief looked awkwardly with the GoPro cam and selfie stick in his hand, not knowing what to do with it. When the situation got unbearable to me, i thanked the people for their understanding and kindness and asked the girls to continue our trip.
The young Maasai men and warriors, those ones who use to jump for rituals and to impress the girls when they look for a wife, are usually outside the village to protect the livestock. We’ve been lucky to meet some at a pond next our route. Of course, the girls got a lot of attention. The men came shyly closer, but start soon to have fun by showing their weapons and teach the girls how to use them. After awhile -and many selfies- we proceed our journey towards coast. But not without taking an elder man as an hitchhiker a few villages further. The next day we reached the tarred highway, let beautiful Maasailand behind us, but bringing a bunch of new experiences with us.
As we got closer to Daressalam, the traffic got heavier. The girls pushed me to drive faster and overtaking the big trucks, since they wanted to reach the ferry to Zanzibar. I suggested to stay together at the southern beach to celebrate the end of our trip, as friends suppose to do. But they wanted leave desperately. I’ve been even asked shamelessly i really want the money for fuel, since they’re late to reach the ferry and would have to withdraw cash first. HELL, YES!!
It’s a little while since, but i don’t want hold back the pictures from my last Tanzania trip any longer. After the safari tour to Serengeti and Ngorogoro crater with – a rather disappointing – safari tour operator. I was happy to continue traveling with my own car and pace. On the safari tour i met two young tourist girls, who wanted to go to Daressalam too. I offered them to join me trough Maasailand instead of a boring, long bus ride direct to Dar. They agreed for sharing fuel and food.
The day before departure, the three of us went to local market to buy food. It’s hard bargaining if one goes with typically dressed tourist girls to the food stalls. Somehow we managed to get our supplies, as the girls told me about their appointment with the owner of the safari company we went days before. The same guy who cheated me and gave false informations to me, was inviting those young girls for pizzas and swimming pool at the most expensive hotel in Arusha and paid them even their room in a backpacker hostel. I joined the girls for that appointment and got at least a pizza myself and some relaxing hours with wifi at the pool at „Mt Meru Hotel“. The pizza was tasty, the pool refreshing and the view of Mount Meru splendid.
The first day traveling didn’t brought us very far, but to a wonderful oasis i knew from earlier visit. Hot spring and pool with crystal clear water was a delight after a dusty road trip. Since we supposed to travel as friends, the girls had to help with cooking while i pitched their tent for the night. With the highest mountain of Africa – Mt Kilimanjaro – we camped just next to the hot spring.
On the next day, we got deeper in Maasailand, with no specific route, just follow south on dusty roads. We passed some huts and villages which seemed to be abandon. Some kids lead cows somewhere, looking bewildered as we crossed their ways. The rain brought much green food for their cows. For us was it easy to find a quite place to camp in that lush, green bushland and enjoy a peaceful sunset.
Being a tour guide for my parents was a completely new thing. It brought me a whole bunch of experiences and challenges too. At the start i did a selfie with my crappy cellphone at train station for remembering reason and posted it on Instagram. I repeated it at airport. Somehow i liked it and went on picturing my parents in this selfie style throughout our trip in Namibia. It became a collection of selfies of our journey.
What’s the fascination of the Himba people? Is it their ancient and traditional lifestyle? Is it the bronze color of your skin? Or is it because they walk almost naked but freely and proud trough life? I hear people joking about the nakedness of Himbas, giggeling about bare breasts. I sense how people are unnaturally ashamed about the shameless nature of the Himba tribe. So were my parents rather shy in beginning of our visit in this Himba village. The locals acted completely natural, looked self confident in my camera and went on with their daily work. Of course, i went with my parents to a village open for tourists. The people are used on curious visitors, showed us how the live and what is important in their life and culture. Their proud and serious look turned into a big smile when i showed them the photos on display or tried to imitate their language. Kids played on the ground, made fun of me when i try to catch them with my Nikon and just stick some sweets in my mouth. Meat hung in front of houses, which are circled around an inner fence for the cattle. In centre is always a holy fire too. Everyone takes care it burns eternal, but the chief of the village takes highest responsibility of it. A big income are the little handicraft market, displayed on the ground. I couldn’t resist to take a souvenir myself, but the nicest remembering are the feeling how strange but natural in same time it felt to be amongst those peaceful people.
A nationalpark is not a zoo. The opportunity to see wildlife in their natural habitat comes not with a guarantee. Only time and luck (and some knowledge about habits of animals) let you observe most of these fascinating creatures. Because we planned two days in the park only, i kept the expectations low. But it wasn’t necessary. Already at the first waterhole many animals gathered for drinking. Later we’ve seen not only a lion in distance but twice a pack of lions laying around lazy or watching us just next to the road in the bush. My parents were amazed. Next to giraffes, different kind of antelopes, birds, jackals, warthogs, elephant bulls and huge herds of zebras, we spot twice the very rare black rhinos. To see them so close amazed now me. After the overpriced and rather disappointing group tour in Serengeti/Ngorogoro Parks few weeks earlier, Etosha Park was a short but incredible experience again.
I talked about the desert elephants and how rare they’re to see, as i noticed a car parking next to the gravel road. And yes, the couple in that car spotted two elephant bulls roaming in nearby bush. Along the road we’ve been lucky with more attractions as a black cobra, once alive since there are many dead snakes on the road, more of the unique welwitschia plants or huge termite hills.
A guide explained the origin of the wood and how it came many thousands years ago down to Nambia, covered by mud and clay and turned slowly to minerals and stone. The colors, the structure of the bark and even the year rings look still like the wood, but if you touch it you feel cold, hard stone.