The land of peoples
Fourth trip to the knowledge of the African peoples of the highlands.
This time starting from the Spice Island, crossing Tanzania by bus, to stop in the city? of the Masai Arusha, and then move to Lake Eyasi for the Hadzabe and Datoga. Then safari to the Masai Mara for the migration.
In love with Africa and above all with the highlands area, for the third consecutive year we set off to discover (our) the equatorial belt. Last year we did the reverse, starting from Nairobi to visit three national parks in Kenya (Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Amboseli) and three national parks in Tanzania (Tarangiri, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara). In this full immersion of nature and animals we stopped twice in Arusha. The country set up by the Masai in 1820 enchant us? for its people, so much so that on this trip we tried to deepen its aspects to live in contact with the population. We plan a week in Arusha in the two available for the whole? Holiday ?. But getting there gives us some choices. The first of course? get there directly, but the flights are too expensive. The second ? last year: up to Nairobi by plane and then 4 hours by bus. The third ? make a stopover in Dar Es Salam and then find a way to move to the north of the former Tanganyika.
We look for cheap flights to Dar and find the way at a good price, while we have difficulty? for the return. Let's try on Nairobi, and the ticket? fact: 644 euros including insurance with Turkish Airlines. Can you? spend much less but considering that we opt for the mid-August period and that we moved a month earlier, we can be satisfied.
Dar and Nairobi are almost 1000 kilometers away, between (so to speak) Arusha. Stopping in Dar leads us to visit the nearby Zanzibar, while starting from Nairobi we are tempted to visit the Masai Mara once again. We plan three nights in Stone Town and three at Masai Mara, leaving a week in the center in Arusha.
TANZANIA? a hospitable nation where you can? safely travel in maximum safety. ? it's almost impossible to rent a car (at least we couldn't), but you can use public transport or buses? extra luxury? made available to tourists.
The difference between travelers and tourists? maybe a zero, visit the parks? very expensive, almost unapproachable for young people or those who do not have a budget above 500 dollars a day. But we have tried to live these experiences in an alternative way to agencies and at low cost. Someone would label it to adventure, and instead of adventure there is? was little or nothing also due to the availability? of locals to meet us. Sure you have to have some? adaptability, but believe by maintaining a standard above sufficiency. Put simply sometimes paying? A lot? with the agencies, we found ourselves largely below this sufficiency.
We reach Fiumicino in the early hours of the day, at 5.30 am a? One Parking? to take the car and take it to the depot (cost 3 euros for two weeks). We carry out the boarding procedures and fly at 54 towards Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. We land at 7.10 local time (the same time we will take to Africa) and considering that the flight to Dar? at 10.40 we have time to take a ride in Constantinople. We change 19.10 dollars in Turkish lira for the eventuality, we go down in the basement of the airport to take the Metro. We buy tickets (10 per person round trip at a total cost of 2 dollars). They give us a subway map and teach us where to change to take the tram that takes us to Aga Sofia and the Blue Mosque. The vehicles are not crowded and the route rattles off without problems. In Zeytinburnu we change to take us to the surface and the tram plunges into the city? old. We pass by the Topkapi Gardens and the Grand Bazaar to go down in front of the Cemberlitas Column. We walk along the little shops in the center and we stop at a fast food to make us a sandwich (burger, cola and chips 15 Turkish lira in two about 31 euros). We continue on foot towards the gardens that flank Aga Sofia and the Blue Mosque. The heat is felt, between one stop and the other on the park benches, we take some? Postcard? to the monuments taken by storm by tourists. We go back to the airport well in advance and stop for a beer in the restaurant on the first floor (10 with chips for two beers the equivalent of 56.75 euros). We await the time of boarding and get on foot on the plane that will take us? in Dar Es Salam. Between dinner and breakfast served at one in the morning there is no? been a long time to sleep, in the 21 hours of travel only a few moments to close the eyes.
WE ARRIVE in Dar in the middle of the night, it's 2.35am. Do we carry out the formalities? arriving with the visa queue, we find a trolley where we load our suitcases and go in search of a waiting room to sit and wait for dawn. But with great amazement we realize that the airport? outdoors. It is not so cold and humidity? ? little considering that? night, on the contrary, mosquitoes are many. C ?? other people with us, most of them waiting to leave. ? still night when we ask for information to get to the port. Taxis made a? Cartel? $ 35 for the transfer. Someone offers us a ride, but still not fully aware of the? People? Tanzanian we don't feel like taking risks. Someone knocks on the glass of a currency exchange not far from us, a girl half asleep gets up, she was on the floor sleeping wrapped in a blanket, we take the opportunity to change dollars into local currency.
At 5.30 we take a taxi which takes 40 minutes to get to the port. The streets of Dar start to get crowded and the traffic finds the first traffic jams. We arrive at the ticket office of the Ferry Boat to Zanzibar. The confusion ? a lot and c ?? row. They tell us that we must do it too. But once it's our turn they show us a? Box office? internal what? still closed. We look forward to someone arriving, meanwhile we see that the ferry? already? almost full and ready to go. TICKETS The attendant arrives a few minutes before departure, we are the first in line. Look at our reservation, enter our code on the PC, and it tells us that there is no ticket paid with that code. We look for the telephone number of the agency that issued them ($ 166 4 plus expenses), in the meantime the employee yes? contacted the agency and awaits a response. But first, hurry up the line and leave us last. We are now certain that we have missed the 7 o'clock ferry, will there be any? one at 9, but the wait could add to the tiredness of a sleepless night. The agency's ok arrives at 6.55 and two VIP tickets for boarding. We run to the gate and we notice that the queue for control? still long. A sigh of relief.
FERRY The suitcases are loaded in a container without any receipt and written, they must only be recognized upon arrival. It seems to us an unsafe way, but we still don't know the spirit of this people. A stewardess takes us to the nearest cabin. above, a few places, of which only two are free, are ours. The furniture and the treatment? that of a long-haul plane, televisions for playing games or watching a movie and the hostesses who serve you breakfast. But our seats are under the air conditioning vents, and not even the sweatshirt can? warm up.
Travel ? short, two hours, but more? once we leave the? vip room? to go to second or third class and we realize that it is better there ?. Everyone looks at us with the corner of the eye but without signs. Do you feel immediately, paradoxically, almost more? sure among them that in the "VIP zoo". The port is approaching and we can see it between the heads of the many present. We go in search of our suitcases and we queue to go out.
On the walkway we see crabs rising from the sea to the quay. We are at the port, but what about the water? transparent and you can see the bottom. We have to redo the entry procedures in Tanzania, the same ones done at the airport, why? Zanzibar wants to keep track of our programs. Waiting for us at the exit a taxi driver sent from the hotel (4 dollars) who will take us? at the nearby Rumaisa Hotel (3 nights in a double room 180 euros).
The road from the port to the hotel is not promising. You pass in front of the main entrance and immediately turn into an isolated road where trucks stop. The Hotel? above a cinema, the reception? a corridor where c? a brick seat. The staff for? ? kind, he immediately asks how? been the trip and makes himself available for every request. They assign us the room,? small but very welcoming, c ?? WiFi in the room. The bathroom ? spacious and equipped with everything you need. A shower and immediately to bed to recover a few hours of sleep.
We wake up at lunchtime and go down to ask for information about Stone Town. Do they tell us that we are in the north and can reach any part of the city? on foot. They show us on a map the area of the? Tourist? and they advise us against taking a taxi. Will the map serve us? to orient ourselves, we retrace the road taken with the taxi, pass the entrance to the port and immediately next to c ?? Mercury? s Restaurant, in honor of Freddie Mercury, the unforgotten leader of Queen born in 1946 in Zanzibar.
FLAVORS We sit with the view of the prison island and begin to taste the flavors of the place. We order the Kingfish, which only returned to Italy we discover that? the Mackerel,? seasoned with local spices and served with rice and vegetables. A real treat accompanied by an ice cold beer. We continue the walk along the sea, the works do not allow us to see it in some places, while the surrounding Arab-style buildings are visible including the Old Custom House, the Museum Palace, the House of Wonders, the old Fort, to get to Forodhani Gardens, a garden overlooking the ocean. On our return we enter the city.
STONE TOWN? a real Arab kasbah, a maze of narrow streets full of shops and quivering with all kinds of activities. All ? open, and the eyes of tourists can steal the spirit that the inhabitants yearn for. Every now and then c ?? some? mint? that sticks to you, are the? tourist seekers? who offer you all kinds of solutions to your problem while also trying to speak your language. ? Hakuna matata ?, no problem,? their slogan. They are sometimes asphyxiating but never "dangerous", while the rest of the people see you out of the corner of the eye in their pride. After a while? you feel surrounded by looks, but no one is looking at you, and you feel protected as if everyone were ready to intervene for any problem. A unique, somewhat indescribable sensation that only in Zanzibar and the rest of Tanzania can you perceive.
In the alleys sometimes you get lost and ideas in more areas? deserted surrounded by houses, bare and desolate squares where you can grasp the state of? poverty? of common life, does it assail you a bit? fear, but then children playing or women appear, almost all covered by veils typical of the Arab areas, which reassure you. We emerge from the other side of this almost equilateral triangle, where c ?? the market and we discover that we are a stone's throw from the hotel.
A nap and a refreshing shower and we're back on track. Now? night, the sun sets at 18.30pm after being high 12 hours. Sunrise and sunset are lightning, in a few minutes c ?? oxen or light typical of equatorial areas. We are looking for a restaurant for the evening, but this time we decide to go inside the market and cross all of Stone Town after having repeatedly asked our hotel about the danger. But everyone tells us? Hakuna matata ?, that there are no problems at least until 10 pm.
LOCAL CUSTOMS Between a stall and a small shop you can reach the Giardini in no time. With astonishment we note that they are assaulted by stalls of all kinds. Most prepare dinner: skewers of all kinds, the smells of meat and fish mix with spices. A lot of people, yes? poured into Foradhani Gardens to dine, while there was no one a few hours before. C ?? even some tourists who tease food here and there. But most of them are local, in a sort of? Village fair ?, they gather. We decide not to? Risk it? and go to a restaurant. The pi? close ? the Ocean Grill, you go up to a terrace overlooking the sea. We still order some Kingfish but this time roast (40.000 TZS equal to 18 euros for two including drinks). Can't you? order beer, but if you want, they go to buy it in the nearby shop. They bring it natural, an exquisite dish that makes us appreciate the seaside place. The garden is still teeming with people when we return, the activities? in the city? of stone are closing their doors. C ?? still time to see some small shops and the nocturnal glimpses of the alleys. The tiredness? a lot when we arrive at the hotel. ? Friday? and c ?? queue on our street. They tell us that not far c? a nightclub. While next door in a? Garage? you play and sing. With music and songs we fall asleep, only in the morning do we discover that that place? a sort of private club where weddings are celebrated.
THE TUOR DELLE SPEZIE In the morning we wake up early and we have to wait for 7 to have breakfast. You go up a floor where c ?? a terrace and breakfast outdoors. It's cool, but the view makes you spend pleasant moments. Going down we see the rooster that at 5, 5.30, 6, 6.30 crowed waking us up. ? right in front of our hotel, on an attic to control his chicken coop. We go down to ask for information, we would like to see some? the island. In the hotel they immediately start to ferment and offer us various types of excursions, we opt for the Spice Tour and Kendwa, the most beautiful beach. north of the island ($ 100 for two). The appointment ? at 10, we have time to get to the market and buy a phone card and some biscuits for the trip and above all water.
The guide immediately takes us to the interior of the island along the sea to Bububu and then climbing up a hill. The climate changes, the sky seems threatening and the vegetation? in flourishing. The car stops on a clearing of land. Waiting for us are two guys who immediately introduce themselves and make themselves available. They will be the guides on the Spice Tour. They pick up from the ground and with a cutlass begin to cut. The first ? an intense yellow root that we guess is Turmeric, cos? like Ginger (Ginger for them), then some huge round fruits, then some? curly? reddish that contain seeds used by women to color their lips, a star-shaped fruit with a sour but thirst-quenching taste, the pepper plant, the banana with the typical flower, King Saffron, the bread tree and palm trees . Nice, so? one of them calls himself who even mentions a few words in Italian, climbs up a tree and barks it, the smell? intense and we guess to be the cinnamon cos? like flowers similar to nails, cloves in fact, even vanilla? easy to guess, its berries are clearly visible even if they are green. There are also sugar canes from which, even in the city, they extract? Live? a sweet juice to drink. From a tree they take a fruit that is still green, cut it in two and inside c ?? the nutmeg, in another the papayas still green, while a squirrel escapes our sight. Then the ritual is repeated, one of them binds his feet with an artisan rope knotted in the shape of a figure of eight, and to the sound of music he climbs a palm, plucks a coconut and tells us to drink. We appreciate the freshness and then with the knife he detaches the soft white pulp and hands it to us to eat. A delicacy especially appreciated by children why? energetic and rich in substances. In a shack c ?? some fresh fruit for us, we take a couple of bananas with an intense flavor.
KENDWA We continue north through the intense vegetation. Sometimes the sky also promises rain, but the temperatures are pleasant and the humidity? not excessive. We park in the middle of the poor while a shower of water arrives. We wait a few minutes for it to subside and then we set off in the dust heading towards the sea. A very white beach opens to our eyes with a transparent blue-green sea. For a few moments we are dazzled. In front of the island Tumbatu with various rocks around. We arrived in Kendwa one of the most popular beaches. spectacular of Zanzibar. The beach ? so blinding that the photographs are all burned by the light. In the sea there are numerous fishermen and some tourists on Dhows, the typical boats. Very few people on the beach, someone runs on the water's edge, a small group plays beach volleyball, another one with rackets. Dots lost in an infinity of white. We have lunch in a seaside restaurant l? Essence ($ 21 two delicious chicken cutlets), and then take a long walk south, where a pine forest tempts us. You have to be careful not to step on the crabs that run along the beach, almost impossible to see, and the numerous fragments of coral they can cut. C ?? a fisherman who is preparing the exits for the next exit.
FISHING To what the cape looks like, there is a small breast of the sea crowned by villas on the hill. C ?? even some villages, but? completely camouflaged in the bush. In the distance we see women going into the water. They have with them colored basins and nets. They arrange themselves in a large circle, then some of them with sticks shake the water and the circle gradually narrows in order to bring the herd towards the nets. We photograph long distances with powerful zooms, and immortalize the scene in movies. Repeat more? fishing times, we do not know how much they have caught, but definitely what you need for dinner. Every shot? a postcard, and we never tire of immortalizing them in our memory. Let's go back to Stone Town what? still broad daylight. We want to take a tour in the market that? in full swing. The pi? young people are in the nearby football field, also used as a bus parking area and Dala Dala, playing. It sells everything, from dates to bread, from flour-rice-legumes to fruit-meat-fish. C ?? also the used corner where two sets of golf clubs stand out. Furniture makers are finishing the beds.
CASBA Let's go back to the hotel and get ready for dinner. We dive back into the restaurant area and stop in Archipelago, here too we order the Kingfish (40.000 TZS about 18 euros for two) but they bring it to us in pieces. ? a little? pi? complicated to eat because of the central spine, but? delicious too.
We entertain ourselves in the Garden on a bench in the? Confusion? orderly, every now and then you see some tourists passing by looking for a few bites to eat. In the narrow streets of the center we come across an agency. We ask for the prices of the various tours. It seems more? economic of the previous ones and we book to take us to Paj? the beach more? beautiful (they tell us) of the island. It is located to the south and overlooks the coral reef of the Indian Ocean ($ 50 for two).
Under the hotel is not there? last night's traffic, but to make up for another marriage, we will fall asleep once again at an Afro-oriental rhythm.
MARKET The appointment for the Tour? at 11, c ?? time to go to the market and buy spices. In the covered part c ?? a stall with everything there can? to serve. We want to buy some? of everything, but we understand at our expense why? it is called the Spice Island. There are so many that it would take another suitcase to carry them all. We opt for the pi? precious and more? difficult to find in Italy. First of all King Saffron, then Vanilla and Nutmeg (45.000 TZS about 20 euros double pack). Only these three raise the price so much that by treating the others (long and tiring negotiation) he gives them to us: Cinnamon, Curry, Ginger (Ginger), Curcuma and Cloves. We leave Cumin, Sesame, Chilli and other spices especially for the size.
The market is starting to come alive even though there are still stalls to prepare. In a corner there are some gentlemen sitting on the sidewalk, c ?? who sips a tea who a coffee? who eats something, next to a small stall with thermos and some plastic bags on top:? a bar. ? easy to exchange a few words, almost everyone speaks English. C ?? who ? been a sailor embarked on merchant ships and? also been in Italy, he tells us about the ports of Palermo, Naples, Livorno and Genoa, but also about Portugal, Spain, France and Brazil. The smile ? the interlayer of the face more? evident. But those looks you can see their availability? and the proud character. There are never pushups, never regrets, only the desire to be well liked and think that once you return you speak well of them. The pride of a people that even in? Misery? manages to bring out a smile. We are keen to ask what you think of their land, they are saddened if you talk about it badly, they are proud if you talk about it well. Respect and availability? seems to be their motto.
PORTALS We leave for the Tour not before the same owner of the agency? came to the hotel to check that all things were okay. Are you keen to say that the car? his personal and that the driver would have done everything agreed without any worries. The first stop is the artisan carpentry near Mwera where they work the wood in the magnificent doors. They show us the various stages of processing, they use precious woods such as Mahogany (which cannot be found in Italy), and they also offer us to do a business to export them to Europe. The prices seem very low to us even if we are not experts in this sector, a hand-decorated door tells us that it can? cost up to 2000 euros.
THE CORAL REEF We leave the wood to move on to the one still planted, we skirt the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park and then cut the southern peninsula to the beach of Paje which according to the Agency? the "P? charming. The scenery ? different from the previous day. Can you see the Reef and the beach? pi? narrow even if the white color of the sand? even more? blinding. Perhaps because of the beautiful sunny day, cloudy the day before, so much so that walking is difficult. Are we not far away? from the? huts? where they left us, even here inside you can see some resorts that have not affected the geography of the beach. There are few people and only a few Dhows at sea. C ?? who does the? new sports? of the sea that we do not even know the name, we rent everything and I think everything can be done.
DO IT YOURSELF A sign indicates a restaurant inside, we try to go there but we can't figure out where it is, until we spot a? Tourist? to which we ask for explanations. ? the owner of the Resort where c ?? the restaurant we understand that? Italian but we do not dwell on it. We have lunch at B&F Services (20 dollars, we finished the Shelling otherwise we would have paid less) and we stop at the little bar where we have the appointment. L? they rent huts a ways bungalows on the beach for 50 dollars a day, c ?? even the hammock in front, an alternative way to the Resort. On balance, if you don't want to buy a vacation package, you can? spend very little: 560-650 the flight; 50 the transfer; 150 sleeping and 150 eating, for a total of less than a thousand euros a week in full freedom. If you want to make it two weeks, the price does not increase much: under 1.300 euros per person.
SURPRISE Let's go back to Stone Town what? still day, shower and immediately in the streets of the city? old to steal other flavors and glimpses. The fish eaten at the Ocean Grill leads us to an encore (22 dollars for two people because we ran out of Shelling).
Last night walk in the Forodhani Gardens before returning to the Hotel.
In the meantime, the tickets for the ferry purchased in Italy have arrived from the Agency. Inside the envelope are two accompanied by a letter and 10 dollars. He explains that because of the high air conditioning he complained about on the way out, they moved us to First Class (wider) and gave us the difference back by apologizing.
We book a taxi from the hotel for the following morning where we will have the ferry at 7.00, at 6 we wake up for breakfast prepared for us. The taxi arrives before 6.30 and does not rush us. In 5 minutes it takes us to the Port (taken only for the uncomfortable bulky suitcases to carry along the sandy streets). Boarding? tidy, runs off smoothly. First class seats are comfortable, maybe next time take second class straight. Tell us what the sea? agitated and that the path will be? a little? disadvantaged and that we may also have some delay. Everything goes smoothly, the rough sea? only a few small waves that the powerful catamaran overcomes with ease. We arrive in Dar at 9 on time where waiting for us c ?? a taxi sent by the agency where we bought the transfer to Arusha.
We arrive at the bus parking lot which? outside Dar after having crossed most of it. Traffic ? chaotic but flowing, the smells of engines mix with those coming from the sea. Gi? in Italy we were warned that the drivers were in turmoil and that there could be strikes. The taxi driver leaves us in the car to go and ask what our bus is. We booked two seats in an Extra Luxory Shuttle and instead they let us get on a scheduled bus that goes? Direct? in Arusha making a stopover a bit? in all cities? on the road. On the ticket delivered to us c ?? also the price: 32.800 TZS, a little more? 15 dollars against the 35 paid (the full price was 50). We contact the Agency but they tell us that what? the only one that leaves at this time, the expensive ones leave early in the morning. The bus takes over two hours before leaving, people continue to get on, maybe leave? when will it be? full. He stops immediately at another rest area on the outskirts of Dar. We see it very hard, it's after 11 and 10 hours of travel await us.
CROSSING The seats on the bus are comfortable, the journey rattles off without any problem. The driver? a? crazy? who drives the 56-seat coach as if it were a city car. At each stop there are vendors of various drinks and food. Do you go up and down continuously? even if the stops are only in the? large? city. We chose the bus and not the plane to get an idea of the hinterland of Tanzania. The hut made of mud with a roof of mats? the house pi? frequently, some have a tin roof, others are made of brick. Houses are rarely seen as we consider them. In the crossbeams of the asphalted road you can perceive small dirt roads where you can sometimes see villages. The barnyard (if you can call it that)? a patch of land in front of the houses often full of animals (goats, sheep, chickens as well as dogs and cats) and very young children. At each intersection there are activities? and the inevitable motorcycles with the driver on them. Only later did we understand that it is the local taxis that take us to the villages. The scenarios change constantly. It starts from the sea to enter a desert and dusty area. Are the roads a ribbon of tar that rises and falls without deforming the roughness? of the ground. At the height of Segera the scenario changes. The road climbs on the plateau and the vegetation becomes more? luxuriant. A child, perhaps 10 years old, climbs up to Segera and sells soft drinks and biscuits. After making the rounds of the bus, he sits up front on the engine. The driver leaves without asking him anything. They are in the front row, eyes meet and there are the first smiles. I vacate the seat next to me and make him sit down, he is immediately reprimanded by an elderly person from the next seat. I can't understand a single word but I guess they said each other.
The Elder: Who told you to sit down, get up immediately and don't bother the Zumbu (that's what we foreigners are called).
The Child:? But the Zumbu told me to sit down !?
The Elder: So you stay there? and don't bother?
We made a stop under the mountains at a? Gas station? where the driver had dinner and then we left. The kid with his box full of sodas and cookies? came down just ahead when the evening now? dropped.
CULTURE AND TOURISM We arrived in Arusha when the lights of the city? they were on. The taxi sent by the hotel took us to the Korona. Without traffic the journey there? seemed very long, in fact the Korona is not? in Arusha as reported, but in Njiro which is about 12 Km.
We booked the first three nights here and realized we made a big mistake. The room ? small but cozy, c ?? WiFi in the room that allows us to connect with the world. We ask if you can? dine, cooking? already? closed but they can bring us some toast, better than nothing during the trip we only ate cereals.
The tiredness? a lot even if the trip? all in all very pleasant.
In the morning we get up for breakfast. We have to find a way to get to the center to organize the week, Charles the manager of the hotel gives us a tear and then asks us for 20.000 shelling, to take us to the Boshimani on the mountains of Lake Easy asks us 700 dollars, a person to avoid like there Hotel too far from the ammenoch center? you don't want to go to Arusha to go on Safari. After taking a tour of the city, we arrive at the Cultural Tourist Agency where they offer us various cultural visits to do. Among our objectives c ?? to go and visit the Hazdabe under the Ngorongoro. They put us in contact with George the guide who proposes to limit the costs as much as possible using public transport, for the visit it takes 5 dollars per person to enter, 20 for a visit to a community, 30 for the guide, 25 for the jeep who will take us? on the mountains. In Italy already? we had booked a hotel in Karatu, the last city? before Ngorono and Lake Easy. We also opt for a day with the Masai ($ 75). The appointment the next morning at 8. We go out for lunch in the nearby African Caff? (42.000 TZS, about 19 euros). We inquire about transport in Karatu and they offer us the Shattle, a 9-seater van that takes about 3 hours with a cost of 7000 TZS about 2 euros per person. They tell us that they leave continuously from morning to evening. While George informs himself that from Karatu to Garofali there is a jeep that acts as a shuttle at 8 in the morning and returns at 14, we give him the ok to reserve seats. George an exquisite person, available, understanding and very prepared, we would like to meet him again on another trip? who knows ?!
THE PEOPLE In the meantime we realize that our choice to get to know Arusha better was worthwhile. Colors, characters and nature come together in this city? founded by the Arusha, hence the name, a people similar to the Masai at the beginning of the 800th century who, unlike the Masai shepherds, are dedicated to agriculture. They populated the rainforest at the top of the Burka River southwest of Mount Meru (4566m). Ah the Masai! The Masai people live in the flat area that stretches from the Rift Valley in Kenya to a hundred kilometers from Nairobi to the center of Tanzania. See Masai villages near Arusha and very simple thing, like being able to participate in their markets. Each zone make one a week which gathers the villages of very large areas. Last year we saw one 50 km from Arusha in the direction of Dodoma who will leave us? literally dazed.
Let's go back to the hotel with a taxi (10000 TZS, about 9 euros), can we rest a bit? and then we decide to have dinner at the hotel. You have to order in advance and set the time, you can dine outdoors under the straw umbrellas. The temperature in Arusha in the evening drops below 20?, A sweater is enough.
A little? network, viewing some photos and go to bed.
VITA MASAI We wake up at 7 to have breakfast, we call the taxi of the day before, but at 7.30 it sends us a text message saying that it cannot? pi? to come. We go out into the street and find an empty Dala Dala that is starting its path. A unique experience, each passer-by the little man asks to get on, as tireless as braking and accelerating. He takes us downtown and asks us for 400 TZS less than 20 cents per person. We arrive on time for the appointment at the Cultural Center, Thomas is waiting for us a? True? But you know. On foot we arrive at the bus station and negotiate three places for Oldonyo Sambu, the site of our visit: 15000 TZS in three (7 euros) and we leave in 12 one goes up in the trunk. Four per seat apart from us who are three also because of our size. After about forty minutes we arrived. The village or rather the villages are located on the road leading to Nairobi immediately after bypassing Mount Meru. We start walking in the fields, maybe a couple of kilometers before stopping at the Village that will host us. On the way we cross a woman who is going to get water, will she have to? do 3 kilometers to find it and the same for the return. Once we get there they offer us some tea, the cups still smell and taste like milk. We can use the bathroom, a hut with a squat toilet, and relax. C ?? even a hut to accommodate tourists if there is also an overnight stay on the tour. Outside the animals. They don't let us into the actual village (we don't ask).
THE PRIMARY SCHOOL Thomas asks us if we want to visit a Masai school. We answer yes. We set off again through the fields, another couple of kilometers in the dust. Every now and then we cross some cattle that are always watched by children perhaps less than 8 years old. We arrive at the school and Thomas introduces us to the principal. Can you explain the difficulties? to find funds to buy new desks, and find other teachers to streamline classes. We enter the third, there are 133 boys, 4 per desk (instead of two). They are all neat, clean and dressed alike. They greet us together, and answer questions in unison. We get goose skin. Thomas explains that Oldonyo Sambu has a population of about 3000 Masai, 1500 are the children who attend that school. We would love to help them, they don't ask for alms, just a hand to do it alone. Volunteering comes to mind, you could do various activities, from the manual ones such as the bricklayer, the painter, the electrician, etc. to the didactic ones to thin out a bit? the classes. We would very much like to find out about a similar project. (editor's note: back home we went to find the school on the maps, there are no signs anywhere. Yet? big, at least four casoni?). After the third? the time of the fourth the boys are less but more and more? of a hundred, cos? like the fifth, the sixth, the seventh and the eighth. They proudly show us the electricity produced by photovoltaic panels. Arusha itself has this problem, so much so that many activities? have the generator why? there is often no electricity. Time flies and we say goodbye to the boys and go back to the Village.
MASAI LUNCH We rest under the hut but? already? lunch time. They bring us two steaming pans, in one c ?? some rice, in the other the stewed potatoes. We take small portions in case they are not to our taste. But c ?? an encore for rice, while we take potatoes three times. Delicious flavors and smells, simple but very appetizing meal. Thomas appreciates our appetite, but he was already done? a platter and also does an encore.
They offer us to visit the? Medicine? a sort of Strogone (pass me the word) who draws healing herbs from plants. We enter the hut where c? a woman we met in the morning. He explains the various herbs and what they are for. Then he asks us to read the future? let's say no. The weather ? flew and? time to go back. We retrace the journey in the middle of the dust of the Savannah between wadis and cacti and at the end we arrive on the paved road. Thomas stands aside on the phone, we joke with taxi drivers on motorcycles. We ask them to take us for a ride, first they tell us to get on then they understand that we want to drive and get off. As if he were a lifelong friend who lends you his bike to take a ride. Let's say we're joking and they almost take offense that we didn't accept? then just a smile why? everything passes.
RETURN Thomas in the meantime has found a lift for 20000 TZS (9 euros for three). We leave but at the gates of Arusha the car stops for petrol. We take the opportunity to take the compressed air gun and take off a bit? of dust. Nobody had thought about it and they start laughing. Thomas also lets himself be cleared of air in front of the amazement of all the employees of the station. A good general laugh and off we go. Arusha? close and we let us take us to the center. We take the opportunity to check out the new hotel we booked from Italy right near the station. ? an old palace, the Hotel Joshmal (double room 100 euros for two nights),? above a bank. We ask if we can leave our suitcases so as not to take them with us to Karatu,? Hakuna matata ?, no problem like the spirit of the people.
Let's go back to the Korona with the Dala Dala (500 TZS in two less than 25 cents), the road seems even more? long.
Shower on the fly to try to remove the dust and dinner.
The next morning we ask for the bill, the hotel is already there. paid (three nights in a double 166 euros) but there are the extras: the three dinners 59.000 TZS, the two taxis 40.000 TZS in total almost 45 euros).
MASAI MARKET Breakfast and taxi (15.000 TZS, about 6.50 euros) to get to Joshmal and deliver the bags. We have the whole morning to plan, they tell us that c ?? a Masai village at 7 km but which can not? arrive with the Dala Dala. We deal with a taxi that takes us and brings us back for 35.000 TZS (15 euros). We arrive at Ngaramtoni that the market has yet to? Explode ?. There are the first merchandise on the ground, others are still unloading from donkey carts or Dala Dala. We wait an hour for the market to populate, but we are unable to fully grasp the typical kaleidoscopic turmoil. We don't want to arrive in Karatu late, so we decide to return. We are taken to the center and shortly after we put ourselves on the Shattle for Karatu waiting for the departure. Do they tell us that I will leave? when will it be? full. But we couldn't imagine what full means 12 people in a 7 (9 narrow) minivan. Travel ? short but hallucinating, isn't there ?? not even space to move a foot. We go down laughing but in fact we are destroyed.
KOBE We arrive at the Kobe House on foot, also to stretch our legs. ? a real house with its garden, they show us four rooms for the choice. ? all at our disposal, we choose one with two double beds, in the bathroom c ?? the essential. The place ? heavenly, it feels like being at home. The two boys who are on guard are extremely available, too bad there is no Internet connection. George comes in the afternoon to work out the next day's program. Has it already? booked the move to Garofali and then to the Hadzabe. ? enthusiastic about what we're going to see and explains it to us with shining eyes. Then he will put? on the car that takes us back to Karatu I refer to Garofani. A tea together and goodbye the next morning, will come? at the Hotel at 7.30.
ALTERNATIVE In the meantime, a Jeep arrives,? one of the managers of the hotel. We congratulate him, he is happy to make himself available for any eventuality. For example, the very expensive Ngorongoro could be visited at a low price starting from Karatu and renting a Jeep with a guide for a day at the cost of 150 dollars, to these you must add 50 dollars per person to enter the park and 100 dollars to go down into the crater. While for the Serengheti the costs are, in addition to 50 to enter the park, 60 per day to stay there and tells us that c ?? a sister Kobe House that could accommodate us at a price of $ 50 per day.
One of the main problems of Tanzania in fact? the stratospheric cost of safaris. They have the best a tourist can do. look like the sea (Zanzibar and Pemba, but also the coast with Tanga and Dar), the most? beautiful and full of animals of the world such as the Serengheti, the Ngorongoro, the Tarangiri and the Selous just to name the most? famous), the lakes (above all Lake Manyara with the Flamingos), the mountain with Kilimanjaro, peoples such as the Masai, the Hadzabe and the Datoga but are not accessible to all wallets. Many times to lower prices, Tour Operators offer camping in tents when there are hotels at a lower price. bass. Just to get an idea three days (two nights) at Serengeti and Ngorongoro? difficult to find under 600 euros (double the Masai Mara which is the Kenyan part of the Serengheti). How much proposed by Lohay? the half? (210 for park entrances, 50 for sleeping plus the cost of the car to be shared) would be a good idea to return. We take all contact details.
The evening passes with a walk through the? Countryside? from Karatu, we are brought back by a risho made with bee (3000 TZS about 1.30 euros) and then the dinner prepared on site by one of the staff who asks us what we want to eat before cooking. He prepares us a good roast chicken with potatoes and rice, he lacks a drink but goes to town? to get us an ice cold beer.
He puts it in place, cooks it and tells us to lock it up why? we will be alone.
The following morning at 6 we were awakened by the noises of his return. At 7 we have breakfast with George what? came to pick up (on foot of course). Do we leave PCs and other things in the hotel with maximum availability? boys. We arrive at the bus station and locate ours. ? an old Land Rover used for the transport of things and people. The people inside: 4 in front and 4 behind, three side benches and three central folding seats in the bed for a total of 17. Things? Everywhere, on the roof the most? bulky, but the rest everywhere two packages on the hood instead of the spare wheel. After the experience made the day before, we decide to buy 4 tickets for three seats (20.000 TZS about 9 euros) in order to be comfortable in the bumpy path. The driver accepts immediately and the other occupants say nothing. We leave with an hour late for Garofali, soon we leave the paved road to enter the Savannah. The street ? a rough path you go up and down always following the ground. We only meet a bridge that spans a dry river. If you meet a few villages, it seems that you are crossing a forest. Inside the Jeep you cannot see the road well, our height penalizes us.
HADZABE We arrive in Garofali after an hour of travel and they make us get off in front of a closed house. George calls our new driver who appears in the dust within minutes. ? another old Land Rover, but this time there are only three of us and the journey should be short. In no time we are on the? Rocks? home of the Hadzabe Bushmen. We climb a hill,? midday, and the heat is felt on the legs. The first thing we see? the village made of huts. They are very peculiar, different from the Kalahari Bushmen. Do they also use bamboo? and over cloths to shelter the rain. There seems to be none. Then George takes us behind a large rock and underneath, sheltered from the sun, there are men next to a fire. They greet us cordially but shyly, and then resume their activities. C ?? who is working an arrow, who is adjusting a shoe using a stone, who is grinding a knife. One of the most? old people is smoking a joint, they get hash in the city? and wrap it in newspaper. The pi? little ones look at the big ones and try to behave like them. They give us little confidence, but at the same time they don't make us feel uncomfortable. We take pictures and make films, they remain indifferent. In the photos revisited from a distance, no one looks into the room.
THE WOMEN We spend half an hour with them running fast then we move to the women. The two groups never live together during the day. With the women there are also the little ones. They look at us without giving us so much confidence, some more? shy are on the rocks. Women continue their jobs such as creating necklaces and bracelets by threading beads perhaps bought in the city. But there are also seeds, perhaps collected and pierced by them. A child with a stone breaks a large walnut, inside there are white fruits that he swallows succulently. We ask George what it is, he with the utmost delicacy takes some from the child's hand and hands them to us to taste them. They are the fruits of the Baobab, sweet, even the other children want them. Let's say it's their candy.
When it all seems over, they come in a circle and start singing and dancing for us. A dance started by the young people, then arranged in a circle, the children and women began to arrive. A hunters' dance, perhaps propitiatory for the success of the hunt. They are pagans, they have no gods, the only divinity? ? the sun. Are there no families in the community? but the women, who command, are promiscuous and decide from time to time their man. They never tell their children who? the father to keep the community together. There are a handful of Hadzabe around 700 left and? a people destined to disappear, with them the Bushman traditions. The village chief has some arrows in his hand, he gives us one as a gift, we give him a small contribution in money, and he is happy to give us another. Are they the most? nice souvenirs we've ever brought home, two arrows? true? of the Hadzabe people. The tips are sharp and iron, we risk hurting ourselves to wear them.
DATOGA Going down we stopped at a Datoga village, skilled in iron working. They showed us how copper, brass or silver bracelets are made. Their processing techniques. They start from copper scrap, old pipes, taps, and then melt them in the burning embers thanks to bellows. Then the village, very similar to the Masai one (but don't tell them because the two peoples are always fighting for the territory), and finally they sang and danced for us. C ?? the time to see the headquarters of the organization that allowed us this visit, the entrance hut? papered with photos of the peoples we have known. The past three hours have flown by, the bus for Karatu is waiting for us. We stop in the little house where they left us. They let us in,? a bar with a comfortable lounge inside. We can relax in waiting. Meanwhile George has his arrows wrapped up dividing the wooden part from the iron one. The Jeep arrives and greets us quickly. On the way back we booked three seats, but still there? a fourth person on the seat but? a child of about ten who does nothing but look at us for the whole trip. But on the way the Land Rover stops in front of a hut, there are bags of coal to load. Not fix them? an easy task, but no one is discouraged, not even the many who wait inside the car. Both the owner of the bags and the driver get on and off the roof of the Jeep, then block them with ropes, but coal falls from a bag. Nobody cares, the stop? long but there is no grumbling. Then we leave again, coal falls at each hole.
RETURN We arrive in Karatu in the early afternoon and leave us in front of the hotel. We collect what we have left, say goodbye to the two boys and go to the bus station. Does the phone ring? George who wants to make sure everything went smoothly. He thanks us for the past day, but we reply that we are the ones to thank him for the availability? infinity.
We arrive at the square to take the first shuttle to Arusha. This time with 10 dollars we secure three seats, the trip seems more? short. Let's go down that gi? ? dark, but the hotel? a few meters away and the crowded streets of the center are still in turmoil. We immediately ask if we can have dinner, they tell us that there is not? hurry the kitchen? open until 22. A quick shower and we are in the restaurant to book (26.000 TZS in two about 11 euros) including beers. In the room c ?? WiFi and we connect to the network even if the electricity is often missing, the Hotel? equipped with a generator that for? use only at night.
SHOPPING The next morning we get up at dawn, we see Mount Meru in its entirety before the clouds of the day cover it. We decide to spend a day in the city? without doing big things. We are looking for the restaurant Via Via che? close to the museum in a kind of forest oasis. ? the crossroads of tourism, can various tours be organized and the staff? available for any type of information. At night it comes alive with live shows. We ask for information on the markets, and we realize that what we wanted to go and see in Oldonyo Sambu (do you remember the Masai village?) Was today and not tomorrow as we thought. But the energy left over after the day does not give us the sprint to restart and we give up. We look for where to visit one the next day before leaving for Nairobi. We fail to grasp certain information and decide to see it on the Internet.
We stop at the New Safari Hotel near the Piazza dell? Orologio for lunch (23.000 TZS about 10 euros two wood-fired pizzas with relative drinks), coffee? we take it at the African Cafe (6500 TZS). Then we go to a small supermarket to buy the coffee? and tea to take to Italy. Both are local products of high quality.
SCIUSCIA? We stop in a small square where there are? Sciusci ?? and we clean our shoes dusty from the walks of the previous days. The cleaning ? meticulous and it takes more? of an hour before getting them back. In the meantime, they hand us sandals. We are the only? Tourists ?, the queue of customers? all local. They wait without making a fuss, behind c ?? also a tailor. All in the sunlight. In front of our eyes daily life unfolds. The square? also the meeting point for motorcycle taxis.
Do we return to our hotel not before having visited the casino? what at that time? closed to the public but open for the curious like us. A stop at the various numerous shops. We stop to see the phones, behind the window you can? see a barber that divides the shop. It deserves a photo, but they are not very popular with the population and therefore we imprint it only in our minds. We inquire at the bus station about the Masai markets of tomorrow, but the answers are vague and not convincing. Back in our hotel room we connect to the internet where a tourist posted on his site all the Masai Market close to Arusha, on Sunday there is n? one in Monduli Chili. We go down to ask the shuttle drivers for information, but no one knows where the market is really located. Area ? the one where we saw him last year but?
? the time of sunset, we go up to the seventh floor to take some photos of Mount Meru that yes? totally uncovered and in Arusha. We immortalize it with the pink tip and the rest in the dark, the fruit of vespers. Dinner at the hotel (26.000 TZS for two about 11 euros) and immediately to sleep.
ADVENTURE After breakfast we prepare the suitcases at 14 the Shuttle to Nairobi awaits us, but first c ?? a whole morning to plan. We go down the street and at the first taxi we ask if he will take us to Monduli Chili. We agree on the price and the time of return and with an old battered car we set off. At the first petrol pump the driver gets out to refuel and asks us 10.000 TZS in advance. Shall we go out of town? and we cross the Caffé plantations? Kisongo and Arusha Airport, then Duka Bovu, we pass the Monduli crossroads and the taxi driver begins to worry. We quickly realize that Monduli Chili does not have the pi? faint idea where he is. We tell him to continue convinced that it is the one seen last year that was right next to the road. But Monduli goes away, in the meantime the police stop us, but even they don't know where he is. Three Maasai women are on the road, perhaps? better ask them? In fact they tell us that we have far exceeded the crossroads where to turn and Monduli Chili? on the Monduli road near the military academy. The taxi driver makes a U-turn in the wide street and at the first petrol pump puts another 400 TZS (less than two euros). We arrive at the crossroads and set out on the long straight that climbs to Monduli. After the Academy, in a tree-lined avenue, you turn left and you start to see the first houses up the hill. We ask for information and they tell us that we must continue on foot along a dirt path. S? Begin to see the first vendors, and then in an arid expanse the Masai Market which is not? still in full expansion. The colors are indescribable, the women are all well dressed as if it were a party. Necklaces and earrings on the typical? Sheets? colored and on top of large bright scarves. A kaleidoscopic carnival riot full of smiles. Under the esplanade a football field with other Masai intent on looking after the cattle. We buy a? Blanket? and a scarf with typical colors and? we oblige? the seller to take pictures of her. The Masai do not like to be photographed, many ask for money, others turn their heads. The market slowly comes alive but for us? time to come back. We are looking for the taxi driver who? in front of a small house intent on talking. How do you notice us immediately runs to us,? cheerful and on a piece of paper yes? did you write in English the extra for the extra path? done. Once again with a smile we treat and tell him that we will face the gasoline costs. We get back in the car and at the first distributor stops to put another 10.000 TZS and there are three, how many times? stopped. Such a thing had never happened to us, perhaps only in Tanzania certain things happen, but we do not know the reason at all, also why? all ? done in the most? natural.
GOODBYE We arrive in Arusha what? already? past one, at one thirty they come to pick us up to take us to the shuttle departure, so? we had agreed but? a confirmation phone call is always better. Not C?? time to have lunch at the hotel, we will take a packet of biscuits, we will have dinner in Nairobi.
They sell to pick us up early, another contradiction of Africa, and take us to the other side of the city. where the buses to Nairobi leave. We are the first to go up and we can choose the best seats. Two o'clock arrives and there are only three Indians on the bus, with some? the company competing to ours leaves late. It's half past two and people are still waiting. At three o'clock the driver turns on the engine of the old 24-seater minibus. We are not in a hurry, the suitcases are still on the ground waiting for accommodation. If we are few they will be loaded on the seats, otherwise on the roof. This decision is made and in a seraphic calm, with laces and ropes, all the luggage is arranged. We too have lost track of time, in any case we are not in a hurry, the only concern? that of not arriving in Nairobi at night, but now it seems inevitable. We had this shift already? done last year on a comfortable 56-seater bus, almost empty and arrived? about four hours late. We know what we will face. Did we get a hotel on the road in the south of Nairobi just to avoid crossing the city? smog. First stop a big distributor in Arusha, the full tank and the driver who goes to the bathroom. Finally we leave and retrace the path known in the previous trips. We arrive at the border of Namanga to carry out the formalities? customs. We queue to get out of Tanzania, the one to buy a visa for Kenya (50 dollars per person) and then we get back on the old bus. C ?? few people maybe why? ? Sunday. We remembered it full of sellers of everything, and instead only a few groups of Masai who sell various necklaces and trinkets. The frontier ? all rearranged and the road resurfaced and now crosses a new bridge.
KENYA After a while? we ask the driver if he takes us to our hotel. She doesn't know him, but she gets help from a guy who? sitting next. ? him to explain where he is and then tells us that the bus does not pass by there? and will take us? at the depot in the city center. The boy enters the discussion and tells him something in Swahili, then turns to us and asks if we have the telephone number of the hotel. He gives it to our phone and calls him. Then he still addresses the driver in his own language, and then tells us not to worry why? l? Hotel mander? at a given meeting point a taxi. We remain perplexed, but we just have to wait to see if all this? ? true. We realize we are almost there when we cross Athi River, the last town before the intersection that will enter us. on the Mobasa-Nairobi ridge that goes to Uganda. Traffic ? intense, the Dala Dala constantly cut our way. People ? poured out on the street as a prey to Christmas shopping. Are there also some? Curtains? stages set up where you can sing and dance. ? already? night but it seems that people have woken up now. The stretch after? a strip of tar that crosses a valley, above the large four-lane motorway with a central reservation from the Brenner motorway.
Traffic flows and we see the first lights in the sky of the planes. You arrive at the junction with the international airport and on the left the Nairobi National Park. We cross the industrial area and then that of the dealerships with the first large hotels and shopping centers. We do not arrive at the first roundabout that the bus stops at a service station. They tell us to get off that we have arrived, a gentleman comes to meet us. We unload the suitcases, the customary greetings and thanks and get on the taxi. The outlying streets are dark but full of cars.
THE SUITE In a matter of minutes we are at the Margharibi Suites Hotel (77 euros for the double with breakfast), but the taxi driver doesn't know where? the entrance. C ?? an undeciphered number of security officers, one of them shows him the way. We unload the suitcases and we are brought to the reception but first we are? Scanned? as if we were at the entrance of an airport. The reception girl? smiling and kind, he asks for our passport and carries out all the formalities. The impression? very good, the last night we had booked it in another hotel more? expensive, we ask for availability? per day, through the Internet we can cancel without penalty and book here, we say we are confident. We go up and take possession of our studio apartment, a studio apartment where there is ?? everything to live there. The bathroom ? a little? small, but c ?? everything you need, just understand how it works. A shower (how do you get hot water? We find the button outside the door) and go down to dinner. They tell us that there are no restaurants open inside the megastructure, but that just off the road there are no restaurants. to choose. In fact, in front of c ?? a Shopping Center (T-Mall) and next to a place where you can? have dinner. The Taidy? S? full of people, c ?? those who sip a beer with friends, those who play billiards, those who watch the numerous TVs on, few have dinner. Maybe why? ? too early, but we ask a waitress for the men? and tells us that the kitchen? open. The choice ? ample and waiting? long then we deduce that they are dishes cooked on the spot and not prepackaged. Two beers and pork ribs in a very hot chili sauce (15 euros total) and more? can you? pay by credit card almost? banned? in Tanzania. Tired and full, we return to the hotel not before having booked for another night, the one returning from the Safari.
We wake up early and before 7 we are at the top of the hotel terrace to have breakfast. You can see all of Nairobi with its skyscrapers in the distance. The skyline? lovely, too bad not to have cameras with you. Not C?? the time to go and get them why? they call us saying they are waiting for us,? the taxi sent by the agency to take us to the appointment in the center.
Traffic ? intense and the driver looks for the secondary roads to get around it. We arrive on a street where off-road vehicles are parked in the center. All ? closed is not yet 8. The driver is not in a hurry but tells us not to get out of the car. Nairobi not? a city? safe and those who live there know it well. The first little man from the agency arrives, greets us and tells us to wait. Then a girl who gets in the car with us. He talks to us about the Safari and tells us that it will be? as we had specified in the booking. We pay inside the car and it takes us to a side street. He makes us get into a 4x4 van and tells us to take the seats and wait. Meanwhile, people follow one another loading boxes into the trunk. We ask how many there will be, but the answer? vague 5 or 6. A Chinese and a Korean arrive, wait a bit? then off we go. The driver? a young man who introduces himself with the name of Antony. We do not take the main road but other side streets. The bus stops again, maybe we are waiting for someone. After a while? Two girls arrive, one Russian, the other Ukrainian and an Englishman. Are we seven on the team? done, let's go!
The Korean? the pi? quivering why? do? only one night so the safari this afternoon and tomorrow morning. ? an engineer who? came to Kenya for a congress and took the opportunity to see the animals. Tell us about your experiences,? spent 10 years in Angola. The Chinese ? of Chendu but don't utter a word of English. The two Soviets strike up friendship with the Englishman, a handsome young man. First stop at a gas station, where Antony is full and we don't buy some? of junk for the trip. Another stop is obligatory? the Rift Valley with its suggestive panorama. The speed? cruise? very low do not exceed 70Kmh. We arrive in Narok at lunchtime ,? the last city before the park. We stop to eat in a kind of restaurant where we had stopped the year before and we remained fasting. ? a self service with soup to pour on quickly washed dishes. This time c ?? rice and fries, we decide to take a risk (so to speak since we are vaccinated against typhus). We get back on the road after an hour of rest and the road begins to be white first and then to the ground. Drivers prefer parallel beatings in the savannah. We arrive at the Aitong junction and turn left towards the mountains. We travel about seventy kilometers along the park until we reach the village of Ololaimutiek then we go up the mountain until we reach the Lenchanda Tourist Camp.
CAMPING A very spartan tented camp where they welcome us with a coffee. They give us the tent and we notice that? very spacious with even three (comfortable) beds. The masonry bathroom? personal and? behind with three compartments divided by comfortable walls of one and a half meters: toilet, sink and shower.
We leave immediately for the first safari. Gnu and Zebbre are the first to come to meet us, then the numerous and multicolored birds. A group of Oryxes and Giraffa mother and son, behind a group more? numerous. How does a warthog see us run away like this? like a Jackal. On the hill you can see the rainbow that makes a beautiful and auspicious effect. Behind a bush a Lion next to his meal which he eagerly devours. The sun sets on the Masai Mara we immortalize it next to an acacia. But c ?? still time to see a pair of Lions. She is lying down, He with his head raised, some wounds can be seen, has one eye closed, perhaps? blind. The Lioness gets up and carries herself over a rock, roars in the setting sun. Do you know what time the temperature drops and? the time of the hunt. Scan the horizon in search of some prey. Then he sits back on the boulder and waits. We cannot do it, we have a few minutes to reach the Gate which follows the timetable of the sun.
Antony tackles the dirt tracks like in a rally trying to get there in time before closing. ? now at night when the structure is glimpsed, there are Jeeps lined up to exit, but ours takes a secondary road and goes up the hill. An earthy path that leads us directly to Camp. C ?? time for a quick shower who come to call us for dinner.
The light ? suffused created by a generator that acts as a soundtrack. Under the shed, the mo? feast of unity, with checkered tablecloths on top that recall Masai fabrics. On the table at the back, the containers with food. C ?? row, there are many tourists. The still moist dishes are taken one by one. In the first compartment there is ?? of the pur? potatoes, spaghetti in the second, vegetables and stew in the third, then glasses and thermos with hot water to be able to make tea or coffee. We eat the meal quickly, we exchange a few words with the neighbors. Most are young Asians. The electric current is found only in this area and therefore the various chargers are brought to find them efficient the next day. Here the generator is activated from 5.30 to 6.30 in the morning and from 18.30 to and 20.30 in the evening, the rest is done by the sun. We download the photos, the pi? beautiful are those of the sunset and everyone shows them boasting.
SECOND DAY Antony changes the program, wake up at 7 to leave at 7.30. We are frenzied we came here to do morning and night safaris not to take a vacation. He insists but tells us we will be back at sunset. There are more? the Korean and the English, in their place a young couple from Hong Kong. Do we leave when the sun? already? high. Only Gnu, Oryx, Spring Box and Zebbre are standing, the other animals are difficult to find why? they sleep under the bush. The vultures finish the meals left by the Lions first, Hyenas and Jackals later. Nothing is thrown into the Savannah and this means that the carcasses do not rot, transmitting harmful diseases. Under a tree, a Cheetah raises his head every now and then to scan and smell the horizon. Under the acacias, the wildebeests gather in search of shade. A pair of Lions? under a tree. He stands up and roars, then lies down beside her. A herd of Elephants? looking for food among the tall vegetation. Still Vultures, Snakes, Gnu and Zebbre and in the background a group of Giraffes. Two cheetahs rest under a tree in the shade, under the hot sun they don't even have the strength to raise their heads. We stop near a pond where we picnic under an acacia. The Masai colored tablecloth is spread on the ground where we place our baskets and we can sit sheltered from insects. Then we resume the march towards the Masai River where you can see Hippos and Crocodiles. Under the bush two Leopards, we stop for a long time to try to see them better, in the end we give up and we are satisfied with their tails. On the other side of the river c ?? one crossed, when do we arrive? already? finished. We stop nearby where a large herd? on the shore ready to cross. The first attempts are unsuccessful, the frightened Zebbre go up the steep banks. Other attempts, but nothing done. Then ? the vault of a Zebbra who, regardless of high water, wades the Mara River to reach the Serengeti. Behind her a group of Zebbre in single file then numerous Gnus. ? the migration of animals between the two areas of the Great National Park which is divided into the two states without a real border. We spend at least half an hour admiring, filming and photographing the herds that cross the river. A unique spectacle that only this Park is more? to exhibit. Eventually the single file is lost in the horizon and the water turned brown from the passage. We are left with a spectacle of nature that is difficult to review. Antony? satisfied perhaps more? of us, and set off again towards Camp. Giraffes, Cheetahs no longer arouse? a lot of attention, then a couple of spotted hyenas, we only have time for a fleeting shot and go. ? the time of sunset that we immortalize with an acacia typical of the Masai Mara in the background,? night when we meet a lone Elephant.
Dinner at Camp? ready c ?? the time for a shower to be in line to help yourself. Dinner ? the same, but now we do not do more? case. We can't wait to download the photos to the PC and see them. But the accumulated fatigue? so much, we realize that we are the only ones left inside the big hut.
In the morning the noise of the generator wakes us up, we don't even look at the clock, it will be 5:6 and :? breakfast to leave at 6.30 for the morning safari. We have time to see the aurora which traces strange indigo streaks in the sky like a northern lights. Let's try to photograph it, but the light? so little that there is only a black spot. But a few moments later the light of the sun becomes intense, which we catch behind an acacia with an animal grazing. A screensaver photo that we immortalize. Antony hears something on the radio and accelerates, heads towards the hills. We think it was a feline, maybe a Leopard. And instead, to our amazement, a very rare Black Rhinoceros running across the hill. We follow him, we risk putting a dozing Lion under the bushes. We do not even deign a glance, the Black Rhino? endangered and we had seen it pi? once but so far that the powerful 1200 zoom couldn't bring it into focus. This time ? so close that we can see it in its majesty. He does not like to be seen and runs to seek shelter. But the hill? open for hundreds and hundreds of meters and we do nothing but film and take pictures. The chase lasts several minutes until our 4x4 can? pi? go ahead why? the two hills separate. Pi? ahead we see a cheetah. Maybe ? a pregnant female, her belly touches the ground. ? in full activity? look for some prey. It smells the ground and moves in the Savannah. He climbs first on a rock, then on a tree and marks the territory, then on a dry tree to scan the horizon. We lose it when it hides in bushes. We continue and we find a group of Lions that is flesh out a carcass of Gnu. Are the Lionesses to eat, the males will be already? under the shade with a full belly. We move and we come across a group of Elephants then Giraffes, they are so close that we immortalize them in passport format. We return to the crime scene and this time we find two young people eating. They are full and play with the torn prey as if it were still alive. Someone says? Training? that we translate into training, for when they are big and will have to hunt. Antony gets in the front row obscuring the scene from the other Jeeps with a few gestures on the part of the expedition members. We stay and film the scene for a few minutes? from BBC documentary. We meet other Lions and Cheetahs, but they are lying under the shade and we do not even deign them a photo. Then a group of Vultures that pulp that bit? that ? leftover of a Gnu carcass. Pi? in l? a Jackal, surely already? satiated. We stop on the banks of a tributary of the Mara River which forms the border between the Park and the Private Reserves. C ?? a not well deciphered number of Hippos, every now and then someone's head emerges from the water, to disappear others. Antony takes the opportunity to look under the 4x4, is something wrong already? from Nairobi. ? a race to return to the Camp, you choose to leave the Sarova Gate to skirt the Park, we don't know why? of the choice but Antony pi? that a guide looks like a mix between a taxi driver and a rally driver with his sometimes meaningless off-track. We wonder if they were all like him, the Masai Mara would soon become arid, a large expanse without animals. We are certainly not happy to return like this? soon at the Camp just in the hours when the animals resume their activities. Come back to do what? Antony does not want to hear reasons and explains the program for the following day, the last for us. Wake up at 7, breakfast, visit to the Masai and departure. In our program sent by the Agency c ?? the morning safari, of Masai we have seen up to the improbable in Arusha. But he doesn't want to discuss it. We call the agency that doesn't answer us. Send us a message with ?? we will call back ?. The waiting? long and we decide to send a text message explaining what happened and soliciting an intervention. After a couple of hours they tell us that we will do the morning safari with another guide, not to worry.
Dinner, some photos and off to bed.
LAST DAY ? always the ignition of the generator to give us the alarm, before 6 we have already? had breakfast and a few minutes later we are already? ready. Antony makes us get into the car and calls the phone. On the way he crosses another Jeep, tells us to get out and get on it. The guide ? quiet, with the three Indians, the woman is immediately interested in us and asks the usual questions.
A Cheetah in full swing, perhaps? the pregnant female yesterday, we see it from the belly. Walk and run in the Savannah, we chase it until the distances do not allow us anymore? to see it. The animals are numerous but we do not even deign them to a shot. The sky ? covered, we are in the last places of the vehicle with the cold wind on our faces. Only a group of Monkeys makes us stand up looking for some photos. Let's go back to the exit with Antony what? came to take on the road. He takes us to the Camp to have breakfast, we load the suitcases and the two Asians and we leave for the nearby Masai Village where the two former Soviets are and which we recognize as the one visited last year. While waiting we play with children. The language ? universal words are not needed. Glances, smiles, then some sleight of hand to amuse them. One pi? large, lying on one side with an adult, approaches. He wants to understand the tricks, we teach him the movements, but isn't there ?? time to see if they have been learned, you have to leave.
The car does not go well and Antony stops at the intersection with the entrance to the Sarova where there are a group of houses in the village of Aitong. He asks for a workshop. A dude arrives promptly in a dirty, torn overalls. He gets under the car and looks at the right front wheel. He says something to the? Boss ?, goes away and returns after ten minutes with an arm. He changes it in the blink of an eye and, satisfied, awaits the reward. Antony pays the? Boss? and part goes to the guy. Shall we get back on the road, the road? full of bumps and you choose the parallel tracks of land.
You have to get back on the road at this point the 4x4 stops, braking with the wheels locked. We do not understand. Antony gets out and looks at the wheel, tells us that the car is? route. He gets on the phone while we use the Savannah as a Toilet. We wait half an hour when the mechanic from Narok arrives. Does he get us into his car and take us to town? at the restaurant where we had eaten on the way, the Russian and Ukrainian remain with Antony. We have just finished lunch and to our amazement we see all three of them arrive. Tell us that everything? okay and can you? restart.
But we with another car that goes to Nairobi, while they, crossing the Rift Valley will turn in the other direction towards the Lakes. We get on and on the car c ?? only one American and one Serbian couple. The usual ritual questions with her making an effort to speak Italian. We arrive in the city? from a side street not before leaving the American at his House and the Serbs at the Hotel.
SHOPPING CENTER He leaves us at a petrol pump where he is waiting for us? a driver sent by the agency. Traffic ? remarkable, but casually slips into secondary streets, we are told that our Hotel? on the other side of the city. But in between a question? the other to our amazement we see the T-Mall, the shopping center in front of our hotel. We unload the suitcases not before thanking him. We go to the hall to get the 309 from the previous days back. The girls recognize us and greet us, smiling and kind as always. A nice shower? Cleaner? and we are ready to take a tour of the shopping center. The surveillance? careful as if it were an airport. We enter the supermarket and we notice that c ?? of everything but the prices of imported products are very different from local ones. We buy some tea and something for breakfast the following day which we decided to make in the room using the water kettle provided. A tour in the other shops to get a? Rough idea of what? going to Kenya. ? still early for dinner, we return to the hotel to put the bags down and place them in the suitcases, then back to the street to return to Taidy? s. C ?? fewer people of the day that we had been there, let's do two calculations and understand why? it was Sunday. The menu ? the same, half a roast chicken and an ice cold beer for the same price as last time.
RETURN Let's go back to the hotel to connect to the network, make some phone calls and update us on there? that ? happened in the four days in the Savannah. But the biological rhythms make us collapse soon and tomorrow, even if there is not? no generator that wakes us up, at 5.30 we are already? standing.
We prepare breakfast and go up to the seventh floor to see Nairobi from above. The sky ? leaden and the show is not? that of a few mornings before. We are ready and we have a taxi called to take us to the airport. The journey? long but without traffic and in about twenty minutes we arrived. But first there? to go down and queue at a kind of control, which the year before was not there. The taxi (15 dollars) is waiting for us more? in the, we ref? go up and get back on the road along the long straight that runs alongside the track. He leaves us at the terminal and we continue on foot. Boarding takes place quickly, perhaps even in advance. How in advance? departure and then arrival in Istanbul at least half an hour earlier than expected. We are undecided whether to go out or stay inside. Then we opt for an empty waiting room, which allows us to rest. We embark for Rome on time and at midnight Italian we land.
We have to wait over an hour to get the luggage back and half an hour to get the car. We arrive home in the middle of the night when in the Parks it was almost time to wake up.
The tiredness? as much as the desire to return.
Now the batteries are full, with a great desire to start over.
Sure the disease isn't? passed, yes? aggravated, the prognosis? categorical? incurable! We suffer from Mal d? Africa.