Overland through Tanzania!
To provide some context before getting into our Africa posts, we’ve included the below map to show our route through East Africa with G Adventures. This map shows our route from Nairobi to Livingstone. From Livingstone, we left our tour group and flew south to Cape Town. For our fellow Canadians, the distance travelled is equivalent to driving from St. John’s, NL to Winnipeg, MB.
October 13-20, 2014
After we walked across the border, purchased our Tanzania visas for $50 US, had a thorough check-up for Ebola (temperature check, TIA), and survived the onslaught of African ladies selling bracelets and trinkets, we were headed to Arusha for the night, before an 8 AM departure for Serengeti National Park; the part we were most excited for.
The journey to Arusha was hot, humid and extremely bumpy, but we were too amazed by the African landscape that passed us by to even notice, or care. Dixon, our G Adventures driver, put his years of experience to use in making the ride as smooth as possible. We made a couple of bush stops; apparently every tree in Africa is a ‘lava-tree’, and more sanitary than many roadside restrooms!
We also stopped at a grocery store in Arusha to pick up some water, snacks and my go-to, Kilimanjaro beer. Lunch was made in the parking lot of the grocery store and consisted of cold cut sandwiches and fruit. Chris, our guide, let us know that we’d be camping at Meserani Snake Park tonight. Lovely. There are in fact snakes, several of them in the park, but lucky for us, they were in cages.
This would be our first night camping under the amazing African sky so imagine how comforting it was knowing some of the worlds deadliest snakes and a couple of alligators were just a hundred feet away. Chris briefed us on how not to get bitten, or even worse, eaten, with some basic safety rules that would protect us for the balance of the trip. The most important being, no open food in or around your tent; common sense really, for some. Also, no shoes outside the tent overnight. Having them carried away was one concern, but shoes are a nice warm hiding place for spiders and snakes. We kept everything inside the tent.
Supper on day one was an indication for us that we would not be losing weight on this trip as the spicy chicken stew was hearty and delicious. After dinner we all headed to the campsite bar for a drink. It would be an early night though, as would many on the trip because just about every morning we’d be up with the sun, the only way to do it in Africa.
Africa is massive, I mean, we knew this coming in but definitely underestimated the vast distance we’d be driving, despite choosing G’s ‘overland’ tour. We were heading to Zanzibar; however, it took two full days of driving from the Serengeti, including one 3:30 AM departure. One night was spent sleeping in an open air kitchen. We didn’t bother putting up our tents because we had a 3 AM wake-up call anyway. Instead, we piled onto the kitchen floor with our sleeping pads and let the somewhat cool breeze and sound of the crickets put us to sleep. Mr. Canadian Club made his debut on this night.
The next night was spent camping at a nice beach campground on the Indian Ocean in Dar Es Salaam called Mikadi Beach Campsite. The campsite was great; clean, outdoor (saltwater) showers and clean washrooms with non-squatting toilets and actual toilet seats! The beach itself is absolutely beautiful during the day but at night it’s a whole different ball game. Chris told us that unless we wanted to mugged, stay off the beach after sundown. He, in fact, guaranteed a mugging for anyone interested, but we chose to stay inside the campground. This was fine as the pool and bar were great way to spend the night.
Once we returned back to the mainland after our mini-vacation on Zanzibar, we were headed for our third country on the tour, Malawi. However, it would require two days of driving to get there. Along the way we camped at another awesome campsite, The Old Farmhouse in Iringa, Tanzania. My favourite part of this campsite was the bar (surprise, surprise). Not that we had many drinks there, it was more for the setting. It was actually an old farmhouse turned bar with the walls made from mud and had a thatch roof.
The next day we had a short drive to the Malawi border where we’d all be processed; temperature checks and yellow fever certificate verification. Note: Canadian citizens (and a long list of other countries) do not require a visa for visits to Malawi.
Click here to read about our amazing trip to:
jess + trickett