Friday, October 28, 2011

Kenya - Safari

Nairobi Kenya -
We have arrived and it is the last day of our overlanding trip with the group who we have explored East Africa with. We set up our tent which with the exception of a few hotel nights has been our home for the last 30 days. The days before we arived there had been some violence in Nairobi after Kenya sent troops into Somalia, but it is nothing major a few grenades in the city centre far from were we will be staying. But you can sence the tension in the city, many soldiers on the streets and many police. There are lots of contronls when we enter malls cars searched and passing through metal detectors.

We head out to visit a girafe centre were wefeed the girafes, they are so gratefull they give us both a big wet kiss! Luckily the saliva of giraffes is actualy anti septic and so totaly bacteria free. This helps them in the wild eat plants other animals cannot like leaves of the Acacia tree. It also means you can kiss them all you like, tonge and all (see Sofi's pic). Then we head to the baby Elephant sanctury were orphaned baby elephants are raised before being released back into the wild. Many are victims of paoching were there parents were slaughtered for Ivory. Sofi and I are so take that we adopt and elephant. Kihari was found and brought to the centre on the 10th of September, the same day Sofi and I came to Africa. Her mother was suspected to have been killed by poachers, she was lucky to escape and survive. Hopefully within 1-2 years she will be ready to be re-released into the wild. If we come back to Africa the centre wil give us a certificate so the rangers can take us into the park to visit her again. Apparently she can remeber our scent for up to 30 years! We will visit here a few more times while we are in Kenya.
Then before we know it is is the last supper and we are saying our good bye's it will be sad to see the group split and go its seperate ways but its also exiting to continue the adventure on our own again.

Tanzania - Safari

We arrived to Tanzania instantly the vegetation changed. The soil here is rich and volcanic, there is an amazing crop diversity. Banana's (green, yellow and red ones) Tea, Coffee, Kasava, Maize, Onions Tomato's. All around it looks lush and green. We drive through many high mountain passes of villages etched into the mountain side surrounded by misty mountain tops and rich green foliage. It is amazing place, especialy Zanzibar where we spent 3 days. (Seperate post on this because its quite different form the rest of Tanzania)
During our time in Tanzania Sofi was still recovering from Malaria, at one point on Zanzibar her heart was racing and had a high fever we needed to call another doctor and she had to change medication, the first set was far to strong and was doing more damage than good. But by the end of Tanzania she was almost fully recovered.
After we spent 10 days in Tanzania: Dar es Salem and Arusha.
Tanzania is really amazing, the Massai culture is really passionate, the fabrics are stunning: electric blue, red, pink, purple. The jewellery also, intricate work with beads, so many vibrant colours.
Sophie has been dressed in a traditional Massai outfit!
We visited the local village where the people lived in the same way as the Maasai have always lived as nomadic catle herders.
But they seam happy like that.
We were quite sad to leave Tanzania and will come back for sure.
Also we didn't go with our group to Serengeti national Parck( $440 each) because it was out of our budget but when we saw the pictures to our friends we will go back one day definitely to see this. Instead we spent 3 days in Arusha and learned about Tanzanite a blue saphir like gem stone. In the picture aprox $7 million dollars of Tanzanite (only a few sleep security guards around there was a lot of temptation to do a runner, the thought of an African jail soon subdued this urge). Pretending to be affluent young travelers Sofi tried on a £2000 ring.

 We also took a local bus designed for 12 people inc driver. Heavily modified and rebuilt mainly with a welding iorn these are thoughtfully also usually reffered to as death busses. We stopped three times to pick up more passengers each time I already thought we were full until there wer 25 of us. Overtaking on blind corners, ignoring traffic lights and generally eractic driving behaviour this is the biggest adrenaline kick in the world for just 30p per half hour. It represents excellent value as an amusment ride and public transport as you hang on for dear life realising there are no seatbelts, the brakes are shot and the whole thing is probably held together with cellotape, it was possibly more entertaining than the museam it brought us to.

We visited a snake bite clinic to see people who had come from hundreds of miles around to get treatment. Anti venom is very expensive around $300 per dose, severe cases may require up to 9 doses. They frequently run out...
Luckily the near by snake park and camping donates all profits from tourism to the clinc.

Tanzania is an amazing place and we can't wait to go back!

Zanzibar - Safari

Infemous and Famous this African Island paradise has a dark history but today is a bright and wonderful place to visit. Our first night is spent in stone town and we are in a hotel! No tents tonight a real bed and we have a real bathroom. Our exitement is slightly deminished as we unlock the giant padlock on the door and see the room. A poured concrete floor battered old wooden shutters, dust on everything except the sheets and an airconditioning unti that looks like it hasten worked since 1990. Perhaps in a past life this room was rented by the hour not per night. But the bed and sheets are clean, the shower has hot water, there is toilet paper and the toilet works! We visit the old slave market, it leaves a strong impression, it reminds us of Goree in Senegal. Then we go out on a spice tour, did you know nutmeg is actually red? Or that pepper is a vine and its colour depends when it is picked, cloves are also red. I am shoked to learn cinamon do not grow in little round stick, No! it is jus the bark from a tree rolled up and dried into those little sticks you get in the super market. We also try things like Jack fruit, a bulging 15-20Kg greeny yellow fruit that hangs from and otherwise ordinary looking tree the sight is so alien it almost looks like its not real. (have the locals just hung these things up as a joke to tell tourists) But no jack fruit is real alright and has a very particular taste, like sweet mellon chewinggum with a hint of pinapple. Then my favorite new discovery is custardapple a green fruite with a white fruit which is creamy in texture. Almost like solidified sweetendmilk with some fruit flesh thrown in. We also sample a great selection o tea's from fresh lemon grass to masala (yes like the curry and yes its spicy and yes it makes you sweat, great when the ambient temperature is already 30+ degree's)
The next day after leaving our first hotel we set of for the North Beaches on a 2,5 hour drive. We get there the room is $5 dollars a night more than we agreed, grudginly we accept. Then we see the room... A king sized bed, balcony overlooking the pristine white beaches and turquise sea, fridge, airconditioning a fan, massive bathroom real fresh towels, a big power shower two large sinks, complimentary soaps. We are dancing with joy in the middle of the room as we cant believe we will be staying here for two nights. (camping will do that to you)
We walk down to the beach, if you ask a person to describe in there mind what the beaches of paradise look like they will probably describe something that looks like were we are. Kendwa beach Zanzibar no more words just look at the pictures...
Sofi spends time on the beach taking it easy as she is recovering from Mallaria, I go diving and in 10 seconds see more wildlife than 2 days on Safari, Lion fish, turtles, dolphins (inc a baby with its mother) mind blowing... we are sad to leave. If the rest of the world wasn't calling we might not have left.

Zimbabwe - Safari

I forgot to published this post!
During our journey in Livinstone - Zambia we went to see the Victoria Falls from Zambia side but also from Zimbabwe side!
We had a visa taking up a whole page in our passeports only for 3h spending in Zimbabwe, it has lots of stamps and shiny foil on it, so we don't feel to bad handing over $30 for this visa.
We crossed the bridge and we saw the stunning vue of Victoria Falls (The Smoke That Thunders, sas the locals call it) which is much beautiful from this side. If you ever go you must see the Zimbabwe side by far much better, in fact you can stay in Zimbabwe as the village is very close to the falls and perfectly set up for tourists. Another bonus is its hard to change or get dolars in Africa, but as the local currency has collapsed in Zimbabwe the cash machines simply give out US dollar. (you think they realised inflation had fucked there currency when they started printing ten trillion Zim Dollar notes!)
So i think it's the shorter time we spent in our life in a country but it was definitely worth it.
Its is so powerful to see the falls now, and this is low water so around 300 cubis meters of water per second go over the falls. During high water yo ucould not take these pictures as there would be to much spray ar 9000 (thats right 9000) cubic meters of water a second go over the falls! This truly is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Malawi - Safari

Here the pictures of Malawi.
We spent 5 days in Malawi , 3 in Lake Malawi , amazing place!
Digby went scuba diving and Sophie chilling on the beach.
We had a fancy dress / punch party where the theme was do a costum for some one with bin bags, it was a crazy party!!! Who knew you could be so creative with a pen and some bin bags. We also went into the local village at night to eatwith our hands, ugali (the staple which around 80% of the continent of Africa eat each night) eggs in tomato and spinach and many local delights. Mainly vegetable based dishes. Meat is to expensive so the locals rarely eat it and so neither do we.
Unfortunately the next day Sophie had a big hangover, not until the next day did we discover it wasinfact Mallaria so she spent the 3 next days sleeping and feeling bad.
Digby during this time went visiting school, hospital and local village. Digby: " I see children who also have Mallaria like Sofi, but they cannot afford the drugs which cost only $5 dollars (we have Sofi's reciept) more than half the children I meet will never reach 5 years old.  It is a horrific thought, I truly hate this disease." Despite this the people and children who are not sick are so happy and playful you would hardly think Mallaria is on there mind. Lake Malawi is such a beautiful place the contrast is hard to absorb, we arenot sure how we should feel/ remeber it.
Here the best of Malawi: