For the entry to Tanzania we wanted to do everything right and have applied for an e-visa in the assumption that this should be approved at lightning speed, since everything is an automated process. Yes, that was probably nothing, because after 5 days we still have not heard anything and the status on the homepage shows that it is still in progress. Unfortunately, we also read the fine print too late, because it says that the processing process can take 10 days or longer. After 6 days we don't feel like waiting anymore and drive to the border. On the way there we get the message that the visa has been approved. We are happy, but unfortunately too early. The friendly lady at the counter tells us that we will get an email with the details and without that we can't do anything. We decide to wait one hour. Our helper takes care of the insurance, road fees, SIM card and whatever else is needed. After an hour of waiting, of course, there is still no mail. The helper says that this can take weeks. Great. So we buy a visa on arrival for $50 per person, which we should have done better. A short time later everything is done and we are inside. By the way, the visa e-mail arrives after exactly 10 days. With it we can enter as much as we want within one year. Let's see if we really want that....
Tanzania is a country in East Africa with a population of over 61 million. This means that the population has increased more than fivefold since 1967. The number of births per woman is 4.8 and the mean age of the population is 18. With 39 births per 1,000 inhabitants and a mortality rate of 6.1 per 1,000 inhabitants, you don't need to be a mathematician to see that a catastrophe is looming. And the figures for the whole of South and East Africa are not much better. So what we are currently seeing in terms of refugee flows in Europe is just the beginning.
Tanzania's history is very rich and diverse. It was an important trading center for slaves and ivory and was later colonized by various European powers. Tanzania gained its independence from Great Britain in 1961.
Just across the border we encounter another world and it looks as if we have arrived in the real Africa. Motorcycle cabs and three-wheeled Bajarjas, which we know from Asia as TukTuks, populate the streets and make for a confusing bustle. In addition, there are countless trucks, because we are on the main transit route from the border to Dar es Salaam. The road is much better than in Zambia, but the density of police checks is many times higher. It is recommended to keep the 50km/h in the villages and the 80km/h for over 3,5to scrupulously, because the ambushes are manifold and very creative. But it doesn't really help, because we are also waved out at some point. A nice lady shows me on her cell phone a picture of MOMO with a radar reading of 93km/h. I didn't know until now that our car can drive that fast. However that came about, all lamenting helps nothing and the killer argumentation is that we can come along to the next police station. However, this is 10km away and only open again on Monday. She remains stubborn and we have at some point no more desire and pay 10 euros, all quite properly and with receipt. With an average speed of 40km/h we work our way forward. On every small incline, a truck that is gasping up the hill at 8km/h pulls an endless line of cars behind it. This causes the bus drivers to jump in kamikaze style from gap to gap and more than once it becomes very tight. After almost 100km we have had enough for now and head for Utengele Lodge. They have a delicious kitchen with good curries and pizzas and here we recover for 2 days before we deliver ourselves again to the dubious pleasure of the transit route.
We want to go to the Indian Ocean and until then it is a good 1000km across the country. On a farm we cover ourselves on the way with fresh vegetables and in Iringa we spend the night with Mama Iringa, an Italian woman who has lived here for 19 years and runs a restaurant of the finest. With the mototaxi we go into the city and dive into African life. We stroll over the vegetable market and have a snack for lunch in a deaf-mute cafe. Then we go in search of a supermarket. But there is not really anything like that here. The small stores are specialized in a few products and so you have to look for what you need in different stores. So it's like here in the 60s before the supermarkets spread and replaced the corner stores. In the evening we have a delicious dinner at Mama Iringa's and feel as if we were at a posh Italian restaurant at home. She even has a Somelier wine and champagne list and the food is simply great.
After a stopover at the Swiss Lodge in Mikumi with Züricher Geschnetzelte for dinner, we continue the next day. We cross the Mikumi NP, the only park in Tanzania that you are allowed to cross for free by transit. Stopping and taking pictures is strictly forbidden and crossing a wild animal costs real money. A giraffe for example $15000 and a lion $4900. We see some giraffes and bushbucks right next to the road and a few elephants in the distance.
Our destination is Bagamoyo on the Indian Ocean. Here we stay a few days in the Travellers Lodge which is run by a German-South African couple since 1994. Under palm trees and the sea in sight it is easy to stay. We are now on the 6th latitude and not too far from the equator. The climate is tropical with 30 degrees during the day and 22 degrees at night. The population is predominantly Muslim and several times a day the muezzin calls to prayer. Bagamoyo was an important hub for the slave trade in the 19th century. After the discovery of Africa by the Europeans, it was the capital of German East Africa for a few years before the status was transferred to Dar es Salaam. Today, only a few ruins bear witness to the former glory of the place and the historic buildings have fallen into disrepair.
Tanzania is a huge country and accordingly many kilometers have to be covered to get from A to B. The roads are mostly good. The roads are largely good, but the many trucks and the constant presence of law enforcement officers only allows an average speed of less than 50km / h. So it takes some time until we reach Moshi and get our first glimpse of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. But it is covered in clouds and despite the prime location of ours we have no luck. We park the car but that doesn't help for the time being. But then on the third day we have steel blue sky and the mountain shines in all its glory. At the end of this perfect day there are cocktails and live music in the bar of the campground, and the three guys from the band are also really good.
We continue to Arusha, the tourist hotspot for game drives in the Serengeti. However, we do not intend to pay the horrendous prices for a game drive and instead meet with the two Swiss Esther and Rolli with whom we last spent a nice evening in Argentina in 2013. We are happy to see them again after such a long time and spend a nice time together. The campground also has a small Masai Museum and a Snake Park where you can see all the deadly snakes that exist in southern Africa from a safe distance.
After two days we continue to Kenya. The border crossing is done in less than an hour and we continue to the campground Jungle Junction in Nairobi. There we meet Sabine & Martin who left Germany in April 22 and now, after a tour through the Middle East, have just started their Africa tour from Mombasa with their Landrover. Without further ado, we decide to drive together to the Maasai Mara National Park. There the big migration of the wildebeest takes place every year in July and August and we want to have a look at that. The Maasai Mara together with the Serengeti forms a 25 thousand square kilometer large protected area in which the animals can move unhindered. We will stay at the campground of Gertie from Munich. It is practically right next to the entrance gate to the park. Four of us rent a jeep with driver and at six o'clock in the morning we set off. The first hot air balloons are already rising and the landscape is as one imagines Africa to be. A huge savannah with high ocher grass broken up only by a few lonely trees and herds with thousands of wildebeests and zebras. An ideal hiding place for the predatory cats that lurk well camouflaged for prey and now after the night with full bellies lie in the shade and laze.The absolute highlight of the migration are the river crossings.Here it is the Mara River and we bring ourselves on the bank in position to look at the spectacle.Unfortunately, we are not the only ones and since there is no real control by rangers, each driver fights with his guests for the best place at the break-off edge to the river, and that with a good 50 vehicles.We stand actually ideally however again and again the jeeps drive completely unmotivated in a gigantic dust cloud toward the animals, block them the way and cause them to retreat.The whole resembles rather a Treibjagd with Landrovern and has with animal observation absolutely nothing more to do.So in the end nobody gets anything out of it and after a good two hours of waiting we rather go to look at other animals again.Who is interested in the migration and wants to know how it looks like can watch a YouTube video here.At the end of the 12-hour game drive, we saw lions, including a pack of 14 animals, elephants, a leopard and a cheetah guarding its prey.But absolutely unique are the huge wildebeest and zebra herds, which follow the food clockwise the whole year with about three million animals.
At the campground we meet Steffi & Timo who are on the road with a VW bus.After 12 hours of shaking during the gamedrive, we now urgently need a day off and spend a nice evening with six of us with a campfire, liver cheese and sausages.Together with Sabine & Martin we continue to Naivasha Lake about 80km east of Nairobi.It is picturesquely situated at 1900m and we are standing directly at the water, finally dust-free and on grass.Unfortunately, you can not swim, unless you want to make closer acquaintance with hippos splashing directly in front of our nose in the water.
We use the beautiful grassy area to prepare the vehicle for shipment. Surely you have wondered why we have completed the last few weeks in Africa in a rush, but we have decided to ship from Mombasa to Genoa and so we give MOMO on August 7 at the port and then make two weeks of vacation in Zanzibar.How we like it there without MOMO you will find out in the next blog.Until then, have fun reading and looking at the pictures.