Usambara Mountains

Trip Start Aug 10, 2006
1
4
21
Trip End Oct 16, 2006


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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Trying to write with a keyboard where all the keys are in the wrong place!! We are in the Usambara mountains in Lushoto - up high! I am so achey because we have been walking all day for about 8 hours up and down mountains!



Ok - I didnt finish our safari entry - we went on to the Serengeti from Lake Manyara and it was a really bumpy dusty road, there were cars with broken axles, punctures, broken wheels and even one had fallen off the side of the mountain!!! We stopped to see if everyone was ok - I asked if anyone was hurt - Unamia hapa? But luckily no-one was hurt or killed. We stayed the first night in tents in the bush - at Nyani campsite (baboons( and there were pit toilets which were VERY smelly and dirty, no showers and a hard floor for a bed but you could hear the animals walking around your tent - lions roaring, hyenas whooping, something drinking from a bowl very close to our heads - warthogs squabbling over the food! We didnt dare to venture out to the toilet even though the nice man in millets UK had sold me a torch that I said I wanted to use to defend myself against the lions!!!



The next day we were also in Serengeti, we saw lions, cheetah, leopards and one up a tree, a herd of elephants etc - it was amazing. That evening we re-dared the bumpy road and drove back to Ngorongoro and camped on the crater rim in a basic campsite. This one had showers - with an elephant drinking a metre away - a big bull metres high! But the showers looked like either you would catch something or you would come out dirtier than you went in!!!! we decided to stay dirty..... like brown from all the mud dust deet mosquito repellant and sun cream!!!!! We slept well and saw my friend Jackie from home which was really random! The next day we went down into the crater down an almost vertical slope! We saw lots of wildlife - herds of wildebeest, cape buffalo, zebras, elephants, it was so beautiful!! We even saw a rhino - I was so pleased. We drove back to Moshi that evening and we were really tired but grateful for a less hard bed - they are solid out here! and a clean shower. We had dinner at the horombo hotel for about 2 pounds and our chef that we made friends with was so pleased to see us - I thought you come back he said!!!! He gave us a list of swahili - english words. he is so kind.



The next day we got a bus from Moshi to Mombo which is East towards the coast - it was about a 4 hour journey, past beautiful plantations of bananas and coffee. We got dropped off after almost getting on a coach which wasn't ours - even after stowing our luggage on board and arguing over our seats with a gentleman who kindly pointed out that this wasnt even our bus!!!!



The next part of our journey was an adventure! We had to get a dalla dalla up the hair pin bends of the mountain. It cost us TSH 2000 - twice what the locals pay but we are mzungu, and then we were squashed in at the back of a small minibus with 22 other smelly africans! our backpacks were tied on with string to an open boot ????!!! and we couldnt see out of the windows due to luminous paintings! so all we could see were heads, roof and luminosity! I had the best seat though - a small child was car sick mm from me - with my knees indefinately impressed in the seat infront and a vomiting child then with my daysack on my lap roaring around the roads it was great fun!!!!!!!!! However we got there in the end despite them ignoring our pleas to where we wanted to go! Samama at the convent and we had arrived.

We stayed at the convent last night - it is so peaceful and beautiful. the nuns are really friendly - although of course its single beds! We decided to walk to the local town lushoto which took us an hour up the mountain! Everyone we passed said hello or jambo and wanted to talk to us - we gave them sweets and toys - bouncy balls etc! We met some interesting people, one man stopped to talk to us and then said look in his bag and he had 10 plus chameleons in there!! We were excited to see them and didnt even consider that he was poaching them until afterwards! Some children wanted us to take their picture and we showed them on the digital camera - they thought it was so funny and one lady wanted to take her picture with her - i.e. the camera!!!



We had a lovely meal last night there and arranged for a guide to take us hiking today around the mountains... and a 8 plus hour hike it was!! I was silly though - unworn in hiking boots! We walked miles and miles, through local villages, banana and coffee plantations, hundred year old eucalyptus trees and saw monkeys, chameleons and beautiful birds. It is very lush and green here, beautiful rivers etc.



sat in the internet cafe at the moment in the market where it is very poor and dusty - but with the resounding sound of Bob Marley blaring!!! We stopped and played with the children on the walk and gave them toys and sweets - they were so lovely - all day all you could hear was Jambo! echoing down the mountains!

We walked past sugar cane and pineapple growing, passionfruits etc. Walked with some German and Spanish people which was interesting to hear about them and what they were doing. In the villages it was interesting to see the mud houses and how they indigenous people live in the usambara mountains. The guide took us inside his house which was really interesting. It was so dark and smoky and there were baby chickens on the floor!! I helped some people crush sugar cane on a massive press which was wooden and you had to turn. It has been an amazing day and we are SO SO tired. We are walking again tomorrow to see waterfalls and up a mountain to Mtae - in training for Kilimanjaro now I think! Then we will get the bus to Dar Es Salaam and cross on the ferry to Zanzibar hopefully Monday.



Hope you are all well - Thank you so much for the emails sorry we cant reply to everyone - so little time at the internet cafes. Thank you for your prayers.



Love Karen and Mike xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Comments

tiarosie
tiarosie on

Wow!
hey u guys. we're green with envy!!! im so glad you're having a good time - roaring tigers, smelly bogs and all! i hope the hard beds aren't hurting you're shoulders k :) i bet you're photos are amazing.... looking forwards to your next entry. love you both lots xxx

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