New Frontiers

Trip Start Oct 31, 2012
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10
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Trip End Nov 28, 2012


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What I did
Kenya Tanzania Border, Mount Meru, Lake Manyara

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A day of driving took us to the Kenya-Tanzania border crossing at Namanga.  This is unlike any border crossing I have ever seen.  Couldn't take any photos, but it was a scene of 'organised chaos' and of course, road construction!  They are making a new border plaza, but for now, there are more potholes!  First you have to go into the Kenyan immigration to get permission to exit the country, then you have to go across no man's land to the Tanzanian immigration office.  We had purchased an entry visa in Australia, but learned we could have got one at this border and not had to pay the courier cost to transport our passports to/from Melbourne.  Live and learn.  Crossing our legs - there was no way we were going to pay money to use the pits - we farewelled our Kenyan driver and were driven along a very nice sealed road to Arusha.  Our first impression of Tanzania was one of surprise.  It seemed quite nice and if I had to, I think I could live there.  We lunched at the luxurious Mount Meru Hotel.  From the buffet, I decided to try something I didn't recognise - a sort of stew.  It wasn't all that tasty, and I am still not exactly sure what it was!  However, sipping Earl Grey tea on the sunny patio, over-looking the manicured gardens and pool was pure bliss.  We were briefed on the next leg of our trip, being warned about the tsetse fly, then met our new Tanzanian driver and entered our more luxurious safari vehicle.  Driving through Arusha and the countryside was a feast of colour and activity.  We went back into Masai territory - the tribe straddles the border - and had the misfortune to have a flat tyre.  Our new driver, Geoffrey, handled it with ease.  We didn't even have to disembark from the vehicle.  I would have thought it would have been easier to jack up the vehicle without me in it, but that is my problem, not necessarily his!  We were in the middle of nowhere, but in the few minutes that it took to change the tyre, a rent-a-crowd appeared - from out of thin air it seems.  Masai kids surrounded us, some with curios to sell, others just curious!

Lake Manyara Serena Lodge is absolutely lovely, perched on the escarpment overlooking the pretty and rainforest surrounded Lake Manyara.  Our earlier than normal arrival gave us time to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings - some even taking advantage of the infinity pool.  It was pleasantly coincidental to meet a couple from Orangeville Ontario, near my Canadian home, and the result of the US presidential election was a major topic of conversation.  By the way, the Kenyans were delighted with the result as they tend to claim Barak Obama as one of their own.  His picture adorned the back of some of the public buses.  I also saw one bus that had Colonel Gaddafi on, so I am not sure what the criterion was for putting pictures of political figures on the buses! 
 
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