A couple of friends and I had been planning to do a trip ever since I got my cruiser back in Dec 07. Finally in November last year (2009) it managed to materialise.....somewhat.....as only 2 of us managed to make it and the nights reduced from 7 to 3.
The plan was to drive to Lake Manyara where we would camp the 1st night, then to Lake Natron for the 2nd and Amboseli NP for the last night.
We left on the 25/11/09 at about 6.30am after having loaded and preparing the car the night before, heading straight to Arusha where we would stock up on golden syrup and make out way down to Lake Manyara.
The drive on the Kenyan side was uneventful besides the fact that the road was......still is .....under construction and it took us a couple of hours to get to the border.
Border crossing was surprisingly easy as it to us in total about 1/2 an hour. I think that when customs had a look at the cruiser and what all they had to search coupled with the fact that it was 8.30 in the morning they decided to just give it a skip
At around 10 we pulled over for a coffe break
We got into Arusha at about 1.00pm and headed straight to PnP as we were extremely thiirsty .
I had been ranting and raving to my friends about how good "Ndovu" beer is and thus we decided to leave "Tusker" in Nairobi where it belonged and stock up on Ndovu.
As luck would have it, Ndovu was in short supply and completely sold out . The only thing available was "Serengeti", which is the sort of beer that you make do with but I dont really like the taste much.
We got out of Arusha at about 2.30, and headed west to Manyara where we got caught in some HEAVY rain........"there goes the firewood, tent, chairs and charcoal".......
On the way I saw something really surprising and had to attach the pic below
A bus in Tanzania on its side of the road . That was a first for me
Parks in Tanzania are really expensive so the decision was made to camp outside and just enter the park for the day. On reaching the gate we found out that with Kenyan passports we pay the same rate as locals . This was great news as we could now afford to camp in the park and had more money for beer.
We got to the riverside campsite at around 6.00pm and were welcomed with a sighting of elephants just across the river bed
This was the first time that I had camped in a NP and it was a little unnerving but all went well and we were up at the crack of dawn as we had a long drive ahead of us.
This was the view that greeted us in the morning
Camp was closed and we were ready to leave by 8
On route to Lake Natron
Pit stop about 1/2 way
By the time we got to Mt. Ol Donyio Lengai, we had paid out about a total pf $35.00 each to various constituencies to be allowed to cross. This was a complete surprise and we had not budgeted for it.......there goes all the savings we thought we had made
Lake Natron is the complete opposite of Manyara, it is very dry and Hot, tempratures were at about 43C but it is a beautiful place.
At this point we decided to change the plan and stay in Natron for 2 nights skipping amboseli.
The Lake is quarter its original size and is disapearing fast. I am unaware as to the reason but the locals were saying that after the tremours that happened in that area in 2008, the lake has just been reducing. The way it is going' in about a year or so there will be no lake.
We spent the entire time out of the campsite exploring the area and came across many springs and a couple of rivers.
And Finally after hours and hours of searching we found the lake
The lake bed
We decided to follow this route further to the west which after climbing about 3000m you come to the gate for the serengeti plains, although we did not go that far
The view from about 700 - 1000m
At this point we turned back and headed towards camp. We got in at around 4.30, just in time to rest and prepare for the last night.
Next to us there was a French couple that was on their honeymoon and this was the first time that they were in the bush, let alone camping. By the time we had finished dinner I noticed that the couple were unable to get their fire started just to realise they were holding a twig about 10mm thick and trying to set it alight with a lighter
Ofcourse we did the decent thing and got their fire going
Next morning was a relaxed start as we were heading back to Nairobi. We left camp at around 10.00am.
On this track, we found some spares left behind.......probably by a LR
In total we covered a distance of 1,200Km
Trip cost was US$ 250 each incl. Fuel