In June we explored some opportunities for trekking in Northern Tanzania, by walking there ourselves. We wanted to experience the feeling of the environment (and of course enjoy in the meanwhile!) Full of confidence we trusted our veterinary practices to our colleagues, and were brought to Schiphol Airport by one of our sons. The same evening we already had a very happy re-union at Kilimanjaro Airport with our friends John and Jacob, the director-managers and guides in Tanzania.
Right away the next day we visited our two sponsor-girls Lightness and Zawadi, who live with their mother Dinah (“mama Lightness”) and little brother Huruma in a small house nearby the school. They are doing very well at school and proudly they show us their results. We are glad, because we pay for their private school. Ordinary governmental schools are not that special, in fact most of the time they just learn how to do nothing… And thanks to the chickens we bought them 2 years ago (in the hen-house we build together), Huruma also can go to the school, for eggs are quite expensive goods ($ 0.20). Mama also has a small job now and then at a bean-plantation. And off course she sells the second hand clothes and shoes we always bring for her. This time we really had good stuff, thank you very much everybody!!! (We try to provide her of new stock as often as possible, so don’t throw anything away)
The rest of the week we have been busy in our small office and talked a lot with John and Jacob. For example about the 50+Fair in Utrecht where the four of us will have a stand 16-20 sept. Many times we continue at diner. The cooks of “Family and Friends”, were we always have a room with bathroom, manage to surprise us every time again with marvellous roasted chicken or goat with vegetables. After a week working and some small visits to nature, friends, the town and markets, it is time for our hiking-trip.
We start with a lazy afternoon at the Momella Lakes in Arusha National Park and camp at the camp site in the park, where the noisy Colobus monkeys race around our tent. No better alarm-clock!
The next day we drive to Monduli, the area where Jacob is born, to a campsite in the Monduli Mountains, with a astonishing view over the Rift Valley. Down there we wander around the next day, in the footsteps of the first humans, with local Masai guide Jacob (a nephew of our Jacob!). We meet zebra’s (punda milia), giraffes (twiga) and the rare, strange gerenuks (swala twiga) with their long necks and big ears. Also many Masai with flocks of cows (n’gombe), goats (mbuzi) and sheep (kondo), who greet you friendly and love to chat for a while. No hurry in Africa! How peacefully and relaxing walking can be…At sunset we watch the last sunlight on both Mount Kili and Mount Meru from the camp site! After dinner (thanks chef Cyprian, it was delicious), the local Masai tell us their favourite stories about famous elephants (temba), worriers and lions (simba) at the camp-fire.
In the crater area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area were we walk the next day’s, the peace-of-mind feeling only gets stronger. We start in the evening, walking up the rim of the Olmoti crater, to discover a little, green hilly world with small rivers and waterfalls. The light of the setting sun empowers the natural colours of the Masai cows who climb towards us to spend the night in their boma outside the crater. After another night at the camp-fire and a nice night in out safari-tent, we walk through the Bulbul-depression to the next crater, the Empakaai crater. It is quite a day walking with many nice meetings but especially filled with silence. It is not hard to imagine that the the Masai who live here don’t feel the need to go to town or school. Most children come back after the 6 years obligatory school-time (or sooner) and go on with the life they started here. Empakaai crater also is special: it is filled with water from sources and underground rivers. We camp on the rim, where a Leopard visits us very polite in the night; in the morning we find his footprints. Nothing to be afraid of, Leopards are very shy. Our descent to the salt lake after breakfast leads us through the old-growth forest with fairy-tail trees. We spot some antilopes (swala) and monkeys (tumbili). The lake is breeding place for flamingo’s, but now they are not there. In the salt-crust at the shore we find many animal footprints.
Back in Arusha we arrange, plan, make schedules etc some more days and meet very interesting people at the Karibu Fair for tourism. And then it is time to explore more of the country: Zanzibar and Pemba! At Pemba we make a few incredibly beautiful dives to the unspoiled reef, crowded by many species of fish and corals. We really were short of eyes, no doubt one of the best diving-spots of the world.
On Zanzibar we enjoy the cosy atmosphere of Stone Town. This town is the smaller, more relaxed sister of Marrakesh in Morocco. The island also offers some nice forests and many big beaches where women grow seaweeds, children play, men have their small wooden sailing-fisher-boats (dhow) and tourists wander and swim. For us a highlight was swimming amongst wild dolphins. These strong, elegant and self-confident mammals swim along you with a notch and disappear together in the deep, leaving you behind in ecstasy. We’ll never forget these moments.
And then, back in our oiled country, where everything is logic, easy and possible, it takes us a few days to “land on the calender” again. Now we look forward to welcome our brothers John and Jacob in Holland, to tell our stories at the 50+Fair in September together with them.