25th September – Day One
Up early to finish packing and have breakfast before the truck arrived. I rang the lost property counter at the airport and was in luck, the tripod had arrived on the morning flight! Once Jacques and co had arrived I had a quick word and it was decided we would swing by the airport so I could pick it up.
We packed, got through a small drama with Helen’s payment for her room (the hotel wanted to charge her twice the amount she had been quoted – it was sorted with a bit of help from Jacques) and then found our seats on the truck. The truck is so spacious compared to our Kumuka truck of a year ago. We get a locker for our bags which has heaps of room and then another locker in the truck for our day bags. The internal locker also has a safe for our valuables. Our seats all face forward with the locker in front set into the floor so we can stretch our legs over it which is great.
Having all got on we settled down and then were off, heading for the Kenyan border and then Arusha. We stopped a few times, once to get the tripod and another for a toilet break at a roadside trinket market. Before to long we were at the border and getting all our cards filled in so we could cross over to Tanzania. This was a simple affair with friendly staff and we were soon walking over the border to line up at the next border office to get our Tanzanian stamps. This was a slightly longer process but was still mostly painless. Once done it was back into the truck and onwards.
Lining up for the Tanzanian stamp
We stopped for lunch on the side of the road and learnt about the cooking set-up process. Joe prepared a fine meal with the assistance of the cooking crew and we sat and relaxed as the sun appeared above us. The mornings here are quite cool and the sun doesn’t appear from behind the clouds until the early afternoon. One it’s out it gets hot quickly but it’s a dry heat so quite bearable.
At the lunch site we were observed by a young Masaai boy, he was probably out watching his herd of goats or cows and came over when he saw us stop. Joe gave him some food and he agreed to allowing some photos, he was a very photogenic lad. Photos taken we packed up and hit the road once more.
The Masaai boy we encountered while having lunch
We passed through a mostly open and arid looking landscape with acacia trees dotted around. There were men tending their herds and the odd small group of zebra. We also saw a few antelope along the way. Random people would be found walking or sitting by the road and there were a number of villages with traditional mud huts with their thatched roofs blending them into the dusty ground.
There was one more toilet stop before Arusha – this one our first bush stop (not that there was much cover around). People got out and nearly immediately there was a cloud of dust raised back down the road from where we had come. Shortly a group of boys came around a corner, running to see what was going on. They quickly slowed down at the sight of all the woman crouching on the other side of the road. To add to the embarrassment a passing van also decided to stop at the bus stop opposite, not making things any easier. Jacques became the white monster and chased the boys away in a comical manner, like some small troll lumbering down the roadside. Everyone was soon finished and with a few sheepish grins we were off again.
And on to Arusha, we passed through the outskirts and made our way to ‘The Snake Park’ camping ground. Here we learnt how to pitch a tent and set up for the evening. Chores were executed and dinner cooked (a nice bolognese) and subsequently eaten while we talked surrounding the camp fire next to the truck. Just before dinner I took a few photos of the sunset, made more attractive by a local farmer walking his herd back in front of the setting sun.
A farmer bringing the cattle home as the sun sets
And that was pretty much our day. Off to bed after talking around the dying fire and then sleep.