Sunday, 13 May 2012

On the road: Day 1

So we are in the final throws of our African adventure, Tanzania, and what a better way to sign off than a road trip. The planning committee was formed and Zach, Josh and I sat on the periphery taking little notice of the noise that emanated from the head shed. Suffice to say numerous plans later and a visit out to Simon Mtuy’s climbing base we decided to play it by ear taking in as much or as little as time/weather/children/illness/car/bribes/roads/traffic/accommodation…you get the picture…allowed.

Zac I'm not sure these boots go with this mud?
Following an impromptu party to celebrate Zach’s 8th birthday we were going to set off on the Monday morning…first thing Zan said! So in keeping with all best laid plans we set off on Wednesday 2nd at 11am; having spent the morning changing both front tyres as the ones that were on were definitely taka taka. First stop was to be 300km SE, high up into the Usambara Mountains (1400m), 6km outside of Lushoto home to the Sambaa people. We were to stay over at Lutheran run Irente Farm, famous for its biodiversity work in the region and, according to the guide book (pah!) a wide range of home made organic products.

Photographer uses tree to good effect?
The journey was pretty uneventful, we were stopped and ‘taxed’ by the fire service because we needed to have a fire extinguisher licence but managed to avoid any of the numerous police checks along the way. Driving up into the mountains was pretty terrifying stuff for the crew, as the sheer drop all the way along the route was both breath taking and stomach churning. The farm itself is a testament to what can be achieved here with so much back breaking labour going into developing an area of real outstanding natural beauty. There is also the bizarre experience of walking a Km down the track to visit the Irente View Point, which looks out over the mountains and the plains of the Masai Steppe. Bizarre because it seems to be owned by Irente View cliff Lodge, an ostentatious complex of conference rooms, suits and rather large restaurant; and were you not staying at the farm you are charged 3-4000 Tsh…to stand outside in their driveway!

Ahhhh our hero!
Josh: On our walk back to the farm we saw a huge, long ant trail right across the road.  The ants were probably soldier ants and they built it very fast as our car had driven over only 30 mins before.  Zac and I looked out the window and they were running all over the place and then we looked out of the window again and they built it back very quickly.  There were some tunnels that were covered with soil and you could not see the ants and they had big holes for their nests.

Following the hike back we tucked into food and then sat in the dark due to the usual power cut; Bed soon followed.

No thats too much driving we're on strike
Organic lunch...mmmmmm

Ant highway

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