Sunday, 13 May 2012

On the road: What Josh, Zac and Zanz thought!

We went to the Usambara mountains at the place you can get the “best breakfast in Tanzania” which was taka taka (rubbish in Swahili!) We went for a 1km walk to the Irente viewpoint that was not taka taka as it was a great view which Mummy took lots of pictures of which made us very bored!  The next day we went to Tan-Swiss lodge that was very cheap cheap that made Daddy very happy.  It had double beds and a big TV in our room which made Josh and I very happy and a very big playground with swings, see-saw and a roundabout.  The next day we went to Mikumi National Park which was next door and the first thing we saw was trees!  We drove all over the park and we accidentally went down a path where we were surrounded with tsetse flies and sprayed insect repellant in the car which suffocated us all.  We went down a giant track that got us stuck in the mud for a while but luckily my Dad was in the army so he could drive us out.  We went to the hippo pool and saw a big, big croc that was eating a catfish.  Later Daddy got out of the car and the croc turned round and snapped at him as he is so attractive (not!).    

My favourite bit of the road trip was going to Kisolanze Farm because I liked the dogs and watching the cows.  By  Zac HT

We went to a lovely coffee shop in Iringa where we had yummy chocolate brownies.  We then drove along a very bumpy road to Ruaha National park where we slept in tiny green bandas with no electricity and a paraffin lamp for light.  There were giraffes walking along and eating from the high trees when we arrived.  The next morning we saw 10 lions coming out of the Boys toilet on the airstrip.  We drove right next to one and it was trying to eat Mummy (it wasn’t) and then Mummy screamed (I did not!).  We stayed at a place called Ruaha River Lodge which had a bar and there were Fox badges.  At Kisolonze farm lodge we saw baby cows called calves trying to get to their Mummys and they had to swim through chemicals that could burn your eyes.  These chemicals were to stop them getting sick.  The next day we went to a place high up in the hills and it was called Mufindi Highland Lodge.  They had sheepdogs and one loves children so Zac and I played with it and there were ticks on the dogs.  We went on a horse and saw the fish which were trout.  Then we fed the fish.

My favourite bit of the road trip was playing with the dog.  By Josh HT

I am amazed to tell you that we had a FANTASTIC road trip and the boys were brilliant in the car in spite of having no in car entertainment.  A friend kindly lent us some travel games and we whiled away many hours playing travel bingo, although trying to find a large animal sculpture proved challenging!  We travelled right into southern Tanzania and it was a brilliant way to see the country.  

The Usumbara mountains are so beautiful and everywhere was green and luscious and even the steep slopes were covered with crops as the rainy season is the main source of food for many months. Mikumi and Ruaha National Parks were amazing and although we did not have a pop up roof it was brilliant to be on safari as a family.  Aaron took us down challenging tracks where we almost got stuck in the mud but then we would drive out into the most amazing plain in the midst of zebras, giraffes, impalas all staring at us in surprise and we were all surrounded by indigo smudged mountains and green, tall grass swaying gently in the wind.  We hardly saw another vehicle in either national park and I was grateful to my adventurous stubborn husband taking us to places I would not have dared go alone!  It was truly amazing and I even managed to persuade Aaron to have one night of luxury on safari where we stayed in Ruaha River Lodge and sat in armchairs listening to hippos roaring in the water.  Later I watched the reflection of the full moon on the rippling water and thought how lucky we are to be here. 

Other highlights have to be being so close to the lions coming out of the Gents toilet!  The lions paced passed, looking at us with big amber eyes, slightly perturbed at being disturbed and stalked back into the bush to keep their eye on possible lunch in the form of impalas up on the hill.  To my surprise I loved going to new places each day and meeting new and fascinating people and hearing their stories. 

Mufindi Highland Lodge was set 40km up a hill along a windy dirt track surrounded by deep green tea plantations, which used to belong to Brook Bond.  The vista was marvellous – green hills and lakes as far as you could see – and all developed by the Fox family from land given to them from the local villages.  We could see why the land was left undisturbed after independence as I am sure the Government officials probably didn’t know it existed!  The Fox’s have set up a NGO which has an amazing childrens’ village to care for the large number of orphans usually orphaned due to HIV which is very high in the area due to the large number of transient workers.
Could be Scotland, dog from Kenya!
Cows got the hump with all the photos
Spock as a cow
My favourite bit of the road trip was that Aaron organised it all and wrote the blog! By Zanz HT

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