Jambo (English)

Tanzania, is the country of snow covered mountain tops, snow-white beaches, turquoise oceans, wild animals, fertile grounds, blooming sisal plantations and the highest entrance fees.
We crossed the border from Ruanda to Tanzania at Rusumo. And again, we were done within a very short period of time. It was very funny to see that there was the same big confusion on which side of the road to drive between the two countries, because there is again left wheel drive in Tanzania.

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When we drove to our first destination to Biharamulo at Lake Victoria, we noticed immediately that compared to Rwanda less people live in Tanzania. We only saw few huts here and there in between a never ending savanna of bushes and little trees. In Biharamulo we stayed at a former German Fort that was built during the German Emperor Wilhelm aera (GPS coordinates S2 37.907 E31 18.291). The previous German colonial masters must have built this far outside station in good old German quality because the buildings are still in a relatively good shape and have been functioning as a guest house for a long time.  From Biharamulo we drove towards East along Lake Victoria to Mwanza. Mwanza is not really worth to see and we cannot recommend at all the campsite Yacht Club Mwanza directly at the Lake Victoria (GPS coordinates S2 31.745 E32 53.652).

On the following day we drove to Serengeti. We realized that Serengeti has become a total rip off and can almost be considered as a tourist-nap. The campsites in the national park are 30 USD per person and the standard of those is very basic – there is only parking, toilet and cold shower. Even the campsite outside of Serengeti cost still 15 USD per person and these are as well very basic. In order to give an idea of what to pay at Serengeti we listed the following:

You have to pay:
For one day Serengeti and one day Ngorongore Crater (including drive to the crater) for two people with a vehicle and foreign number plate: 820 USD

You get:

Really bad roads. On some parts even that bad that you can hardly drive on them in rain. Basic campsites with cold showers. However many exotic tourist from all over the world and they all come together at the special highlights.

Of course we will not hide at this point that we saw rich and diverse animal life and we drove through beautiful landscapes. Our special highlights were the huge herds of wildebeests and buffalos and they were all accompanied by a large number of zebras and antelopes. We even saw our first lions. However they were surrounded by about ten safari vehicles all packed with tourists and we had to queue with our car in order to get closer to the honey moon couple. Looking back we both agree that it was good to visit Serengeti National Park however we do not need to come again. Luckily we will visit many more parks further south of Africa with more wild animals as well as less tourists and they will only cost a fraction of Serengeti.

After Serengeti we continued driving to Arusha and stayed at a recommended campsite directly at a small idyllic lake. However we cannot recommend this campsite at all because it was very basic. We had to stay there for one night because we arrived late but we left really early in the morning.

As we were really fed up with the cold and rainy weather we decided spontaneously to drive all the way to the Indian Ocean in one goal. There was also heavy rain in the mountain area around Kilimanjaro and we would not have been able to hike there. Kilimanjaro was only sticking out of the clouds for a second when we passed by. We did not climb up Kilimanjaro either because it would have cost us between 1200 USD and 1800 USD per Person!  Luckily at the Indian Ocean we were rewarded with warm and sunny weather and the beautiful campsite Peponi (GPS coordinates S5 17.230 E39 03.936). Peponi is at the upper east coast of Tanzania and is a very pleasant location. It offered shady trees, the Indian Ocean at our feet and W-lan usage for free. We got the W-lan from the far more expensive however very beautiful neighbor resort (small hint: campsite K at Peponi has the best W-lan reception and is also the best spot).  We enjoyed staying at Peponi especially because we met a very nice couple from Austria, Vesela and Wolfgang. We laughed a lot and had very good conversations.

Our next destination to go was Zanzibar, the Island with the longest, widest, and whitest beaches – at least of Tanzania. As we had to leave our Toyota on the mainland we stayed for one night at Mikadi Campsite  (GPS coordinates S6 49.142 E39 19.252) and left our car there for four days. Early in the morning we went to the Zanzibar ferry terminal with a Tuck Tuck. However firstly we had to take the car and passenger ferry to get to Dar Eh Salaam city area as the day before. The city Dar Eh Salaam is divided because the ocean bay is ending in a wide river and there is no bridge only a shuttle ferry. The journey takes maximum five minutes but everyone needs to queue for about one hour. Before getting to the Zanzibar ferry terminal we had to pass by the very smelly fish market. No wonder, the temperatures are very high (approx. 40 degrees) and humid and the fish market is without aircon and ice cubes.  The journey to Zanzibar on the ferry was very pleasant because the ship was brand new.  At the arrival in Zanzibar we noticed immediately the Arabic and Indian influence. Historically Zanzibar was one of the main trading centers as well as the connection between Middle East and India. The mixture of people and the architecture are very unique and until today many exotic spices are growing on the island. For a price of 50 USD per person, guided tours introduce the spice gardens.

We followed a recommendation and stayed at the Paradise Beach bungalows at Paje Beach, east of Zanzibar. The owner is a Japanese woman, who has been there for twenty years. She serves home cooked traditional Japanese food in the restaurant. We found it totally crazy to enjoy fantastic Japanese dishes like Sushi, Sashimi, Teriyaki, Tempura, etc. in the middle of Africa. The Japanese women even collected every morning as a special ingredient seaweed from the ocean. The local people grow seaweed professionally in front of the resort as the beach offers perfect conditions. The beach is very flat and at low tide the ocean retrieves far out that the beach transforms to a wide white sandy area of a couple of hundred meters. We spent four relaxing days with reading and some work at the computer. We planned to stay longer however the adventure called us again and we wanted to go back to our car.

Luckily we found our car exactly in the same position as we left it behind. We camped one more night at the lovely Mikadi campsite and spent the next days with grocery shopping as we were going to Malawi soon. As we wanted to check out another campsite at the beach of Dar Eh Salaam, we drove to Kipepeo (GPS Koordinaten S6 51.102 E39 21.697). This place was suggested by several people so we thought it must be special. However we did not like it that much and we definitely prefer Mikadi campsite that is only five km away. The only advantage was that we met the very nice couple from Austria again at Kipepeo. We were very happy and therefore we stayed there for two days before we drove slowly south west towards Malawi.

We drove south-west through beautiful landscapes on the main road. We liked the Baobab-Tree valley the most. These very impressive trees can reach a diameter up to 10 meters. Another highlight on this road was the crossing through the Mikumi National Park. We were lucky because we saw wild animals just by passing by. Usually people cruise through the park for hours and pay high entrance fees to see what we saw. Directly next to the main road there was a huge herd of elephants, zebras, several giraffes and many impalas. Fantastic! Right outside the Mikumi National Park we camped at the Tan-Swiss Guesthouse (GPS coordinates S7 23.786 E37 00.111). The owner is Swiss and he welcomed us former country neighbors happily. His daily challenges are not easy to manage however he would never go back to Switzerland.

Our next destination was the well-known OLD Farm in  Kisolanza ( GPS coordinates S8 08.747 E35 24.737).  It is a beautiful place that offery everything to stay for a while. However the rain caught up with us again and therefore we left the next day. For generation the Old Farm has been owned by an English family. The female owner has established wonderful guest houses and a beautify campsite in addition to the farm. Mainly Tabaco and various vegies grow on the farm. We enjoyed buying really fresh vegies and some herbs directly from the ground.

The border to Malawi was still 300 km away from the old farm. As we did not want to enter Malawi in the afternoon we stayed one night at a locally run community campsite about 30 before the border. And the next morning we were crossing the Malawian border.

Even though Tanzania has many things to offer, we did not like the country too much. The wildlife, snowy white beaches, beautiful landscapes and the fascinating mountain area are simply too expensive and some people from Tanzania can even be considered as greedy. However not only the entrance fees alone put us off, it was more the bad standard as well as the crap service. Nevertheless we had a good time and were looking forward to Malawi.

Jambo means „hello“ in Kiswahili and everyone greeted us with „Jambo“. Kiswahili is spoken in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and party in Rwanda and Malawi.

Our Highlights:

  • The Serengeti Nationalpark und Ngorongoro Crater
  • Die beautiful beaches of Zanzibar
  • The Baobab valley

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