Monthly Archives: October 2019

Africa Trip – Day #16



Another day of transit. 4am start then a quick drive to Kilimanjaro airport, then a quick plane ride to Zanzibar then on to Dar-es-salaam, then finally a longer flight back to Johannesburg.

A test, for sure.

Right now there’s no way I can sit in a seat without my ass hurting within a few minutes. My lower back is so sore from all the transit. I’ve felt like tapping out so many times. I’ve felt like complaining out loud to people on the tour but I’ve mostly kept silent. I’ve not smoked nicotine in weeks and my mind has gone to all sorts of dark places during long transits.

I’m homesick, for sure, but I also worry about what’s going to happen when I get home. How is Africa, and seeing how simply some people live here going to change me? Am I going to still value all the extra noise I’ve created in my Sydney city life? Does everything I do in Sydney exist just to make myself feel more important? To keep myself busy? Did I pass the test?

One more night in transit tonight, then we land in Singapore tomorrow and spend 3 more nights there before returning home.

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Africa Trip – Day #15

Plastic chair at lunch, it’s been a holy trip!

Most of the bikes here are these Toyo bikes.

Maasai Camp bathroom.


Our Maasai Chief.

Maasai chief leading us to water (to see the flamingos).

The landscape changes every few km’s here.

Mineral Lake.

Crunchy ground felt like stepping on corn flakes!

Flamingos (needed a zoom lens for sure!).


Back to civilisation!!!

The climb on foot to the waterfall was washed out by rain overnight so this morning we had the Maasai Chief take us to see the Flamingos. It’s volcanic here at Lake Natron, the earth is black, like something from another planet. We walked out on the dried up river bed until the earth got so dry that each step would make an audible crunch, like we were walking on corn flakes. From a distance you could see a pink horizon, the Flamingos! Sadly for every step we took, they took 10 and we just couldn’t get near enough to them for a decent shot.

The sun was pretty damn harsh out there, we were all drenched with sweat by the time we made it back to our cars, from there our 2nd car ran into some more bad luck (2 flats and a broken windscreen so far), this time their driver ran into some Maasai cows, and the Maasai were claiming one of the cows was dead, but the corpse was nowhere to be seen. This made for a huge commotion between our drivers, the Chief we had in the car and the Maasai, but they eventually resolved it by swapping details and we were on our way.

Our lunch stop was at a small village which had the foulest toilets I’ve ever seen to date, and this was our last packed lunch box on the trip too. 60kms of dirt road to go before we hit tarmac roads, 1.5hrs of tarmac before we get to a hotel close to the airport. It’s been a wild ride!

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Africa Trip – Day #14

On the road again (well, off road!).

Our Safari tour guides:

Lizard at pee stop.



Lunch stop.

First TV we’ve seen in a while at this lunch stop.


Flat tyre #2.


Arrival at the Maasai Giraffe Eco Lodge. That’s Ol Doinyo Lengai “Mountain of God”, an active volcano in the background.

Maasai warriors sing and dance.

Fresh Goat.


Tough and chewy, but tasty!

Today was without doubt the toughest day on the tour as we travelled over 300kms on extremely rough dirt roads to get to our next destination, the Maasai Giraffe Eco Lodge in Lake Natron. Even the more resilient of the group suggested that the rough ride was too much, and even our tour guide suggested that perhaps this particular transit should have been mentioned when they were booking the trip.

Had there been better seating in these Land Cruisers (some of the seats are bent in one way or another, most likely because of people standing on them to get a better view of the animals on the safari from the open top), and perhaps air conditioning (our driver suggested our car needed a re-gas), then perhaps there wouldn’t have been any complaints, but as it is, we arrived at the Maasai Camp pretty broken.

No Wi-Fi, no electricity, no hot water, no drinking water (no plastic bottles); our trip has gone from Business Class flights, to hotels, to lodgings, to tents, to a Maasai Camp.

When we arrived there had just been a sand storm, then soon after, rain, this absolutely made a huge mess out of the eco-camp and staff were rushing to clean up our rooms as well as the main tent (kitchen/seating area).

We sat outside for a while to the sound of a goat screaming for its life, then the sight of a goat being dragged past us by a Maasai on a leash, urinating the entire way. It was pretty obvious to me that the goat was going to be our dinner, and too right, it was.

The Maasai warriors choked the goat and snapped its neck, drank its blood, skinned it, splayed the meat over naked flames and did their song and dance. Definitely not for vegans! The meat was tough and chewy but damn tasty!

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Africa Trip – Day #13

Back out on the plains.

Mama Leopard.

One of 3 baby cubs (SO CUTE!).

Our luck continues as today we spotted a Mama Leopard with 3 cubs! We’ve pretty much seen most of the stars of Africa, the only thing we didn’t get so close to was a Rhino (we spotted one, but it was pretty far away).

Instead of having lunch in the wild, today we had lunch back at camp. It rained soon after and we decided to chill for the rest of the night.

Doing a week long safari is tough work, you’re in the sun, in an open top Toyota Land Cruiser for hours on end, in search for that 15 minutes of nature. I’ve said it before, but these guys on my tour are all way older than I am, and I’m truly impressed with how optimistic and resilient each and every one of them are.

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Africa Trip – Day #12

All the dust is coming from the Wildebeest dropping down the vertical face on the right.

The Wildebeest on the left is the one being taken by the Croc.

We’ve got 3 nights at this camp in North Serengeti to catch a Wildebeest river crossing. Our guides have been trying to keep a poker face, but we saw very little on Day 1, and word over the radio is that there aren’t so many more animals around, and that migration could be over.

We headed out on Day 2 and by the time we had our first rest stop (which was packed with tourists), we hadn’t seen much at all. Just before lunch we heard a commotion on the radio, there was a crossing, and we weren’t too far away. Our drivers both drove aggressively, rally styles, to get to the crossing as quick as possible and soon we spotted about 10 or so cars bunched up together to watch a huge Wildebeest and Zebra crossing.


There were 2 lines into the water, the Zebra’s were crossing on the left, and the Wildebeest were traversing a 5ft vertical drop to get into the water on the right (which made for spectacular viewing). This went on for a fair few minutes before some ominous shapes started appearing in the water, yup, Crocodiles.

As if the view wasn’t breathtaking enough, the presence of a Crocodile, then 2, then 3, had everyone excited. One Crocodile in particular was snapping at the Zebra as well as the Wildebeest and on it’s 4th attempt it managed to catch a Wildebeest by the legs, we all heard the beast wail (which was awful), then just like that the Croc had brought the Wildebeest down into the water and disappeared.

Sensing danger, the remaining Wildebeest and Zebra stopped crossing.

It’s interesting that many of the tourists were cheering about a Croc taking a Wildebeest, agreed, what we saw was a once in a life time thing, but a whole group of religious people cheering for the death of a Wildebeest, and praying none of the Zebras were killed by Crocodiles (whilst not at all praying for the Crocodiles to catch a meal), all seemed interesting to me.

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Africa Trip – Day #11

The staff at this camp were so awesome, great people, great vibes, they sent us off with a sing and dance.

We got really close to this big boy, who really didn’t like us being so close at all.


More Hippos!

Lazin’ Lions.


Some kind of strange fungal growth on this skull makes it look way more interesting!

My tent for the next 3 nights!

I love sunsets more than sunrises.

I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of an animal that got louder and louder, and so clear and loud as it walked right past my tent. It wasn’t obvious to me what animal it was, but it sounded like heavy deep bassy breathing, and I thought it might have been a lion. This morning I was the first at breakfast in the big tent (as usual) and I was greeted by 2 of the staff who asked if I heard the lion last night! They said it was the big male, the king!

Today we made the trek to North Serengeti, another long hard day of bumpy AF driving. It’s almost like this trip is a test for me, a test in patience, in being calm in situations where I can’t have what I want when I want. Hearing some of the wild stories these older guys on our tour have to share over drinks at dinner has me thinking twice about judging people too early too.

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Africa Trip – Day #10

Good morning friends.


Lone Hyena.

Traffic on the plains? Not quite, these guys aren’t in competition with each other, when one spots a lion, they radio the others so all can experience the sights. Pretty awesome, really.

Lioness amongst the Land Cruisers.




Best camp lunch so far!

Beer o’clock back at base!

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Africa Trip – Day #09

Ima loooong way from home!!!

Birds are aggressive, they even come into the car for scraps!


Buffalo dining club!

At first we thought there was a lone Hippo, then we realised all that grey stuff in the water was hippo’s! They made an awesome sound, a lot like a cafe racer/motorbike sound (territorial sounds apparently).

Bumpy roads with no end in sight.

Serengeti shall not die. 1.8 million Wildebeest migrating to and from the spot where our camp is.

Beer o’clock!

Tent life, for real! Can’t see it in this pic, but I can see migrating Wildebeest in the distance.

Legit, every tent has a whistle, in case of what I have no idea lol!

Hands down the best meal we’ve had on the trip. Such subtle earthy flavours (far from sharp flavours of Thai food for example).

It’s been another huge day of transit, and the roads are getting even rougher. They’re corroded, so the surface of the road is a lot like corrugated iron, bumpy AF. Going slow is fine, but we’ve got major km’s to cover so our driver was doing 90km/hr on average which made for a really loud and bone shuddering ride for a big part of the day.

We passed a few Land Cruisers with broken rear suspension. Our 2nd car scored a cracked windscreen and a flat.

We made it to the Serengeti National Park though, and saw a whole lot of wildlife on the way; a male Lion pack, a Hyena, lots of Giraffe’s and Zebras, Gazelles, Antelopes, a huge Vulture and an Eagle mate sharing some road kill and also the destination for 1.8 million Wildebeest (we’ve come at the right time to see the wildebeest migration).

Tonight we’re literally camping out in the open in tents. The sun is going down now and I’m about to watch the sunset by an open fire. I can see endless Wildebeest migrating from my tent and the sounds are amazing! It’s going to be wild listening to the sounds later tonight as I doze off!

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Africa Trip – Day #08

Breakfast. I’ve legit been the first at buffet brekkie (my fave!) every single morning.


We met the Maasai and had a little tour of one of their villages. These guys recycle tyres for shoes.

They greeted us with a dance and song.




Maasai kids.

Baboon trying to get in our car.

Street cat in the shade.

Volcano crater.

Our lodgings for tonight.

Animals grazing outside my window at Sopa Lodge.

Sadly we had to say goodbye to our amazing lodging (I would have loved to see the sun go down one more time with that amazing view), and after a huge trek we reached our next lodging, which was also amazing, and again only a one night stay.

I’m starting to get that this is going to be an ongoing thing, but it’s understandable as these guys have organised a huge 3 week trip with the intention of seeing absolutely everything so we never ever have to come back. We’re only 1/3rd the way in and I’m already quite exhausted at the pace of the tour, and the amount of travel!

PS: Really bad Wi-Fi around these parts, not a bad thing though, right?!

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Africa Trip – Day #06 & #07

Our chariots for the day.

Cheeky monkeys at the first pit stop.

Elephant skull.

Caged up! We had a picnic in a cage so the monkeys couldn’t steal our food.

Loved these beautiful blue birds.

Getting friendly as they were after our scraps.

Termite mound.

We saw lions, but everything we had spotted was pretty far away until a couple of elephants decided to cross right in front of us.

I got a little concerned, won’t lie! Amazing stuff.


Our trusty steeds.


Photo stop.

Arrival at our accomodation after a very long off-road safari.

No it’s not dirty water! We were greeted with tamarind juice.

I heard we were staying in huts, but this is about as luxurious as a hut gets!



Way wider than widescreen view.


Beer o’clock till the sun goes down.

We lost a day in transit, and it was a nightmare as our flight was cancelled which threw us into chaos as we had an interconnecting flight to catch in order to make it all the way to Tanzania. Our tour manager Benjamin is a christian man, he prayed his ass off, and somehow, with the help of an amazing airline hostess, we made it by the narrowest of margins.

We got to our hotel at midnight, had a quick meal and we were all in bed by 1-2AM, the next morning we were straight into these mighty Toyota Land Cruisers, and off on a Safari, which started out pretty damn slow as many of the animals were so far away (a zoom lens would really have been good…), but the pace picked up when we found a pack of lions, with one young female attempting to sneak up on some wild boar, but with no success, then, whilst watching a large group of elephants, the largest of the group decided to head straight for us and cross right in front of us, day made, that was quite an experience for sure.

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