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Serengeti strikes back (after Mara kicks sand in her face)


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And I haven't said much about the camp. The tents are very similar to those of which I posted pictures earlier, but there is only netting on the ground, which allows the grass to continue growing and makes for an interesting texture under your feet inside the tent. I liked that. You can see the effect in the picture of the main tent below - nothing is completely flat or straight. but the grass isn't killed off. I guess that this is part of the regulations up here - or at least encouraged - and I have to say it feels good. Furniture is also simpler and lighter here, but the beds are just as comfortable. Even the management and staffing is simpler and lighter and they are very hardy, patient and sincere - possibly the nicest staff anywhere. Not "slick", never "perfect", and decidely Tanzanian, but they really worked for me and my wife - less for Bibi who had trouble understanding, but by day 4 she was won over too. One very unusual thing was that if you wanted to walk to your tent on your own in the evening, or to dinner, and there weren't any known animals in camp, you could do that - or at least we could (perhaps if it were our first time, not, and also the manager seemed to be very good friends with Babu). Also there was a ranger in camp, and someone stayed up, but once everyone went to bed there were no askaris - just someone waiting in case anyone blew their whistle. Again, perhaps this was to do with the camp not being full - I just thought I'd mention it because I actually liked it and I am sure some won't.. Anyway, although I am sure a change of manager could bring a significant change of style, Hamed says he will still be there next year so maybe someone else will stop by and give an opinion. Babu and I are voting for Hamed to be given the position for life.


There are a number of seasonal camps up here now - Kampikampi and Afrika Afrika stand out in the memory of course, and I am not sure if they are all similar, but I don't think I would hesitate to stay here again if in the area. Plus it is just far enough from Olakira to make it worthwhile staying in two locations and just near enough to the river to make river-watching a possibility if that is what you want to do. Two lion prides and the Kenyan border in easy range and classic cheetah country. Sounds good, right? If you like mobile camping this will be a super-luxurious and pampered version of the same experience. If you like "luxury tents" this will feel basic, but it doesn't feel "cheap" and grass between your toes is kind of nice unless you have had a glass too much to drink, when the "lumpy" floors can be tricky to navigate in the dark. :)


As for the Lamai Wedge, well it truly does feel like the Mara Triangle without the people (or the roads). Given the possibility of crossing the river or a brief excursion into Kenya, there is plenty here to keep you occupied for a few days, and there are some hills and some woodland, so it is not just endless plains. Even with more camps up here, we only regualrly saw people down at the river. However, in July to September, at times when there are no river crossings to keep the overnighters occupied, there are enough beds up here that it must be a slightly different feeling and it could be rather problematic if the no-offroading rule for Tanzania's national parks were strictly enforced, which of course it may need to be if visitor numbers continue to rise.


One criticism would be that the tents are a little close together (remember the "hyena incident"?) but as long as you don't sing like a hyena (whatever you are doing) you should be fine, and people are rarely seen as most seem to have very busy schedules. It never really felt like a 10-tent camp, even the one day it was nearly full.





Lumpy floor - the effect is partially the wide-angle lens, but also partially the lack of any truly level surfaces thanks to the 'living carpet".




Staff and guide quarters are far right in this picture - they are simple tents (stand up in the middle only scout-style tents) and don't take up too much space but guides and staff seemed to like them - perhaps for the freedom of being in the open air and perhaps because they seem to provide the truly necessary comforts (like a comfy bed and plenty of food I guess) and a nice atmosphere.




Olakira is next.

Edited by pault
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Thanks for all the comments.


No comment on my artisitc rendering of the rear end I see.... :rolleyes:

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Paul, your images are so brilliant - that, I tend to keep looking at the images and not read the text (with curiosity as to the next image) - will now go back to read the entire text!!!


Love the vignette feel to that cheetah image - also, the two gazelles in stunning light!!!!

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Thank you again.


Bibi has just touched down in Bangkok, arriving from Madrid. It is clear my inheritance will be a quarter of my late Dad's stamp collection and perhaps some very nice travel bags. Good for her! My trip reporting may be delayed by this.

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In the evenings I watch the clock to see if it's too early to climb into bed with my iPad to read trip reports. Thanks for the entertainment. Patsy

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In the evenings I watch the clock to see if it's too early to climb into bed with my iPad to read trip reports. Thanks for the entertainment. Patsy


As many of us are doing here on ST...."Cracktops" are the reference in my house. Rather read a ST trip report than shop on line for Xmas....

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Nice update pault. Awesome pics of the cheetah.

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Just caught up with this (started at 10pm & now it's 1am!!!).

Supremely entertaining narrative and a fantastic series of images.

Very well done!!!

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Me too, between last night and this morning I finally sat down and read this whole report. The pictures are amazing and I love your humorous style of writing! More, more please! By the way, to all who were complaining about reading glasses I've had to deal with being very near-sighted and wearing contact lenses most of the time since I was 13, but then the past year or two really needed the reading glasses in addition - so annoying. This last time I went to the eye dr for a checkup she asked if I wanted to try the multi-focal lenses so I said ok. It's been a wonderful thing for me - I have hardly had to use the reading glasses any more and I can still see well farther away too (though I think that part is not perfect). I told her my vision has to be good for my next trip to Africa coming up but I think these will work and if an animal is too far away, I'll need to use binos anyway.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bibi has left for the beach in southern Thailand with my sister and her family (also visiting, although for fewer days than Bibi) so I had time to get a few more photos together and can resume the report if work allows.


We started off our stay at Olakira by having been in the wrong place at the wrong time. While we were sitting in the shade with the cheetah boys, there was a crossing at Olakira that was halted by Maria, the "resident" lioness taking out a wildebeest coming up the bank. Then when we were on the Olakira side the cheetah boys finally roused themselves in the Lamai Wedge and took down a gazelle.Oh well, sometimes you guess right and sometimes you don't.


During our stay at Olakira our constant fallback was the four lion cubs about an hour's drive to the east. Their mothers took down both a wildebeest and a pregnant Eland while we were there and so they, and the rest of the pride were pretty easy to find. We also found this




And we accidentally came across the two little blind balls of fur that had been attached to this string, but we got straight out of there when we realised what we were looking at.... no pictures = no temptation.


Of course ethical behaviour is easier when following such ethical retreat these two come over to look at Landcruiser - or at least it's shade. We had this pair very up-close (their decision not ours) twice and the other pair (further away) once. I think this mother was perhaps a bit bolder and more unconcerned about vehicles.





We treid to keep a respectable distance......




But they kept on coming our way .....




Because in the early morning or late evening sun, the vehicles ( sometimes there would be 1-2 other vehicles with us) cast very, very long shadows.... just perfect for play.






And close to the kill, so they can go for a quick "top up" any time they want.... even if the cubs are still sucking the meat off as much as tearing it off.




The other two cubs were kept in a shadier area by the mother, who had a wildebeest kill and so had been more successfully able to drag it to where she wanted her cubs to stay.




These cubs seemed a little younger and more attached to their mother - less bold, although we did watch them climbing (and falling out of) a small tree. Very cute!




Although the lion cubs were the star attraction for us, there was plenty else to see.


There are lots of giraffes in the area


Young ones....




Inquisitve ones trying to work out whether this dead tree was friend, foe or like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey :P




And of course zebras and wildbeest - usually in herds, but more photogentically sometimes alone...




And on drives along the river we might see more sunbathing hippos......




... and we'd certainly see vultures fat from all the wildebeest carcasses in the water.





While there were always animals coming down to drink (and play and squabble in the case of baboons) at the corpse-free Sand River






There isn't really a lot more to add to what I have already written. The area is excellent for game and although we only saw lions and hyena this time, we had seen the cheetah and cubs a few days before, and I was told leopard are sometimes seen here too. There are more vehicles than in Lamai Wedge, but not that many. I am sure this is partially because people tended to be visiting for a very short time and waiting for crossings and partially because some of the roads are quite challenging unless you know the area - have to cross luggas using very large rocks as bridges - not for the faint-hearted driver because if you put your vehicle off the "bridge" at all, you could get quite stuck and even quite upside-down! I think others have characterised the traffic in the area quite well, and it seems to get better the further away you get from Olakira/ Sayari and closer to the Sand River that runs along the border with Kenya. If you were to ask me whether to stay south or north of the river I would have to say I don't really know... stay longer and try both!


I'll finish off this Serengeti section next and get on to the dead dog asap.

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What beautiful photos, a real pleasure.

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Thanks, twaffle and John... glad you enjoyed it, even though my writing is becoming much less interesting. I am struggling to feel it two months on.


To wrap up the Serengeti portion of this trip, I'll talk about Olakira a little bit - not too much as it is a well known camp and in the end my opinion doesn't differ much from the general one. As a camp it is fine - nothing special there but a few minor luxuries that you may or may not like and the dinner service tells you that you are not slumming it and (apparently,,based on other guests' behaviour) can hold forth at dinner on pet subjects that others find rather offensive in a booming, plummy voice. The manager can also give sleep-inducing 15-minute after-dinner sermons about how eco-friendly Asilia are. The tents are nice and comfortable and definitely a step-up from our previous camps (as was intended). Bibi thought she had gone to heaven as all the little things she missed previously were here - even the muppets at the dinner table didn't generally worry her as she is fond of a few inappropriate topics herself. :o There were "proper" toilets where you, quoting Bibi "don't have to smell your own poo" and unlimited water (actually my wife and I only ever used half of our generous 'allowance' at the previous camps, but Bibi was a bit stressed by the idea of a limit itself I think). The service was a bit shinier and slicker - the manager went out of his way to explain how they had one whole local person on staff but that he was useless and only fit for guard duty so they just preferred to hire people from 5-star hotels even though they were totally into the "involving the local community" thing really... in theory. (Okay he didn't say that, but that was how I summarised it for Bibi afterwards and she thought it was funny - perhaps you had to be there.). :rolleyes:


Sorry, I am being irreverent, but that is because all of what I mentioned is irrelevant. For me, you stay at Olakira because of the location, which puts you right there for the crossings. Bibi stayed in camp the first two afternoons we were there and saw crossings both days - she ended up seeing more crossings than me. The rhino showed up near to here and the lions were an hour away (not that far but those lugga crossings can take a couple of minutes each and there are a few), with the Sand River another half hour drive (different habitat and so further variety in your viewing). There were very few elephants here, and few buffalo, but you can drive an hour or so and be at the Mara-Lamai Wedge border, where both are more plentiful..... and of course both may be more plentiful at other times. We weren't particularly lucky while we were there, but there was never a drive that was even close to dull.


Our tent (location is dictated by trees to an extent - these two are closer together than most of the others).






I saw one crossing while there and since Babu and I were alone and parked right next to a bank, away from anyone else, we sneaked down the bank to get a ground-level view of the crossing (which was some distance away, so we were being very careful not to do wrong - although I am not particularly comfortable with this kind of stuff as it is quite correct that that completely against the rules - Babu would have got into trouble if we had been caught... although our location meant not even the wildebeest themselves could really see us). It was a smaller crossing than the previous one, biut still pretty impressive, with a gentle bank meaning the wildebeest could enter the waters in larger numbers together. I haven't processed the shots of this crossing as the light wasn't as good and I'll need to work out some kind of a formula to convert the better ones. It was a very unusual crossing in that not a single death was observed.

A vehicle-top view of the crossing - not one of the low angle shots, There were10-15 constant minutes of this, to give you an idea of sizei-2Zzprr7-XL.jpg



Since Bibi was taking afternoons off to relax and await crossings, we could stay out later in the evening, which I like as things start to stir.


Happy to be across!




On our last full day we headed out towards Sayari - the first time we had gone west, where there appears to be more traffic. On the way, Babu got news of a lion stalking near Sayari itself, and we went out to see. There was a stalk and there were an assortment of zebras and wildebeest to catch, but in the end the lion went too early and couldn't catch any of the herbivores going uphill. THe chase as over in 10 seconds and was very unsuccessful. A bit of an anticlimax to what had looked quite promising for a while.




The Monolith Part 2 - the giraffes eventually identified the tree as non-threatening.




We left on a morning flight after our fried eggs - I was planning to go out for a last drive but we were told to get to the airport before 9 and so that was impossible. Of course our plane left an hour later than that, but that is Tanzania... you have to write off the whole morning or afternoon to travel anywhere, even if on paper it won't take long.


I think I love the Northern Serengeti about as much as the Mara. It is not as instantly gratifying or quite as easy, but it is hardly difficult either. Aside from the obvious, I like the greater variety of habitats and the sheer scale of it all compared to the compact Maasai Mara. Drawbacks are the number of tsetses (really there are a lot; at least when the wildebeest are present). We got bitten an uncountable number of times. Also, like the Mara, the Lamai Wedge is fly heaven - I was covered in them at times and there would be a litttle swarm arounfg


How wonderful it must have been before all the current camps opened up. I hope it will stay like it was for us in October, but I am sure it won't..


Goodbye Mara River... until next time





Next up is our overnight stay at a Barbaig village in the shadow of Mount Hanang. Bibi is loving it!!! ;)



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Bibi's face says it all .............. :rolleyes:

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One word to summarize this - BRILLIANT!!!!

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Cheers Paul. I’m just picking this report back up and jumped in with Bibi’s morning calisthenics! The shots of the crossing are breathtaking. I have mixed views of watching a crossing – it is a truly awesome sight to behold but the gruesome factor can be a bit much for my ever so delicate constitution. Very interesting about the “killer hippo” - as you said that was probably a once in a lifetime sighting. The shot of the elephant profile at sunrise is stunning. Thank you for such a fantastic report, I really enjoyed it!

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Thanks! I am warming up to the writing again... the next part is a bit more vivid. ^_^

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We were very sorry to have to leave Babu behind when we flew to Manyara. We’d become quite attached to him and he had pretty much got used to us. And we really would have benefitted from his knowledge of us over the following 24 hours. Our new guide was in no way to blame for what happened, and in fact he did a lot of good things to help make things a bit better – but he didn’t know us yet and so naturally wasn’t confident enough to intervene as much as I think Deo would have done. Anyway, the plan was to drive down to Babati, which is just past the southern end of Tarangire, and pick up a guide who would take us to stay overnight in a Barbaig (same tribe as Datoga, but I think the latter is the Maasai’s word for their enemies, so I am pretty sure Barbaig is better – take that with a pinch of salt) village, where there would be some cultural activities. I researched and decided on this plan myself and Wild Source simply booked it for us and passed on some requests and information that I gave them. The tour we booked is usually a 3-day tour (one full day and two half days) but we wanted to adapt it so that we could set off after lunch on the first day and be at Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire by the late afternoon of the second day. I suggested that we drive to the village to save time, and save Bibi as the walk that was part of the program might be a bit too much for her in the mid-afternoon heat. However, the operators assured us that the walk was very gentle and wouldn’t take long. I remained skeptical, so asked Wild Source to have our guide, Hosea, on standby.



I am not sure from what perspective to tell this story, and the perspectives are so different. For Bibi and my wife it was a complete waste of time and quite unpleasant; although they can laugh about it, they thought our guide was useless and that Kahembe Safaris had basically lied to us about what we would be doing – “conmen” says Bibi, rather strongly. For me, there is a lot more grey (to some extent my wife agrees, but her point of view is “So what? The result is the same.” – a fair point). We asked them to adapt their program to our needs and they couldn’t do it successfully. They also communicated poorly with us and there was no consideration that one of us was 73 years old, even though we told them this in advance and I made it clear we would cover any extra costs incurred to adapt for her. Certain factors conspired against the guide too, but he didn’t adapt or know how to do so. I suspect he wasn’t the regular guide for this tour, but we were never told that.


Anyway, I think I’ll just try to tell it like I would around the campfire – with a bit of added detail. Apologies to Kahembe Safaris and to our guide. I really like and support cultural tourism, but I’m afraid I was never going to just write this off as a bad experience – the dead dog is just too funny not to share.


We were met by Hosea at Manyara and drove two hours on the tar down to Babati, a largish town on the way to Dodoma (or Southwestern Tanzania if you were going that way). There we bought some roadside egg and chips to have with our lunch boxes (French fries, fried up with eggs – never seen it before) against Hosea’s advice… and mine as I was thinking what if Bibi gets a dodgy tummy in a village without running water or any toilets? However, Bibi was in defiant “I will experience it” mode and my wife was behind her, so we had the chips with our lunches at the guest house in which Kahembe Safaris is headquartered (i.e. the same guy runs both!). We were to get a briefing here but this mainly consisted of information about the owner’s foreign travels as a coffee taster (hence the nickname my wife would assign him later – Mr Bean) and a lecture about how westerners had to experience the life in the village as the villagers themselves did in order to get the full understanding of how things were in other parts of the world. It was quite interesting but he seemed a bit put off when I told him we were down for the whole experience and were sorry we didn’t have more time to do the complete tour, but one thing we did want was to take up some coffee for Bibi in the morning. He pointed out that the Barbaig didn’t drink coffee, but ion the end he agreed to have the guide take some (meaning we didn’t ask Hosea for it). Mr Bean also implied that the walk was not strenuous and we were told there was absolutely no need to drive part of the way. And he told us it was not cold and so there was no need to take warm clothes – what we were wearing would be fine. To be honest, it felt a little funny, but the company does seem to do some good work with the cultural tourism program, and what could really go wrong? We were ready for no water, a sleeping bag on the ground and peeing in the bush; and we were quite sure we had stronger stomachs for whatever they fed us than most of their usual guests. Let’s go!


We drove another 70km south to Katesh town and here we had our first surprise. Our departure point was the center of town. Why? And our guide was expecting us to carry all the sleeping bags and some other gear – in fact he was trying to persuade us not to take mats because we would have to carry them – or not to take sleeping bags because it wouldn’t be cold. Hosea stepped in and said now and a discussion ensued which ended with Hosea getting a guy hanging around to agree to take the stuff to the village tied onto his bike, for payment. The guide didn’t seem to like this and I had to tell him that either it was going on the bike or it was going on his back because nobody had said anything about Bibi being a pack mule. He seemed happier with the bike idea after that.




I asked him why we were starting in town as it was pretty hot. He said it wasn’t far so don’t worry. My wife then asked him if it was hilly and he said it was “up and down” but giving the impression it wasn’t strenuous. We confirmed that we didn’t need to take warm clothes and off we went.




My wife was already muttering after 5 minutes as we were still walking in town and that wasn’t the deal. We had imagined we would be in the bush, but if the village was only a 5km walk from our starting point then it was practically in town.


Are we there yet?



The atmosphere got a little worse later when we finally passed the last house and the climb was getting steeper and steeper…. and my wife’s face was a monsoon thunderstorm by the time we had to stop to let Bibi recover her breath and rehydrate for a second time because I had guessed what “up and down” meant, and confirmed that in fact this day would be all “up” and the only “down” would be on the return tomorrow. Ha ha – very witty! It was 3 p.m. on a hot day though, and ladies’ tempers were getting a bit too frayed for wit.



Just up to the top of that hill, Mum.






Eventually, we arrived at the hilltop village. Only one old woman was there and we were told that this was the first wife of the man of the village and that said man would be back later as he was out drinking. Anyway, in the meantime, we could see where we would sleep. The old woman and our guide went into one of the huts and the guide came out looking a bit pale. Here is a photo of that moment – I don’t know why I took it – instinct?



Then the old woman came out carrying a dead dog, which the guide pointedly ignored as he ushered a shocked Bibi into the room to decide where she would sleep. The options were to sleep there with my wife or she could sleep with our guide and the drunk old man, when he returned. Hmmmm….. difficult choice. Nobody mentioned the dead dog at all, but it was still swinging there in front of our eyes, I know. It’s just, what can you say? Take me home now, is what Bibi wanted to say, but she’s a bit tougher. Anyway, Bibi got settled in….

As my wife was laughing, and I knew she didn’t really find it funny, I felt a chill…. dead man walking. Given our location at the top of a hill, I found myself singing…

“In a little hilltop village they gambled for my clothes.

I bargained for salvation but they gave me a lethal dose.

I offered up my innocence but got repaid with scorn.

“Come in” she said “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

From the song “Shelter from the Storm” and especially the lines “nothing really matters much. It’s doom alone that counts”, and “Now there’s a wall between us; something there’s been lost. I took too much for granted; got my signals crossed.” And, even “I was burned out from exhaustion; buried in the hail. Poisoned in the bushes and blown out on the trail.” It seemed very appropriate, although I don’t want you to think I was comparing myself to Jesus.






Anyway, I checked into my place, sleeping with the guide above the old man’s crash spot. The old woman would sleep in a small alcove. The buildings are different to typical Maasai ones they had a single structure with two “rooms” with separate entrances. However, inside it was rather like a Maasai house, with the fire without any chimney, stick beds and the “private” alcove for the parents.


Settling in!



After half an hour we hadn’t really talked to anyone as the old woman was preparing dinner and the other wife who had come back from herding didn’t seem very happy to see us (and very unhappy to see our guide actually) and had disappeared into her separate hut. Her kids came back in order of age and we asked if we might talk to them, which was when our guide admitted that he didn’t speak their language and only the old man spoke Swahili, so we would have to wait for him to get back from drinking until we could communicate with anyone. I forced him to take my Mum into the kitchen to watch the old woman at work and try her sign language anyway, but I was feeling a bit sick of it. The guide encouraged me to take pictures but out of solidarity with my wife who had no such distractions I refused. As the sun went down a fire was lit in the hut and Bibi and my wife gathered around it to mutter darkly about what they would like to do to Mr Bean. I chatted to the guide since the fire couldn’t disguise the chill in that room, and things were going so badly that I was actually feeling a bit sorry for him.


Live dog



There were other residents - just they were hidden




Eventually the old man of the village arrived back from his drinking (he’d been drinking in town) and we were urged to ask him questions before dinner…. if he wasn’t too drunk to answer. I asked a few and my wife asked him a couple of pointed ones like what he thought of our guide being unable to speak his language and where his wife had dumped the dead dog (“The dog died?” he asked). Things were going swimmingly. But the fire was very nice and the dinner cooked by the old woman was good too – stew and chapatis is a special treat for them, but the old man says they do sometimes eat it – more normally ugali. They don’t favour the blood and curds of the Maasai and seem to eat a lot more meat and vegetables, which they grow in fields that they tend. Partially this was imposed on them by the government – they were less resistant than the Maasai; so I am not sure to what extent it is meaningful to understanding their traditional culture and whether Barbaig elsewhere still live a more nomadic life.


Showing us how to mix moonshine



We went to sleep quickly after dinner – well it was more like Bibi wanted the guide and the drunk old man out of her room asap, and the best way to achieve that was to go to bed. I could tell she didn’t expect to sleep at all on those sticks, but in fact she slept well – she was very tired.


I managed to get up onto my top “bunk” in the other room and soon our guide was snoring merrily beside me. He was still snoring merrily when I woke at 5.00, and when Bibi and my wife woke at 5.30 – glad to report that there were no fleas …. My brother’s theory is that the dead dog was for getting all the fleas out of the room when visitors were coming, but that presupposes that they keep dead dogs on hand for that purpose and I put it in the “entertaining and vaguely plausible, but unlikely” category. It was really cold and we were all shivering without a fire. Our guide, wearing his big pink quilted jacket explained that it was very unusual for it to be so cold and that in fact we had not been misled by Mr Bean…. I swear his nose grew. My wife asked him what the earliest we could leave was. I said we should stay for breakfast and to see if the morning was going to be better….maybe we could leave at 9? I quickly agreed that not a moment after 8 would be fine.


Morning.... actually a very nice view



Can it get worse?



At 6.00 everyone was up and we were all standing around smiling awkwardly at each other, because our guide was still snoring merrily and so we had only sign language, which Bibi mainly used to point out that it was really cold. So I went to wake our guide and tell him everyone was up and his services were needed. Of course he hadn’t brought coffee or hot water, so we would have to wait to have tea with everyone else – the old woman had started warming water for that and porridge in a big pot. Bibi did not like that news at all, and gave the guide a piece of Bibi’s mind. That woke him up enough to force the old man to show us some archery and stick fighting skills. I persuaded Bibi to do the archery because (for different reasons) I agreed with the guide that she should get her mind off her morning coffee that wasn’t. I didn’t encourage her to use the sticks as I wasn’t sure I could trust her not to start whacking the guide.


Yes this one is for you, matey!



When the (rather sleepy) demonstrations were over, we went back to the hut where the old woman had lit a fire (it was still freezing). But instead of tea our guide asked us if we wanted to ask the old man any more questions – to “exchange cultural insights” as this was a very unique opportunity for him. I swear that if Bibi had had those fighting sticks, he would have taken a big one to the side of the head. “I want my tea NOW!” The guide agreed that we could ask the questions while we were having tea.


Tea, the questions and breakfast of bread and margarine (porridge wasn’t ready yet) were completed surprisingly quickly – strong, sweet tea if you are interested. And then we were ready to leave, but fortunately the old man reminded us we couldn’t leave without trying on the costumes. Bibi and my wife wanted to go now, but I persuaded them they needed to do it to be polite to our hosts, who were not really to blame. They agreed on reflection.


Bibi spreads some joy!



Both my wife and Bibi got down the hill at five times the speed they came up. I stopped to take a couple of photos and found myself 200 meters behind them and unable to catch up until the bottom. We left the guide a way behind… no comment.


When we got back to town Hosea was waiting for us. He got Bibi some coffee, using hot water he begged from the restaurant he had had his breakfast at that morning and we set off with the coffee as a takeaway, since all Bibi wanted to do was get to Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire as soon as possible. Well, after she had told Hosea all about it of course…. Poor Hosea was a captive audience.


Unfortunately it wasn’t going to be that simple to get to Tarangire since there was no diesel in Babati… in fact no diesel anywhere between Arusha and Dodoma apparently, due to transportation issues. We did not have enough diesel to risk the considerable drive to Oliver’s! Would we have to stay in Babati until diesel arrived. Might we be spending the night at Mr Bean’s guest house rather than Oliver’s Camp?


My future as son and husband wasn’t looking good….. I was praying for a bit of luck.

Edited by pault
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Great description. What was in the stew? Dead dog?


Well, now you mention it, we never actually saw the dead dog again. :o

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All I did was laughed aloud reading this update...

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Great account!


What did it make you choose to visit the Barbaig in the first place?


Yes, I'd like to know as well!


I always remember Sidney Poitier saying that although he was brought up in a ramshackle shack with no facilities, after he achieved success and a certain level of comfort he could never go back and stay in that hut with his family. I've never felt the attraction myself, to try and live like some villagers do, as I don't think a few hours or nights will ever be sufficient to really walk in their shoes. But I admire your attempt to experience something different and your ability to write about it with such humour.

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