Another long drive as we entered Tanzania from Malawi on September 14th. The Great Rift Valley opened up before us as we descended lush hills into an arid landscape dotted with impoverished villages, garbage and dust. After several hours of driving the landscape again transformed into lush tropical vegetation. When we first entered Tanzania we noticed most of the brick and mud homes lining the side of the roads had big “X’s” painted on their door fronts and walls. Kind of like the Scarlet letter and we were told any home within 50 metres of the road were slated for demolition for road safety reasons. What we later found out was there will be a major highway expansion and rail link and we wonder and doubt that any of these poor people will be compensated for their loss. We made our way to Mikumi National Park and stayed overnight in a Masai-run camp and bungalow pit stop and did an afternoon drive an hour after our arrival. Not as exciting as South Luangwa but big herds of buffalo, a deadly Black Mamba snake (the most deadliest, aggressive and feared snake in Africa) on the roadside, close up elephants and a brief encounter with two lionesses and a young male and this fantastic photo Joyce took.
We departed the next morning for our final long drive (thank god, way too much driving on this tour) and as we got closer to Dar Es Salaam we witnessed what looked like Aleppo in Syria or any other war-torn country. The homes near the road with the “X’s” were destroyed, torn down and in rubble. Many large buildings that surely required large investments to build stood naked and destroyed. A very sad and surreal sight.
Finally and free at last we made it to Dar, bid our farewells and celebrated our freedom from 10 days of regimentation, fixed schedules and not much fun captivity on our 10 day African Adventure truck (bus). We had completed our first and definitely last organized tour. We hit the “Palace Bar” in the Kariakoo neighbourhood, drank cheap beer and ate some fantastic grilled chicken.
We had a great time, toasted our freedom several times and set our sights on our next stop, Vilanculos, Mozambique. One month of beach time! Not originally planned but hey, we’re “winging it” now!