The first day of the second leg was underway with a scheduled 8 am departure meaning breakfast at 7 am. The first day with knew people is always a bit chaotic so we left closer to 8.20 am. A welcome surprise was James and Ang coming down early in the morning to say one more goodbye, they are great people. Our new passengers are Jess, Tara, Tim, Lorraine, Yukon, Matt, Jess (we have two Jesses), and Bill. Another two passengers will join us after the Serengeti.
We stopped off at a bigger shopping centre early in the morning, actually that some one as the first full day of this tour. Unfortunately Maggie seemed to either forget the 9.30 am departure time or get caught somewhere as she didn’t show up until 9.45 am and only when our driver Alois found her. Apparently there were some words about the need to be on time spoken which caused Maggie to be very uncomfortable and want to talk about this issue but I think most of the group thought that yes you do need to be on time.
After a 3 hour drive we had lunch just short of the Tanzanian border. I was assigned ‘muscle’ duty with Arran which we both think is the best duty. You just have to get out the tables, chairs and cooking utensils and put them back, must easier then helping cook, clearing up after cooking or cleaning the truck. I was also given one of the two keys for the ‘oven’ which is basically the truck safe, both keys are needed to open it. Later in the day I turned my key over the Arran as I rarely put anything into the truck safe but I end up back with these boomerang locker keys.
The border crossing into Tanzania seemed to have more stages then normal. Multiple windows on both the Kenyan side and the Tanzanian side. They did check for Yellow Fever vaccination and the Tanzanian visa cost $50 USD to obtain. It actually took the truck longer to clear the border than the passengers, all up around 1 hour.
It took us another three hours to reach Arusha during this time we could see a marked difference in landscape, while there was still green trees the grass had mostly disappeared reached by dry red soil. The landscape was very different from that of East Africa and I imagine this will continue to be the case as we go more south and eventually into desert areas.
Arusha is our base for a three day / 2 night optional excursion into the Serengeti. Our campsite is the Snake Park which is fairly basic, no wifi here and the bar floor is the ground not floorboards. Everyone choose the optional Serengeti tour which costs $560 USD. Another company will look after us from 1 pm tomorrow onwards. This will be rustic Africa for these three days. We are only taking day packs during this time so need to pack a lot more carefully.
Kapilla explained how the two nights work in articulate the second night out in the middle of a National Park with no fences or infrastructure to stop lions or hyenas to walk pass our tents. We were given some safety rules for that night in particular. I won’t be leaving the tent at night after this briefing!