On July 19th, 2015 the time had final­ly come - we went back to Africa. This time, a 16-day safari through south­ern Kenya and north­ern Tan­za­nia was wait­ing for us. These are the des­ti­na­tions of our jour­ney this time:

In Kenya:

In Tan­za­nia:

As the safari start­ed and end­ed in Nairo­bi, two bor­der cross­ings were nec­es­sary. Again the entire Safari was orga­nized as an indi­vid­ual Safari with own 4x4 vehi­cle and guide by our friends (1000Thank you, Andrea!) via Sun­world-Safaris ( many thanks for this, Mr. Nowak). This time we were five: our friends Andrea and Har­ry, my wife Simone, our 14 year old daugh­ter Luise and myself. We flew again with KLM and Kenya Air­ways via Ams­ter­dam with a night flight first to Nairo­bi, where we were picked up by our guide, Eric, who had also accom­pa­nied us on our first safari 2 years before, in his Land­Cruis­er in the ear­ly morn­ing of July 20th. We were extreme­ly hap­py to see Eric again this morn­ing. As we had seen Nairo­bi 2 years before, we imme­di­ate­ly con­tin­ued our trip towards Amboseli.

Amboseli (July 20th - 21st)

Amboseli Nation­al Park is rel­a­tive­ly small with 390km², but its loca­tion at the foot of Kil­i­man­jaro, with 5895m the high­est moun­tain in Africa, is spec­tac­u­lar. Although Mount Kil­i­man­jaro is locat­ed in Tan­za­nia, it can be seen best from here. As the park is locat­ed at a height of 1200m, the moun­tain ris­es almost 4700m above it. The park is par­tic­u­lar­ly famous for its large ele­phant pop­u­la­tion. On the way to our camp we already saw the first ele­phant groups. We were accom­mo­dat­ed in the Tor­til­is Camp, a small camp with a total of 15 tents with a spec­tac­u­lar view to the Kil­i­man­jaro mas­sif - if it is not, as it is very often the case, cov­ered by clouds.

,Kenia
Our tent at Tor­til­is Camp

The tents were extreme­ly lux­u­ri­ous with pri­vate bath­rooms, hot run­ning water and elec­tric­i­ty. Even a WLAN was avail­able. We stayed here for two nights. After check-in and lunch we made our first game dri­ve with Eric.

Arusha (July 22nd)

After break­fast we head­ed via the Naman­ga bor­der check­point to Arusha in Tan­za­nia. Due to the reg­u­la­tions there we had to change both the guide and the vehi­cle at the bor­der cross­ing. So we were lucky to meet Arnold, who now accom­pa­nied us fur­ther in Tan­za­nia. Arnold was also extreme­ly friend­ly, nice and com­pe­tent, he even spoke Ger­man excel­lent­ly.

Arusha is a large city in Tan­za­nia with about 400.000 inhab­i­tants at the foot of the Mount Meru vol­cano, with 4600m height also very impres­sive. We were accom­mo­dat­ed in the Mount Meru Game Lodge, that we reached in time for lunch.

After­wards we vis­it­ed the Arusha Nation­al Park at Mt. Meru for some hours. Unfor­tu­nate­ly we had only lim­it­ed time, but we were able to observe the Black Colobus mon­keys and Blue Mon­keys with their off­spring.

Tarangire (July 23rd-24th)

After break­fast we con­tin­ued with Arnold to Tarangire Nation­al Park. The 2850km² park fur­ther south is named after the Tarangire Riv­er, which con­stant­ly car­ries water. Remark­able in the park are the huge Baobab trees, true giant trees with trunk diam­e­ters of up to 10 meters. Accord­ing to a leg­end of the natives, the dev­il tore the trees out and then put them back into the ground with their roots fac­ing upwards.

Already dur­ing the dri­ve to our camp we saw again large groups of ele­phants. Also very impres­sive: right next to the road there was a some­thing about 2m long which we first thought was a branch. Arnold then told us that it was a very dan­ger­ous and poi­so­nous black mam­ba.

Around noon we arrived at our camp, the Tarangire Bal­loon Camp. Again, this camp was rel­a­tive­ly small, the tents were very lux­u­ri­ous and the staff very friend­ly. We spent the evenings at the camp­fire with Gin Ton­ic at the “Bush­man-TV” and after­wards we had a deli­cious din­ner in the restau­rant-tent.

Boundary Hill Gate Road Manyara  Tansania
Tent at Tarangire Bal­loon Camp

On our game dri­ves we could observe large groups of ele­phants and giraffes. The sun­sets behind the baobab giants were very spec­tac­u­lar.

Ngorongoro Crater (July 25th)

Ear­ly in the morn­ing we head­ed west towards the Ngoron­goro Crater, a so-called col­lapse crater on the edge of the Serengeti. Locat­ed in the Great East African Rift Val­ley, the crater with its opu­lent wildlife is often called the 8th won­der of the world. It was formed when a vol­canic moun­tain col­lapsed at this point. The crater floor is at an alti­tude of about 1700 meters and the side walls are between 400 and 600 meters high, so that the crater edge is locat­ed at about 2300 meters. The diam­e­ter of the crater is between 17 and 21 kilo­me­tres. Because of the high crater walls most ani­mals nev­er leave it, it is a near­ly closed biotope.

Even the dri­ve to our accom­mo­da­tion, the Ngoron­goro Sopa Lodge, was breath­tak­ing. Due to the up to 2300m height­ed crater edges, the clowds pile up, so that an extreme­ly humid cli­mate pre­vails. The dri­ve went through an impen­e­tra­ble rain for­est in dense fog on a steep road near­ly 1000m upwards until we reached the edge of the crater. There, the fog rose and an inde­scrib­ably spec­tac­u­lar view to the 500m low­er and sun­lit crater bot­tom opened up, the oppo­site crater rim appeared in far dis­tance. I felt like being on an alien plan­et. The road con­tin­ued along the crater rim, which was at best 20-30m wide, for about 10km to Sopa Lodge, which we reached in time for lunch. The lodge is locat­ed right at the east­ern edge of the crater and has 92 rooms, of which there are four in each of the many small two-storey build­ings at the edge of the crater with a won­der­ful view into the crater.

After lunch we drove with Arnold into the crater. To pro­tect the ani­mals, only half-day stays are allowed there. Since most of the ani­mals spend their whole life in the crater, they are accus­tomed to the safari vehi­cles and not very shy. When we watched a lioness in the late after­noon heat in the plain, she rec­og­nized her chance, got up, came towards us and lay down in the shade direct­ly behind our vehi­cle. In the crater we also saw, even if only from a dis­tance, the only rhi­no of our this year’s trip. Unfor­tu­nate­ly it was too far away for a pho­to.

Already in the ear­ly morn­ing after break­fast we went fur­ther west to the Serengeti. Before we start­ed, we could see an over­whelm­ing sun­rise, fog banks fell down like water­falls from the crater edges.

Ngorongoro Krater,Tansania
Ngoron­goro Krater, Tansa­nia

On the way to the Serengeti we vis­it­ed the grave of the Grz­imeks.

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Grave of the Grz­imeks

as well as the Oldu­vai (or cor­rect Oldu­pai) gorge, where human remains from a set­tle­ment peri­od of almost 2 mil­lion years have been found and which is there­fore con­sid­ered to be one of the cra­dles of mankind.

Serengeti (July 26th - 28th)

Serengeti Nation­al Park owes its cur­rent exis­tence large­ly to the com­mit­ment of Prof. Bern­hard Grz­imek. With a size of almost 15.000km² the park is one of the largest and cer­tain­ly one of the best known nature parks in Africa. Dri­ving through the park takes about 6 hours by jeep. Our des­ti­na­tion was the Kati Kati Camp. “Kati Kati” means “right in the mid­dle” in Swahili and the name is pro­gram.

,Tansania
Our tent at Kati Kati Camp in the Serengeti

After a 3-hour dri­ve with pic­nic we reached the camp, which was locat­ed at in the mid­dle of nowhere at the foot of a hill with a total of 20 tents. Again, the wel­come was very friend­ly. The tents were very com­fort­able with their own en-suite bath­rooms. Due to the loca­tion in the mid­dle of the wilder­ness, there was warm water for show­er­ing only on demand (but at any time). Elec­tric­i­ty for recharg­ing the bat­ter­ies was only avail­able in the din­ing tent.

The word “Serengeti” is derived from the Masai lan­guage of the word “Sirin­gi­tu” and means “the end­less land”. It is hard to describe the land­scape more accu­rate­ly. Dur­ing our 3 days there we went on sev­er­al game dri­ves with Arnold in all direc­tions, where we espe­cial­ly saw a lot of lion groups. Dur­ing the long tours in all direc­tions we always saw new land­scapes and were very impressed how Arnold found his way back to the camp. The steppe was burn­ing at sev­er­al places on a wide area. Arnold explained to us that the fires were part­ly set inten­tion­al­ly and were nec­es­sary for the regen­er­a­tion of the steppe. Among the numer­ous ani­mals we saw, the most impres­sive was a female leop­ardess with 2 cubs, which we dis­cov­ered ear­ly in the morn­ing and were able to observe over a peri­od of almost 2 hours (at last with her cubs in a tree).

Lake Victoria- Speke Bay (July 29th)

As a stopover to our last sta­tion, the Masai Mara, Mr. Nowak rec­om­mend­ed a vis­it to Lake Vic­to­ria. Although the Serengeti bor­ders direct­ly to the Masai Mara in Kenya in the north, a bor­der cross­ing from there is not pos­si­ble, so that a big round trip is nec­es­sary. In ret­ro­spect we were very hap­py to have stopped at Speke Bay. After a more than 5 hour cruise, dur­ing which we were allowed to watch a huge wilde­beest migra­tion (the herd sure­ly count­ed sev­er­al thou­sand wilde­beest reach­ing from hori­zon to hori­zon), and a pic­nic we reached Speke Bay Lodge in the after­noon.

Mwahamala,Tansania
Our hut in the Speke Bay Lodge

Speke Bay is a bay on the south­east­ern edge of Lake Vic­to­ria, the third largest lake in the world. The lodge is sit­u­at­ed in its own small nature park and is home to a large num­ber of birds - accord­ing to the local infor­ma­tion, over 200 species have been count­ed. The lodge is locat­ed direct­ly on the shore of the bay. We were accom­mo­dat­ed in com­fort­able round build­ings in the tra­di­tion­al style of the local Suku­ma tribe and could relax on our own ter­race with a view on the lake and watch the sun­set and the hunt­ing King­fish­ers above the lake. All in all the stay was a very pleas­ant and relax­ing expe­ri­ence after the many impres­sions of the trip so far.

Masai Mara (July 30th - August 2nd)

Again the Lit­tle Mara Bush Camp in the Masai Mara was the crown­ing finale of our trip. After break­fast we went to Ise­ba­nia to cross the bor­der again. There we had to say good­bye to Arnold, whom we want to thank at this point again very much for his kind­ness, patience with us and extra­or­di­nary com­pe­tence. At the bor­der anoth­er guide, Caleb, and a new car was wait­ing for us.

We imme­di­ate­ly got on very well with Caleb, too. He also spoke Ger­man excel­lent­ly and was very com­pe­tent. We learned a lot about the peo­ple in Kenya from him. From the bor­der we went to the Masai Mara, where Har­ry enjoyed Caleb’s “sporty” dri­ving style (I think he would have loved to dri­ve him­self 😉 ). The arrival at the Lit­tle Mara Bush Camp was almost a feel­ing like com­ing home. We were again wel­comed very warm­ly by Michela, who still remem­bered us. Oblig­a­tory was the remark to Luise: “But you have grown up”. The camp was at the same place as 2 years before, but the tents had become even more lux­u­ri­ous. There was now warm water and elec­tric­i­ty in the tents. Fur­ther­more there was even a WLAN avail­able local­ly.

,Kenia
Our tent in the Mara Bush Camp

On our game dri­ves we saw again a huge num­ber of ani­mals. Unfor­tu­nate­ly we could not see any wilde­beest cross­ing the Mara Riv­er this time, we prob­a­bly were hrer a bit too ear­ly for this. How­ev­er, since we had already been able to wit­ness a cross­ing twice two years ear­li­er, this could be eas­i­ly accept­ed - as we had many oth­er great expe­ri­ences. Espe­cial­ly to empha­size was a leop­ardess with 2 young cubs and a chee­tah with four just 2 weeks old cubs. And of course the spec­tac­u­lar sun­ris­es and sun­sets.

Nairobi (August 3rd)

On the sec­ond last day of our trip, after a short morn­ing gamedrive and a last break­fast in the wilder­ness, we head­ed back to Nairo­bi. We arrived there in the late after­noon and enjoyed a last din­ner with some Tusker (Kenyan beer) in the restau­rant of the Eka Hotel.

Return flight (August 4th)

In the ear­ly morn­ing of the 4th of August we were picked up and brought to the near­by air­port. The return flight start­ed a lit­tle delayed, which meant that we reached the con­nect­ing flight to Düs­sel­dorf in Ams­ter­dam just in time, but unfor­tu­nate­ly our lug­gage did not. It was then deliv­ered 2 days lat­er to our front door.

Epilogue

Once again it was an incred­i­bly won­der­ful jour­ney. Despite the two bor­der cross­ings as well as changes of guides and vehi­cles, every­thing was per­fect­ly orga­nized and worked out per­fect­ly. The camps were all first class, the ser­vice per­fect. Thanks to the great com­pe­tence of our guides we were able to see an unbe­liev­able amount and learnt a whole lot again. Hav­ing tak­en more than 13,000 pho­tos myself, view­ing them, I nos­tal­gi­cal­ly think back to the many great moments that we owe in par­tic­u­lar to our guides Eric, Arnold and Caleb, who were always there for us, had an answer to all our ques­tions and with­out them we would only have seen a small frac­tion of what we were allowed to see - thank you very much!

The Africa virus has been reac­ti­vat­ed, we will cer­tain­ly trav­el there again - after Africa is before Africa.