28th February 2012
Onto the drive along the Tanzanian/Kenyan border after breakfast to our lodge right on the border. We drove through no-man’s land and Mt Kiliminjaro stood proud for us to view it all along the way until we lost sight of it, not far from the lodge. The drive was wonderful going through fertile countryside to dusty places. Kiliminjaro’s snow runoff supplies water to so many villagers and it is just lovely to see so many green crops growing in stark contrast to the severe water shortage along the coast at Ukunda. We gave little kids sweets along the way, and we got to the “Honeymoon Lodge” in Tsavo West right on the border (Voyager Zwani Lodge) situated on a lovely lake, full of crocodiles and hippos. You could see the hippos and crocodiles in the lake when we got there. What a lovely, lovely peaceful place, and a tented lodge much nicer than Kibo, but Kibo had the view of Kiliminjaro which was its special attraction. It was like being in a garden of eden and hearing the water flowing over the culvert outside our tent. Lunch was a 4 course meal overlooking the lake, then rest time as we had to go on our walk with the animals with the Maasaii guide at 4pm. Lesley and I could see storms coming in the distance when we started our walk and thought ‘great – rain!’

We approached the spring a crocodile was about 4 metres in front of us. I just %%@@@ myself. Didn’t bother the Maasaii at all as he proceed to take spikes off the Acia tree and showed us how they make needles with it, his back to the crocodile. My heart was jumping out of my chest, I can tell you but he assured us it wouldn’t attack us. You could hear the hippos right beside it, in the water and we couldn’t pass until the croc went back into the water as it was in our way and the only way forward. I felt so scared as knew how quick they move, but once again, old mate assured us it wouldn’t attack. It was freshwater croc, but that didn’t matter to me what sort it was. I have too much to do to be taken by a croc!!. Eventually it slowly moved into the water and the hippos obviously could smell us and were making a hell of a noise. We got so close to them, and they became louder and louder. Gee they make some noise. We moved quickly away as they were beginning to come closer to us with the noise getting louder and louder. As we moved along we came across 3 other crocs laying on the lake bed in front of us (I didn’t even see them until we were close they were so well camoflauged) and their mother – 1 huge mother let me say and I just couldn’t believe it when the Maasai stood in front of us – back to it and started telling us about her behaviours. I just wanted to run like a bat out of hell. A storm was brewing and I laid down for about 1 hour and the rain poured and poured.

Our night drive was at 7, Lesley opted out, but I thought what the heck and we had to wait a while until the rain subsided a bit. Let me tell you there is no nicer smell than the rain on African soil.
Always I thought it was good in Australia, but the smell was heaven. We came across water buffalo and wilderbeast and zebras, but the rain was so heavy it was difficult to see much. The eyes are easy to spot with the spotlight, but then the spotlight bulb blew and it was only about 14 minutes before the drive finish so just went back and had our 4 course dinner overlooking the lake through the driving rain. In the morning it had all cleared and we headed off for our drive back to Ukunda stopping to watch herd of zebras after zebras with their funny playfulness after the rains, especially the young ones. Had I known we were going back on part of that damn road we went to Tanzania on I would have chosen a different lodge, but alas, there must have been a reason we were put through it again, but I just don’t know what that reason was!!! Free massage by being thrown around in the car for hours accompanied by bruises. No waiting at the ferry back in Mombasa and the heat hit us like a ton of bricks

We stayed at Asin’s hotel in Diani for $40 a night including cooked breaky as we had to start the signing process for the land. I hate the end of safaris. It goes all too quickly as you are go, go, go, especially going from one park to the next, but you feel like you are leaving the most peaceful places on earth with all the animals mixing together and seeing the circle of life amongst the animals, not to mention the sunsets and scenery – magical. As you drive in the early evening on them you just look at this wilderness and the noises as night falls and the wind on your face, and the smell of animals, and you feel like you are so connected to the earth. That’s how it makes me feel anyway. Lovely with monkeys and baboons everywhere.

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Umoja Orphanage Kenya is a Project of the Sunrise Rotary Club Bundaberg 
RAWCS Project Number 51/2011-12
Umoja's founder Cathy is a member of Fitzroy Rotary Club District 9570

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