One week before we wanted to apply for the visas, Angola exchanged all employees in their South African embassies and they only gave seven-day visas, to be extended in Luanda.
Beautiful. But the ride along the Death Acre would have been a week alone. We had already organized a guide for the trip. That guide, the only one we would have trusted to get that trip managed. Optimistical as ever, we turned the route and added Angola at the end of our trip. What was also good, with all the rain in Namibia this year. We might apply for visas in Zambia, thought we. Did we really think we could reach Zambia?
The next mishap came in the form of missing our GPS device. It had been stolen out of the car. We ordered a new one via the Internet. We started just before the Easter holidays in South Africa and thus tried to escape the South Africans traveling to Mozambique. Not to mention, the GPS arrived three days too late, while we sat on a campsite in Port St. Johns? But luckily we reached Mozambique. In Gorongosa National Park, Self Drives were not permitted, too much water. So once again we had to reschedule again, the Niassa Game Reserve in Northern Mozambique was also still too wet. So we skipped that. We crossed the border from Mozambique to Tanzania at the famous Unity 1 bridge, being the first tourists in 3 months.
We luckily arrived in Tanzania just to drive down to Mbeya. Driving through Kitulo National Park our automatic transmission started making problems. Again we were lucky, we found THAT one famous 4×4 workshop in Tanzania and they exchanged our transmission oil. Nothing severe…. After a three days journey along Lake Tanganyika, worth every kilometer, we reached Kigoma, especially the Jacobsen Beach Camp was a dream. Serengeti was our next goal, the Great Migration. We saw the first wildebeest and Zebra congregations at the Western corridor. Only a broken rubber boot came on the list. Nothing severe. Serengeti was amazing, we saw our first tree-climbing lions and two leopards in a tree 500 meters away from them. Enjoyed Lobo all alone. The way over into the Maasai Mara in Kenya was long, 500 km detour to make an 80 km distance, which sucks, especially when the roads as bad as in Kenya.
There is indeed a border crossing from the Serengeti to Maasai Mara but is only to be used by the locals. Tough luck. That’s Africa. The bad routes in Kenya did cost us a shock absorber, a starter battery, a solenoid and at the end also a deep cycle battery. All that was replaced in South Africa after we were back, but in total, with the broken shock-absorber, we lost 4 days. He jumped out two times, once in the middle of Lake Nakuru National Park, then just before the Amboseli National Park. Did I mention that both laptops crashed and that in a weeks time? OK, then it was very nice to have a laptop-free week when we were the second time in the Maasai Mara.
And now I have to revise the title. That week in the Masai Mara, was apart from the stays in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, the absolute highlight of our so far 150.000 in Africa traveled kilometers. Lions. Lionesses bigger than all we ever saw. Prides of 20 or more lions. Cheetahs in family groups of up to 7 animals. Hyenas. Fat Hyenas. Leopards. More Lions. Elephants. And wildebeest. Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest. Much more Lions. Zebras. Hippos. A million wildebeest. Much, much more Lions.
Since then, I’m addicted to the Mara. Give me time and money and I go there for 6 months. Or forever. About the way back I don’t say much. In Uganda, we were only 5 days, the ticket prices of the National Parks increased drastically (by up to 300%), and somehow it was much too expensive. We skipped the gorilla tracking. We skipped Rwanda and Burundi. Indeed, after that week in the Masai Mara are hard to find something comparable. We were thinking about driving back via Zambia (wasn’t there something to do in Zambia?) and Zimbabwe, but then it was enough. So we drove back the shortest way and quite two months earlier than we had planned. Enough is enough.
No, not at Kgalagadi, it’s the Kruger Park, this time.
Hope you enjoy my travel report, click here to go to the beginning …..