The Road to Arusha

11 06 2009

After a night in Nairobi and the first night in the Acacia tents we set off on the long (7 hour) and extremely bumpy road to Arusha in Tanzania, whose clock tower represents, the mid-way point between Cairo and Capetown (Fact!).

We set out on the Zambezi for the first time, with Rich the guide/driver being an expert in African driving (hitting speed bumps at full pelt, avoiding cars while doing 100KPH) launching us down the highway towards the Tanzanian border.  I was sat backwards on the table seats facing Steve.  The nausea was worth it (from the bumps, not Steve’s face) seeing the look on Steve’s face whenever we went over big bumps and we all left our seats.

We hit the border after a couple of hours and had our passports checked and stamped, and changed our left over Kenyan Shillings for Tanzanian ones, and were then officially into the second part of our tour. 

We drove on for about 3 hours before we stopped at Arusha, where we were mobbed.  I was asked by the same guy if I wanted to buy the same out of date newspaper about 6 times.  We spent about an hour here being hasseled with the girls especially hating it, before we went to the Arusha Cultural centre to look at some artwork and to see some Tanzanite, one of the rarest and most valuable gemstones on Earth.  The reason for its high value is firstly the incredible blue colour, and secondly, becaue it is only found in one place in the world, the Merelani hills of Tanzania.  There is an estimated 10 years supply left, and consequently the price is high.  I had thought about buying some, like some of the others did, but then again I didn’t have $300 for a small gem.

After this detour we hit the road to our camp for the night the Meralani Snake Park and campsite.  There is a very informative collection of snakes that they collect anti-venom from.  The park was set up for this reason and treats people from all over Africa.

There is also a really good bar with a crocodile skin on the ceiling.  Cue a long night drinking.

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