Here Comes The Planet 50 – Tanzania 06

On this episode we spend a full day on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater. African animals aplenty! (Pretty much all animals in this one, so just watch it if you like wildlife!)

Also, we manage to spot a caracal, which apparently is quite rare! Unfortunately it decided to leave just as we showed up.

Advertisements

Here Comes The Planet 48 – Tanzania 04

On this episode of Here Comes The Planet we head out to the Serengeti for our first safari, and spot a good number of animals! As exciting as it was, to get there we had to drive many hours over what was by far the worst “road” many of us have ever had the displeasure to experience. Worth it in the end, but only just!

Also, we take a sneak peak at the location of what will be the location of our next safari, the Ngorongoro crater.

Special thanks to our travel companions Pete and Deb for loaning us their footage to use in our video!

Here Comes The Planet 46 – Tanzania 03

In this episode of Here Comes The Planet we make our way through Tanzania towards the Serengeti. On the way we discuss our Dragoman truck jobs and what we hope to see once we’re on safari. We set up camp at the Meserani Snake Park after checking out feeding time.

Also, tortoises! If, like Amanda, you’re not a fan of watching snakes eat stuff.

***

Progress on the blog has, predictably, slowed down considerably now that we’re not traveling. I still have many videos to edit and upload, and intend to continue with the process slowly but surely.

The first few months of my return has seen me focus on finding new work and a new place to live. Although my previous employer had promised to hold my job for me until I got back, for reasons unknown they contacted me during our holiday (when we were in Bologna to be precise) to let me know they would not be able to do as they’d promised. So this year I have gone freelance for the first time; something I had intended to do eventually, but gradually, instead of throwing myself in the deep end. However the deep end seems to be working out just fine so far, with my contacts yielding good sources of work, and promising prospects.

Now that I’ve moved in to new digs and the work is steady, I have more free time for working on HCTP videos for all of you. It may take a while, but I promise I’ll get them all done eventually! Hopefully when they’re out you’ll still want to watch them. 🙂

Here Comes The Planet 45 – Tanzania 02

Our group, which has now taken to calling itself “Team Toto”, moves on to the main part of our African adventure when we meet up with the Dragoman tour that will be taking us around east Africa. We’ll be spending over a month with most of these people and our tour guide, Steve. The beginning of a new adventure!

In this episode we check out the Forodhani Night Market and the Darajani spice market in Stone Town before heading to a spice and fruit plantation tour where we get to sample lots of exotic fruits and see some impressive tree climbing. We stay in northern Zanzibar on Nungwi Beach where we get the chance to visit the Mnarani turtle sanctuary and tick something off Nicolette’s bucket list – swimming with turtles!

Also, people are rightfully worried about being bitten by turtles. Because it frickkin’ hurts.

Also, cute kitten!! 😀 😀

Uganda: Lake Bunyoni and the Little Angels Orphanage and School.

Lake Bunyoni is the deepest lake in Uganda at 6300 feet. Our campsite for two days was on the edge of the lake and it’s certainly the prettiest campsite we’d yet seen. The steep hills surrounding the lake are terraced with banana trees and other crops, the lake is a lovely clean greeny-blue and the air is a bit misty from cooking fires. Fishermen in dugouts ply the lake and you can hear cows mooing at the farms. Our tents sit by the water’s edge on thick green grass and even though it is very warm and humid during the day, at night it is nice and cold.

The cutest kids in Africa!

We spent half a day visiting a school that is run by a man who used to be a sponsor child himself. His name is Duncan and he told us that his sponsor parents lived in England and he wants to help the community here and give other children the same chance he’d had. He took us for a very steep walk over the hills to see the village the children come from and to meet a local lady, Frida. He warned us beforehand that Frida is ‘mad – but not crazy, just mad. I don’t tell her that!’ She is 87 years old and a tiny little lady full of life and smiles. When we arrived she came out of her house and spoke to us, giving each of us a hug, feeling our arms and, in the case of ladies with decent ..ah.. assets.. she felt those too. We all laughed with her. She always asks Duncan which of the ladies is his girlfriend and he gets her to guess. This time she guessed Nikki was. Leigh wasn’t so lucky, Frida asked whether he eats anything because he is so thin. Poor guy!

Everyone in Africa loves a beard.

Then we walked on to the school through plantations of eucalypts. It is a free school and many of the children are orphans or their families are very poor. The school gives the children two meals a day. When we arrived they were having lessons so we split up and went into the classrooms. There were about 30 children in each room and about 200 children in the whole school. Thirty is unusually small for classes in Africa but then the rooms were so small they wouldn’t have fitted many more.

Year one classroom.

The classrooms had dirt floors, no door and the walls were rough boards with huge gaps and a corrugated iron roof. Each room had a blackboard and some posters – some of which were identical to the ones we have in my school at home.

We sat in a room with the kids and they were singing songs and doing spelling. Due to a lack of resources most lessons seem to be aural, which would be hard on kids who learn better through seeing or doing.

Dancing at assembly.

After the class time there was an assembly and then we helped hand out the lunches. The kids had two meals at school. We gave them a banana, juice, cup of porridge (no sugar or salt) and a slice of bread (plain). I can only imagine the look on kids’ faces at my school if you gave them food like that, but while they were eating the teachers gave a spelling quiz and if a child answered correctly they got another slice of bread.

Lunch time.

Along with the school we saw the beginnings of buildings Duncan had designed for volunteers to stay in. A lot of places charge volunteers money to stay but his plan is to offer free accommodation for people who want to come and teach. If I ever decided to do something like that, Lake Bunyoni would be the perfect place. My only regret is that Swahili is not the local language and I’d have to start all over.

I’d happily go to work every day in this fashion!

We were rowed back to camp in dugout canoes and I reflected on the roll of aid in Africa and how this kind of grass-roots organisation that grows from within a community but looks to draw on knowledge and experience of outsiders, is probably one of the most sustainable and successful we’ve seen yet.

Leigh plays with one of the kids.