Monthly Archives: October 2014

Things We Wish We’d Brought

The other day we received two packages from the UK. One of these contained a much needed and forgotten item Oven Gloves – something we had regretted not bringing from the UK. Another contained a Memory Foam Pillow for my daughter (again left behind in England). Thanks to Mum and Sister-in-Law!

This got me thinking about all those things we didn’t bring to Tanzania that I wish we had have done! Most are not major but little items that are difficult/impossible to find here. Here they are in no particular order.

Memory foam Pillows
I wish we had packed all the pillows- unfortunately three still remain in the UK. They were really comfortable.

Coffee Maker / Cafetière
Although I have one cafetière here I really need two – one for home and one for work. The work coffee is not too good and although I drink it O miss my real coffee – especially since I picked up some proper coffee beans in Serengeti.

Potato Masher
They don’t make such things here and though a fork will do it’s not quite the same

I wanted to bring saucepans, but in the end there wasn’t enough space in our cases. The saucepans here have handles which heat up making them unable to be held (except for oven gloves 🙂 )

Frying pans are fine but a Wok is much deeper and better in cooking. We certainly miss our old wok and they are reasonably pricey here.

We brought one – I wish we’d brought more. The less harsh light they provide would be superior to ceiling lights.

Whistling Kettle
Although we have bought an electric kettle a gas kettle with a whistle would be better – especially during power cuts.

AV Connectors
We brought our Blu-Ray player but there’s no way to connect it to our agony TV. I had a Scart to AV connector which wold have been perfect.

Secateurs & Trowel
We have a lovely garden but access to basic tools like Secateurs and a Trowel would have been helpful. As we plant new things in the garden.

I very nearly brought a hammer and screwdrivers – weight was a deterrent – just for things like putting up pictures and minor DIY.

If only we had not deflected from our original plan of brining a tent. Camping here has been good and would allow us more freedom to explore. We have borrowed this far but at some point we will look to getting one. We thought that hear would be a problem – but you don’t spend a day in the tent and nights are pleasantly warm. Of course we would also need other camping para

Camping Chairs
Not just for camping but good put up chairs for whenever you need them. Really useful and wouldn’t quite fit in.

Something we will have to get – so much fruit and veg here and an option to juice would be great.

Wine Glasses
We didn’t realise quite what a rarity these would be over here. Drinking out of a straight glass isn’t quite the thing.

Another item we would have liked to bring though completely impractical . Apparently you can get them here but for now we do without.

Overtime we may be able to pick up all these things. For now we do without and life goes on.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art Zebra



A submission to this week’s photo challenge one of the many Zebra we saw last week in the Serengeti but I love the rolling position.

Safari Birds

The birds page is updated to include the many birds we saw on our Safari adventure in Serengeti and Ngorogoro

Safari Mammals

The mammals page is updated to include the vast number of mammals we saw on our Safari adventure in Serengeti and Ngorogoro


This blog is posted by the power of 3G, (or possibly Edge) as we have no WIFI. After a day without water on Sunday, today has been a day without power in Mwanza. This has been a planned power cut, for reasons unknown, which has lasted from 9am until now ( it is supposed last until 6pm!). Luckily at Isamilo we have our own generator so I was able to teach today (ICT without electricity would be a chore!). Unfortunately the generators have not been used here at home – so it could be a dark night ahead if timings slip. We had a taster last night with an hour long power cut from 6:30pm ’till 7:30pm. Not fun has we were cooking dinner at the time (at least we have gas!).
With no power the water is back to a dribble. It turns out the water issue on Sunday was virtue of a power cut at the waterworks (no power = no pumps and we live in a mountainous region).
After two months in which utility-wise there were no issues – suddenly we realise we are in a developing country – either that or 1970’s Britain for those who remember!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art / Refraction

Not an easy challenge for me – but here it goes – this is a photo taken back in 2005 in Mousehole Harbour  in Cornwall. I love the way the light from the  seafront  decorations are scattered by the water. I suppose this could also qualify for last weeks challenge too11Mousehole 023-2 (2)


We have always taken water for granted in the UK. You turn on a tap and out comes water for washing, drinking or cleaning. In the UK ut is reliable and clean.
Here in Tanzania, although we do have to go through the rigmarole of boiling, cooling and filtering the water for drinking, what comes out the taps is fine for washing and cleaning. So far it has been reliable and plentiful. Until today that is. IMG_9339.JPGIMG_9340.JPG

Today the water pressure is low to non- existent. My morning shower was a dribble and the tap water is little more and as declined during the day. Apparently this is true across the compound. Luckily we have bottled water for drinks – just hoping it comes back soon – it could get a bit smelly and there are still holiday clothes to washIMG_9338.JPG

Exploding the Ebola Myth

There is no Ebola in Tanzania. Africa is a big continent and Ebola is in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. To put this in context it is as far from Tanzania as London is from Toronto.

.Ebola Africa Map


From the map you will see that the vast majority of countries are green – i.e. no confirmed Ebola. The red area in the west represents the outbreak – many thousands of miles from here

However, to here this disease being reported you get the idea that the whole of Africa is affected. People don’t generally travel from West Africa to East Africa and at the moment most countries are imposing restrictions on those that do. There have been isolated cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (an enormous country which borders Tanzania) but the government here has imposed restriction on people’s movements and on the lakes which share the border the lakes which form part of  the border fishermen face travel restrictions. On arrival in August we were scanned at the airport for signs of fever as we entered Dar Es Salaam airport. So they are certainly taking things seriously here. But there is no Ebola in Tanzania unlike in the US where people have died of the disease.

The problem is that countries without Ebola are being lumped together in one great big pot and so tourism is suffering. On safari last week our guide and others told us of  the big downturn in visitors and that many were cancelling or delaying their holidays fearing Ebola. These decisions stem from a lack of understanding of Geography. Remember Africa is bigger than Europe and US  put together.

Africa vs Europe and US

There is probably more chance of Ebola in London than here in Mwanza and it would be sad if the tourism industry died here because of unwarranted fears.

Serengeti and Ngorogoro Retrospective

Three days on and having sorted through the 2300 pictures, deleting, cropping and enhancing where needed the three blog post have been updated and photos added – for those who know us this is a good chance to share our adventure. For others feel free to look at what it is like to go on Safari. Click the links below or just look at the super selected pictures in the slideshow below.

Day 1 – Serengeti

Day 2 – Serengeti to Ngorogoro Crater

Day 3 – Ngorogoro to Serengeti

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Safari – Day 3: Ngorogoro to Serengeti (Now with Pictures)

This gallery contains 37 photos.

Originally posted on Tanza-Longs:
We woke up to most on our mountain top campsite. It has been a cold clear night (amazing stars in the pitch black before we turned in), but we had wrapped up warm. After an early…


Safari – Day 2 : Serengeti to Ngorogoro (Now with Pictures)

This gallery contains 68 photos.

Originally posted on Tanza-Longs:
After an early night – just after 8pm! It was up early to make the most of the day. Our morning was spent in Serengeti. No big new animals today although we were within a few…


Safari – Day 1 :Serengeti (Now with Pictures)

This gallery contains 19 photos.

Originally posted on Tanza-Longs:
Apparently the Serengeti is wrongly named. It should actually be the Siringeti (a Maasai word meaning endless plain). Regardless of this today was our first day on Safari. We left bright and early and took the…

Safari – Day 3: Ngorogoro to Serengeti (Now with Pictures)

We woke up to most on our mountain top campsite. It has been a cold clear night (amazing stars in the pitch black before we turned in), but we had wrapped up warm. After an early breakfast we were off away from
Ngorogoro and back to Serengeti. We had two animals on our shortlist today – Cheetahs and Leopards. During the morning the once exotic now familiar mix of Zebra, Wildebeest, Thompson’s and Grant’s Gazelles, Warthogs, Hyenas, Lions and Giraffe were all their. Hartebeest, Waterbuck, Ostrich, Bustards and Secretary Birds added to the mix.

By early afternoon we were in Serengeti – still only magnificent Lions were representing the big cats – great as they were we wanted more. Just before lunch we saw a tree we thought we might have seen a Leopard – wishful thinking – nothing there! Then at lunch others said a Leopard was there so we returned – all we saw was a dead Impala high in the branches no
Leopard 😒. We drove on disappointed. Two miles or later there was a convoy of parked vehicles (a sure sign of something). We assumed it was Lions or perhaps Elephants – but no it was a Leopard, legs dangling on a branch 😌 but very hard to see. I needed maximum zoom snd a touch of overexposure and a severe zoom in on my screen display, to make it out but yes it was a leopard

Day 3 Serengeti  (323)

A great way to finish off before we headed back. In the end no Cheetah’s – yesterday’s failed encounter foiled by the height of the grass that hid our ‘prey’. However one further treat was a river with Crocodiles and Hippos and a glimpse of a Monitor Lizard at the end!

As I write this we’re still in Serengeti but heading out (just seen the Monitor!).We have had a fabulous three days and many great memories to last long in the mind.

Safari – Day 2 : Serengeti to Ngorogoro (Now with Pictures)

After an early night – just after 8pm! It was up early to make the most of the day. Our morning was spent in Serengeti. No big new animals today although we were within a few metres of a hiding Cheetah at one point – unfortunately no sign. Plenty of birdlife and good sightings of Lions, Giraffe, Zebras, Buffalo, Wildebeest, Hippos, Warthogs, Elephants, Baboons, Monkeys,Ostriches and Hyenas to add to yesterday’s encounters. Still no Leopard though! On the new front Thompson’s Gazelle and Grant’s Gazelle.

The afternoon took us over into Ngorogoro Crater which gave us a spectacular climb (in which we saw Maasai Villages and even some Camels!) and a dramatic descent. Once inside we saw much of the same, though generally much closer quarters . On the new front we saw a Jackal, Crested Cranes, Storks, Hartebeest, Bustards, Flamingos and Pelicans. We were on the search for Rhino. It is true to say we saw two. It’s also true to say that on full magnification they were tiny. None of this took away from the spectacular landscape,
We are now back at our campsite for the night. One more day in the Serengeti tomorrow then home tomorrow night.
We remain in search of Cheetahs and Leopards. hoping.

Safari – Day 1 :Serengeti (Now with Pictures)

Apparently the Serengeti is wrongly named. It should actually be the Siringeti (a Maasai word meaning endless plain). Regardless of this today was our first day on Safari. We left bright and early and took the long road out of Mwanza to the game park. Actually it’s only 2.5 hours so not too far by international standards. We arrived just after some colleagues who were travelling with a different company – a good job as they need a push after their car broke down. Then, papers processed we were off. Straight away we saw Baboons and Impala, then Zebra, Waterbuck, Topi, Warthogs, Buffalo, Wildebeest. By lunch though very few big game. Then at our lunch stop Giraffe and Hippos. On our way again we saw little new and were beginning to be a little disappointed. Matt did spot a loan Hyena and I a Dik Dik, but otherwise a blank for a long time. Then all of a sudden a pride of lions at a river crossing, then within minutes some Elephants. A great end to our first day on Safari.


There’s a storm raging outside and the rainy season may be upon us already if not soon. The rainy season is not a non- stop downpour but is a general tendency to more of the wet stuff. In fact the weather is quite hot and sunny in the rainy season – between the showers.

I thought I would share some of my rain themed songs from my iPod in honour of the deluges which will soon be upon us. Continue reading


Siafu are the really big ants you get out here. They form long marching trails which wind along the ground foraging for food. Food can be anything from a hapless bug or beetle which gets in the way to much larger prey. We have had a number of Siafu visits already. I can personally testify that the bites are very unpleasant. Twice one of the beast has found its way up my trouser leg choosing to bite somewhere on the upper thigh.
Last night at about 2am as Anita was returning from baby sitting (having earlier relieved our daughter from duties) we discovered a whole line running alongside the house past our front door – fearing a diversion into the house there followed a frantic grinding up of sugar to a powder which we them mixed with bicarbonate of soda. This mixture results in ant death as they ingest the mix (unable to distinguish the compounds). The bicarb interacts with the ants own folic acid resulting in a gaseous explosion.
This morning the ants were gone – though they had only moved a few metres out. They appear to be raising our rubbish pit – perhaps for the leftover and left out mince we had to discard on Saturday!








Saturday Shop

It’s become a routine. A leisurely walk into town and a wander around the shops. Sometimes with a purpose (like last week’s Hospital Visit), sometimes less so.

Mwanza has a busy if compact shopping area based around the central Traffic Light, the three roundabouts and the stretch leading up to the market area.


Centre of Town

Broadly speaking this area stretches from the Imalaseco Roundabout along Kenyatta Road past the Gold Crest Hotel and on to the Fish Roundabout stretches back past the Mwananichi Hospital and across through the Street Market to the Clothes Market and along Nyerere Road past the Traffic Light.

The route in from U-Turn takes us past a number of Artists from whom we have purchased some works.

U-turn is the best and also the most expensive supermarket in town – but you can get most things here. Sita, Nonos and Imalaseco also have a range of goods the latter is better for hardware.

As far as eating places the Bakery is good for buying a range of baked goods, the pizzeria is reasonably cheap and does good pizzas. Gold Crest is a nice place for a drink (coffee or beer as the preference takes).

There are a number of markets in town and the cloth market is good for materials.

To be honest most Saturdays it’s nice to take in the atmosphere and observe the hustle and bustle.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction

Submissions to this weeks photo challenge – Refraction.

The sun is actually below the horizon in these pictures.

It is only the refraction of the light around the earth’s surface which makes it appear as if the sun is above the horizon!

Sunset in Lanzarote

Sunset in Lanzarote

France 2010

France 2010



for more info about this phenominon – click here

Breaking Up Reflections!

It’s flown by! Eight weeks ago today we were departing Heathrow Airport and wishing family farewell. A week of induction and seven weeks of teaching have followed. In this time we have settled into our new home and made new friends; got to know Mwanza with all its delights and all its foibles , seen some amazing sights and begun to explore further afield. We have settled into the expatriate community at Isamilo and in the wider Christian expat community of Mwanza. We have begun to settle into a church.

The children have made some good school friends and settled into school life. Graham has settled into teaching and the unexpectedness that comes from teaching ICT in a land where connectivity and power are inconsistent. He has started running again and is enjoying the social side of weekly Boy’s Night. Anita has made friendships in the wider community (both Tanzanian and expat) and her Kiswahili has come on leaps and bounds.

We have been on a camping trip with the school.

In so many ways UK life is a distant memory already.

The constant heat (wet or dry) is a reminder we are far from home along with the exotic bird life, reptiles and mammals. So ends our first half term here and in the main it has been great.
The week ahead should prove very exciting as we head North East for a Safari in Serengeti and Ngorogoro. We are hoping for some amazing experiences and fabulous pictures. It will also be a time for rest ahead of the next seven weeks.

Thanks to all who continue to read, like and follow this blog.


Below are some pictorial highlights from our first eight weeks in Tanzania.