What a year it was!
My first full year in Africa – the first year that I did not spend a single moment in the UK. We made the most of the year in terms of travel within Africa.
If 2014 was about moving to Africa then 2015 was about exploring part of it.
We travelled widely within Tanzania, visiting Rubondo, Bukoba, Dar Es Salaam, Mbamba Bay, Moshi (twice), Shinyanga, Tabora and Kigoma.
Malaika Sunset with Dow
Rubondo Island on the Southern Eastern Edge of Lake Victoria. This island is a National Park, home to Elephants, Giraffe and Zebra which we we failed to see and Hippos and Crocodiles which we most definitely did see. We travelled there in February for a few days. This included a walking safari through the forest as well as a driving safari. The first of four Safaris in 2015.
We also travelled beyond the borders of Tanzania to visit Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
At Easter we travelled by coach to Uganda, our first trip outside of Tanzania. In two weeks we crossed the country traveling to Kampala the capital and from there to Jinja, Murchison Falls, Mbale and Entebbe.
Kampala, the capital, was the hub of our journey from where we travelled to other locations, a busy city crammed with cars we spent Easter weekend here, visiting Watoto Church (home of the children’s choir).
In Jinja we encountered the River Nile, which flows out from Lake Victoria heading northward to the Mediterranean. We walked to source of the Victoria Nile though in truth this is just the place it emerges from the lake, the real source of the Nile is located in Rwanda to the south of the lake. After a leisurely sunset cruise we then followed this up with a more vigorous encounter as we white water rafted along the upper reaches.
Murchison Falls as it’s name suggests is the location of an enormous waterfall where the Nile pours through a gap of a few meters into the Rift Valley. This was our first big waterfall of the year and certainly dramatic. Here also we had the chance to take a Safari into Murchison Falls Game Reserve and to see the many Elephants and antelope there as well as numerous bird species.
Mbale gave us a taste of Uganda off the tourist trail, and a chance to catch up with a girl we knew from home in the UK, working on a Street Child project. It also gave us a an opportunity to visit a second dramatic falls called Sipi Falls, a set of three falls flowing off a steep escarpment (another tributary of the Nile).
Finally on our trip to Uganda we travelled to Entebbe where we visited gardens and a wildlife park and chill a bit before returning home.
Murchison Falls Uganda
Black and White Casqued Hornbill
Jinja White Water Rafting
Later in the year we embarked on our multinational four week tour of Africa, accomplished purely on public transport. These countries formed part of our journey chronicled in our blog Victoria to Victoria.This encompassed a journey across Tanzania from Mwanza to Dar Es Salaam, Songea and Mbamba Bay.
This was my (though not Anita’s) first sight of Lake Malawi ( aka Nyassa). Three days here before chartering passage on a cargo boat to Likoma Island and our third country Malawi. From here the Ilala ferry to Monkey Bay and on to Zomba for a reunion with Anita’s old work colleagues and a chance to visit Chilimba Village her home for two years in the 1990’s.
Our journey northward then to onus to Liwonde (another reunion), Dedza and Lilongwe (more reunions) before crossing over to our fourth country of the year, Zambia. Our destination was Livingstone and the Victoria Falls. These immense falls were the third and most impressive of the year. We spent 5 days in Livingstone crossing briefly over into Zimbabwe (5th Country) and then had a day (and a third Safari) in Chobe National Park in our sixth country Botswana. Elephants, giraffe, water birds, kudu and hippos dominated the watery landscape. We travelled the Zambezi river a second great river of Africa.
We came close to but never quite entered Namibia at the near quadripont on the crossing into Botswana where these two countries as well as Zimbabwe and Zambia are separated by a mere 100m.
Our journey back from Zambia (and yet another reunion with former colleagues of Anita) commenced at an out of the way town called Kapiri Mposhi. Here we embarked upon two day eventful train journey back to Dar Es Salaam through amazing scenery.
Back in Dar a fabulous day on the beach at Kipepeo Beach gave us rest and a chance to swim in the Indian Ocean. Then a further coach trip (one of many which lasted more than 12 hours) to Moshi. Here we hoped to see Kilimanjaro without success.
After four weeks we arrive back home an amazing journey complete.
In October we took the car and travelled across to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika, second longest, second deepest lake in the world. Our third Great Lake of the year. A relaxing week at Jakobsen’s Beach, doing little but swimming and chilling. Our site had it’s very own herd of zebra, lots of bird life and amazing cichlids.
December saw the arrival of Mum and Mum-in-Law and the commencement of a Safari through Serengeti centered about a balloon trip and some amazing big cat encounters. Not before a return trip to Moshi and a final sighting of Kilimanjaro.
Not forgetting an excellent Anniversary weekend at Wag Hill (recently reopened again after closure) and a birthday weekend return to Kipepeo Beach.
Slender Billed Weaver
Of course these are just the highlights of our team me here with plenty of life going on here locally in Mwanza. All this and more can be found by checking out the blog and our adventures in Mwanza and beyond!