Strathspey Wildlife  
Africa 2006
"Remote Ruaha & Selous Safari" (Explore Travel)Tanzania.
Sat 28th Jan 2006 Sun 29th Jan 2006 Mon 30th Jan 2006 Tue 31st Jan 2006 Wed 1st Feb 2006
Thu 2nd Feb 2006 Fri 3rd Feb 2006 Sat 4th Feb 2006 Sun 5th Feb 2006 Mon 6th Feb 2006
Tue 7th Feb 2006 Wed 8th Feb 2006 Thu 9th Feb 2006 Fri 10th Feb 2006 Sat 11th Feb 2006
Saturday 28th/Sunday 29th January 2006

Our long-awaited holiday was about to start. We flew out of Inverness on the Friday, catching a glimpse of The Cairngorms peeking through the clouds. To coincide with Explore's trip itinerary, we shall call Sunday "Day One" For us it was our third, and for some their fourth  - three of our fellow travellers had come all the way from Canada. We stayed overnight at the local "Ariel Hotel" and spent a leisurely Saturday around Heathrow. 7pm - and it was time to board our Kenya Airways flight KQ101 to Nairobi. It was a pleasant surprise to find ourselves boarding a Boeing 777 (registration 5Y-KQU one of the airline's latest additions to its fleet, a big improvement over the usual 767. After cat-napping through the night, we arrived at Nairobi at 6.15 am local time, having advanced our watches by 3 hours. We transferred to our Kenya Airways flight KQ480 - a Boeing 737 - its mixture of blue and red seats giving a clue that this was one of the fleet's older aircraft. This was a very busy flight, but just over an hour later we were touching down at Dar es Salaam. Having obtained our visas - direct from the Tanzanian Embassy six weeks before our flight. (Note: No need to use Travcour or any alternative visa service - save yourselves £25 a head) We passed through passport control with little delay.



On leaving the airport we found our tour guide Lucy Bhageerutty, and slowly, our group - of 13 initially, assembled (with our Canadian friends en route). Firstly we had to exchange our dollars for some Tanzanian currency. Lucy suggested $400 a head - which proved to be just about right for expenses over the following two weeks. Whilst the remainder of the group obtained their currency, I chatted to our tour leader, Lucy. First of all, I had to satisfy my curiosity as to the origins of her unusual surname. Her grandfather came to the UK prior to the Second World War, she told me, from his home in Mauritius. Lucy - lucky girl - still has family there, and was itching to get back to see them, not having visited them for six years - Life is so hard for a busy tour leader !! On completion of the currency exchange, Lucy guided us to our transport for transfer to the Holiday Inn in Dar es Salaam. By this time, the heat of the day made itself felt - and with the welcome of an iced glass of fruit juice, we were ushered into the sumptuous  lobby of the hotel. Porters carried our luggage to our rooms, and arrangements were made to meet later that day with Lucy for our first briefing. We entered the comfort of our
 air-conditioned room, and caught up on some sleep.



We slept until 1.30 pm, had a lovely refreshing shower, followed by a beer and a snack at the poolside, before taking a walk for half an hour to the shores of the Indian Ocean. We returned for our briefing with Lucy, and met up with our 3 remaining travellers who had travelled from Canada. On completion of our briefing we went to our buffet dinner. I started with soup - though I couldn't quite say what it was, I was later told that it was beef & banana - and very nice it was too. This was followed by a stir-fry - freshly prepared on the spot - with choices of various vegetables meats, fish,  (huge) prawns and squid - and a selection of sauces to mix in. We settled in, getting to know each other. The setting of the hotel, the food, cool beer - gave a nice relaxing start.
We sensed an early feeling that this assembly of travellers were going to gel into a happy group - so important when in each other's company for two weeks. A few more cold beers, then time for an early night, in anticipation of the day to come. Little did I know then, that we were to experience a truly unforgettable wildlife experience later in the holiday - with only the brevity of the encounter making it a close second to what we had experienced the previous year on meeting the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda - What was it ??  Our fellow travellers know - but I'm not going to tell you know - very sorry -  You'll have to wait!!