Strathspey Wildlife  
Africa 2006
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Monday 30th January 2006

 It was an early start  after a comfortable night's sleep - reveille at 6.30 am. As we re-packed our bags, we saw our 3 Toyota Land-Cruisers outside the hotel below. We went down for breakfast at 7.15 am and again, a very high standard of food c/o The Holiday Inn: all the usual fruit juices, cereals, an extensive selection of fresh fruits and a hot breakfast freshly prepared, with delicious savoury pancakes. All of this stood us in good stead for what was to be a long day's travelling to the old German colonial town of Iringa. First of all, we were introduced to our 3 driver-guides. Kamba, Steve and Fasilli.With my memory for names - I anticipated some difficulty with Fasilli - How's about "Faz" I asked him - "Faz is fine" he replied to my relief - and Faz he became for the next two weeks.  Steve - short of a Mohican haircut - I likened to  the A-Team's "Mr. T" much to his amusement - and promptly asked me if I could provide  the extensive range of gold jewellery to complete the image. With the minimum of delay, our drivers packed the bags into the Land Cruisers,
and within a short time we were on the road to Iringa.


This took us out of early-morning Dar es Salaam and  towards Mikumi National Park. It was a hot and sticky journey for us, fresh from a Highland Winter. We stopped every couple of hours, with further unscheduled stops en route, courtesy of punctures to two of the vehicles - which was surprising, given the good standard of the roads out of Dar - putting many UK 'A' roads to shame. We stopped for lunch at the Genesis Motel in Mikumi - a simple lunch of potato soup, followed by cheese & tomato sandwiches with a side-serving of chips - and, needless to say, an ice-cold drink. Then it was back onto the
 trucks again to continue towards Iringa.


As we arrived at the hotel, three school children were playing around chasing each other. Nothing unusual there - except for the fact that the girl - probably 13 or 14 years old was carrying a large plastic bucket of water on her head, but never spilt a drop. A reminder of how much labour is put in by the members of many Tanzanian families to simply obtain water for their daily washing and cooking. Like other countries in Africa - toddlers too were often to be seen carrying water. along with bicycles laden with barrels travelling to and fro. It was good to see however that many villages on our travels had centrally located
stand-pipes. These wells were strategically placed to serve outlying communities, ensuring the provision of safe drinking water.
 That evening, we dispersed in small groups (to minimise the effects of a group of 17) to seek out a place for an evening meal.


Nancy and I, along with Mel and Ann, Kieran and Elaine tried the nearby "Staff Rest Lodge" We tried various meals between us - and were given a reminder that "fried chicken" is not as we know it in the UK. African chickens, being largely free-range - are quite scrawny in relation to their bulky (perhaps overfed) British cousins. But the rice and veg were very nice - and who could complain at the price - 6 meals, 9 beers - all  for 30,000 Tanzanian shillings - about £15. We returned to our hotel - but our night at Iringa was to be a disturbed one - courtesy of a neighbourhood dog - which seemed to delight in engaging local cats in the small hours, as well as answering the calls of distant dogs in the night. Despite the best efforts of the dog, and the still  heat of the night, we managed to get some sleep,  in readiness for  the very-much anticipated drive to the Ruaha National Park the following day.