As mentioned previously we are extremely flexible in our plans but it has been a pleasure researching the possibilities. I have had all the time in the world to do this since retiring from my very busy surgical practice in August 2013. In setting up a proposed itinerary I have done this in great detail. It remains to be seen to what extent we are able to fulfill these projections. I realize that we are laying ourselves open to possible underachievement and even ridicule, by putting such a detailed wish-list down on paper. If nothing else it will expose others that follow to the possibilities that exist on such a trip. I do not remember seeing many reports on a trip from south to north in Africa and then back again. Who knows, either of us may begin to loose enthusiasm for the trip after some months in the saddle. We have already accepted that one or both of us can fly home for a break if needed. Everyone feels that Anne has been very brave in committing to such a long trip and I agree. This then, our proposed route with an outline of possible stopovers and highlights. Please once again, I would welcome any suggestions from those that feel that they can contribute in any way. I am afraid that the amount of detail herein will only be of interest to those planning such a trip and possibly to those that have travelled this journey.
THE JOURNEY NORTH.
This is the only part of the trip that has been booked in any way. The difficulties in obtaining campsites in the popular Botswana National Parks had dictated this. These bookings were very efficiently done by Tara Flory of Botswana Footprints in Maun Botswana for a fee of R500, great value. She has detailed knowledge of Botswana and will even ensure that the best available campsites are booked and will give advice on proposed itineraries from personal experience. I would suggest that any overland self-drivers planning to visit Botswana book through her a number of months before arrival. CONTACT DETAILS: www.botswanafootprints.com or email@example.com, phone +267 75106530. The campsites in the renowned National Parks in Botswana need to be booked at least 6 months in advance to be confident of finding the best vacancies. As I understand things this is almost unique within Africa (but applies to some extent to prize sites in Zimbabwe, Serengeti and the Mara as well).
The Botswana itinerary below is largely a nostalgic one for us although it is the first time we will be visiting Makgadikgadi National Park and Nxai Pan. We are looking forward to this as April should be a good time to see the zebra and wildebeest migration on the central salt pans and perhaps even around Nxai Pan. Strangely enough it will be our first time visiting Savuti since the Savuti Channel started flowing again quite some years ago. I hope we don’t find it overcrowded compared to our visits a number of years ago. We have never visited Moremi or Chobe in the green season so this too will be something different. We will not be expecting the concentrations of game seen in the dry season. The latest reports seem to indicate that the rains have been far less this year, we shall see! In fact as a late addition, the last week prior to our departure has suddenly seen downpours of hundreds of millimeters.
For the latest on food restrictions at border posts phone Botswana Customs at Martin's Drift 002674915913
Mon 13 APRIL 2015. Khama camping
Tues 14. CKGR CKSUN03 (Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Sunday Pan Campsite number 3).
Weds 15. CKSUN03.
Thurs 16. CKPAS02 (Passarge Valley campsite 2).
Fri 17. CKPAS02 Sat 18. Makgadikgadi NP. Tree Island Camp. GPS 20 29.147’S 24 55.053’E
Sun 19. Tree Island
“From Khumaga to Nxai you travel northwards along the river for a short while (about 8 kms) and then you turn right to Phuduhudu gate. Then right onto the A3 Nata - Maun road for about 12kms to the Nxai Pans turnoff”.
Mon 20. Nxai Pan South Camp NX2 S19° 56.209' E24° 46.600'
Tues 21. Nxai Pan South Camp
Weds 22. Maun Chalet
Thurs 23. Maun chalet. Afternoon flight over swamps, for 1 sharing.
Fri 24. South Gate Moremi MQ6 campsite
Sat 25. South Gate Sun 26. Xakanaxa, XA8 (Campsite 8) S19° 10.867' E23° 24.794'(actually 7)
Mon 27. Xakanaxa (O8H00 boat cruise for 2 people, 4 hours sharing)
Tues 28. Xakanaxa Weds 29. Savuti Campsite CV5 S18° 33.933' E24° 03.704'
Thurs 30. Savuti
Fri 1 MAY. Savuti
Sat 2. Ihaha CI 10 (Campsite 10) S17° 50.373' E24° 52.584'
Sun 3. Ihaha
Mon 4. Kasane, Chobe Safari Lodge, cheap chalet/rondavel
Tues 5. Chobe Safari Lodge, Evening boat cruise for 2, sharing on smaller 12/14 seater.
We have explored Namibia extensively in the past, but it is some time since I explored Caprivi and although we have not booked anything, we hope to stay at the campsites as detailed below. This is flexible and will depend on accessibility following the rains. (I had heard that the water levels are far lower than usual which will be good for access). We will proceed through the Ngoma border post from Kasane to the Katima Mulilo area. We will have a freezer full of meat and if any vetinerary gate problems in Caprivi we will turn around and make new plans, or in fact store our meat along the way. We have a contact for meat in Katima if need be.
Where to camp depends on accessibility after rains.
Weds 6 May. Namwi Island Lodge, Caprivi Houseboat Safaris GPS Coordinates: S17° 29.728' E24° 19.446' chalets.
Thurs 7. ?Night on houseboat.
Fri 8. Caprivi houseboat Safaris. Chalet/camping.
Sat 9. Rupara Campsite (no 1 best) Mamili S18° 19.077' E23° 39.731'
Sun 10. Rupara
Mon 11. Riverdance at Divundu S17° 59.142' E21° 21.411 or Nunda River Camp
Tues 12. Riverdance/Nunda
Weds 13. Mudumu (The Nakatwa Camp no 3 is best) S18° 10.837' E23° 27.145'
Thurs 14. Mudumu Nakatwa Camp.
* www.caprivihouseboatsafaris.com at Katima Mulilo. GPS Coordinates: S17° 29.728' E24° 19.446'
*These guys are also worth looking at http://www.mashiriversafaris.com/
*Also in Caprivi is Nambwa Community Campsite, S17° 52.500' E23° 19.056' in the BwaBwata National Park/ Suswe Triangle. It lies close to a bend in the Kwando River called The Horseshoe.
* Namwi Island lodge and campsite. http://www.caprivi.biz/namwiisl.html
*Malyo Wilderness Camp. Very highly rated. http://www.caprivi.biz/malyogame.html
* “Near Divundu in the Caprivi there is a wonderful place called River Dance Lodge. S17° 59.142' E21° 21.411. They have 4 campsites right on the river with private ablutions and shade. Really a great place to spend a night or three”. http://www.riverdance.com.na/
*Ngepi Camp also near Divundu has a great reputation but is apparently quite busy. http://ngepicamp.com/ (May be flooded in April, if so definitely rather to Nunda).
*Also in the Divundu area, comes highly recommenced, Nunda Lodge and Campsite - 7 km from Divundu. http://www.safarinow.com/go/NundaRiverLodgeCapriviStrip
*FROM THE DIVUNDU AREA VISIT Mahango Game Reserve S18*10”752’ E21*40”846’
NEW BORDER POST BETWEEN CAPRIVI AND ZAMBIA
- “There is a new border post between Zambia and Caprivi... 'Kamenga' near Singalamwe. It is just east of the Angola/Zambia/Caprivi border north from Kongola. This border handles mostly local movement but there is a ZAWA office at the border which now handles tourists as well. We were able to pay in Kwacha and Rand. From the Namibian side you will probably have to be stamped out at the Kongola Police Station”.
- For further details on the route through Sioma Ngwezi Park, obtain directions, or even better a drawn map, from the ZAWA guys at the border. This border designed for pedestrians is also a tourist facility. From Sigalamwe take the route to Imusho village then North East to Katuli Pools (nice bush camp). Be prepared to pick up a few scratches on your vehicle as the roads are overgrown by vegetation and Peace Parks are in the process of clearing the roads. Should you get lost keep going east you will hit the M10 main road at some point in time. Maybe best would be to take a ZAWA guide and tell him he will be dropped at Sioma (also help as protection against Angolan poachers).
- “We have visited the village in Singalamwe last year and I took the occasion to have a look on how one could cross the border. On the Namibian side, there is nothing, you must check for the exit formalities at the police in Kongola. On the Zambian side, there is a building few hundred of meters from the border. But we didn't cross”.
- “The border post ( Singalamwe) is known to locals as Imushu. The following information has been received from Seheke.
- The park is dry this year due to very low rainfall. (Some reports of heavy rain before our departure).
- Imushu is named after the small Zambian town just before the border crossing.
- The border crossing only has an immigration facility.
- There is no customs facility at Imushu.
- Custom papers can be pre-arranged at Katima Mulilo/Sesheke border posts, Zambia.
- The guys at the border can direct you to Katuli pools best spot for camping.
- There are no facilities in the park you need to take all you will be needing in and out of the park.
- Peace Parks have cleared some roads of overgrown vegetation. So to use this border post one will have to go via Katima to arrange papers if you plan to travel further through Zambia. This will also enable you to get Kwachas for petty payments at Pontoons, cool drinks etc etc.”
The desire to attempt this route stemmed from the above series of posts on the 4x4community forum website. These have tempted me to look at using this relatively new and seldom used border post between Caprivi and Sioma Ngwezi National Park in Zambia as above. "It is at 'Kamenga' in Namibia, near Singalamwe in Zambia. It is just east of the Angola/Zambia/Caprivi border north from Kongola". It will depend on the rain situation which may still be tricky in May through the very isolated Sioma Ngwezi Park.
Failing this we will cross into Zambia at Sesheke and probably go on to stay at Kabula Tiger Lodge on the Zambezi where we were well hosted in the past. We did an extensive tour of Liuwa and Kafue National Parks in October 2012 and have decided not to do this detour. Zambia in May will still be very wet and access to the reserves will be limited in any case.
I do not think we will visit Kaudum National Park in Namibia as I do not think it is at its best in May, but we shall see!
May is a reasonable time to visit some parts of Zambia. I have not seen Luangwa when still green and accessibility may be reasonable with the rains having ended. It would also be nice to visit the Zikoma area and the Nsefu section of the park if accessible. This is possibly the ideal time in the north to see the shoebill storks at the Bangweulu Swamps and the waterfalls should still be good. Still too wet for much of Kafue and Liuwa.
The obvious exclusions such as Kafue and Liuwa are because they were visited relatively recently and because they are likely to still be rather wet in early May. We would have loved to do the South to North Luangwa trip but it does not seem feasible so early in the year. The considerable diversion to South Luangwa and areas further east, are likely options but could be dropped. A consideration is that we have visited Zambia in the past and are likely to do so again in the future. When proceeding to countries further north our explorations will be more thorough.
The emphasis is on the north of Zambia rather than the more easterly route up the great north road, mainly because we want to head for Lake Tanganyika and Katavi in Tanzania. This is our rather cryptic provisional schedule.
Long rains, November to April.
Approxtimately on Fri 15. Kabula Lodge S17° 02.446' E24° 00.882'
Livingstone, Peregrine’s Nest Bushcamp. S17° 58.701' E25° 54.547' at Taita Falcon Lodge. (? ? ? S 25.910900 E 17.981317)
Lusaka and Pioneer Camp S15° 23.766' E28° 27.038'
South Luangwa: Wildlife Camp S13° 06.534' E31° 45.237' and Zikoma S13° 01.428' E31° 53.506'
Lusaka again Kundalila Falls Rest Camp S13° 09.257' E30° 42.112' (not great), drive down to see falls. Rather camp at Forest Inn S13° 43.348' E29° 09.405'
Camping (Mutinondo Wilderness Lodge) S12° 27.190' E31° 17.479')
Kapishya Hot Springs. Here ask the Harveys if can get into North Luangwa yet, probably not.
Then backtrack to Nsobe by route below.
The best route to Nsobe Community Camp, Bangweulu Wetlands from the Great North Road is:
1. “Overnight at Mutinondo (which is lovely in every way)
2. Back on to the Great North Road heading north for 25 kms
3. Turn left signposted Lavushi Manda National Park. Can camp here, see below.
4. Drive through Lavushi Manda NP on a good dirt road for 66.3 kms (the guidebooks are wrong about this park; it is now managed by African Parks and the road has been done up)
5. At Chiundaponde, turn right (north-west), pay entrance and camping fees for the Bangweulu Wetlands at the gate
6. You then have a bucketing drive on a bumpy dirt road for 46.9 kms to Muwele and Nsobe Community Camp is nearby”. “This community camp is one of the nicest places we camped on the whole of an overland trip from the UK-Cairo-Cape-Kenya. The staff are delightful and kind and helpful. Nothing is too much bother for them. The camping spots are under "tree islands" on the floodplain (in the dry season) with your own shower and loo in reed huts in a nearby grove. It really is a wonderful place, and hope you see a Shoebill”.
The Kasanka Trust has opened three campsites in the Lavushi Manda Nationalpark: Kapandalupilla Camp lays at a waterfall at S 12.17.461 E 30.56.902. Also Mumbatuta Camp lies at a waterfall at S 12.12.32 E 30.51.415. Chibembe Camp is a bit more in the South in a mountain area at S 12.22.148 E 30.51.304. All camping offers shower, toilets and fire places and cost 52.80 KR PP (+- 10 US$). The Park entrance is 26.40 KR PP and 15.30 KR for vehicles with SADC-Registation (79.20 KR for all other).
If possible visit the site where David Livingstone died and his heart is buried.
Bangweulu Swamps Shoebill Campsite (Kasanka Trust) S11° 57.279' E30° 14.119' (if too wet then Nsobe Community Campsite S11° 59.222' E30° 18.742')
Samfya Campsite S11° 20.679' E29° 33.720'. Kwacha waterfront lodge also has camping.
Possible waterfalls to visit in the north.
Listed from south to north on our route to Lake Tanganyika and Tanzanian border. Chosen for impressiveness, easy access and camping.
Mumbulauma falls: Wild camping S10° 55.776' E28° 44.106' Falls fairly spectacular. On the other Luangwa River.
Ntumbacushi Falls: S9° 51.166' E28° 56.640' Falls great, 40m bridal veil falls. On Ngoma River. Camping.
Kundabwika Falls: Camping allowed, no facilities. S9° 13.065' E29° 18.249' Bad road. Impressive Upper and Main falls. On Kalungwishi River. Kundabwika and Lumangwe Falls are fairly close together.
Lumangwe Falls: Campsite and entrance fee. S9° 32.561' E29° 23.272' Falls impressive. On Lumangwe River.
Kabweluma Falls: S9 31,379 E29 20,861. Rated as the most beautiful and dramatic in the area. Easily visited from the above campsite.
*Lake Tanganyika: Kalambo Falls. Campsite at falls S8° 35.835' E31° 14.384'. Second highest falls in Africa. 8km before Kalambo River enters Lake Tanganyika.
*Also possibly camp on Zambian side of the Lake near Mpulungu. See which of the possibly derelict campsites are functioning, perhaps Lakeside Lodge, Nkupi Lodge, Tanganyika Lodge, Isanga Bay Lodge.
Important to complete customs and border formalities for Zambia before visiting the above falls to avoid backtracking. Customs in Mpulungu, S8° 45.836' E31° 06.353'. Immigration in Mbala S8° 50.707' E31° 22.338'
Then border via Zombe into south-western Tanzania and small village of Isopa. Tanzanian customs and Immigration S8° 40.861' E31° 29.589'
“Kalambo is fantastic, with a good campsite. It is on the Zambian side. Remember that you are going north (and I think, Stan, you took some of the information in your post from our blog) and you will have to do customs at Mpulungu first, then immigration at Mbala before you go to Kalambo or else you will be backtracking. Lake Tanganyika Lodge and camping was near Mpulungu and is definitely derelict. Lakeshore Lodge is a definite and email Chris and Louise Horsfall for info on Mahale Mountains. They stopped doing transfers to Mahale, but they were hoping to buy a new more powerful boat for the 5 hour + trip. It is NOT possible to drive to Mahale Mtns and even if you did get near enough to them on tracks, there isn't anywhere safe to leave a vehicle, and there is the issue of safety of local boats on a lake which can blow up big storms. Chris Horsfall can give you all the info you need. (In fact contacted and helpful reply, new boat not in operation yet and they advise trips by boat from Kigoma/Kipili into Gombe Streams for Chimpanzee visit).
TANZANIA. The old German boma at Biharamulo isn't actually that near the Rwanda-Tanzania border, but about an hour and a half's drive, but is the safest place to camp in the vicinity. Not sure about backtracking to Ruaha from Dodoma, although it is one of the nicest parks in Africa. You will then need to go back up through Dodoma en route to the Serengeti or take the main road through Iringa, Morogoro etc. The Railway Hotel at Dodoma is fine too, although no camping. Dodoma is the capital of Tanzania but there isn't much to it.) The other places not to miss in northern Zambia are: Kapishya Hot Springs, and Shiwa Ngandu Mutinondo Bangweulu Wetlands.”
SOUTH TO NORTH
We have never set foot in Tanzania before and this is where the true exploration begins. We are likely to spend quite some time here and despite the extraordinary high costs, want to explore the conservation areas thoroughly. The first part of our trip we would like to dedicate to the west; Lake Tanganyika, possibly the chimpanzees and Katavi National Park. This park apparently abounds with animals and is very seldom visited. The type of wild camping here appeals strongly. It should be June by the time we reach there and there should be fairly decent early dry season game viewing. Thereafter we will double back to Ruaha before heading up to the better known conservation areas around Serengeti. We have been advised that the extra cost of the exclusive use Special Camps (50USD pppd versus 30USD) is well worth it throughout especially the northern circuit of Tanzania and will try for these as far as we can afford. The east and coast of the country will hopefully be covered on the journey back south.
Long rains, November to April.
Habari - How are you?
Nzuri Sana-Very Good.
Asante- Thank you.
MAIN ROADS HAVE MANY SPEEDTRAPS. WATCH OUT FOR THE SPEED BUMPS.
PLACE TO STORE VEHICLE:
ARUSHA. 12/2014. Name: Manfred Lieke Address: Arusha, Ort / Region Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Hotel/Farm: Manfred Lieke/ TFSC Garage, P.O.Box 2101 GPS: S 03°23.667° E 036°37.310° Tel.: +255 754 572707 / Fax: +255 27 2548969
In Nairobi it's Jungle Junction, at 60 euros/month for an outside storage. (In Arusha 30 euros for a covered parking).
NOTE: Loose one hour in time as Tanzania on GMT plus. Set time forward 1 hour.
*Between Mbala (Zambia) and village of Isopa (Tanzania), through Zombe Border Post(S8° 41.251' E31° 29.553') KASHESHA/ZOMBE BORDER POST
*Tanzanian customs and Immigration (S8° 40.861' E31° 29.589')
*Join tar at Sumbawanga -B8- FOREST WAY COUNTRY CLUB. (S7 57 32.8 E31 37 43.1.) Parking lot campsite, clean shower in room. Also possibly Moravian Conference Centre.
SUMMARY June 2014. Mbala (Zambia) to Border 1 hour
Border to Sumbawanga 2 hours 15
Kipili to Katavi 4 hrs 40 Katavi to Mpanda 1 hour
Mpanda to Kigoma 6 hours 20
*At Chala turn off to Kipli, Lake Tanganyika, LAKESHORE LODGE (S7° 26.070' E30° 35.530') Camping/chalets
*? Mahale Mountains NP. Apparently can reach lake by road and then possibly take boat by arrangement. Biggest problem is storage vehicle. I have excellent contact with manager at Greystoke Lodge but will also enquire again at Lakeshore Lodge. Seriously consider. Parks Board have self-catering bungalows. Possibly better Chimp viewing than Gombe Streams.
*Katavi NP via B8. RIVERSIDE CAMP, (S6° 37.766' E31° 08.644') outside park near gate entrance if arrive late afternoon.
KATAVI special camps. Bush camping in Katavi allowed. Tsetse flies.
*Mpanda - Uvinza, at Kiboani Village turn east to Kigoma and JACOBSEN BEACH CAMPING (S4 54 37.4 E29 35 55.7) at Lake Tanganyika. Camping/chalets.
*?Gombe Streams NP. Chimps. Investigate stay and boat trip from Kigoma if no success Mahale. Self-catering chalets/camping.
We now reach an uncertain route. As it will be June and ideal timing, I must also visit Ruaha NP. I suspect that we are going to reroute to Mpanda after Katavi and before Kigoma. We will take the little-used road due south to Mbeya and then to Iringa to reach Ruaha. From Ruaha it would be logical to visit Selous Game Reserve via Mikumi reserve. One can then travel to Dodoma and west again to Kigoma and Jacobsen's.
[ *B8 via Kasula and Kibondo Nyakanza turn southwest on B8 Kituli Village, Nziga and Makomero on B3 Near Jabolo turn east on B129 to Dodoma (DODOMA INN HOTEL) OR via Tabora to Didoma (Enquire at Jacobsens)].
*On A104 to Iringa, RIVERSIDE CAMP (S7 47 52.6 E35 47 48.2) or CHOGELA CAMPSITE on the village road 17km from the gate (S7 50.019 E35 05.222), depending on arrival time.
*Ruaha NP. New Camp site No. 2 (Original name: Camp site No.2) Located along the Mdonya river. S7° 40.509' E34° 50.747'. New Camp site no. 1 on the Ruaha River. Old Campsite No1 (Original name: Campsite No 1) and Old Campsite No2. Along the Great Ruaha River and close to Bandas and Park HQ. Stay at both new campsites. Avoid the old campsites-flyblown and too close to the HQ. Mbagi and Ifuguru Special Camp sites. Along Mwagusi sand river about 20 Kms from the Park HQ.
*MAYBE, MAYBE TO SELOUS: YES. Perhaps on return trip, but then probably wet season.
*North on A104, at Dodoma turn northwest on B129 via Manyoni (Jabolo), then B141 via Singida, not sure this is best route, tar road towards northeast to Babati At Singida camp/room at Aqua Vita Resort S4° 48.323' E34° 44.231'
*On A104 to Tarangire NP, preferred by most to Lake Manyara. Possibly camp outside park first night if arrive late, at ZION S3° 41.909' E35° 56.854' or PARADISE CAMP S3° 43.766' E35° 52.916' Public campsite: 5Km South from the park gate is good. Can also perhaps try to get Special Campsite in Tarangire, in the Matete River area where most of the game is. (Mbweha, Mibuyumingi, Kware, Kanga, Teminalia, Mlegea, Mbuni, Njiwa, Hondohondo, Mumbi, Lamakau and Minyonyo)
*Mto wa Mba and Lake Manyara Most prefer Tarangire. Lake Manyara possibly better in wet season, in late dry season the lake water is very far from the road.
First night stay outside park at TWIGA/WILD FIG/PANORAMA Campsites if arrive late. BEST IS PROBABLY SUNBRIGHT MANYARA CAMP S3° 22.315' E35° 52.218'
Look into Special/Public Campsites, Endabash Riverside or Lakeside/Bagayo A or B campsites.
ROUTE: “For a good view of the park, drive directly to Hippo Pools (S3° 24’50.6’’ E35° 50’17.3’’). Stay on the road that runs along the lake, it enters the woods now and then, but brings you back to the lake up to Endala Picnic Site (S3° 28’50.1’’ E35° 47’24.5’’). Take the top road back to the gate through the forest. This will give you the best view of what Lake Manyara has to offer”.
Lake Manyara – and Tarangire National Park Fees: - $35 per person per 24h; - $40 per vehicle per 24h.
*Arusha Book special campsites for Serengeti at TANAPA HQ, depending on where migration is (see Veronica Roodt). In JULY/AUG it is likely to be around the Grumeti River, Western Corridor and Lobo Hills areas. NOTE: Because of poor rains in central and southern Serengeti this year (2015) the animals are migrating north far earlier, by 2-3 months. In early March there were already reports of wildebeest crossing the Grumeti in numbers.
At Seronera the special sites are: Seronera 1 - 5 are only a few km away from Seronera itself. Seronera 6 is a bit further. Turner Springs A B and C are also nearby.
*ARUSHA NP: Underrated. Three main campsites, at $30 per person, and a few "special campsites" at $50, as well as basic bandas.
*Stay at MESERANI SNAKE PARK S3.41000 E36.48294 before Arusha (dusty, noisy, many overland trucks), MASAI CAMPSITE in Arusha S3 23 07.0 E36 43 11.3 (Not much better. Loud disco open to locals every Fri & Sat). Ask Ma at Meserani about tolls and if worthwhile visiting the otherwise spectacular LAKE NATRON. If do decide to visit Lake Natron and the active volcano Il Doinyo l’Engai , stay at the Lake Natron River Camp, which is well run & functional. (“The HUGE disappointment is the total rip-off & tourist-trap that it has recently turned into. To simply drive the route from Mto wa Mbu to Engare Sero you have to pay $90 (for two people & a foreign registered vehicle) at 3 ‘official’ checkpoints where you are charged respectively: $10 p/person; $10 p/person; $10 p/person plus $30 for the car. At the final checkpoint you are less than 5 km from Lake Natron. HOWEVER - every move from that point onwards you will be tripped up by an ‘official’ telling you to pay $10 each to visit the waterfall; $10 each to visit the lake; $10 each to drive to the base of Mt Lengai.... Aaaaaagh! Also the Maasai here are a pain - aggressive if you don’t buy anything or just hand out money. A very frustrating place to visit. In our opinion, not worth the bother, Sad”.)
Entry and camping fees for Serengeti ARE payable with both Visa and Master card at the Park gate. Visa is however more widely accepted in East Africa.
Card is not accepted for payment in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area [NCA]. I believe the best is to pay all NCA fees in US$ cash at the Exim Bank in Karatu (or Arusha), which is 15kms from the NCA Main Gate and you pass the Bank on the main road through Karatu on your way to the NCA.
*Arusha to Karatu KUDU CAMPSITE (S3 20 56.0 E35 40 09.0) Book and pay for NGORONGORO CRATER, book 48 hours. If you are doing self-drive into the crater you are expected to have a park guide accompany you in your vehicle. If you wish to avoid this because you don’t have space (like we didn’t), you will need to obtain permission from the Conservation Area’s Head Park Ranger, located at the Park Head Office in Karatu (check T4A for location). You will need to convince the Head Ranger that you don’t require a guide (think being in the school principal’s office) and received a note to show at the crater entry. Without this note you can expect hassles.
*Stay at SIMBA CAMPSITE A (S03°13.688 E035°29.405) Drive into Crater for day, 6H00 start.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area rates. For us USD 400/day. Pay with Visa card.
•USD200 vehicle entry into the crater per day, single entry
•USD40 foreign car entry into the conservation area per 24Hrs (10 000 Tanzania Shillings)
•USD50 per person for park entry for 24Hrs
•USD30 per person for camping per night It is important to get your timing right.
If you would like to visit a Masai village, Olduvai Gorge and Shifting Sands the next day, you will need to get an extra 24h entrance permit per person and per vehicle to make it to Naabi Hills gate in time and avoid paying a fine!!!!
*SERENGETI via OLDUVAAI GORGE. S2° 59.481' E35° 21.332'. Just before the Olduvai Gorge turn off there is a local Masai Village that you can visit at $15 per person. Here you can take photo’s (free).
*Enter via Naabi Hill Gate (S17°53.218 E025°50.670) to Seronera or Lake Ndutu first. ? Special or Public Campsites.
SERENGETI FEES. For the 2 of us in special campsites USD 200/day. Pay with Visa card. All valid for single entry and 24 hours only:
•USD40 foreign car entry
•USD50 per person for park entry
•USD30 per person for camping/USD 50 FOR SPECIAL CAMP.
*GRUMETI, LOBO HILLS and WESTERN CORRIDOR areas and ? Special Campsite here. Fuel and workshop at Seronera. Out at Ndabaka Gate (S02°11.568 E033°52.407).
*Camp SERENGETI STOPOVER (S2 12 08.7 E33 51 51.6)
MIGRATION: can vary. Need to check closer to the time. Grumeti River in Western Corridor crossed typically in June/July. Mara River in north-west crossed typically in August.
Calving typically in Ndutu area NCA-Serengeti border in late Jan into Feb.
May-July: Western Corridor
July-Oct: Mara River area
Oct-Nov: Lobo area and Maasai Mara.
*Mwanza, Lake Victoria, camping MWANZA YACHT CLUB, BEST IS TUNZA LODGE (S2 27.045 E32 54.112) superb position on a sandy stretch of beach 10km north of Mwanza town centre.
* Ferry across the bay.
Perhaps consider leaving the vehicles in Muganza S2° 22.554' E31° 44.154' and taking a parks boat to Rubondo Island NP – incredibly beautiful.
*RUSUMO BORDER POST, RWANDA. S2° 22.957' E30° 46.951' A couple of hours before the border if need be, camp at BIHARAMULO FORT (S2 37.903 E31 18.295) (AKA BOMA GUEST HOUSE and camping), reasonable facilities.
They drive on the RIGHT in Rwanda.
Plastic bags are banned in Rwanda.
SW Tanzania Proposed Route (WAZUNGU)
This looks like a good route – albeit it may, in parts, be quite intrepid. It does, however, mean you won’t have to repeat yourself at all, and all you will miss is the road between Mpanda and Uvinza.
In summary: TAN-ZAM border – Sumbawanga – Kipili – Katavi – Mpanda – intrepid? route to Mbeya Mbeya – Iringa – Ruaha – Iringa – Dodoma – Tabora – Kigoma
• TAN-ZAM border to Sumbawanga: 96.9 kms Mixture of rough-ish dirt and tarmac. We stayed at Forestway Country Club in June 2014. Also camping available, apparently, at the Moravian mission (no food at the mission so, if you don’t want to cook, you have to go to Forestway anyway). Good clean Indian owned, Tanzanian managed hotel with clean rooms and reasonable food.
• Sumbawanga to Lakeshore Lodge, Kipili: 150 kms Took us 3 hours in June 2014. Good dirt. Camping and chalets at Lakeshore Lodge. Advanced booking recommended. Have given you their contact details. Spend a few days here. A veritable piece of paradise in a remote area and one of the few places where one can appreciate the lake.
• Kipili to Katavi: 181 kms Wild camp near the Ikuu ranger post. Will cost US$200 for the two of you and the vehicle per night. You can pay by card. Pay at Park HQ beforehand and then about 35 kms to Ikuu area.
• Katavi via Mpanda and then on to intrepid (?) route to Mbeya: 788 kms Presume that last fuel before Mbeya is at Mpanda. This is a long way so may take 2-3 days and you may have to wild camp/camp with permission from locals/find a Chinese roadworks camp/police post. T4A has Lupa Guesthouse marked between Rungwa and Mbeya. Utengule Coffee Farm camping near Mbeya has been highly recommended by others.
• Mbeya to Iringa: 441 kms Main road with heavy trucks. Tarmac, but we haven’t done this section. We camped in 2008 at Riverside Camping, near Iringa - marked on T4A. It is on the Little Ruaha River and was called, we think, Little Ruaha Campsite when we stayed there in 2008. Good. Also has bandas. Banks, market, shops and fuel in Iringa.
• Iringa to Ruaha National Park: 144 kms Corrugated dirt road. We camped overlooking the Great Ruaha River in 2008. No facilities, but there may have been a long drop loo. Facilities and showers at the bandas nearby. Loved it and went on an all-day game drive right up to the NE corner of the park looking for Sable Antelope and didn’t see another car all day. I see that that track isn’t marked on T4A, but it was on the map we bought at the gate. In 2008, we paid cash USD for park fees and vehicle fees, but there may be an alternative now. However, best not to presume so. • Ruaha to Iringa: 144 kms Another night at Riverside Camping?
• Iringa to Dodoma: 276 kms It was a reasonable dirt road when we did it in 2008. I am sure the Chinese will be working on it. Might be more of a challenge in the rains in a few parts. Took us 6 hours in 2008. We stayed in the New Dodoma Hotel (formerly known as the Railway Hotel) which was fine and used by government officials and NGO workers.
• Dodoma to Tabora: 406 kms Haven’t been on this stretch of road, but it is on T4A and they say it will take approx 9 hours. Perhaps the Chinese have been working on it? We camped at the back of the Orion Tabora Hotel in June 2014. A lovely 1911 Germanic building with lovely staff who made a shower and loo available for us near to where we camped. Rooms too, of course. Market, shops, fuel (and banks?) in Tabora. Must see – Livingstone’s tembe just outside Tabora (marked on T4A) – historic.
• Tabora to Kigoma: 436 kms We did this route in June 2014. We had anticipated a long tough few days, but we had ascertained beforehand that there was a new bridge over the Malagarasi River which made the route possible. However, it only took us 8 hours and was fabulous – following the old slave and explorers’ route. We camped at Jakobsens Beach Campsite just outside Kigoma in June 2014. Marked on T4A. On a Lake Tanganyika bay. Very nice, charming Norwegian owner. Popular with overlanders. Has bandas but no food or bar. Banks, fuel, market and shops in Kigoma. Also hotels in Kigoma.
Northern Tanzania Advice.
Option 1: Kigoma – Biharamulo – Mwanza – Serengeti (through the Western Corridor) – Ngorongoro – Lake Manyara – Tarangire – Arusha – Kenya (Namanga border crossing)
• Kigoma to Biharamulo: 388 kms. We haven’t done the long section Kigoma – Lusahunga, but it is a dirt road. Otherwise, we know it is tar from Lusahunga to Biharamulo. Camp at the old German Boma now a relatively rundown government guesthouse. We camped here in February 2014 – having come from Rwanda.
• Biharamulo to Mwanza: 243 kms. The first 70 kms from Biharamulo to Bwanga was a rough-ish dirt road, but from Bwanga eastwards, it was pristine Chinese tarmac. We did this in February 2014 in 5 hours 47 moving time – total 9 hours 15. We camped at the Mwanza Yacht Club. Lots of space, overlooking the lake, bar and restaurant. Up-market Tilapia Hotel next door. I wouldn’t swim in Lake Victoria anywhere near Mwanza (due to bilharzia so am sceptical about the other recommended campsite). Resupply in Mwanza. [Note: on your document you have timings of the ferry Bukoba to Mwanza – this is not relevant to you as it is the passenger ferry which plies this route and Bukoba is on the western side of Lake Victoria near-ish the Uganda border. No vehicles on this ferry.] You will be taking a short ferry across the Mwanza Gulf only. You will see on T4A and maps that there is a shorter crossing over the Mwanza Gulf from Kamanga. However, the road (rough dirt) from Sengerema to Kamanga is marked on T4A as “not recommended”. We took it and we agree it is not to be recommended. Better to take the main road and cross the Mwanza Gulf at Busisi (although we have not done it, this is the main road). The ferries will be regular.
• Mwanza to Speke Bay Lodge (near gate of Western Corridor of the Serengeti): 92.6kms. Good tarmac. We did this in time for morning coffee. Treat yourself to a night at Speke Bay Lodge (email for booking). Or there may be camping nearby, but don’t camp at the TANAPA public campsite at the Ndabaka gate [This is not referring to Serengeti Stop over camp] (as you will have to pay park entrance fees). Serengeti fees paid on per 24 hour basis – so, if you enter at 8am, you need to exit at or before 8am however many days later. Enter through the Ndabaka gate after 9am as it will be pretty difficult to exit out the Naabi Hill Gate on the eastern side of the Park before 9am even leaving a campsite at first light (6am).
• Ndabaka gate into the Serengeti Western Corridor to Seronera: 148 kms. This was a corrugated park road in 2008. Apparently, you can pay by credit card nowadays at this gate. We paid cash USD in 2008. One night in the Seronera area? The migration ought to be further north in June/July as the Seronera area is where the calving takes place in January/February. I have heard that the public campsites in the Seronera area aren’t great, but we haven’t been. Seronera is a busy area as many tented camps and lodges. The tour drivers drive like crazy, but they aren’t their own vehicles.
• Seronera to Lobo public campsite: 78 kms. Or try for a special campsite in the Lobo area, but this is peak period for the northern Serengeti and probably all booked by mobile safari operators. Spend at least three nights here. Lovely area. The Lobo public campsite wasn’t great in July 2008, but we had a great time and made our own “nest” and put up our own camp shower in a bush. It took us about 8 hours in 2008 from Speke Bay Lodge to Lobo not really stopping to view game.
• Lobo to Ngorongoro via Naabi Hill Gate: 123 kms, but a long, rough drive to exit the Serengeti through Naabi Hill Gate by the appointed time. In 2008, we left Lobo at first light and had to break the speed limit down to the Seronera area, and then a really horrible corrugated road from Seronera to Naabi Hill Gate. We got to Naabi Hill Gate 15 minutes after our appointed exit time, but they let us off. It took us about 3 hours from Lobo to Naabi Hill Gate. I am not sure about the Ndutu area as I have never been, although I have heard it is very nice, but the migration will be in the north in June/July. It might make for a shorter two days if you did Lobo-Ndutu, then Ndutu-Ngorongoro.
• Naabi Hill gate (exit Serengeti enter the Ngorongoro Conservation Area): 213 kms from Lobo, but a long rough drive. Timed out of the Serengeti and timed in to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Ngorongoro Conservation Area website: http://www.ngorongorocrater.org/ I understand that you have to pre-pay all conservation and camping fees at a bank. If it is Exim Bank, there was a branch in Mwanza in February 2014. Check their website. Otherwise, what about getting a travel agent in Arusha to do that for you, you do an international transfer to them, and they email the paperwork to you? In 2008, we paid cash USD at the Naabi Hill entrance to the NCA, but cash is no longer accepted, we understand. If you like that sort of thing (I love it), stop at Olduvai Gorge for a picnic lunch and see where the Leakeys found some of the earliest remains of Early Man. Then on to the crater rim. Camping on the crater rim will be very cold, and misty in the evening and early morning. The Simba public campsites there didn’t look great in 2008 and, from other people’s posts on various forums, it still isn’t great. We spent two nights in the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge (although we had got a good rate as we knew the chap who was the Operations Director for the Serena Group). You might want some TLC after camping in the Serengeti and your supplies might be getting low. You only need to spend two nights in the NCA, and only go down into the crater once. It seems to cost even more nowadays to take your own vehicle into the crater. You have to take a guide (not essential but the rules) and organise this the day before (or online?) at the NCA HQ near the public campsite, Serena Safari Lodge etc. Camping, parks fees and vehicle fees per day for the two of you will be US$200, (crater fee is an extra $200, but you will only want to do that once). For, say, two nights camping US$200 x 2 plus US$200 for crater visit = US$600. But see my notes on your document about timings and the 24 hour rule – you may need an extra 12 or 24 hours.
• Ngorongoro to Lake Manyara National Park: 94.6 kms from Serena Safari Lodge to the Endabash campsite You can pay with a credit card at the Lake Manyara National Park entrance gate. We camped at Endabash public campsite in June 2014. We were the only people there. Never camp under a Sausage tree! Ablution block with loo paper, soap, showers (cold water). • Lake Manyara to Tarangire National Park: 105 kms. Good tarmac once out of Lake Manyara NP to the entrance to Tarangire NP. We camped at the public campsite marked on T4A in December 2007. It did have an ablution block.
• Tarangire to Arusha: 118 kms. An easy tarmac road (beware of police speed traps and they might want to check your warning triangles, fire extinguishers, and insurance). You will be in dire need of a resupply. The Shoprite you mentioned was closed in June 2014, but a branch of the very good Kenyan Nakumatt supermarket chain was due to open. However, Arusha has a range of shops etc and is civilised. We camped at Masai Campsite in June 2014 and were the only people there. There would have been hot water if the fire had been put on earlier. Has seen better days, but we liked it. It is convenient for the town. I have read about the Maserani Snake Park campsite, but it is some distance from Arusha (and frequented by overland trucks apparently).
• Arusha to Namanga border crossing into Kenya: 114 kms. An easy drive on reasonable tarmac. If you don’t want to go on to Nairobi, the Namanga River Lodge on the Kenyan side (marked on T4A as “Hotel Namanga”) is still a nice looking old colonial small hotel with rooms in chalets. We often stop there for coffee, but haven’t stayed. It is always clean looking, the gardens are well maintained, and the staff friendly. But we did, in June 2014, Nairobi to Arusha in 7 hours (4.5 hours moving time, 278 kms Karen, Nairobi to Arusha – although we took a back road from Karen which avoids Nairobi traffic. If you need the GPS track for this, let me know).
Option 2: Selous – Morogoro – Dodoma – Tarangire NP – Arusha (to resupply and do TANAPA/NCA admin) Arusha – Lake Manyara – Ngorongoro – Serengeti Exit Serengeti through Western Corridor – Mwanza – Shinyanga – Tabora – Kigoma Kigoma – Biharamulo – Rusumo border crossing into Rwanda Turn the timings in Option 1 around, and add from my previous SW Tanzania document.
See my comments on your N Tanzania Word document about Dodoma to Babati – I don’t think you need to detour through Singida. It took us 8 hours in 2008 from just outside the Ngorongoro to Dodoma. I would recommend - if you are entering Kenya from Uganda heading to the Mara - that you enter Kenya through the Busia border crossing not the main Tororo – Malaba crossing. Busia much quieter. You can then go and spend a night or two on a farm at Koru (between Kisumu and Kericho). From Koru, we can show you (and send a GPS track) of an interesting and nice route into the Mara Conservancy through Kericho-Sotik-Kilgoris (most of it not marked on T4A).
Option 3: TAKE THIS ONE IF RUNNING OUT OF TIME TO MEET OUR FRIENDS IN MARA. Selous – Dodoma – Tarangire NP – Arusha (to resupply and do TANAPA/NCA admin) Arusha – Lake Manyara – Ngorongoro – Serengeti Exit Serengeti through Western Corridor – Musoma – Kenyan border (Sirari-Isebania) S1° 14.624' E34° 28.534' This option, however, would involve entering Kenya twice (or even three times) on your travels, but it might be the answer if you want to join us in the Mara in late August 2015 and want to enter the Ngorongoro/Serengeti from the east.
After the Mara: Re-cross the border at Sirari-Isebania and continue Mwanza – Shinyanga – Tabora – Kigoma – Biharamulo – Rusumo border crossing into Rwanda It will be more expensive due to the cost of an extra Tanzanian visa, foreign vehicle road licence and the carbon tax. • Exit the Serengeti through the Western Corridor, spend a night at Musoma (Tembo Resort, camping), then through the border into Kenya. I am told that the route shown on maps from Migori to Lolgorien heading towards the Mara isn’t great, but it might be an adventure. The border crossings shown on maps from the Serengeti into the Mara are NOT open. The Tanzanians aren’t very keen on big brother Kenya!
I am so looking forward to visiting this country. The clean and organized image appeals as of course do the rain forests, gorillas, other primates, mountains, lakes and birdlife.
The plan is to proceed directly to the capital Kigali to book a visit to the gorillas, which may not be easy as this is high season.
Once booked we will pass the time by probably visiting the Genocide memorials and then perhaps visit Akagera National Park, the only savannah type park in Ruanda and thereafter going on to Nyungwe forest. From here it would be great to drive at least part of the Nile-Congo trail along Lake Kivu and end up in the Volcanos National Park and visit the gorillas and other primates. It seems that the gorillas are best seen in Rwanda, although more expensive at US$ 750, rather than in Bwindi in Uganda, because of the relatively easier accessibility. Also if somehow we miss out can try later in Uganda.
The birding is expected to be superb in and around the forests with many endemics. There are not many quality campsites in Rwanda and we may have to resort to chalets or hotels on many occasions.
RAINS. Two seasons, Long rains mid-Feb to early June. Short rains mid-Sept to mid-Dec.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: GET A PERMIT FOR GORILLAS: Head straight for the booking office in Kigali at the Rwanda Development Board, S1° 57.191' E30° 06.146' when you arrive in country and base the rest of itinerary round it.
*RUSOMA BORDER POST: Tanzania to Rwanda. Apply for East African Tourist Visa, at least 90 days.
*KIGALI: same day, 160km, about 4 hrs. Stay at Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel. S1 57.038 E30 05.615 (One Love bad reviews) Go to RDB offices to book gorillas. RDB (Rwanda Development Board) building GPS S01*57”282’ E 30*06”185’ on the airport road. Visit genocide memorial S1° 55.852' E30° 03.612' ? Visit NYAMATA S2° 08.774' E30° 05.621', 30km south of Kigali and NTARAMA CHURCH S2° 06.787' E30° 03.005' Genocide Memorials. Depends on how long have to wait for gorillas. MUST try the Khana Khazana Indian restaurant in Kigali.
*AKAGERA NP: S1° 53.957' E30° 40.905' again depends on wait for gorillas. Nice birding, animals not fantastic. Camp in park. Best campsite ? Mutumba as terrain more open here.
*NYUNGWE FOREST NP: stay at UWINKA CAMPSITE. S2 28.663 E29 11.993 (S2 28.696 E 29 12.007) Drive Congo-Nile trail. Camp along way. The most beautiful portion is in the north from Rubavu (Gisenyi) to Karongi (Kibuye) Karongi (Kibuye). Presbyterian Church run HOTEL CENTRE BETHANIE. Right on the lake, rooms for $20, a restaurant with really decent prices, hot showers and a double bed.
*LAKE KIVU: RABAVU/GISENYI. Paridis Malahide Resort (camp in carpark or room) S1 44 01.7 E29 16 23.4
* VOLCANOES/VURUNGU NP: stay at Kinigi Guest House (closer for early start for gorillas, within a km of the wildlife office). Cost high at $50 a night per double room. View dramatic with the tips of no less than 7 volcanic peaks. S1° 25.956' E29° 35.906' (rather than staying in MUSANZE/RUHENGERI, too far from start of gorilla hike). Kinigi Asoferwa Lodge, camp in car park. GPS S 01*25”954’ E29*35”904’ right next to the NP HQ.
Gorilla (750USD) and perhaps golden monkey hike (100USD). For Gorilla walk wear longs for stinging nettles.
*EXIT TO UGANDA: Cyuve Border Post. S1° 20.770' E29° 44.643' OR CYANIKA border post.
We will need to spend quite some time here as there is so much to see. Once again the larger game reserves are excessively expensive and not so great in comparison to those in Tanzania and Kenya, USD150 for foreign registered vehicle entry per visit independent of length of stay. Although we will visit them, I do not expect to spend too much time in the Queen Elizabeth or Murchison Falls National Parks. Instead we will concentrate more on the little visited but apparently superb Kidepo Valley National Park in the north, rains allowing.
We will also have a few opportunities to look for the Shoebill Stork should Zambia fail us. This is the first country where we will visit the Nile. The forests and lakes also deserve plenty of time. We will have the opportunity to visit the gorillas and chimps should Rwanda and Tanzania disappoint. The birding should be great. I doubt if we will actually visit all the forest areas listed below but who knows? Nothing in cast in stone.
Long rains, March to June. The wettest months are April, May, October, November.
01/2015, Email (Wazungu) Uganda:
Where we camped
• Sipi Falls, Mt Elgon: Moses campsite, a community camp. Good location overlooking the falls. Clean.
• Nile River Explorers, Bujagali, near Jinja: A very popular place for white water rafting and overland trucks. Obviously can be very busy, but was quiet when we were there in early February 2014. Good bar and restaurant. Overlooking the river.
• Entebbe Backpackers, Entebbe: Fine for a night or two. Camping in the garden of an old bungalow. Clean showers with hot water. Convenient for Entebbe airport, and a new Nakumatt Supermarket in Entebbe. Away from the frenzy of Kampala.
• Murchison Falls National Park: • A public campsite on the north side of the Nile (unmentioned in any guidebook or UWA website). Fabulous view down to the river, but a new campsite with no shade and not really any facilities. It did, however, have long drop loos, and water in plastic tanks (didn’t fancy using it so got water when needed from the petrol station near the lodge). By anyone’s standards, it wasn’t the best campsite, but we had a fabulous time and were the only people there, and it did mean that we weren’t stuck on the south side of the Nile having to take a ferry across the river when the game is concentrated on the north side of the river and in the Delta. There is also a public campsite at the top of Murchison Falls, but it is some distance away from where the game is, but you must visit the falls from the top as well as see them from below by boat.
• Shoebill Camp: A small campsite attached to Nile Safari Lodge just outside the park on the south side of the river. We moved from the public campsite on the north side of the river for one night so as to make an early morning start on the road to Fort Portal and down Lake Albert. We were the only people there. Water was brought up by ladies and children in jerry cans from the river for the showers and loos. A short walk through the bush to the lodge which has a bar and restaurant.
• Lake Albert Safari Lodge campsite, Kabwoya: A lovely little campsite attached to the lodge overlooking Lake Albert. A good half way stop between Murchison Falls and Fort Portal. Showers, loos, and lodge nearby with bar and swimming pool. We had the campsite to ourselves.
• Kluges Guest Farm, near Fort Portal: Nice, clean campsite attached to a Dutch owned “guest farm” with chalets. Hot water ablutions.
• Semuliki National Park: Uganda Wildlife Authority public campsite. Quite jungly and would be tight if other campers there. There are bandas nearby for tourists and researchers. Long drop loos, cold water showers (good as v hot and humid). Very friendly rangers. Excellent and very knowledgeable birdwatching guides.
• Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse campsite, near Kibale Forest National Park: Excellent campsite in lovely gardens with mown grass overlooking tea fields and the forest. Large mess shelters, fire pit, flushing loos, hot water showers. Lodge has sweet looking cottages, and has a good bar and restaurant. Charming staff.
• Queen Elizabeth National Park: • Campsite 1, near Mweya. This is, presumably, a special campsite, but we paid the same as for the rather horrid public campsite at Mweya. Campsite 1 had a long drop loo, but some distance away from the obvious place to camp overlooking the Kazinga Channel. There was, however, little shade, but we had a great time and great views over the channel. Go equipped for wild camping.
• Public campsite on the Ishasha River, in the Ishasha section of QENP: Lovely campsite overlooking the river and the DRC (there are two sites, but can’t remember which one we took – it was the smaller of the two). The baboons were a bit of a menace when we went on a game drive. Flushing loos, cold water showers. Charming rangers about half a mile away. • Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP:
• Buhoma Community Camp: Not much room for vehicle-dependant camping, but we found a space. Mostly dormitories and chalets for gorilla trekking groups. A bar and set-menu restaurant (we cooked for ourselves). We had been gorilla trekking before, but our friends went and we spent the day around the area birdwatching etc.
• Ruhija Community Camp: Very nice community camp on the east side of Bwindi. Very rough road round from Buhoma, but so worth it. A small space for camping, but adequate. Otherwise, has rooms or cottages on the steep hillside. Lovely gardens, lovely manager, log fire at night, bar and some food available.
• Lake Bunyonyi Overland Camp: A large overlanders’ camp with rooms and chalets as well. Right on the lake. Showers and loos, bar and restaurant. Very popular with overland trucks and youth.
ADVICE FOR UGANDA National Parks: The charge for a foreign registered vehicle is US$150 per visit, but if you camp outside a park, make sure you tell them at the gate that you will be coming in and out for the next few days or they may charge you US$150 each time. I don’t know what the charge is for reserves (as opposed to National Parks). No charge for a vehicle for Bwindi, Mgahinga, Ruwenzori or Kibale (as there aren’t any roads into them). Not sure this is true for Mt Elgon (as there are roads up into the park). We came east to west, but I have turned our route round. This is what we did and some potential advice:
• Cyanika border crossing – Kisoro: In 2008, we saw the community campsite outside Mgahinga NP, but we stayed at a sweet old hotel called Travellers Rest at Kisoro. It is historic because the person who started it in, I think, the 1920s, was instrumental in setting up gorilla conservation. We had coffee here prior to crossing the border in 2014. The hotel and gardens are well-maintained, the staff welcoming, and the whole place clean and functioning. If the weather is clear, it has a lovely view of Mt Mgahinga from the gardens.
• Kisoro – Lake Bunyonyi: A very short drive from Kisoro – good tarmac road for most of the way. We camped at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Camp. It is a large campsite, also rooms, bar and restaurant. If it were busy with youth and overland trucks, it would be a pain. We, in fact, drove from Lake Bunyonyi to Lake Kivu, Rwanda in an easy day’s drive. •
Lake Bunyonyi – Ruhija (Bwindi NP): 66.9 kms. Average moving speed 25.8 kph: A dirt road which at times was very rough, but well worth the route. We camped at Ruhija community camp which was delightful in every way. There is a habituated gorilla group near here
• Ruhija (Bwindi NP) – Buhoma (Bwindi NP): 47.3 kms. Average moving speed 20.3 kph: A rough dirt road, but so worth it. We camped at Buhoma Community Camp. Not much room for vehicle-dependant camping, but we found a space. Mostly dormitories and chalets for gorilla trekking groups. A bar and set-menu restaurant (we cooked for ourselves). We had been gorilla trekking before, but our friends went and we spent the day around the area birdwatching etc.
• Buhoma (Bwindi NP) – Ishasha sector, Queen Elizabeth NP: 94.3 kms, Av moving speed 25.2 kph. Including game drive and stops. Ishasha sector of QENP is savannah and lovely. On border with DRC. We camped at the smaller of the two public campsites on the river. Nice, but be wary of baboons.
• Ishasha sector, QENP – Mweya sector of QENP: 154 kms, 5 hrs 26 moving time. Short part of the transfer on main tarmac road. We camped at Campsite 1 on the Kazinga Channel. The public campsite at Mweya in the HQ complex looked dismal. Paid the same for Campsite 1 (?special campsite) as for public one.
• Mweya sector QENP – Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse and camping: 127 kms, 4 hours moving time. Equator crossing. Very nice camping at Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse 0° 29' 22.3" N 30° 19' 59.6"E overlooking tea plantation and Kibale Forest. We stayed two nights and went chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest NP. Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse near to the park HQ and, separately, where the chimp tracking starts.
• Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse and Camping (just outside Kibale Forest National Park) – Bumaga UWA campsite, Semuliki National Park: 91.8 kms. 2 hours 15 mins moving time. Good new tarmac all the way to Semuliki NP. Bumaga campsite in Semuliki NP quite jungly and hugger-mugger with the rangers huts, but the rangers and staff very friendly. Cold water showers (good because v hot and humid), firewood supplied, long drop loos. Rangers very good and knowledgeable bird guides. Can’t remember whether we had to pay US$150 in order to have the vehicle in the UWA campsite!
• Bumaga UWA campsite, Semuliki National Park – Kluges Guest Farm, near Fort Portal: 95.5 kms. Good new tarmac. Kluges Guest Farm Dutch owned and a short way outside Fort Portal. Nice, clean, hot water showers, bar and restaurant in main buildings. Also rooms available.
• Kluges Guest Farm - Lake Albert Safari Lodge campsite, Kabwoya: 226 kms. 11 hrs overall (inc stops, resupply and vehicle repairs), 5 hrs 33 moving time. Mostly dirt road. A lovely little campsite attached to the lodge overlooking Lake Albert. A good half way stop between Murchison Falls and Fort Portal. Showers, loos, and lodge nearby with bar and swimming pool. We had the campsite to ourselves.
• Lake Albert Safari Lodge campsite, Kabwoya - Shoebill Camp (just outside Murchison Falls NP): 196 kms. 7 hours overall, moving time 4 hrs 15. Dirt road. A small campsite attached to Nile Safari Lodge just outside the park on the south side of the river. We moved from the public campsite on the north side of the river for one night so as to make an early morning start on the road to Fort Portal and down Lake Albert. We were the only people there. Water was brought up by ladies and children in jerry cans from the river for the showers and loos. A short walk through the bush to the lodge which has a bar and restaurant.
• Public campsite on the north side of the Nile, Murchison Falls NP: (unmentioned in any guidebook or UWA website). Fabulous view down to the river, but a new campsite with no shade and not really any facilities. It did, however, have long drop loos, and water in plastic tanks (didn’t fancy using it so got water when needed from the petrol station near the lodge). By anyone’s standards, it wasn’t the best campsite, but we had a fabulous time and were the only people there, and it did mean that we weren’t stuck on the south side of the Nile having to take a ferry across the river when the game is concentrated on the north side of the river and in the Delta. There is also a public campsite at the top of Murchison Falls, but it is some distance away from where the game is, but you must visit the falls from the top as well as see them from below by boat. We spent three nights here, and one night at Shoebill campsite (above). Definitely go on a boat trip to the base of the falls – we went on the UWA boat and the guide was good and knowledgeable. Masses of birds, elephants in the Nile etc. Don’t see any reason to go for the more expensive private boat option to the base of the falls. However, if you want to go looking for Shoebills down at the Delta, then organise a private boat at your own convenience (or go fishing).
• Murchison Falls National Park (public campsite on north of the Nile) – Entebbe: This is what we did (although, of course, coming the opposite way), but not necessarily what you will want to do. 341 kms, 11 hours total, moving time 6 hours 20 mins. But the Kampala traffic wasn’t too ferocious being early on a Sunday morning. We camped at Entebbe Backpackers which was fine for a night or two. Camping in the garden of an old bungalow. Clean showers with hot water. Convenient for Entebbe airport, and a new Nakumatt Supermarket in Entebbe. Away from the frenzy of Kampala. Entebbe is good for a resupply as has a butcher, various shops and the supermarket. Entebbe is/was the administrative capital of Uganda. Fine colonial houses, State House etc. Little traffic. Fine old botanical gardens.
• Entebbe – Nile River Explorers, Jinja: 121 kms, 5 hours 46 total, moving time 3 hours. Again, the Kampala traffic wasn’t too ghastly, but pretty awful. We stayed at Nile River Explorers near Bujagali on the Nile north of Jinja. A very popular place for white water rafting and overland trucks. Obviously can be very busy, but was quiet when we were there in early February 2014. Good bar and restaurant. Overlooking the river. Don’t forget to go and see where John Hanning Speke first saw the river leaving Lake Victoria – the actual site is on the west side of the river. Jinja is a thriving old colonial town with banks, shops etc.
• Nile River Explorers, Jinja – Sipi Falls: 223 kms. Difficult to tell how long it took us as we stopped at the Speke Memorial and had lunch too. Since we got to Jinja in time for lunch, it must have just taken the morning. Good tarmac road. Camped at Moses campsite, Sipi Falls. • Sipi Falls, Uganda – Suam River border crossing: 93.6 kms. 4.5 hours total. 3 hours 11 moving time. At times, quite a rough road. Lovely, though.
• Suam River border crossing - Mt Elgon Lodge, Kenya: 35.5 kms. 1 hour 5 mins moving time. Dirt road. Stayed at Mt Elgon Lodge. Former grand colonial house, now somewhat run down, but staff very friendly and kind. Negotiated a Kenyan rate, and they were very pleased to have Wazungu guests again. Otherwise head on in to Kitale or to Barnleys campsite near Kitale. Kitale good for a resupply – supermarkets, markets, shops, banks etc. Game reserves: USD150 for foreign registered vehicles per visit independent of length of stay, i.e. once off payment for each game reserve. Doesn't apply to Bwindi, Mgahinga, Rwenzori, Mt Elgon or Kibale.
-Kabale, shopping at Royal Supermarket S1° 15.144' E29° 59.230'.
- Lake Bunyoni. Peaceful camping at Kalebask Camping. GPS S1 16.097 E29 56.288. 1km before Bunyonyi Overland Resort & much nicer if you appreciate peace & quiet. Byoona Amagara, a very peaceful and intimate camp on this island, not cheap.
-Kisoro, Mganhinga NP. Amajyambere Community Camp. S1° 21.248' E29° 37.151' The Community campsite is community run and is situated just 50m outside the gate of the park. Camping also available at Countryside Guesthouse and Mutanda Ecotourism Center. Not the best place to see gorillas.
-Bwindi Impenetrable NP (? Gorillas but most prefer Rwanda). Bwindi View Rest Camp - far better than camping in the car park of the community camp over the road. Pricey. Buhoma Community Campsite S0° 59.196' E29° 36.991'. Camping also available at Countryside Guesthouse and Mutanda Ecotourism Center. It is far nicer and quieter than the nearby Community camp.
-Mbarara, Lake Mburo NP. Lake Mburo Campsite.-attractive camp on lakeshore. Rwonyo Rest Camp S0° 38.030' E30° 57.894'. Arcadia Cottages (Has camping) S0° 37.316' E30° 58.145' Do boat trip.
-QENP. Simba Safari Camp. Southern section Mbeya Lodge. Paraa Lodge. Hippo Hills Community Camp site (S0 08.234 E29 53.627). This fairly new community site is just outside Queen Elisabeth National park after driving through the park on a public road where no fees are payable. Mweya Camp site S0° 10.694' E29° 55.102'. Plenty wildlife around camp. This is the QE NP camp site right by the headquarters and close to the expensive and exclusive Mweya Lodge. Inside Park, other side Kasinga Channel -Channel campsites 1 and 2 S0° 10.468' E29° 56.015'. About 5km from Mveya along channel drive. Launch trip on Kasinga Channel, rather take small boat from Mveya Lodge than large barge from UWA.
-Ishaka, QENP (Ishasha Plains). Ishasha River Camp on the Congo border. S0° 37.141' E29° 39.689'
- Kasese, Rwenzori NP. Rwenzori Mountaneering Safari Lodge or Equator Snow Lodge. Ruboni Community Camp is a located at the main gate to the reserve. N0° 21.020' E30° 01.810'
- Fort Portal, Whispering Palm Overland Camping. GPS N0 38.628 E30 16.315. Camping-Garden of Eden. Chimpanzee Forest Guest House, N0 29.344 E30 20.057, Nice new campsite at a tea plantation. Space for ground tents and roof top tents, donkey burner.
- Lake Nkuruba. Nature Reserve Community Campsite a fantastic spot overlooking the crater Lake Nkuruba (not far from Kabale Forest) very basic but great location, S00*31.100′ E030*18.150′. (N0 31.119 E30 18.133). Walk to “THE TOP OF THE WORLD”.
-Kibale NP (? visit Chimps). Two places to recommend. Chimpanzee Guesthouse/Campsite N0 29.369 E30 19.998 OR only 1km away, CVK Campsite - much more basic, but beautiful location on the crater lake. N0 30.001 E30 19.824. Bgodi Marsh birding.
-Bgodi Marsh birding. N0° 24.379' E30° 24.533' Chimps nest camp N0° 24.216' E30° 23.003'. Kanyanchu Rest Camp N0° 26.260' E30° 23.744'
-Semliki Wildlife Reserve. UWA campsite. There is also a parks board camp site at Bumaga about 3 km. from Sempaya Gate. N0° 49.323' E30° 09.550' There is another camp site run by a private organization located in Sempaya adjacent to Sempaya Gate. There is a campsite near the park headquarters at Ntandi, but come prepared with your own food. There is a private campsite near the Sempaya Hot Springs. Ntoroko Campsite N1° 03.434' E30° 32.737'.
-Lake Albert. Lake Albert Lodge And Campsite N1 29 50.0 E30 55 57.8. Awesome location & facilities, make this a stop.
- Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary N1 26 57.1 E32 04 42.7
-Masindi, Budongo Forest Reserve. (Kanyiyo Padabi Forest ?chimps). There is a very nice campsite here run by the forestry authorities. N1° 55.055' E31° 43.128'
-Murchison Falls NP. There is a Public Campsite on the North side of the Nile. N2° 17.395' E31° 33.610'. Murchison Falls River Lodge. Murchison Falls Camp Site (N2 16.573 E31 41.374). If not camping here, drive to the picnic spot at the top of the falls and the view-sites. From the top the falls were even more spectacular than from the bottom. Red Chilli N2 16 39.1 E31 33 53.3. The Shoebill Campsite. Boat trip on Nile to falls. Rather with a private company called “Wild Frontiers” for $20 per person, than the UWA barge.
THE NILE: At this stage the river is called the Victoria Nile as it flows out of Lake Victoria. Further downstream it empties into Lake Albert and becomes the Albert Nile. On leaving Lake Albert it becomes the White Nile which then joins the Blue Nile in Khartoum, Sudan to become The Nile. The Blue Nile arises in the highlands of Ethiopia
-Kidepo Valley NP. If cannot make it there in 1 day can camp at Mount Moroto Hotel in town of Moroto. Public Campsites N3 43 44.3 E33 41 21.9 and N3° 41.939' E33° 43.983'. Uwa Bandas N3° 44.110' E33° 43.707' UWA campsites in the Narus Valley a few km from Apoka. KAKINE and NAGUSOKOPIRE. May have to bring own water and are expected to hire an armed guard.
( ??-Mpanga, Forest Reserve. Camp site and Picnic area. The clearing at the edge of the forest makes the ideal picnic and camping site. Red tailed monkeys regularly play in the trees around the camp site and visitors can often get within 10 meters to photograph the more common hornbills who are quite used to people. Latrine facilities and a camp shelter and camp fire/ bbq area have been completed in 2006. Water and firewood can be organized at the forest station but visitors must be self sufficient and bring their own tent and food. This is the Mpanga Forest Ecotourism Site: Set around a pretty grassy picnic area fringing the forest, this slightly rundown site was improved in 2004 with a new layout, landscaping, new thatched picnic shelters with barbecue units, renovation of the old forest station house & the addition of an elevated, reed-walled, self-contained cottage just inside the forest.)
-Entebbe, Entebbe Backpackers. Entebbe Wildlife Education Centre Camp Site (N0 03.354 E32 28.723). The Backpackers Place N0 02 53.3 E32 27 52.6. Possible fishing for Nile Perch. Birding at The Entebbe Botanical gardens. Sesse Islands. Sesse Island Beach Resort. S0 18 52.2 E32 17 18.3. Great beach, avg facilities but big trees and nice grass to camp on.
-Kampala. Red Chillies Hideaway N0 19 12.5 E32 37 48.0. 40km drive to Mabamba Swamp south of Kampala and on the road to Mbarara (SHOEBILL). [Good directions Bradt]
-Mabira Forest. CAMPING at Mabira Forest Tourism Project. Also at Mabira Forest Camp AKA Griffin Falls Camp, community run. Very quiet.
-Jinja. The Haven N0 32 33.8 E33 05 23.2 excellent. Speke Camp. Nile River Explorers.
-Mt Elgon NP, Sipi Falls. Sipi Falls Moses Camp (N1 20.143 E34 22.483). The Crow’s Nest. Lovely view of all 4 waterfalls and the peaks of Mt Elgon.
Border to KENYA via SUAM BORDER POST. (? Best from Mt Elgon) N1° 12.990' E34° 43.957' but if raining road bad, rather use preferred border post BUSIA. Malaba Border post is the busiest.
KENYA SOUTH TO NORTH:
Kenya is the other iconic safari destination together with Tanzania. It is a little less expensive though. The Mara Triangle area alongside the Masai Mara National Park is probably where we will concentrate much of our financial bleed. It really depends on where the migration is. The Triangle is by all accounts more attractive, has just as much wildlife and is far less crowded. Once again we intend to look at the Exclusive Campsites.
But Kenya is so much more than just the Mara. The game reserves of the Aberdares, Laikipia, and Samburu will receive our attention on the way north, leaving the rest towards the east, for our return journey. Then there are all the Rift Valley lakes with their flamingos. Their water levels have risen drastically over the last couple of years, affecting the flamingo populations and we will have to investigate carefully which are the ones still worth visiting.
Another feature is Mt Kenya and the Central Highlands. Going north we plan to utilize the Lake Turkana route to enter Ethiopia. Hopefully we will find someone to team up with at the famous Jungle Junction in Nairobi. We can then return via the other famously difficult road from Moyale to Isiola via Marsabit, before diverting slightly more eastwards and to the coast.
Long rains, March to May. Short rains, November and December.
Our advice on your north-bound route KENYA Part 1: VERY KINDLY PROVIDED BY "WAZUNGU WAMILI"
From Uganda (Mt Elgon route) to the Mara, and then onwards Suam border crossing – Mt Elgon – Kitale (Saiwa Swamp, Cheranganis) – Marich Pass (down the Rift Valley escarpment) – Kerio Valley – Kito Pass – Lake Baringo – Lake Bogoria – (back up the Rift Valley escarpment) Eldoret – Kakamega Forest – Koru – Mara – Lake Naivasha – Lake Elmenteita – Lake Nakuru – Aberdares – across the Kinangop Plateau to Nairobi
• Suam – Mt Elgon – Kitale – Barnleys – Saiwa Swamp – Cherangani Hills: The little visited Western Kenya. Good birding.
We haven’t been to Mt Elgon, so can’t comment on campsites there. See my previous notes about basing yourselves at Barnleys for Saiwa Swamp and the Cheranganis. Camping in the beautiful garden at Barnleys, or take a room/tent. Dick Barnley will be able to give you advice about visiting Saiwa Swamp, the Cheranganis and my proposed onward Kerio valley route, and can organise Maurice to take you birding. Maurice is fantastic.
• Barnleys – Marich Pass (down the Rift Valley escarpment) – Kerio Valley – Kito Pass – Lake Baringo – Lake Bogoria
This is a little intrepid, but I think you will like it. Check with Dick Barnley on the feasibility of it. The road down the Marich Pass is broken-up tarmac, but quiet. Camp overnight at the Marich Pass Field Studies Centre – you will likely be the only people there. It is marked on T4A.
The next section from Marich Pass Field Studies Centre to Lake Baringo will take at least 8 hours. This is seriously off the beaten-track. Go back a few miles to a junction with a road running SE – this is a rough dirt road towards the village of Tot. At Tot turn eastwards on to what is grandly called the B4 but is really just a rough track. You will go over the Kito Pass. Again, this is seriously off the beaten track. Eventually you will join a north-south road – which was being tarmac-ed in January 2014. This will take you to the north end of Lake Baringo at a village called Loruk. Camp at Roberts Camp at Lake Baringo. Birding etc. Take a day trip to Lake Bogoria. See my comments about the campsites at Lake Bogoria being under water.
• Lake Baringo – (back up the Rift Valley escarpment) Eldoret – Kakamega Forest
From Lake Baringo head south to Marigat. At Marigat turn west (right) on the C51. This is reasonable tarmac (the former President Moi is from this part of the world). This road winds up in the Tugen Hills to Kabarnet, then down again into the Kerio Valley. The Rift Valley escarpment looms over the valley. The road zig-zags up the escarpment to the Uasin Gishu Plateau (great views). If you are going to Naiberi Campsite (never been), it would be easier at the village of Iten (where our great Olympic athletes train) to turn left (south) towards Kaptagat where you would turn west on the B54 and Naiberi is just near Kaptagat. If, however, you needed to do a resupply, at Iten continue on the C51 to Eldoret. Eldoret has everything you will need. All these roads and waypoints are on T4A. From Naiberi/Eldoret to Kakamega Forest is really not that far. In Eldoret turn south on the C39 to Kapsabet. At Kapsabet, turn west (which according to T4A seems to still be the C39) towards Kaimosi. The turn (north) into Kakamega Forest is just before Kaimosi. It is all on T4A. The road into the forest, to Rondo Retreat, the KWS bandas and the KWS campsite is a dirt road and can be slippery in the rain. It is approx 70 kms from Eldoret.
• Kakamega Forest – Koru
Note: If you want to spend a night or two on a farm in Koru, you will need to have booked a week or so before by phoning (you have her contact details). From Kakamega, backtrack to Kapsabet, then turn south towards Nandi Hills. This seems to be the C37 (although no one will know that, you will find it labelled on a map). In Nandi Hills you will be going through tea plantations. From Nandi Hills, go south/SW down the Nandi escarpment into the Nyanza Basin. Once down the escarpment, you are into sugar cane country. At the town of Awasi, turn left (SE) on the B1.
• Koru – the Mara
If at this stage, you are coming to meet us in the Mara, let me know and we will send a GPS track on an interesting route to the Mara. Otherwise, the farm owners can tell you the way – he is a very experienced safari man, and in the late 1970s drove back to Kenya from the UK. But basically, from Koru back on to the B1, turn left (S) towards Kericho. The road takes you up the Kericho escarpment. At the top near the town of Kericho (more tea) turn right (SW) towards Sotik. Near Sotik you turn south and wind your way through the Kisii highlands and eventually you will drop down into the Mara.
• Mara – Lake Naivasha – Lake Elmenteita – Lake Nakuru
The next section, I would suggest is from the Mara you now do the Rift Valley lakes - Lakes Naivasha, Elmenteita and Nakuru. Carnelly’s and Fisherman’s at Naivasha have been there forever and we used to camp there as children – they are on Lake Naivasha. From here do daytrips to Hell’s Gate and the little crater lake etc. I have been recommended a campsite and bandas above Lake Naivasha at Malewa (marked on T4A) – just off the main road - which could be your base to visit Lake Elmenteita. Be aware that Elmenteita - and the land around is privately owned (by Lord Delamere) but they do allow tourists as they have their own tented camp. From Naivasha/Malewa/Elmenteita it is an easy (but busy and dangerous road) to Nakuru. I am told that the public campsite in Nakuru NP is beset by baboons. Try for a special campsite. Lake Nakuru is where the flamingos are.
• Lake Nakuru – Aberdares – across the Kinangop Plateau to Nairobi
This is when I would suggest you do the Aberdares, but you will have to enter from the NE side i.e. you will have to go round (clockwise from Nakuru) the Aberdare range to Mweiga. The reason you can’t enter any of the Aberdare NP gates on the western side is that you will not have a charged KWS smartcard and they don’t take cash or credit cards at any of these remote gates.
It will take a long day from a campsite in Lake Nakuru, so perhaps spend a night in Nyahururu (formerly known as Thomson’s Falls) at the old colonial Thomson’s Falls Lodge (or there might be a campsite somewhere around but check out the security).
From Nakuru, take the road heading north (which seems to be the B5) towards Subukia and Nyahururu. You will cross the equator again. The road from Nyahururu to the Aberdares NP main gate at Mweiga is a good tarmac road (heading E/SE).
At the main Mweiga gate, they accept cash and credit cards and are efficient and nice. It is then a long dirt road winding up into the mountains – hence the time factor from Nakuru, but a dawn start might be OK. We camped in Reedbuck public campsite in January 2014 and were the only people there. You will need your hot water bottles. Fabulous Afro-montane moorlands and forest.
After your time in the Aberdares, if it hasn’t been raining, come out the western Mutubia gate. From that gate, the road drops down the mountain on to the Kinangop Plateau (the heart of the former “White Highlands”). From here you look down into the Rift Valley and the lakes. You could drop right down to Naivasha again, but there is a new tarmac road across the Kinangop (marked on T4A as gravel but now tarmac) to the town of North Kinangop where you turn left (SE) to the town of South Kinangop and turn right (W/SW) for about 25kms (the tarmac does deteriorate dramatically at some point on this road). After about 25 kms, you will reach the main Nakuru-Naivasha-Nairobi road at a village called “Flyover” (for obvious reasons). This main road (apparently the A104) is very busy so be very careful, but it does have dramatic views down into the Rift Valley. From this main road (which is dual carriageway in parts with a wall between and known as the Great Wall of China), there is a turn off to Kikuyu.
If you are going to Karen/Langata, take this turn off at S1°13.701 E36°39.909. Again, be very careful due to manic and stupid driving. There are Chinese road works around Kikuyu as a new by-pass is being built, so things can change, but basically follow T4A - or what looks like everyone is using - from Kikuyu to Dagoretti and then onwards into Karen. Karen has everything you could possibly need or want. The Karen shops (dukas) has a Nakumatt supermarket and the Indian owned Karen Provision Stores (which has been there since the early 1930s). Mr Patel at KPS can get anything you want or tell you where to get it. Also lots of fundis for mending, etc etc.
Karen also has lots of restaurants. We like and recommend the Talisman restaurant on Ngong Road near the Karen dukas (marked on T4A). Karen Camp is on Marula Lane in Karen, and Jungle Junction is actually in a nearby area called Langata (although they will say they are in Karen, they aren’t). Jungle Junction is marked on T4A and is near shops called the Hardy dukas and a huge new shopping mall at the junction of Langata Road and Magadi Road called Galleria.
Kenya Advice for Stan Part 2:
The Eastern Turkana route: Nairobi – Nanyuki – Laikipia Plateau – Maralal – Baragoi – South Horr – Loiyangalani – Sibiloi – Ethiopia
• Nairobi – Nanyuki
An easy 5 – 6 hour drive, but can be busy from Nairobi to Thika. Good base for Mt Kenya, and the Laikipia. Nanyuki has all the civilisation you need in a still slightly frontier farming way. I have previously sent you contact details of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum www.laikipia.org and some other recommendations. The Laikipia is predominately privately owned conservancies and cattle ranches. The best known of these conservancies is Lewa Downs (owned until recently by the Craig family for generations and where the royal princes go a lot). It is very expensive to stay at Lewa, but it is fabulous unspoilt Africa. It is actually on the edge of the Laikipia looking north. Another lovely ranch is Borana owned by the Dyer family for generations and it has a lovely expensive lodge. Ol Pejeta I told you about, but see that their conservation fees are pretty high; it is nearer Nanyuki and they have tourism quite well-sewn up. We like El Karama very much, but they have gone more up-market than they used to be, but still not in the same cost league as Lewa Downs, Borana and Ol Pejeta. We love a place called Il Ngwesi which is on Maasai community lands to the NW of Lewa Downs. www.ilngwesi.com. They have a community-run lodge which is seriously beautiful looking north to the Mathews Range and the deserts and mountains of northern Kenya. The Craigs of Lewa helped set it up. However, I don’t think they allow camping, but to get to Il Ngwesi you drive through Lewa Downs. Near Il Ngwesi is another beautiful eco-lodge called Tassia on another community ranch. www.tassiasafaris.com
• Nanyuki – Laikipia Plateau – Maralal
In December 2013, we drove from Maralal to Nanyuki in 8 hours moving time. This is a dirt road over the Laikipia past El Karama ranch, through Naibor to Kinamba. At Kinamba, the road joins the main north road (apparently the C77). Again a dirt road to Maralal. We stayed in a banda at Yare Camel Club which has seen better days, but was fine. They do have camping too. I read that the Maralal Safari Lodge has been re-opened by a Brit overlander in the past few months. Restock with fuel and cash and supplies (such as they have) in Maralal. Cash is king. This may be your last fuel for over 1000 kms (although you may get fuel from barrels at Loiyangalani, but don’t bank on it).
• Maralal – Baragoi – South Horr
151 kms, 12 hours total, 6 hours moving time, 24.9 kph average moving speed. This is when the road gets interesting. [See my note about a potential police escort. Ask at the Yare Camel Club and Maralal police station. We tipped our two armed policemen the equivalent of a day’s pay – about KShs1,000 each. The problem area is, apparently, some way out of Maralal near Marti]. From Maralal, the track climbs up the mountains and gets worse and worse. Beautiful, though. If you have time, there is a sensational view – called World’s End – off the main track at Lesiolo. Looking down into the Suguta valley. From the crest of the hills, the road deteriorates even further as it winds down into the plains. It is ROUGH. This is the section where hold-ups have happened and around Marti. Down on the plains, the road improves a wee bit and eventually you will get to Baragoi. I do not believe that there are “fuel stations” in Baragoi – if there is anything, it will be fuel in jerrycans. This is a small remote village. This is where we picked up our policemen and the station commander took our concerns seriously – saying “We don’t want to get in trouble with your David Cameron”! From Baragoi to South Horr is about 50 kms, but is still a rough dirt, remote road. In South Horr, we camped at the Samburu Sports Club, although this is a lovely valley of Acacia woodland which would be perfect for wild camping. It is, however, much more populated nowadays and security might be an issue. Don’t camp in a lugga (dry river bed) which is actually what we did at South Horr in 1979!
• South Horr to Loiyangalani
99.2 kms, 11 hours total, 5 hours 23 moving time, 18.4 kph average moving speed (We did have to wait for about an hour for the water to go down in a raging lugga with unseasonal rain). A great adventure. Track varies from dirt to sand to lava boulders to lava scree. There are a number of luggas to cross. Just after your first sight of the Jade Sea, there is a section called The Steps – steep lava boulders with some concrete sections. This is what you came to Turkana for. In December 2013, we camped at Palm Shades at Loiyangalani which was nice. Some supplies (and beer) available in the shops in the village. Fuel in a barrel from a shop in the village, but don’t bank on it as they might not have had a delivery. KWS get their fuel from this shop so presume that it is clean. We bought 40 litres just in case. In the past, we wild camped on the lakeshore – in 1979 south of Loiyangalani, and in 1986 north of Loiyangalani near a hill/mountain called Porr. Very sandy getting to the lakeshore near Porr so be wary, but you can still wild camp on the lakeshore. We used to swim in the lake – with someone keeping a good eye out for the huge Nile crocodiles; nowadays, I am too wary of it. But sometimes it is the only way to cool off. There is a very strong wind that blows off Mt Kulal almost the whole time. Tents can’t cope with it, so we just set up our campbeds in the lee of the Land Rover and put up a mossi net. Though everyone complains about the wind, it is cooling and once we were near Porr at night when the wind dropped. The lake flies/sand flies in their countless billions then emerged and their dead bodies managed to extinguish a gas light in about 2 minutes.
• Loiyangalani to Koobi Fora, Sibiloi National Park
227 kms, 11 hours total, 7 hours 30 moving time, 29.9 kph average moving speed A rough sandy, rocky track, all on T4A. The first 50-60 kms is the “main” track towards North Horr. But you don’t need to go as far as North Horr. There is a turn off left (NW) at N3°03.766 E36°47.882. Keep on this track until you get to the Sibiloi NP Karsa Gate at N3°40.769 E36°17.597. We paid cash US dollars. Being so remote, they won’t have credit card facilities. Gate to Koobi Fora: 71.7 kms, 3 hrs 10 mins moving time, 22.6 kph av moving speed - including a visit to the Petrified Forest and Allia Bay Park HQ. Tracks on T4A – sandy, lugga crossings, lava flows and a tremendous stretch of lava gravel. True lunar landscape. Fabulous drive. We camped at Koobi Fora research station which is owned by the National Museums of Kenya. We paid a nominal sum in Kenya shillings to the caretaker for camping (money going to the NMK we presumed). There were no researchers there and we had the place to ourselves. Cool, breezy main mess building – in front of which we camped. They do have rooms (for the researchers) and we had the use of the excellent loos and showers. The water is lake water so therefore alkaline so not for drinking, but they kindly gave us the use of some rainwater for cooking etc (we had our own, though). Lovely place, fascinating. Do go and have a look at the Museum a few miles away – the caretaker will take you. There are bandas beside the museum for hire and possibly you could camp there too. Lovely view from high up overlooking the lake from the Museum bandas. We went walking to the end of the spit of land from the research station - there are some hartebeest, zebras and flamingos. I wouldn’t swim, though. Sibiloi is not really about game, although there is some, but about preserving the landscape and the remains of Early Man. Other overlanders complain about the lack of game, but don’t understand the whole thing about Sibiloi.
• Koobi Fora to wild camp in the north of Sibiloi NP
30.8 kms, 3 hrs 40 total, 1 hrs 30 moving time, 19.8 kph av moving speed A short drive to where we wild camped near an abandoned lodge called Old Kukai Camp. Sandy, lugga crossings, lava. The usual. T4A sound, but follow most used track.
• Wild camp – Omorate, Ethiopia – Turmi
186 kms, 8 hrs 33 total, [for some reason Base Camp won’t tell me the other stats]. Sandy, rocky, a short hill of rounded lava boulders about the size of large tennis balls, lugga crossings and sand pans. A great adventure. Follow the best used track, but T4A fundamentally sound except for a few diversions. Check in at the police station at Ileret (the last small settlement on the Kenya side) and make sure they note your details in the Incident Book, take Charles, the OC’s phone number. They are friendly and helpful. After Ileret, there is a larger sandy lugga. From Ileret to the border (not marked but your GPS will tell you) is approx 16 kms. From the border to the Omorate-Turmi road is approx 50 kms with some sandy patches. At the first small settlement in Ethiopia, there is a policeman with a wire across the track. He likes to look at your passport. When you get to the “main” road, remember to drive on the right! Turn left (W) and Omorate is about 18 kms. There are customs and immigration at Omorate which are marked on T4A. We found the officers charming and helpful and spoke good English. When entering Ethiopia, they will ask you where you will be exiting the country. This might be a problem for you, but ask them to put both options on the vital piece of paper. Omorate has a few stalls selling sodas etc. Turmi is east of Omorate – back past the turn-off to Kenya – about 80 kms from Omorate. We camped at Mango Campsite marked on T4A. A very nice community-run campsite with reasonable loos and showers. Hopefully, you will have made it up the notorious eastern Lake Turkana track with all well!
Alternative route for eastern Turkana: This seems to be what many on the various forums do. I don’t know why, but it would avoid the Maralal to Baragoi dodgy section. Doing this would mean that you would repeat the section Laisamis – Archer’s Post – Isiolo – Nanyuki on your south-bound trip. Nairobi – Nanyuki – Isiolo – Samburu NP – Archer’s Post – Laisamis – South Horr – and connect with Option 1 above
• Archer’s Post – Laisamis We did this part of the road in 2010 when coming back from the Ndoto mountains. It was good Chinese tar to just near Laisamis. On the un-tarred sections, the corrugations are horrendous, but you will have read about this the Moyale-Marsabit-Isiolo road. If doing this, you can make it from Samburu NP to Ngurunit in a long day’s drive.
• Laisamis – Ngurnit/Ilaut We drove from the Ndoto mountains (Ngurnit) in 2010. It was dusty and sandy and would be challenging if wet. Ngurnit is a small village beside the Milgis Lugga at the base of the Ndoto Mountains. The Ndotos are fantastic – we finished a 10 day camel safari here having started walking in the Mathews Range. There are some rough looking campsites in/near Ngurunit, but I can put you in touch with Helen Douglas-Dufresne who runs camel safaris around here and set up the Milgis Trust. She might then be able to organise wilder camping nearby with a Milgis Trust ranger for security and to stop you being hassled (you would have to give a donation to the Milgis Trust, I would imagine, and pay the ranger). If we were coming with you, I would propose a really intrepid route driving down the Milgis Lugga (only if dry, of course). We love this part of the world.
• Ngurnit – South Horr Haven’t been on this section, but presume it is the normal sandy, dusty track with lugga crossings.
• South Horr – as per Option 1
Our advice on your south-bound route: Ethiopia – Moyale – Marsabit – Samburu – Meru – Nairobi – Tsavo East – Watamu – Malindi (fly to Lamu) Malindi – Watamu – Kilifi – Mombasa – Diani (and/or Tiwi Beach) – Mombasa – Tsavo West – Amboseli – Namanga – border crossing into Tanzania I don’t think you need a Base Camp screen shot map for this as it is relatively straightforward from a paper map, but here are some notes:
• Moyale – Marsabit:
We haven’t done it, but the Chinese are, apparently, working on it. However, you will have read about this notorious road.
• Marsabit: We were last there in 1986. A lush green mountain in the middle of the semi-desert. Astonishing place. Famous for huge tuskers. Marsabit National Park. Lake Paradise.
• Samburu National Reserve: Haven’t been for many years, but used to be a firm favourite. Lovely. It isn’t a national park, but a reserve managed by the local county council. Semi-desert species. The Uaso Nyiro river is the lifeline to this area. Also think about going to Shaba National Reserve (on the eastern side of the main road – Samburu NR on the western side).
• Meru National Park: Past Archer’s Post and Isiolo to the junction with the B6. Meru town is about 25 kms from the junction. Shops, banks etc. The National Park is about another 80 kms from Meru town – good tarmac road, but be aware of the speeding miraa pick-ups. [Miraa/khat is the mild narcotic loved by Somalis and in the Middle East grown in vast quantities in the area surrounding Meru and Embu. Needless to say, the drivers of the pick-ups are chewing miraa]. We like Meru NP very much. Nice public campsite, bandas and swimming pool at Bwathongeri. Quiet, beautiful and has a breeding population of rhinos. Go on a day trip down to Adamson’s Falls on the south side of the park. Thick bush all the way there (dikdik predominate), but lovely falls.
• Meru NP to Nairobi: There is a route (dirt and remote) south out of Meru NP - which we put on T4A – south from Adamson’s Falls to the Garissa-Thika road. The first time we tried to do it the rangers wouldn’t allow us to go that way (we think because we had a CD number plate and they were concerned about safety), but have since done this route in convoy with friends in 2012. However, it would mean that you would miss eastern Mt Kenya – in which case exit out the main gate back to Meru town, then on to the Meru-Embu road. Haven’t been to Chogoria but might be an intrepid track up to the fishing lodge there (where Prince William proposed to Kate although they helicoptered in from Lewa Downs) and don’t know about camping. The Isaak Walton Inn at Embu is an old colonial hotel and still looked quite nice in 2012 – from its name, it was a fishing hotel. Be wary on the Meru-Embu-Sagana road for the miraa pick-ups.
• Nairobi to the Coast: Be very careful and give yourselves plenty of time on this dangerous road. Think about stopping en route in Tsavo East. Perhaps The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Ithumba Camp, Tsavo East. This is a gorgeous camp (not a campsite) owned by the DSWT near one of the orphan elephants’ rehabilitation sites in the northern section of Tsavo East. It has to be booked through the Trust and is very deservedly popular. However, if booked you have it to yourself whether you are two people, or six people. Self catering with staff to help. You then get to see the orphan elephants during their morning mud bath, and can “put them to bed” in the evening. It is gorgeous. In order to book Ithumba (and their new Umani Springs Camp in Kibwezi Forest just off the Mombasa Road) you need to be a sponsor of one of the orphan elephants. DSWT website at www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org Email: email@example.com Ithumba is in the northern sector of Tsavo East NP. It is 98 kms up a dirt road from the Mombasa road – turn off at Kibwezi. If you are going to Ithumba, check with the Trust whether you have to have charged a KWS smartcard with park fees beforehand. The Ithumba gate is remote and might not accept cash and will certainly not have facilities for credit cards. If you do need a charged KWS smartcard, you can do this at the main gate to Nairobi National Park and the KWS HQ just off the Langata Road in Nairobi. There are campsites marked on T4A in the northern sector, but can’t comment on these. The sector north of the Galana River is not open to the public.
The main tourism facilities in Tsavo East are in the Voi area (where the Park HQ is). There is a road from Voi cutting across part of Tsavo East to Malindi. It is marked on T4A. You have to pay park fees for transiting the park and the road is, apparently, horribly corrugated, but it saves the hassle of going through Mombasa (and away from the lorries on the Nairobi-Mombasa road). There is a short cut from Mariakani (on the Mombasa road) to Kilifi (on the coast) which also might save your nerves and time if need be. It is on T4A.
• The Coast: North coast Mombasa (Nyali, Kenyatta, Silversands, Kikambala etc):
As I said, not worth the journey – built up and busy, touts etc. Vipingo: Good.
Kilifi: Good, a creek, base for deep sea fishing, old Kenya families have houses here. Watamu: Lovely. My comments on your document on recommended hotels. Also Turtle Bay Hotel reasonably priced, I understand. Watamu is where many old Kenya families have houses. Malindi: OK, not what it was. Busy, touts, beach brown due to outflow of Sabaki river just to the north. Driftwood Club on Silversands beach to the south of Malindi has been there forever and a haunt of old Kenya families – good still, we understand.
Lamu: We have discussed this. Only fly in. Peponis at Shela on Lamu island highly recommended. Fabulous snorkelling off Manda island. Mombasa Island: The Old Town near Fort Jesus is fascinating (like Lamu and Zanzibar), old dhow port, Portuguese Fort Jesus.
We rather like Mombasa. Bazaar, market, as well as all the civilisation you need. For a treat, have lunch or dinner at the Tamarind restaurant (or go on their dinner dhow trip) on the north side of Tudor Creek (overlooking the Old Town and the old port). South of Mombasa: Need to catch the Likoni ferry off the island. Diani beach (where we went as children) – fabulous white white beach, unfortunately many of the hotels went bust, but still lots of private houses, and Ali Barbour’s beach bar and restaurant in coral caves. Tiwi beach is white sand, but smaller than Diani. Also Shimoni as a day trip from Diani/Tiwi for fabulous snorkelling at Wasini Island. Shimoni a base for deep sea fishing in the Pemba Channel. World renowned deep sea fishing. Possible day trip from Diani/Tiwi to Shimba Hills NP to see Kenya’s only Sable antelope, and an elephant reserve – all on the hills above the coast.
• Mombasa – up the notorious Mombasa-Nairobi main road – Tsavo Gate to Tsavo West National Park:
As we discussed before, be wary what is a “Camp” i.e. a luxury tented camp and what is a campsite. Haven’t been to a public campsite in Tsavo West, but went to Simba special campsite in 2011. It was near Kitani (which is mentioned on T4A as bandas, but is now a lodge). Visit Mzima Springs and the Shetani Lava Flow and caves. Good views of Kilimanjaro from area around Kilaguni. Also we recommend a day trip to Lake Chala – an extraordinary and beautiful crater lake outside the NP marked on T4A, but don’t swim in it (a friend’s daughter disappeared).
• Tsavo West – Amboseli: There is a track from Tsavo West to Amboseli. You used to have to go in an escorted convoy, but I think the security situation has improved. The rangers will let you know. We camped at the only public campsite in the park which is behind the Park HQ and staff quarters in December 2014. We thought it was nice even though it has a fence. Clean, no baboons or monkeys and a camp manager (all unheard of in Kenya). Firewood supplied. Small park, but perfectly formed. Great herds of elephants and buffalos in the swamp. Good cheetah country.
• Amboseli – Namanga: We exited the park at the Meshanani Gate, and the dirt road was in reasonable condition all the way to Namanga. It takes about 2 hours from the public campsite to Namanga town. If you don’t want to go all the way through the border and then to Arusha, there are some campsites marked on T4A in the area – we can’t comment on them, but check the security. Otherwise, the old Namanga River Lodge (marked on T4A as Hotel Namanga) is clean, the gardens well maintained and the staff welcoming. We haven’t stayed there but often stop for coffee. Last there in December 2014 on our last day of our overland adventure. They are building a new road and new facilities on both sides of the border which makes it a big chaotic, but it is an efficient crossing albeit the busiest.
UGANDA to NAIROBI.
-BORDER POST, BUSIA, MALABE or SUAM. Get a 90 day visa from the start. Busia is slightly more quiet than Malaba.
PARK FEES 2014
Tsave West/East/Meru USD75
Hell’s Gate/Elgon/Logonot USD30
VEHICLE FEES KSH 350
Special Campsites: Amboseli/Nakuru USD50 All other parks USD35
Public Campsites: Amboseli/Nakuru USD30 All other parks USD20
-MT. ELGON. The dry season runs from June to August, and December to March, although it can rain at any time. Public Campsites: There are three public campsites namely Nyati, Chorlim and Rongai (N1 01.859 E34 46.680) Campsites Special Campsites: Saltlick Special Campsite. Kapkuro Bandas. 4 units each sleeps 3 pax. Bandas apparently nice. N1 02.343 E34 47.067. But park fees are steep. Camp outside park (no park fees) at Mount Elgon Lodge 1km from gate or Delta Crescent Farm (aka Captain Davies) (N1 02.097 E34 50.691) 9km from gate. Drive 32km up the hill up to the car park in the reserve at over 3600 meters above sea level. Endebess Bluff offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area. It is possible to drive up to about 4000 m - the road passes through forest that is later supplanted by montane bamboo. Salt Mining Elephants of Kitum Cave. Spectacular Waterfall.
-SAIWA SWAMP Back to Kitale and on A1 northwards. Not far. Access Road: The park lies 27 km north of Kitale on the Kitale- Lodwar tarmac road. Approaching Kitale from the direction of Eldoret or Bungoma, turn right at Kitale Museum and follow the road into a left hand bend. After 0.5 km turn right and follow signs for Kapenguria and Lodwar. After 1.5 km turn left onto the A1 Lodwar Road and proceed for 18 km to Kipsaina where there is a sign to Saiwa Swamp NP. Turn right at the sign and follow the murram road for 6.5 km to the park’s only gate-Saiwa Gate. Can camp in park. No facilities at all. One serviced campsite available at the main gate. Other campsites and accommodation are available at the nearby Sirikwa Tented Camp/ Barnley’s Guesthouse. This Park is unique in that it is only accessible by foot. Traversed by some 7 km of well-maintained wooden walkways and trails, it also offers three timbered viewing platforms where you can stake yourself out for a glimpse of the elusive Sitatunga antelope. Great for ornithologists.
-KAKAMEGA FOREST RESERVE Due south on the A1 then C39, not far. The only tropical rainforest in Kenya. In the south of the park, you can camp or hire a banda at the KWS campsite. Forest Tree Rest House, camping/rooms. The conservation organization KEEP has the ISECHENO BANDAS right next to the Rest House. To stay inside the forest, the Udo’s Bandas & Campsite (N 0 21,124 E 34 51,987) in the northern part of the reserve near Isiukhu Falls and the walks. To stay outside but very close to the park and save on fees New De-Brazza Campsite N0 21.930 E34 51.288. Best to hire an official guide, best from the Forest Tree Rest House/Udos, the others are prone to overcharge. Birdwatching, primates, massive trees, scenic spots and waterfalls.
-ELDORET On the C39 east and then north via Kapsabet and Kapseret to Eldoret.Then on B54 to Naiberi River Camp, (N 0 26,797 E 35 25,375) very highly recommended. Raj the owner very knowlegable. Bandas and ? only ground tents, camp at the LOWER campsite at the river, you will very likely be on your own here. TRY AND FIND OUT FROM RAJ WHICH OF THE LAKES CURRENTLY HAVE FLAMINGOS.
-LAKE BARINGO East on B54 and then north on B4 to Roberts Camp N0 36.730 E36 01.413. Camping but also hosts cottages and self-catering bandas with electricity. HIPPOS AND CROCS in camp. Fresh water lake. Good birding. Flooding a problem in this camp in recent years. Do a boat transfer to Island Camp which includes a buffet lunch. Take a boat trip to Ol Kokwe Island.
-LAKE BOGORIA South on B4 and then further south on E461. Not far. Not often visited. BEAUTIFUL. Few animals, don't bother driving around the lake - it is long and bumpy and there is little to see. Outside the gate, LAKE BOGORIO SPA… with camping available. Saline water. Usually good for flamingo but water levels also risen. Famous for geysers and hot springs.. Visit Kesubo Swamp in the north for birding. I would seriously recommend paying the entrance money and staying at the Fig Tree Campsite (N0 11.545 E36 07.371) with long drop toilets and a fresh water stream to wash in. OR Acacia campsite.
-LAKE NAKURU Back north on E461 and then south on B4. CAN BE BUSY. It rates as one of Kenya’s premium parks and therefore the most expensive. Alkaline waters. Usually good for flamingos but recent rise in water levels may be a problem. Lots of animals incl rhinos.
Kembu Campsite, outside park. Is on T4A S0 17 59.4 E35 53 58.8 Very good. Dairy farm, camping on green lawn & excellent restaurant. Very beautiful campsite, only drawback is that it can be very crowded with overland trucks. Public campsites inside park:
Makalia Falls (best) but be careful with the baboons and there ARE lions and Buffaloes, at the far end of the park with showers and long drops. Well situated sites with braai places. Water is available. Backpackers Campsite close to the park's Main Gate, near the HQ (T4A S0 19.015 E36 05.045). Busy and overland trucks. Special campsites. The most popular ones, frequently used by safari companies, are Nyuki and Nyati, both beneath the acacia trees at the northeast shore. Other sites include Soysambu, Naishi, Reedbuck, Chui and Rhino. Menengai Crater: an extinct volcano that borders the north of the city of Nakuru. The road climbing to the cone's rim from the town of Menengai is passable by car. Magnificent views.
-LAKE NAIVASHA Drive northeast on A104, past Lake Elementia. Fresh water. Surrounded by intensive tunnel and flower farming so not wild atmosphere. Carnelley’s Camp, is on T4A. S0 49 34.7 E36 20 15.8 Under massive yellow fever trees with hippos grazing close-by & excellent pizza. Best in dry season. Fisherman’s Camp, we think, is the best campsite so far. Shady, grassy, quiet, cheap, a great bar/restaurant with internet, a tremendous view of the lake and its resident hippos. Lovely spot on the Lake with great little bar and awesome food. KES500pp to camp.
-HELLS GATE NP Drive south past Mt Logonot. A104. Nearby, just south, on the Lake Road South at Junction 5 km south of Naivasha town. There are only herbivores so it is safe to go on hikes, walk down the Gorge, lovely geological scenery. For those with a vehicle it is possible to continue to the little-visited western part of the park, site of the Ol Koria Geothermal Power Station and to explore the Twiga Loop in the east. Nice drives along the Twiga and Buffalo circuits. Visit Fischer’s Tower a large free standing rock, a so-called volcanic plug. Public campsites. Oldubai campsite. BEST (on the cliff top south of Fischer’s Tower). Nairburta campsite. (NDACHATA Campsite. Literally no facilities at all. Not even a good view.)
FOR THINGS TO EXPLORE IN NAIROBI - http://migrationology.com/2011/01/things-to-do-in-nairobi-kenya-101/
Tasks in Nairobi:
1.CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION.
When traveling north to Ethiopia there is no Kenyan border post if you take the Lake Turkana route. Therefore carnets & passports must be stamped out in Nairobi. For the carnet see Chris at Jungle Junction for details.
For Immigration you need to go to Nyayo House Immigration in Central Nairobi (GPS S1 17.222 E36 49.117). To save time being sent round the place, go straight round to the Aliens Immigration dept - entrance on the left hand side of the building. Go straight to Room 14 - situated in the corridor to your right hand side when you enter to big hall. In Nairobi, immigration is located in a yellow office tower called the “Nyayo House”, near the roundabout/intersection of Kenyatta and Uhuru roads, very near the Intercontinental Hotel (S1.28742 E36.81830). There is public parking in the streets around the building. This is where you have to be stamped out of Kenya as no immigration at border on Turkana route.
Customs, Times Tower. S01°17.432 E036°49.444 Get carnet stamped here if exit Kenya via Omo Valley. Take stairs on left as you go into the banking hall, go to 1stfloor, ask and they will let you in the locked doors so you can go to 4th (?) floor for stamp. OR VICE VERSA 2) Customs – Times Tower – S1 17.456 E36.49.444, when on this road make sure you take the first left turn into the lay-by parking area as there are no other turns! – remember that Immigration and Customs are closed Saturdays and Sundays
2. APPLY FOR SUDAN VISA.
a) Letter of introduction from your embassy.
b) Copies of carnet, credit card & passport.
c) Two passport photos.
3. SEND PASSPORT TO PRETORIAFOR ETHIOPIAN VISA
We sent passports via UPS on the second floor of the Nakumat Junction Centre. You need:
a) Copies of carnet & passport - on A4. Our initial application was rejected because we used A5 for the passport copies! Make sure the carnet copy is the front page with your address on it.
b) One passport photo.
c) Bank payment for $20 each, made at the CBA round the corner from the embassy. GPS S1 17.169 E36 48.789
d) Proof of long-term travel (passport full of African visas) to prove that you could not have obtained the visa at home before travelling.
e) Patience! The lady who issues the visas is not friendly & does not like men. We suggest if there is a girl traveling, that she should go in alone with all the paperwork.
f) Lots of charm - I managed to persuade her to issue me with a 90 day visa instead of the usual 30, by telling her what a wonderful & beautiful country Ethiopia was. Be careful though - she only issued Clive with 30 days despite giving him a receipt that said 90 days, but then they are supposed to be very easy to extend in Addis. g
) Whatever you do - do not get angry or aggressive. Our friends ended up in an argument & were locked in the Embassy, forcibly escorted to the Ambassador’s office where they threatened to tear the visas out of their passports!!
Jungle Junction, new address and details 2013. Langata - Karen/Hardy, Kongoni Road (half way along with a small sign with "JJ's" by the gate) S: 1° 21.767" E: 36° 44.438" Chris Handschuh owner. +254 (0) 722 752 865
Alternate and ?quieter, Wildebeest Backpackers S1 18,202 E36 47,925
OR Karibuni Karen Camp S1 20,232 E36 42,144. Karen Camp, Marula Lane off of Karen Road in Karen SO 1” 20.127 EO 36” 42.153
David Sheldrick Trust Rhino and Elephant Sanctuary S1 23,042 E36 46,475. Do not visit at the weekend as it’s packed.
Giraffe Centre-Manor, (African fund for endangered wildlife) S1 22,556 E36 44,767. Do not visit at the weekend as it’s packed.
Nairobi National Park is a vastly underrated.
-MASAI MARA AND MARA TRIANGLE. Masai Mara Sand River campsite, probably best within reserve. Public campsites outside the reserve from south (east) to north (west): Sekenani Camp (near Sekenani Gate, Olperr Elongo Campsite, S1 31 41.3 E35 20 58.5, Outside gate, good facilties, hot showers) and Spurwing Camp & Campsite (located 10mins outside Sekenani Gate). Aruba East and West, Riverside Camp (near Talek Gate).
-MARA TRIANGLE (Better) For the Triangle you need to head for the Oloololo gate. Allow 6 hours from Nairobi. Oloololo Gate Campsite. S1 15 37.5 E34 59 56.5 Good location outside park, has decent facilities. Eluai Public Campite S1 23 47.3 E35 00 14.0 There are three public campsites; Oloololo Campsite (maximum 30 people) at the gate, Iseiya Campsite (maximum 10 people) near our main station, and also Eluai Camp (maximum 20 people) near the Mara Serena airstrip. Oloololo and Iseiya campsites have longdrop toilets, and there are showers at Oloololo (use responsibly).
SPECIAL CAMPSITES Olarro Camp S1 28.273 E35 02.095, Maji Ya Ndege S1 20.355 E34 59.376, Dirisha Camp S1 19.898 E34 59.694. The five private campsites are located at stunning locations along the Mara River. The wildebeest migration in the Triangle usually starts somewhere in June-July and may go on until November.
ROUTE Narok, C12 via Mwisho Ya Lami to Sekanani Gate. Sekenani Public Campsite, outside reserve (S1 33,012 E35 22,460). Move later to Sand River Public Campsite inside reserve (S1 39,309 E35 13,078). Move later to Eluai Campsite in Mara Triangle area, (S1 23,795 E35 00,237). LOOK AT SPECIAL CAMPSITES. Out via Oloololo Gate.
If only going to Mara Triangle enter at Oloololo Gate.
NAIROBI to NORTH.
-NAIROBI. FOR THINGS TO DO IN NAIROBI - http://migrationology.com/2011/01/things-to-do-in-nairobi-kenya-101/ Jungle Junction. Also Karen Camp. Also Wildebeest Lodge. Visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage S01°22.660 E036°46.362 . Also Giraffe Manor S01°22.556 E036°44.767. Nairobi National Park is a vastly underrated. Before you leave Nairobi get your carnet stamped because there is no customs at Illeret.
-ABERDARE NP. Head north on A104 and then A3. Can stay outside park at Outdoor Africa Campsite near park gate. Aberdares Rest Camp S0 22.402 E36 53.395 (Inside Aberdare NP). Chania Falls Public Campsite S0 27.195 E36 43.024 (Inside Aberdare NP). Hergania Campsite S0 25.176 E36 43.553 (Inside Aberdare NP). Reedbuck Campsite S0 28.862 E36 43.792 (Inside Aberdare NP). Rhino Retreat Camp S0 20.437 E36 46.923 (Inside Aberdare NP). Tusk Camp S0 23.115 E36 49.200 (Inside Aberdare NP). Ruhuruni Camp (very enclosed) S00° 23.259 E036° 49,053. All no facilities save for a long drop toilet but lovely camping in the middle of the NP with no one around.
-MT KENYA NP Close by towards the east.
Expensive lodges such as Treetops and The Ark in the Aberdares are mainly based around nocturnal and daylight game viewing from their balconies onto a floodlight waterhole. If plenty cash to spare rather consider Serena Mountain Lodge, just outside the Mt Kenya NP boundary, in the forest zone of Mt Kenya. The game viewing here is superior to the other 2 and the guided game walks in the forest are great. Camping here at Batain View Campsite outside park at S 0 10,932 E 37 04918. At park gate Naro Maru Park Gate Campsite S 0 10,749 E 37 08,772.
-LAIKIPIA PLATEAU Head due north on the A2 towards Nanyuki. Kongoni Lodge & Campsite N0 01.253 E37 05.45 Amazing facilities & great restaurant. Nanyuki River Camp N 0 02,357 E 37 03,478. Further east is Timau River Lodge N 0 05.132 E 37 15.186 Mountain Rock Lodge, Nanyuki. Actually nearer Naro Moru, 15km S of Nanyuki, but green & far more pleasant than any of the camp sites in Nanyuki. GPS S0 06.792 E37 02.634. Also camping at Nanyuki Sports Club. Nanyuki N00°00.793 E037°04.644. Gas refill, can fill up gas bottle here, Modsan Hardware. The last major Nakumat Supermarket and fresh fruit and vegetable market is in Nanyuki, STOCK UP.
We took a total of 6.5 hours to drive 205km from Nanyuki to Maralal. Typical bush tracks for most of the way. The last hour and a half was typical Kenya neglected gravel roads full of pot holes.
-ISIOLA. Head north on A2. Probably will not need to overnight. Bamoja Camp, GPS N0 37.924 E37 39.621. Gadisa Hotel & Camp N0 21 38.2 E37 36 12.7. Range land Hotel N0 17 31.6 E37 33 26.8 Quiet campsite with hot showers. A good place before or after you tackle(d) the road to Marsabit. Start to see Samburu people.
-SAMBURU NP. (and Buffalo Springs NP). Also a wonderful dry lands park, MUST VISIT. Further north on A2. May decide to visit again/rather on route south, but look at seasons. Samburu is reached from Archer's Post, some 35 km north of Isiolo. The entrance to Shaba NP is on the right side, and on the left there is a dusty five-kilometer track to Samburu's Archer's Post Gate. The latter reserve has another gate at its west end, but it is seldom used. Finally, Uaso Gate on the bridge over the Ewaso Nyiro river connects Samburu and Buffalo Springs. In my own experience, if you approach the rangers at the bridge gate with a smile and a polite attitude, you may be allowed to cross the river for a game drive on the other side without paying entrance fees again, but do not count on it. The Ewaso Nyiro river flows through three great northern reserves, Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba. The waters of this great river draw wildlife in great numbers to its banks, creating an oasis of green. The verdant riverine forest is a stark contrast to the arid thorn studded plains. Samburu is visited by large herds of Elephants, drawn by the promise of water. In the dry season, the elephants use their tusks to dig deep into the dry river beds, unearthing precious water. These waterholes then become a focal point for other game. The forests along the river banks are home to many birds, including local species such as the Palm Nut Vulture and the Vinaceous Dove. These forests are also home to many Leopards, often seen at dusk. There are three camp sites in Samburu NP, scattered along the Ewaso Nyiro between Samburu Lodge and the West Gate. All of them are cleared spaces shaded by the trees, with scarce services. The sites closest to Samburu Lodge are safer. Unique animals include Grevy's zebra, gerenuk, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, lesser kudu, Guenther’s dik-dik, striped hyena, vulturine guineafowl and beisa oryx. Buffalo Special Campsite, which has toilets and showers. Waso View Camp. Buffalo Springs NP campsites are not considered very safe because of their close proximity to the main road.
-MARALAL Head west and then north on C77. Yare Camel Camp, Nice grassy campsite N 1 03,537 E 36 42,791. In August each year they host a huge camel race. The first stretch to Maralal was holed tar for half of the distance then reasonable gravel for the rest. This was our last opportunity to tank up for the 830km stretch of rough and remote tracks to Jinka in Ethiopia and the next available diesel. Also fill up with water. The best part of the lake is south of Loiyangalani. From Maralal you climb over a high mountain and lava flows and big rocks before descending into a sandy valley far below. South Horr to Loiyangalani, The day starts with a sandy track which can be bouncy, but is mostly smooth. The sand is not deep and hardly challenging. That soon changes into lava flows and boulder fields your speed will decrease dramatically. The sharp rocks eventually give way to tennis ball sized round and slippery ball bearing like rocks and that is about the time you’ll get the first glimpse of the Jade Sea.
-LOIYANGALANI to Lake Turkana. Via Baragoi and South Horr. Samburu Sports Club camping. New Directions (also signed as a sports club) in South Horr. Samburu Camp, South Horr GPS N2 06.329 E36 55.427.) Palm Shade campsite. N2 45.379 E36 43.236. Good water here fill tanks. Can hire a boat here to go fishing for Nile perch.
Loiyangalani to Sibiloy NP gate. From the time that you leave the oasis you can expect sandy tracks. Again, apart from a few dry river crossings, the sand is not deep and hardly challenging. We followed the C77 north to N2 51.294 E36 42.214 and veered left. The tracks were quite clear and easy to follow. You basically keep the lake on your left and head north. Find the main road from North Horr again and turn left towards the park gate. 161km took us 8 hours and was horrifically windy.
LAKE TURKANA ROUTE.
The main rainy season is June to end of September. Don’t go then. Best time to visit is mid October to mid March. In the OMO valley area the rainy months are APRIL and OCTOBER.
NO FUEL STATIONS BETWEEN ISIOLO (????) AND KONZO-1000KM. BUT IT NOW APPEARS THERE IS FUEL STATION AT MARALAL- ????? LAST OFFICIAL FUEL.
BARAGOI- also appears to now have fuel station.
SOUTH HORR may also have available in jerry cans.
Can try at the mission at LOYLANGILANI, or black market from jerry cans.
BEST ROUTE: Day 1: Nanyuki to Archers Post. 118km, 2hrs. Last fuel for the route at Isiolo, 36km before Archers Post. Tar road. Camping at Bamoja Camp, GPS N0 37.924 E37 39.621 for an outrageous & non-negotiable 800KSH per person. Nice location on the river, but loud, rude locals with an attitude partying all night.
•Day 2: Archers Post to South Horr. 271km, 7 1/2hrs. Take the A2 north from Archers Post, through Losai NP (no fees, public road) and turn west at Laisamis. Tar until 22km before Laisamis, 22km of corrugation until you turn off the A2, then easy gravel tracks. Stunning drive through friendly Samburu grazing lands & views of beautiful, dramatic mountains. Camping at Samburu Camp, South Horr GPS N2 06.329 E36 55.427. OR ALSO KNOWN AS Samburu Sports Centre.
•Day 3: South Horr to Loiangolani. 88km, 5hrs. Gravel roads through dramatic, volcanic boulder fields. First view of the beautiful Lake Turkana - this is where you start to feel the isolation, until you come into the surprising oasis town of Loiangolani. Camping at Palm Shades GPS N2 45.379 E36 43.236. Water available at Palm Shades (drinkable spring water) & we hear you can also get fuel here at the Mission, but we didn’t try.
•Day 4: Loiangolani to wild camp GPS N3 19.862 E36 17.677. 115km, 5 1/2 hrs. A couple of short, steep-ish descents into & out of river beds. Nothing challenging.
Day 5: Wild camp to wild camp on edge of Sibiloi NP GPS N3 56.908 E36 28.306. 111km, 5 1/2 hrs. We intended to avoid Sibiloi NP by taking what we thought was a public road around the outside. This can be done if traveling north to south. But from the south, if you take the route along the edge of the lake, you cannot avoid going through a park gate & they sting you for $20 p/person - the boundary has been recently redrawn to be outside the road. Grrrrr! You can avoid the $15 camping fee by saying you will wild camp outside the park. Ironically, the slowest part of the whole route is the road inside the park - not difficult, just slow.
•Day 6: Sibiloi NP to Ethiopia wild camp GPS N4 35.564 E36 14.592. 118km, 4 1/2 hrs. Some sandy river crossings, but easy if dry. Probably one of the few places in Ethiopia where you can wild camp - make the most of it! Beware of bees - they disappear at dusk.
•Day 7: Wild Camp to Turmi via customs & Immigration at Omorate. 129km, 3 1/4 hrs. Rainy season detours mean that there are lots of potential tracks to follow. Just follow the most used tracks until you hit the main gravel track 17km short of Omorate. Camping at Mango Campsite GPS N4 58.549 E36 30.931.
•Day 8: Turmi to Jinka & the first fuel. 124km, 4hrs. Total distance between fuel (Isiolo - Jinka): Almost exactly 1000km. Fuel was readily available in Maralal (last official fuel, FILL UP) and we were told we could have bought from a jerry can in Loylangilani, you can also get fuel here at the Mission. Diesel was also available from a pump in Baragoi (2 fuel stations) and from jerry cans in South Horr and Loyangalani (N02°45.430 E036°43.231). There is a fuel station in Konso. Total distance between fuel (Isiolo - Jinka): Almost exactly 1000km LOIYANGALANI Palm Shade campsite. From here you head into the Chalbi Desert.
-NORTH HORR transit
-LAKE TURKANA, SIBOLOI NP N 03 56.868 E 036 11.183 Koobi Fora Camp. Lovely spot on shore of Lake Turkana. Can swim in Lake. Good showers/toilets but no other facilities. Have to go to Park headquarters to pay park and camping fees. (They check on exiting). N3° 42.092' E36° 15.050'. Sibiloy NP gate to Illiret: The river crossings are dry but have very fine and very deep sand. You should not stop in the middle of them. We detoured to a Petrified Forest at N3 41.286 E36 20.185. At N4 13.335 E36 15.397 you will exit the park (There is gate) and join the main Illiret North Horr road which is compacted sand and in good condition. 112km took us 6 hours and the wind was still relentless and never ending.
-ILLERET. Illiret Catholic Mission (N4 18.738 E36 13.651). Or camp at the Illeret Police Station. Temporary border formalities here. Have your passport numbers recorded at Illiret police station. Illiret to Turmi in Ethiopia. Probably the hardest part of the journey. From the Illiret police station you get into very deep and sticky sand. The tracks change every season, so follow the road most travelled rather than the GPS. There are some very serious dry river bed crossings and deep sandy holes and we definitely needed 4 wheel drive most of the way. You will meet the main Turmi/Omorate road which is wide compacted gravel. After completing immigration (No customs) in Omorate you need to backtrack the 18km and head to Turmi where you can find accommodation and perhaps change some $ for Birr at a reasonable rate. The 158km, including immigration stop took us 6 hours.
-BORDER with Ethiopia.
-BORDER to OMORANTE for border checks. N4° 48.336' E36° 03.066'. Advice is not declare any foreign currencies at the border. We got our passports stamped into Ethiopia but there is no customs to stamp the Carnet. (Check on this). You cannot get a visa there! You should have done that from Nairobi already. Remember that you need to drive on the right side of the road in Ethiopia.
-TURMI. Main centre for the Hammer Tribe. Bull jumping ceremony. Mango camp GPS N4 58.549 E36 30.931 (also called Kaske (Kasse) River Campsite/ Lodge). Evangadi Camp. The Tourist Hotel has a decent restaurant for Ethiopian food.
-JINKA. The Mursi Tribe. Need guide to visit, go very early in morning. Jinka Resort and Camping. N 5 46 47,0 E 36 33 58,0. OR Rock Campsite which is really good. Or camp in Mago National Park as well. FIRST OFFICIAL FUEL AFTER MARALAL.
-KONSO Dorze lodge. Kanta Lodge. N 5 20 00,1 E 37 25 47,7 Good food, they open a room for showering, nice view from campsite. Visit Dorze village.
-ARBA MINCH Bekele Molla Hotel. Paradise Lodge better. N 6 00 34,1 E 37 33 19,8. Park on grass not in car park. USD8 per couple. Great views. to Addis etc.
The southbound leg in Ethiopia looks like it will be more interesting than that to the north. Highlights would include the ancient cities of Gonder, Axum and the rock-hewn churches of the Tigray. The Simien NP and mountains are obviously a definite stop and we should be there at a favorable time of the year as far as rain is concerned. The Danakil Depression with the salt mines and lakes as well as the active volcano at Erta Ale will take some doing but we hope to make a plan. Lalibela is the center of the rock-hewn churches in the south-east. We will then re-enter Kenya via the notoriously rough Marsabit-Isiola route.
Firstly, if people called you Farangi (foreigner), we would say back at them Habasha, which simply means Ethiopian! When people ask for money or pens say Yeullem, which means I don’t have any.
Buy your Sim card directly from an office of the service provider, where they will do immediate registration and test. (In other words, do NOT buy from petrol stations or supermarkets, etc).
Long rains, late June to early September. Short rains, late February to April, but often fail. Best time to visit Oct – Jan. South Omo: Rains March to June. Short rains October.
Drive on the right hand side of the road.
Time is 6 hours behind and remember the Julian Calender.
Coffee is great. Juice - irresistible, thick avocado, mango, papaya juices.
Food: Great food - must be tried. Injera (sour pancakes) are an acquired taste, but wonderful with the mixture of sauces & meat/bean accompaniments.
RELEVANT PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- ENKUTATASH, Ethiopian New Year: 12 Sept 2015
- MESKEL, Finding of the true cross: 28 Sept 2015
- GENNA, Ethiopian Xmas day: 6/7 Jan 2016
- TIMKET, Epiphany: 20 Jan 2016.
-LAKE TURKANA to ADDIS ILLERET. Illiret Catholic Mission (N4 18.738 E36 13.651). Or camp at the Illeret Police Station.
-BORDER to OMORANTE for border checks. N4° 48.336' E36° 03.066'. Advice is not declare any foreign currencies at the border. We got our passports stamped into Ethiopia but there is no customs to stamp the Carnet. (Check on this). There are open markets in the Omo valley most days of the week. Planning your tour accordingly is very useful as markets in the Omo valley offer an opportunity to get to see various tribes together. General information about Omo valley market days: - No markets in the Omo valley on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Special note: please do not take photos without consulting your guide or asking permission
Omo valley market days Village/ town Tribes you will see
- Mondays Arbore. Banna and the Ari tribe Turmi Market Bashada and the Hammer tribe
- Tuesdays Dimeka. The Hammer, Karo, Tsemay, Banna, Bashada Yebelo market Jinka The Ari, Bashada, Banna and Mursi tribes Kangaten Market Karo and Nyangatom Omerate Market The Dasanach
- Wednesday No markets on wednesdays
- Thursdays Key Afer market. The Bana, Tsemay and Hammer. Giyo town Ari, Bacha, Dime, Mursi and Surma. Turmi market Bashada and the Hammer. Dorze market* The Dorze people If you happen to leave the Omo valley on a Thursday and reach Arbaminch
- Friday No markets on Fridays
- Saturdays Dimeka The Hammer, Karo, Tsemay, Banna, Bashada Jinka The Ari, Bashada, Banna and Mursi tribes Omerate Market The Dasanach Kangaten Market Karo and Nyangatom Woyto The Tsemay
-TURMI Mango Campsite N4 58 34.2 E36 30 56.7. Go to the Hamer Market. See if there is a Hamer Bull Jumping Ceremony, get a guide at the Tourist Hotel. Change a few $ for Birr on the black market – it is really easy to do and hassle free as almost everyone in town will change money at the same rate, although the rate is 15% worse than the banks offer. Fuel is available at a price on the black market.
-JINKA (South Omo). Also camp at Jinka Resort which was a lovely spot buried among trees. Jinka Resort & Camping Car park camping and they open a room for ablutions. N5 46 47.0 E36 33 58.0 Mago National Park to camp. We went to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi who are particularly photogenic with their lip plates and body scarification. On the tribal visits leave early to avoid the worst of the crowds. You do need a guide and an armed ranger (park rules).This is easily organised in Jinka. FIRST OFFICIAL FUEL AFTER MARALAL.
-KONSO. Kanta Lodge good car park camping, they open a room for ablutions. Food is good. N5 20 00.1 E37 25 47.7. We also visited some Dorze villages and some Konso villages both times with guides. We got some fuel in Konso for the first time since Maralal.
-ABRA MINCH. Paradise Lodge & Camping N6 00 34.1 E37 33 19.8. Very good facilities. Not car park camping, but actually a patch of grass deep inside the compound to park on. Draw money (Birr) at the Daschen Bank.
-DORZE. Dorze Lodge. N6° 10.950' E37° 34.834' Camping with possibly one of the most beautiful views in Africa.
-YIRGA ALEM. Aregash Lodge at Yirga Alem. If needing luxury after Omo Valley, highly recommended, R700pn. N6° 44.954' E38° 26.629'
-AWASA on the shores of Lake Awassa, in a large field in the grounds of the Old Zewed Village Hotel. GPS N7 02.957 E38 27.610. Awassa Adenium N7 04 33.3 E38 29 02.2 Camping/guesthouse run by a German lady (Jana) who is a great cook. You have to stay a couple of days not only for the food but also for the nice place she has made with really good facilities.
-SHASHEMENE (Wondo Genet) Rastafarians.
-BALE MTS. Have to have a guide and guard. Katcha Campsite N6 42 58.8 E39 43 34.6 Hard to find and not really a campsite, just a field, no facilities at all. Bale National Park HQ camp N7 05 46.2 E39 47 32.2. All camping is beautiful, but our firm favourite was the wolf research camp in Webb Valley. GPS N6 59.461 E39 42.096. Drive to the SANETTI PLATEAU and Tullu Deemtu Peak (the highest place in Africa you could actually drive to).
-LAKE LAGANO Karkaro Beach Campsite N7 35 50.5 E38 41 38.8
-ADAMA/ NAZARET. (Adama) Ras Hotel N8° 32.360' E39° 15.673'
-ADDIS. Italian meal at Castelli’s Restaurant. Baro Pension. Don’t bother even looking at Wimms - it’s a shit hole! But great pub and lots of other overlanders! N9 00 35.3 E38 45 18.8 You can camp in the car park of the very friendly Baro Pension, well located. GPS N9 01.844 E38 45. Baro Hotel N9 01 50.7 E38 45 13.1 In the middle of Addis, camping in the courtyard, small but nice. Meeting place for overlanders.
-BAHIR DAR. Ghion Hotel had a garden on the lake where we could camp. N11°35.823 E037°23.145. Lovely spot on the shore of Lake Tana, camping (ground and roof) Birr75. Beer Birr9. They let you use a room for showers. -GONGORO (Lake Tana). “Tim and Kim’s Village” N12 13 44.7 E37 17 56.1
-GONDER (Plus/Minus) Belagez Pension N12 36 38.0 E37 28 19.0. Can (rooftop) camp in the hotel courtyard –Birr 50 for camping, good showers, laundry service and helpful management. Fantastic restaurant opposite. Visit the Dashen brewery.
-METEMA/GALLABAT (Sudan Border). N12° 57.442' E36° 09.131'
Transit ADDIS to SUDAN There are no banks/ATMs in Sudan that accept foreign cards arrange USD Register at aliens office as not registered at Lake Turkano border post.
NO ALCOHOL IN SUDAN.
This is a strictly moslem country with no alcohol and no ATMs, so all the money you need will have to be drawn in Ethiopia, US$.
Once again one of the attractions here is the Nile River.
Khartoum is steeped in history. The people are apparently the friendliest you could ever hope to find and there are plenty of historical sites. One invariably ends up wild camping outside the few main centers. Here one encounters the true desert for the first time, the Nubian Desert.
If not going on to Egypt the Red Sea can be visited at Port Said.
It is in South Sudan where all the instability is and North Sudan has remained completely safe for travelers.
It is here when we will need to decide whether to continue on to Egypt as outlined at the very beginning of this report. Almost without exception (Khartoum) you can bush camp in the desert. The people will not disturb you. Along the Nile ask landowner if you can camp next to the river. Can buy fresh produce in the souks of even small towns. The main road all the way north is excellent tar.
Rain comes between July and September.
There are no banks/ATMs in Sudan that accept foreign cards take USD.
Have to do alien registration in Khartoum if not registered on entering border. This has to be done within 3 days of entering Sudan. Try and do it at border or any major town, INSIST, difficult, if fail:
Done at Khartoum airport immigration.
NEED the following FOR ALIEN REGISTRATION.
- Pay SDG 198 ($35) each Forms filled in in triplicate in Arabic and presenting heaps of documents.
- Copy of your passport.
- Copy of your Sudanese Visa with the entry stamp, we had a copy made before entry and had to go and have another one done showing the stamp.
- Passport photo.
- Letter of sponsorship from a local Sudanese but for SDG50 ($10), you can find someone to sponsor you hanging around the alien offices.
- Proof of address in Sudan, we had this completed by the Khartoum Youth Hostel manager Mohammed Bagi where we camped.
The main road all the way north is excellent tar.
GALLABAT Possible bush camp N13°35.172 E035 36.059
GEDAREF Fair no of places to find a meal, mainly traditional Sudanese food. Head for Milion Ghrabi street. Gedoref Bushcamp (N14 07.043 E34 12.458)
WAD MEDANI On the Blue Nile.
KHARTOUM There is some doubt about the need to get a photography permit in Khartoum, others have obtained this at the Ministry of Tourism Antiquities and Wildlife, this requires a passport photo and to show your passports, it took about 10 minutes and there was no charge, it is basically a list of what you can and cannot photograph. GPS cords for the office are: N15*34.815′ E032*03.997′. Also need to get a permit if want to drive to Port Sudan and Red Sea (see Port Sudan). A diverse city that remains very safe and friendly. Unlike Ethiopia, people don’t rip you off for anything you buy. It seems to have everything. Good resturants, supermarkets, green spaces. Actually 3 parts: oldest part between the confluence of the Nile, west bank-Omdurman, north bank-semi-industrial part Khartoum North.
NATIONAL MUSEUM. Impressive, see the Faras Frescos, rescued from the rising waters of Lake Aswan, finest relics of Christian Nubia. Also lots of other historical relics. Must also see the 3 temples rescued from the Lake Nasser flood waters, dismantled and rebuilt in the museum’s grounds. Best place to stay, YHA Youth Hostel, rooms and camping. Khartoum Youth Hostel GPS N15*35”434’ E 32*32”375’ OR Sudan National Camp Resort N15 31 28.7 E32 34 10.7. Loud mosque. (Not at Blue Nile Sailing Club, very dirty ablutions, but visit as right on Nile, see Kitchener’s gunship Melik and arrange a felluca trip on the Nile there.)
NILE CONFLUENCE. Can see the different colours of the water as they join, most marked in summer. View from the White Nile bridge. NO PHOTOS here for security reasons. Photograph from Morgan Family Park next door. Best view and photos probably from the Ferris Wheel or take a ferry to Tuti Island, best view and photos of the mingling waters from its northern tip.
NILE CRUISES. There are a variety of boats and trips, probably easiest from the Blue Nile Sailing Club.
OMDURMAN This souk largest in Sudan, must visit even if only for people watching. Khalifa’s House, Mahdi’s tomb near to the souk. Dervishes at Hamed al-Nib Tomb, every Friday before sunset. Arrive at about 15H00. Visitors welcome and no problems with photography. A real highlight. “The drumming and chanting started in front of the nearby Mosque. The people there were known as the WHIRLING DERVISHES and it took me a while to figure out their concepts. We thoroughly enjoyed this ceremony with amazing drumming, music and dancing amongst a huge crowd. This is well worth seeing if you are in Khartoum on a Friday.” “Whirling Dervishes in Omdurman. This religious practice has tempted us since Turkey but I am pleased we waited until now. This was not a tourist show but a real ceremony which takes place weekly. A few hundred people gather by a Sufi Mosque, the drumming starts, then the suffi’s get in a circle and start making scooping movements with their arms, chanting. About 20 guys in the middle of the circle start pacing around, with big smiles on their faces – most of them quite elderly, but a few young people. The chanting of ‘Allah’ then gets louder, the drumming stronger and more rhythmical, incense gets wafted around and they start free styling in the middle, some hopping, some spinning around, others dancing, whistling or waving sticks in the air, a few looking pretty psycho but all loving it (bit like a trance party for oldies). About two hours later, as the sun descended, they all went to pray. It was incredibly powerful to watch.” Confluence of Blue and White Nile well worth visiting. Boat ride across to Tuti Island. Traditional wrestling.
TEMPLES OF NAQA Bush camp N16 18 58.6 E33 16 53.1 or Naqa Bushcamp (N16 25.417 E33 20.068) Situated 30km east of the Nile and 35km southeast of the town of Shendi. The turnoff off the main road is signposted in English, next to the Nile River Petrol Station. Once offroad there are many tracks but T4A will guide you there. One of the best preserved Kushite sites. The Meroitic temples at Naqa are one of the finest Kushite ruins. Includes the Lion and Amun Temples. Buy a ticket from the ghaffir SDG20.
AMUN TEMPLE. Lies on the western side at the foot of a rocky outcrop. Erected in 1AD. German archaeologists are still evacuating in the temple which has partially been reconstructed.
LION TEMPLE. Lies to the west. This temple is fenced off ask the ghaffir to unlock the gate. “We next visited the ancient ruins of the Naqa Lion Temple which was about 20km into the desert. We paid our SDG 20 ($6.66) each, walked through the gate that did not close and started exploring again. It was very “Indiana Jones” and for a few minutes I tried to think where I could get a hat and a whip from. The temple itself was slowly being reclaimed by the desert sands. We found 8 almost complete Lion statues on ancient pillars and a passage framed by four doors in a row. There were some more structures inside and crumbling walls forming rooms and halls around the outside. In the centre of the furthest part was a stone altar which made for fantastic photographic opportunity. Next entering the site of the Temple of Amun. With darkness imminent we decided to move on to the Musawwarat site, some 20km away to find a place to sleep for the night. It was said to be the largest Meroitic remains in Sudan covering some 55 000m2 and as with the Naqa, its purpose was still largely unclear. There was also a Lion temple there which had been totally restored. The drive across the desert was entertaining and fun on the sandy tracks and even required some 4 wheel drive action for the first time since the Lake Turkana route some months before. We arrived at the site just as the sun was down. A security officer pointed into the desert and told us that we could camp “somewhere over there”.
TEMPLES OF MUSAWWARAT ES SUFRA These are nearby and consist of the Great Enclosure mainly. There are 3 temples as well. The complex is still an active archaeological site. The above Lion Temple lies 1km east and the entrance to BOTH is covered in the SDG20 price.
MEROE AND the PYRAMIDS Bush camp possibility N16°55.985 E033°45.141 or GPS N16*55”917’ E 33* 45”081’ Bush camp N16 56 15.4 E33 45 27.8 or Meroe Pyramids Bushcamp (T4A N16 56.001 E33 45.323) The tickets cost SDG20, buy directly from the ghaffir next to the northern section. Have to buy a separate ticket for the ROYAL CITY. 100 pyramids in all. No crowds, often only people there. Bushcamp nearby, but must be more than 100m from the ruins. Best site behind a large dune out of the wind. Divided into Northern and Southern sections. Some date back as far as 8BC. The Northern section is best preserved, the Southern is older. In the centre of the Northern section is a modern pyramid which has been restored. Pyramids are smaller than those in Egypt, about 30m high with a steeper design. Also are not hollow, the tombs are underneath. On the eastern face of each pyramid is a funerary chapel, so best photos earlier morning. Most of the pyramids have been decapitated, by an Italian treasure hunter in 1834. Time things so that not visiting in the heat of the day. Can do camel rides here. “Next was to be the MEROE PYRAMIDS, a mere 80km away and apparently the most impressive ancient site in the country. We paid our expected SDG 20 ($6.66). The pyramids themselves were unbelievable and you could somehow sense, or feel the age of them. Most of the structures were crumbling as the winds and sands. The entrances to all the tombs were facing the east, so making the decision to return in the morning fairly obvious. The chosen camp site was perfect! We were hidden in a small valley and only a 50m walk from a place overlooking the whole cemetery and all the pyramids. With the golden morning light flowing into the tombs we also had a chance to see the ancient writings on the walls. The hieroglyphics were in absolute perfect condition and there was not a single rope or sign prohibiting us from doing anything we wanted. Knowing about the sensitivity of those things we did not use a flash in the photography, but we still managed to crawl inside the structures and explore every angle of them. It took another two hours before our inner explorers were satisfied with the morning’s achievements.”
THE ROYAL CITY Adjacent to pyramids but SDG20 separate fee. These are the ruins of the Royal City of Meroe on the banks of the Nile. The site is very overgrown and in ruins, with only the outlines of buildings, so do not be too disappointed.
ATBARA Option, Red Sea and Port Sudan. Visit Suakin Island. Snorkle or glass bottomed boats. (see Bradt pg 157)
MEROWE Site of a large dam and hydro-electric scheme.
KARIMA Bush camp along the Nile at GPS N 18*32”112’ E 31*50”791’ or Jebel Barkal Bushcamp (N18 32.261 E31 49.203) The holy mountain of Jebel Barkal lies on the edge of town, 2km southwest of the town centre. Tickets SDG20. At its foot is the Temple of Amun, these are best seen at dawn or dusk. The ruins are very atmospheric. Also present is the ruin of the Temple of Mut. Close by are the royal cemeteries of Nuri and El Kurru. These have about 20 pyramids, the most intact in Sudan. To reach Nuri drive across the Nile on the newish bridge (cost SDG20). El Kurru is definitely worth a visit. Take a torch as you go into tombs with no lighting. (cost SDG20). The walls of the tombs have well preserved paintings.
“The two sites we wanted to visit that day were the TOMBS OF EL KURRU and the JEBEL BARKAL MOUNTAIN in Karima. As tombs required flashlights and not golden sunshine for good photography, we decided to embark on that adventure first. We explored a bit and we found out that we had to purchase our tickets for tomb raiding as well as mountain walking at the office where we had parked. So with ticket in hand we simply started following the Nile towards the place where the tombs were set to be. We drove through a fantastically impressive Nubian village made almost entirely from mud and straw. I was finally starting to realize that the part of the world we found ourselves in was full of very polite, highly moral and impressively honest human beings. The guide met us at a small locked metal door and once he managed to open the rusted lock and the door we saw the uneven staircase leading into a dark cave protected by a massive iron gate. I was very happy to have the awesome Fenix Flashlight in hand and descended into the cave like tomb with the light on full strength. What was very interesting indeed was the fact that the paintings and hieroglyphics were entirely Egyptian. Fantastically ancient. Our route took us along the Nile and though the mud houses until we got spat out onto the tar road once again. We found ourselves at the pyramids by the base of Jebel Barkal. The 20 structures towering over the massive desert plains were mostly intact and immensely impressive in the late afternoon sun. We explored this very interesting historical site thoroughly with the guide and holder of the keys. We stood around with jaws on the dusty floor marvelling at the incredible place for a long time. Leaving the holy mountain, the temple of Amun and the temple of Mut was not so easy. It was a spiritual place with an incredible amount to offer and even the town was so friendly that departing felt like leaving your family behind.” For a great meal book at Nubian Rest House.
NILE STEAMERS. On the banks of the Nile on the northern edge of town is a small fleet of old Nile river boats. Worth a visit.
OLD DONGOLA There are a fair no of ruins remaining from this old medieval walled city. It is still an active archaeological site. Two of the most prominent ruins are the Throne Hall and the Church of the Granite Columns. To get there take the eastward turning to the village of El Ghaba and from there take a ferry to the east bank of the Nile. Cost DSG7 including the vehicle. Nice chance to explore east bank of the Nile. DONGOLA Bushcamp (N19 06.342 E30 29.766) or Candacha Nubian Guest House (Will probably be tired of bush camping). Run by a friendly Korean family & nice place to relax & catch up on washing. GPS N19 11.055 E30 28.551. The capital of Sudan’s Northern State. Has the feel of an oasis in the desert. Lots of green fields and date palms. Very laid back relaxing atmosphere. There is a bridge to the east bank of the Nile, worth exploring. Some nice tea shops and restuarants, try the fish. Worth a couple of days just to relax. Take the ferry south and walk to the ruins at Kawa, although not much to see good as an outing, best regarded as a walk along the Nile, take water. Camping 70kms north of Dongola at the 3rd Cataract on the Nile at GPS N 19*58”086’ E 30*33”976’ in a palm grove.
KERMA Deffufa Bushcamp (N19 43.254 E30 25.061) NOTE. There is a bridge across the Nile to Argo on the east bank. Just for a change drive back to Dongola on the east bank and make this the turnaround point of the trip. Western Deffufa mud ruins are 3,500 years old, probably the oldest man made structure in sub-Saharan Africa. They lie 5km south of the town centre. Cost SDG20. Also visit the similar but a little smaller Eastern Defuffa which also has a medieval graveyard.
ABRI Sai Island Bushcamp (N20 43.084 E30 19.842) Alternative turnaround point. Market centre. Can cross to SAI ISLAND on a vehicle ferry. Ruins of an old Ottoman fort and some other ruins. Don’t miss the last ferry at 16H00.
RED SEA PORT SUDAN In Khartoum have to apply for travel permits to drive the road to Port Sudan, they are free. At police checkpoints they will want to see it and keep a copy of it (have plenty of copies!!!) A lovely little resort 30km to the North of Port Sudan, called the Sudan Red Sea Resort. They offer diving and snorkeling trips as well as trips into the surrounding area. (If camping too expensive, bush camp just up the coast.) On route back home visit Addis to extend Ethiopian visa at Ethiopian embassy.
The southbound leg in Ethiopia looks like it will be more interesting than that to the north. Highlights would include the ancient cities of Gonder, Axum and the rock-hewn churches of the Tigray. The Simien NP and mountains are obviously a definite stop and we should be there at a favorable time of the year as far as rain is concerned. The Danakil Depression with the salt mines and lakes as well as the active volcano at Erta Ale will take some doing but we hope to make a plan. Lalibela is the center of the rock-hewn churches in the south-east. We will then re-enter Kenya via the notoriously rough Marsabit-Isiola route.
Long rains, late June to early September. Short rains, late February to April, but often fail.
RELEVANT PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- ENKUTATASH, Ethiopian New Year: 12 Sept 2015
- MESKEL, Finding of the true cross: 28 Sept 2015
- GENNA, Ethiopian Xmas day: 6/7 Jan 2016
- TIMKET, Epiphany: 20 Jan 2016. 1.
SUDAN to NORTH ETHIOPIA METEMA/GALLABAT BORDER
-GONDER Belegez Pension, N12° 36.634' E37° 28.316' camp in courtyard.
-DEBARK (SIMIEN MTS). SIMIEN PARK HOTEL, Camp Sankabar N13 13 50.2 E38 02 26.5 Cold but with great views. Camp Chennek N13 15 42.8 E38 11 36.3 Cold and poor location. MORE DRAMATIC than Bale Mts. Armed guard.
-AXUM Yeha Hotel N14 07 57.2 E38 43 20.7 Expensive parking lot but silent and good views. African Hotel, well priced, rooms were big and clean and the bathrooms perfectly adequate.
2. ETHIOPIA SOUTH to KENYA
-MEKELE Hilltop Lodge N13 30 07.5 E39 29 11.8 upmarket. Great location and silent.
-DANAKIL DEPRESSION. N13° 21.935' E40° 49.116'. Erta Ale volcano N13° 34.380' E40° 35.664'. The best time to travel to the Danakil is between September and April. Some use Ethiopia Travel and Tours, which offers four-day trips from about $700 a person (firstname.lastname@example.org). Definitely possible to do in your own vehicle. Our recommendation would be to organise your own personal a guide from one of the tour operators.
-HAWZENI (GHERALTAS) Gheralta Lodge.(luxury) N13 58 13.8 E39 25 24.4. Or the Tourist Hotel.
-LALIBELA Tukul Village Hotel And Camping N12 01 40.8 E39 02 27.8 Amazing, lovely garden, food and internet connection.
Also: Blue Lal Hotel N12 01 35.5 E39 02 26.2. Hotel that allows camping, they will open a room for you. Seven Olives Hotel. N12°02.127 N039°02.826. Camping (rooftop and ground) Birr 50. Good bar/restaurant and central location.
-DESSSIE Hayq (or Haik), small town to north of Dessie, wonderful Lake Hayq. Lake Hayk Campsite, N11 19 32.4 E39 41 17.5, Should have stayed longer.
- GUASSA PLATEAU. Community camp in mountains near town of Debre Sina, excellent habituated Galada Baboons and Simien Wolves.
-ADDIS Wims Holland House N9 00 35.3 E38 45 18.8. You can camp in the car park of the very friendly Baro Pension, well located. GPS N9 01.844 E38 45
-AWASH Awash River Campsite N8° 50.871' E40° 00.273'
-HARAR ancient attractive walled city. Highlight, hyena man.
-LAKE LANGANO Karkaro Beach Campsite N7 35 50.5 E38 41 38.8. Lovely camping spot.
-YABELLO. Yabello Catholic Mission, Father Vincent N4 53 29.4 E38 06 05.2 Yabelo Hawi Hotel N 04°53.155 E 038°08.417. Basic place but warm showers. Birr50 for vehicle to camp.
-MOYALE. Camp at the Koket Borena Moyale Hotel.
(SEE EARLIER INFO FROM WAZUNGU WAMILI)
This is when we will be able to visit the conservation areas and coast we missed on the northward leg. The Marsabit and Samburu National Parks are apparently very underrated. Here one can see dry-land species such as the gerunuk, Somali ostrich, vulturine guinea fowl, reticulated giraffe, lesser kudu etc. Emphasis will also be placed on Mt Kenya and the parks we missed such as Tsavo and Amboseli. The coast either side of Mombasa and perhaps even Lamu island, depending on the activities of Al Shebab, will also be highlights. Long rains, March to May. Short rains, November and December.
1. MOYALE to ISIOLA ROUTE
-MOYALE Cross border. Kenya Wildlife Services Campsite N 3 30,627 E 39 03,256
-MARSABIT South on A2. The Marsabit National park, one of the most amazing places on earth....a lush rainforest surrounded by desert, with an incredible concentration of game. CAMPSITES: The park has two public camping sites that are located within the vicinity of the park. Ahmed campsite can be located 3.3km from Marsabit Lodge through the main Ahmed gate. Abdul Campsite located by Absul (? Ahmed) gate and is close to Park HQ. In addition, camping at the special campsite at Lake Paradise campsite is a memorable event in Marsabit National Park and Reserve. This is due to the campsite’s location on the grassy clearing along the shores of Lake Paradise. In this area you have the so-called SINGING WELLS. Here locals form a human chain and sing very evocatively as they pass the water containers up from the wells.
-SAMBURU NP. Further south on A2. There are three camp sites in Samburu, scattered along the Ewaso Nyiro between Samburu Lodge and the West Gate. All of them are cleared spaces shaded by the trees, with scarce services. The sites closest to Samburu Lodge are safer. Buffalo Special Campsite, which has toilets and showers
-MERU NP HIGHLY RECCOMMENDED. Beautiful: gerenuk, reticulated giraffe etc. Hills in NW, open plains to the E. Along the Tana river. The riverine forest, savannahs with long grass and lush swamps – fostered by the many rivers and heavy rains in this area – make Meru a great place for fauna lovers. The western part is rugged and hilly with rich volcanic soils. The vegetation is dense in many parts of the park, so you’ll never know what’s behind the next corner. In fact, visitors regularly get lost in the vast wilderness, so it’s wise to take a guide with you ??. Bwatherongi Public campsite and Bandas in park, lovely facilities, swimming pool. N 0 09,330 E 38 12,835. Also KWS Bandas at entrance gate N 0 15,942 E38 07,861. Special camps.
-MT KENYA Eastern side. Can try to camp in park at Chogoria Road Head Bandas and Campsite S0 09,206 E 37 24,723. Otherwise other camping available around small town of Chogoria.
FOR THINGS TO DO IN NAIROBI - http://migrationology.com/2011/01/things-to-do-in-nairobi-kenya-101/ South–east via B6 and A2 to Nairobi.
2. NAIROBI to SOUTH.
-NAIROBI FOR THINGS TO DO IN NAIROBI - http://migrationology.com/2011/01/things-to-do-in-nairobi-kenya-101/
-TSAVO EAST. (West is better). South on A109. May want to stay outside park to save on park fees. NDOLOLO. (Near Voi) S 3 22,029 E 38 38,464. The only Public Camp Site. Very shady and close to the river and a game track leading to it. Water is provided by a tank and there are long drop toilets.
Galdessa Tent Camp S3 01.505 E38 39.091 (Inside Tsavo East NP). Tiva Camp S2 25.900 E38 26.667 (Inside Tsavo East NP). Tsavo park camp S3 22.722 E38 34.579 (Voi). Kenya Campsites Tiva River S2 25.957 E38 26.583 (Inside Tsavo East NP). Crocodile Camp S3 04.542 E39 14.339 (Outside Tsavo East NP). Tsavo Buffalo Camp S3 04.693 E39 13.310 (Outside Tsavo East NP). Tsavo Mashariki Camp S3 21.978 E38 35.239 (Outside Tsavo East NP). (Near)Tsavo East.
Red Elephant (S3 22.260 E38 35.651). It is just outside the town of Voi and right by the Voi gate to Tsavo East National Park. Although they do offer camping at $10 a person a night, they don’t really have a camp site per se. They give you a key to a room for facilities which are lodge or hotel standard. You pitch your tent next to a swimming pool which is really welcome in the intense heat of the place. The staff was friendly and welcoming with their biggest asset being the Askaris who come and call you when animals go to the water hole on the other side of the lodge. It’s conveniently located for a stopover between Nairobi and Mombasa
-MALINDI. Closer to Watumi, Kitspu Cottage (S3 18.112 E39 59.841). Bushbaby Resort S3 14.919 E40 07.210 (Malindi). Kajama Camp (remote Beach hideaway) S3 03.760 E40 10.275 (North of Malindi). Malindi Campsite S3 12.049 E40 06.971 (North of Malindi). Malindi Marine Np Campsite S3 15.337 E40 07.866 (Malindi). Silversands Campsite S3 13.976 E40 07.637 (South of Malindi). Rock n Sea Camp (south of Malindi.)
-LAMU. It is a 4hr drive from Malindi to the ferry. THIS IS NOW UNSAFE DUE TO AL SHABAB. Lamu is best accessed from Mokowe Ferry dock, take the speed boat rather than the dhow. Store vehicle with Mohammed. RATHER FLY.There are scheduled flights daily from Nairobi, Mombasa, Diani Beach and Malindi. Yumbe House (S2 15.983 E40 54.046), can also try Msafini.
-MOMBASA. Edelweiss (S3 53.780 E39 47.258). About 30km north of Mombasa, good camping, a huge lawn with big shady trees dotted around. There is a campsite at Twiga lodge, Tiwi beach, which is southside of Mombasa over the ferry, and you can camp on the beach - They have rooms there also, but if you want a room then there is a better place a hundred metres down the beach - Coral Cove cottages.
-TSAVO WEST. PREFERRED TO EAST. Drive north-west on the A109 again. Enter the park at the Tsavo Gate for Tsavo West. S2° 59.566' E38° 27.500' Game viewing is best north of the Tsavo River. Lots of volcanic landscapes, Chiamu Crater, Shetani Lava Flow. The fairly thick vegetation can make game viewing a little difficult. Look out for the lesser kudu. Mzima Springs is a good site for birding. These springs are resurfaced water from the slopes of Kili. Here there is an underwater observation chamber. Outside park. Red Elephant Safari Lodge, outside park near Voi Gate (nearTsavo). Good, own waterhole. Pool. Camping behind hotel. S3° 22.260' E38° 35.651'
Public Campsites. Chyulu campsite S2 54.075 E38 02.299 (1 km from Chyulu Gate). Kamboyo Rest Camp S2 45.264 E38 06.907 (8 km from Mtito Andei Gate). Kudu Special Camp – no facilities S3 02.940 E38 06.698 (on Tsavo River, Inside Tsavo West NP). Ngulia Safari Camp S2 59.657 E38 10.119 (Inside Tsavo West NP). Palm Tree campsite S3 02.280 E38 04.025 (on Tsavo River, Inside Tsavo West NP). Severin Safari Camp S2 59.896 E37 59.200 (Inside Tsavo West NP). Simba Special Kenya Campsites S3 00.810 E37 59.900 (Inside Tsavo West NP). Lake Jipe Campsite S3 36.888 E37 46.583 (on the lake shore in the south-east)
-AMBOSELI. Drive north-west on C103. A small and touristy park. It has suffered badly from off-road driving. It is worth visiting for its views of Kili in the background. The park is elephant country par excellence. The best game viewing roads are those through the swamps. Also drive up Observation Hill with its panoramic views. Fees; $60 ppp 24h, $25 pp 24h camping, 300 Kenya Shillings per vehicle per 24h. Amboseli community campsite S2 44.250 E37 22.488 (Outside Amboseli – very basic facilities, hot showers, electricity, drinks, Food available on demand, ground has many thorns).
Ol-Kilnyiet public Kenya campsites S2 41.397 E37 13.243 (Inside Amboseli). Tortilis Camp S2 40.965 E37 10.959 (Inside Amboseli NP). Various other public and special campsites in park. KWS Campsite. At the Amboseli Serena Lodge is a Filling Station.
-NAMANGA Border Post. Head north-west on C103. S2° 32.841' E36° 47.198' HEAD DUE SOUTH FOR ARUSHA
TANZANIA NORTH TO SOUTH
On this leg the highlights will be the coast north and south of Dar. Included will be a visit to Zanzibar. This may just be the type of break needed and perhaps a visit to Pemba would also be on the cards. Hopefully we will obtain a decent view of Kilimanjaro. Apparently the views from the Usambara Mountains are not to be missed and the birding here and at Udzungwa are keenly anticipated. We also plan to visit Selous and perhaps even Ruaha again, but the long rains may be upon us at that stage. We shall see!
MAIN ROADS HAVE MANY SPEEDTRAPS. WATCH OUT FOR THE SPEED BUMPS.
Arusha -Masai Campsite S3° 23.116' E36° 43.188'
Moshi – Dar-es-Salaam Highway. Pangani River Camp between Mombo town and Same town. Good stopover after a long drive from Dar-es-Salaam or Arusha. It is close to Mkomazi National Park and borders the Kenya Tsavo National Park. Signposted from the B1 road.
Moshi. Kilimanjaro. Honey badger Camp not great. Rather camp at Lake Chala Camp 40km from Moshi. S3° 18.828' E37° 42.785'.
It is well worth the short detour to the Marangu area, against the foothills of Kili. Also MARANGU HOTEL, 5km out of town, USD5 pp camping. Coffee Tree Campsite S3° 15.500' E37° 31.052' in Marangu is 1km from the Kilimanjaro gate and probably has the best facilities.
Usambara Mountains west, camping in the car park of the Irente Cliff View Lodge S4° 48.117' E38° 15.471' /Rock Campsite S4° 48.139' E38° 15.569'/ Irente Farm. Usambara Mountains – first the furthest west, the Cliff Top Lodge, prime spot on their car park, with a view to die for.
Mambo View Point Lodge. S4° 30.220' E38° 13.038' Reached by road via Lushoto, 60km of bumpy dirt. Drive north from the camp at Irente.
East Usambaras Amani Mountain Reserve. Emau Hill Campsite S5° 06.763' E38° 36.625' Rustic camping and superb birding. Cheaper than going into the National Park.
North coast Tanzania: Note: If enjoying the coast and not in rainy March and April, consider exploring from Tanga to Pemba and also as far south as Saadani NP.
Tanga. Rather a flight. Note there is a ferry to Pemba Island from here if so desired. (There is also a direct ferry from Tanga that runs very infrequently and often stops running completely for weeks at a time.)
Pangani – Drive south on the B1 and then turn east on the A14 towards Tanga. Peponi Beach Resort. S5° 17.230' E39° 03.936' Wonderful, swimming pool, Clean loos and showers although all water is salty.
Saadani NP. From the north, one can reach the park from Tanga city by crossing Pangani River with a ferry. S6° 01.577' E38° 46.694' Beach campsite Saandani National Park. Camping is allowed at Saadani guesthouse, the Wami River (Kinyonga) and Tengwe Campsite. The only coastal national park in Tanzania.
- Drive south on A14, then turn east on A7 towards Dar es Salaam. To reach these resorts you need to take a ferry across the harbor. Kipepeo Beach Resort S6° 51.102' E39° 21.697' (better) or Mikadi S6° 49.142' E39° 19.252' swimming pool. Fabulous loos and showers (cold only) although all water is salty.
GAS CYLINDER REFILLS: in Dar, Oryx 'Handygas' S6° 51.053' E39° 17.743'
FOR ZANZIBAR: STORE VEHICLE EITHER AT KIPEPEO, Sunrise Beach Resort (at S6.85055 E39.35899) or MIKADI (cheaper) depending on price.
A taxi from there to the Zanzibar Ferry costs $20 regardless of number of people and a Tuk-Tuk Tzs 5000 (About $3). The fast ferry leaves at 9:30, 11:30 and 13:30, takes 1.5 hours and costs $35 per person.
ZANZIBAR Zanzibar Stone town is divided into three parts as far as accommodation is concerned. The southern part of the triangle has places like Africa house who charges in excess of $150 a night a person. The northern part of the triangle has places like Zenji who charges $45 a double room (we were astounded how paying a little extra made such a big difference. If your budget stretches an extra $10 a night, that price range is definitely recommended! ) and the eastern part of the triangle has places like Jambo Inn, The Haven and Mange lodge who charges $30 a double.
Everything you want to do in Stone Town can be organised by your hotel at no extra charge. Arrange a Stone Town guided tour on foot. Also a Spice Tour and a tour to Jozani Forest. Tours/hotels are quoted in USD, otherwise for food etc better to pay in Tanzanian Shillings, you get ripped off with the exchange rate in Dollars. DON’T BOOK, ARRIVE AND BARGAIN.
Heading to the northern tip of the island from Stone Town can’t be easier. Once again, tell your hotel that you wish to go to Nungwi or Kendwa, or anywhere else on the island and they’ll organise the tourist shuttle for you. The cost is Tsz10 000 per person ($6.66) and we went to the northern tip of the island. In Nungwi there are two budget places to stay: Jambo Brothers and Union Bungalows. They are right next to each other, charge the same, look the same and offer the same. They will start you off at some ridiculous rate which you can negotiate down. We eventually paid $35 a night for a double room including breakfast. Check that the toilet and shower are working first. They get full all the time, so it’s worth taking the early shuttle from Stone Town to be sure you get a place of your choice. Also Casa Umoja 40USD.
Sunset Bungalows www.sunsetkendwa.com Kipepeo (better), Mikadi or Sunrise Beach Resort (Probably best where car is stored).
Morogoro. Mbuyuni Farm S6° 44.806' E37° 45.304' Chalets.
Selous. Approach from the east or north from Dar. ?Kilmatembo camping site S7° 29.487' E37° 37.196' (near east gate). Can drive through the park in 3hrs and camp at the Selous River Camp just outside park in the west, at Mtemere gate, very well situated. S7° 45.696' E38° 13.724' LAKE TAGALA CAMPSITE IN PARK THE BEST.
Mikumi. Tan-Swiss lodge S7° 23.786' E37° 00.111' or perhaps camp in park. Public Campsites: 5 Campsites (No 1, 2, 3, 4 & Kitangawizi). Special campsites: Chogawale & Korongo la Muzimu.
Udzungwa NP. Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp/ Campsite( also known as Hondo Hondo) S7° 50.026' E36° 53.389' Possibly Baobab Valley Camp. S7° 31.354' E36° 36.002' Baobab Valley (S7 31.784 E36 26.505)
Ruaha. New Camp site No. 2 (Original name: Camp site No.2) Located along the Mdonya river. S7° 40.509' E34° 50.747'. New Camp site no. 1 on the Ruaha River. Old Campsite No1 (Original name: Campsite No 1) and Old Campsite No2. Along the Great Ruaha River and close to Bandas and Park HQ. Stay at both new campsites. Avoid the old campsites-flyblown and too close to the HQ. Mbagi and Ifuguru Special Camp sites. Along Mwagusi sand river about 20 Kms from the Park HQ.
Iringa Old Farm House, Kisolanzo farm south of Iringa , S8 08.755 E35 24.776 OR River Valley Camp north of Iringa, S7 47.876 E35 47.800. They sell good meat here at excellent prices. Restaurant.
Mbeya Karibuni Centre, Catholic mission IN TOWN, en-suite rooms. Utengule Coffee Lodge, S8 53.097 E33 19.224. Restaurant.
Visit Lake Malawi on the Tanzanian side, at Matema. Matema Lakeshore Resort S9° 29.951' E34° 00.997'. Crazy Crocodile Campsite S9° 30.398' E34° 00.179' NOW KNOWN AS Blue Canoe Safari Camp (new) S 09.30.361 and E 034.00.236.
I have been on a self-drive trip to Lake Malawi in the past, but it will be a little different visiting the north of the lake and perhaps we can even treat ourselves to a stay on Domwe Island. This is going to be chill time. The highlands at Nyika and the Zomba Plateau promise to be a pleasant contrast. I have included the national parks as well for some game viewing but if we are saturated with this activity, might decide to give them a miss.
Long rains, November to April.
Malawi route and camps.
IN TANZ. Matema Lakeshore Resort S9° 29.951' E34° 00.997' Blue Canoe Safari Camp (new) S 09.30.361 and E Cross Border
Livingstonia- Lukwe Lodge S10° 35.134' E34° 07.668' Mushroom Farm perhaps nicer but will have to use ground tent if not wanting parking lot camping in RTT.
Nyika NP- Chelinda camp S10° 35.517' E33° 48.922'
Vwaza NP- Vwaza Rest Camp S11° 07.968' E33° 39.116'
Nkhata Bay- Njaya Lodge S11° 37.241' E34° 18.301' Chikale Beach AND Mayoka Village Beach Lodge. CONSIDER A TRIP TO LIKOMA ISLAND ON THE FERRY/SPEEDBOAT. See folder on Malawi. Possible 5 day stay.
Chintheche- Chintheche Inn S11° 52.921' E34° 10.118'
Luwawa Forest Lodge S12° 07.181' E33° 43.245'
Nkhotakota GR- Bua River Lodge S12° 50.054' E34° 09.781'
Cape Maclear- Chembe Eagles Nest campsite S14° 00.742' E34° 51.033
Domwe Island-BOOK SOMETIME BEFORE. At email@example.com
Liwonde NP- Mvuu Camp S14° 51.109' E35° 17.686' There are three popular camp sites. Mvuu camp (government run and sometimes not in the best of condition, but great location in the middle of the NP), Liwonde Safari Camp and Baobab camp site.
?Lilongwe-Mabuya Camp S13 59.953 E33 45.573. Golf club S13° 59.664' E33° 46.150'
Zomba Plateau- Ku Chawe Trout Farm Campsite S15° 21.200' E35° 18.049'
Majete NP- Community Wildlife Camp S15° 54.651' E34° 44.452' Now under African Parks, expensive, 20USDpp conservation fees per day, 4USD vehicle fees per day, 10USD pp camping fees per day.
Blantyre- Sports Club S15° 47.403' E35° 00.071'
CROSS BORDER INTO MOZAMBIQUE TETE
Moz and Zimbabwe
Camping/Lodging. FROM HERE ONWARDS WE ARE LEAVING OUR PLANNING RATHER LOOSE. All these more southern destinations are within easy reach of South Africa and can be done another day should we be weary after all the travelling. We have visited Mozambique at various stages in the past, although not the very north. This northern area will have to be a trip on its own in the future, as we will be entering from Malawi rather than Tanzania and I doubt if we will have the stomach for the long detour to Pemba, Niassa and back. Perhaps some other time but who knows how we will be feeling. I would like to visit Gorongoza though. The coast is a possibility depending on our stamina. It is just so direct a route to enter Zimbabwe near Mutare, visit the Eastern Highlands and Gonarezhou, before entering South Africa. We have explored the rest of Zimbabwe fairly recently. After all we will still be wanting to do shorter trips from SA in the future
*Note: New campsite near Tete between Moatize and Tete. South Africans. GPS 16` 07`00.67S 33` 41`52,13E (Near turnoff to airport). OR Masau River lodge. No camping. Ph +258 84 3155555 • +258 84 9020030
ALSO: Between Massamo and small village of Ulungue, before Tete (not on T4A), Christian mission, VILLA ULUNGUE, chalets and camping, very good, contact Charl Cilliers +258 82 293 0878 ALSO. Camp site is Nameless at the present moment in time and Thinus can be contacted on +27 seven one six eight seven six seven five zero and firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings. Prior reservation and arrangements is essential to ensure you are allowed access onto the property. There are no physical address or street names in this area and Thinus provides directions when you phone him to book. Approximate location is a few hundred meters off the main Tete corridor highway in Moatize, i.e. North bank side of the Zambezi. You can also PM Bostoe on the forum.
MEAT in Tete: Carne Meats, Marcus, +258 842 456 957, email@example.com EN HY PRAAT AFRIKAANS !!!!!!
*Decide at the time if want to go to coast.
Inhassoro, Casa Luna chalets (boat trips to Paradise Island and Bazaruta). Rio Azul Lodge, chalets, slightly further north and smarter. Inhassoro, Casa Luna, Chalets. Trips to Paradise and Bazaruta Islands. GPS position of Casa Luna 21.5289° S 35.2004° E.
Take the EN6 at Inchope bear south on the EN1 for about 325km. From the EN1, which is the main national route, turn left at the Inhassoro turn off just past the Total garage. Follow the Inhassoro tarred road east towards the ocean for about 12 kilometres. Just before bearing right into the main street of Inhassoro take the sand road to the left opposite the BIM bank and just before Seta. Continue on this sand road for about 700 metres. The entrance to Casa Luna will be on the right hand side.
*Pink Papaya Overlanders S18° 30.446' E33° 20.339'camping if Gorongoza too far. (8/11/2014: Ok got some info from the owner at Pink Papaya. They are open and located in Chimoio town, close to the bus and train station. They are not on the main drag down from Tete as per T4A "Pink Papayas campsite", rather search for Pink Papaya guest house. Bookings preferred, but not essential.) Anja Mann The Pink Papaya Casa 795, Rua Pigivide Chimoio, Provincia Manica Mozambique email:firstname.lastname@example.org http://pinkpapaya.atspace.com Cell: +258 825557310 working and tested
*Gorongoza, (May be closed if rainy season) Chitengo campsite S18° 58.748' E34° 21.090' in park.
CROSS BORDER INTO ZIMBABWE AT MACHIPANDA
*Nyanga. Pine Tree Inn S18° 21.874' E32° 38.555' OR Mutarazi Falls campsite OR Nyanga NP campsites OR Troutbeck Inn (camping at Troutbeck Resort).
*Vumba Mountains. Leopard Rock, expensive Or Nundu Lodge and camping, OR Seldomseen (BIRDING) S19° 06.332' E32° 45.132', cottages and camping just outside Park.
*Chimanimani. Frog and Fern Cottages and camping S19° 48.349' E32° 51.534' Or Kweza Lodge and Camping OR camping at Chimanimani Hotel.
- Chipinda Pools (Camp 9/7) 1 night. S21° 17.037' E31° 54.822'(9) or S21° 17.119' E31° 54.829'(7)
- Chinguli (Camp 3) S21° 24.302' E32° 01.353' , 2 nights or 1 night Chinguli and 1 night Hlaro.
- Chitove S21° 18.518' E32° 16.137' 1night, or Chomuluvati 1 night Both Chomuluvati and Chitove have big trees but Chitove has a big pool in front of location which is a favourite watering hole and you can fish there as well. Chomuluvati is closer to the pans - A great birding area but also can be reached from Chitove.
- Then return from east to west Chinguli 1 night Chipinda pools 1 night and exit.
*Great Zimbabwe Ruins. Norma Jeans Lakeview Resort. S20° 15.099' E31° 00.157' To book at Norma Jeans, you have to book through Temba Travel in Cape Town.
This choice of routes, possible places to visit and campsites has been the result of a distillation of some years of research and also some first-hand advice. This rough assemblage of notes will only really make sense if you know the areas or are busy planning a trip. Please follow our blog as we proceed, beginning in mid-April 2015. I hope that the information contained in it will inspire others to consider trips of this nature and that this blog will prove to be of assistance in your planning. I will attempt to include as much of the detail as appropriate as our journey proceeds, in the hope that it might make some reader’s research and planning of such a trip a little easier