My Upcoming Travel

Ibrahim my safari guide sent me a text from the Kilimanjaro last night and asked me when I would like to go in to the Serengeti and also the Ngorongoro Crater, which is all of Safari and Masai country. I hadn’t yet called. Immediately,  I felt the excitement of a child with Christmas sprouting bright and  early on its doorstep. I’d forgotten that he’d promised to draw up a timetable for me. Ibrahim is my favourite licensed tour guide and my safaris are customised so I’ll go with a guide and driver.

Basically, I know his tour agency well and his boss who owns and runs it. They’re up in Arusha and thoroughly good people.  I’m eager to look for a friend down in Dar and ask him if he’d like to accompany me.

Matthias is at least 62 years old but he’s a comical chap, good-humoured, loves a smoke and protective of me in that fatherly way.  The last time we all went together and it is with this deep-rooted nostalgia still in mind that  I just don’t want Matthias to miss out on the fun this time round.

He doesn’t own a phone so I’ll have to go and find him or ask his friends where he can be located in Dar town. If I’m lucky, he shouldn’t be too far off from the hotel. He’d likely be seated on a cobbler’s stool near a familiar taxi-stand with glasses falling down to the tip of his nose and his skeletal frame hidden by a bright red tie, nestled against  a gaudy purple shirt. Matthias would most probably be engrossed in a Swahili tabloid, staring without blinking, at the sports pages.

But back to the plan which is  Serengeti linked up to  the Ngorongoro  Crater and another two parks and this schedule alone takes up a full week.

We also plan to camp overnight at the Arusha National Park. The sunset is beautiful and if I’m lucky, the thousands of regal flamingoes will still be  partying at the lake. The long-legged birds are fickle so there’s no telling. Arusha is held as totally separate from the Serengeti and if I want, we can breeze along for about 2 days in a circular motion around the base of the Kilimanjaro mountain, where a number of shy, startling waterfalls abound.

The grandeur of the Kilimanjaro is really something else. I stay in a hotel proper when I’m in Dar – I already have my favourite where everyone knows me but when I go up to Arusha, I go to Bashir who is an Indian from Kenya and he owns and runs a quaint motel – the perfect B&B. It’s small – has just about 9 rooms so I must tell him early if I’m coming. The rooms are the usual – satellite television, hot water, coffee& tea, bed and breakfast and his guards are all Masai. Bashir and Ibrahim were school-mates.

Just skimming through the recent memories becomes an enriching affair and too,  my friends are so good in Africa that there are suddenly tears in my eyes concocted from  a strange affection and longing even while writing this.

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