Monday, 12 July 2010

Camping again!

Feeling much more positive today after a lovely weekend away camping. It felt so good to drive out of Arusha and into the bush - I could feel myself relaxing! We headed south to a beautiful sand river we drove down once before, thinking that camping in a large sandpit might keep the kids happy and entertained some of the time without us having to do much! This river only has water in occasionally, after heavy rain, and although only about 55km south of Arusha, it hasn't rained there for months (and it was also considerably warmer - nice!), so no worries about being flooded out in the middle of the night!

We invited a friend to come with us, and he invited his brother and Dad (also friends of ours) and a nice young lady (whom he seemed rather attached to). We also invited along a old friend from Aberdeen who has just moved out to Arusha for work. So, we set off on friday afternoon and had a lovely time by ourselves, and then enjoyed company when they all turned up on saturday lunchtime to join us for the second night.

It was nice to be somewhere with plenty of small wildlife and loads of birds, but not feel the need to keep the kids within a couple of metres of us at all times, like in some of the National Parks. There were almost certainly no lions around and definitely no buffalo or elephants. We heard hyena in the evening and a cough that could have been a leopard but was probably a smaller cat (we found tracks of a smaller cat) but all we saw mammal-wise were monkeys, squirrels and a small herd of Grants gazelle's (well, and goats and cows!)

So, without wittering on too much more, here are some photos.

The BIG sandpit. In the background you can see our car and camp.
we hoped no one would mind us camping here so smoothed the way with a bottle of tangawize (ginger beer)

Saturday morning exploration

Friends arrive!
They bring a guitar...

and bubbles...
and marshmallows!
On Sunday morning, after a rather early start, thanks to the Mancub, we packed up camp and set off further down the sand river to see if the temporary wetland we visited in May still had any water (and birds) in it.

You can have a lot of fun in a landrover (or landcruiser - this is our friend's car in the pictures)

The wetland had shrunk hugely but there were still a few patches of open water and plenty of reedbed. Between arriving there at 10.30 and leaving after lunch, we had tallied up 100 bird species, so not bad really! Perhaps most impressive were the swirling clouds of Red-billed Quelea, that plague of farmers across Africa, which wheeled around and around with a huge rush of noise, occasionally settling thousands-strong in a small acacia.

So, after a final picnic lunch...

we headed back up the sand river and home, everyone and everything covered in a thick layer of brown dust.

And they all lived happily ever after.

(Well, I hope so anyway)


  1. Looks like an amazing weekend...makes our trip to Ferry MEadows in Peterborough look really tame! saw lots of birds though which reminded me of you.....nly they were just ordinary swans and Ducks...pretty all the same!

  2. thanks for th lovely pictures. we are thinking of you all a lot at the moment, and fully understand your frustration with auathority and red tape. I really hope you can still focus on the good bits of life out there. We have been waiting for a week now for grandchild number 3 and find living on the edge is enormously enervating so I hope you arae able to keep up energy levels with the requisite number of brownies.
    love to all GAF