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Shuttle to Arusha + Ahadi Lodge

The Impala shuttle left 40 minutes late and took six hours instead of the suggested five, so we didn't get to Arusha until nearly 9pm.

a temporary diversion road
The road was being rebuilt and the stretches that had been finished where really good, without much traffic, but there were long diversions on bumpy roads around the sections that were being worked on.

We stopped about half-way, at a "Paradise Gallery" which would have offered a good view of Kilimanjaro if it hadn't been under cloud. At the border, in Namanga, we got our Tanzanian visas; they didn't ask for our yellow fever vaccination certificates.

roadside shacks
Kilimanjaro under cloud

Fortunately it was a short drive from the shuttle dropoff to the Ahadi Lodge where we were spending the night; we were picked up by Simon, who was to be our guide.

The Ahadi Lodge is a little way up a rough dirt side road, and surrounded by a pretty solid wall. Inside the gates, however, it's a haven, with a pool, comfortable chairs on a verandah outside a restaurant, and so forth. The rooms were nice and dinner, which we were relieved to find they were still serving, was the fanciest meal of the trip. We also met Mamie, who was one of the three other people on the tour we were doing.

Sunday 20th March

There was no problem leaving stuff here while we were doing the tour, so Camilla left all her purchases so far and I left the netbook, associated electronics, and some surplus books.

Mamie and I were both keen to get Internet access. She had a blog post to finish for work, while I wanted to do a bank transfer. The passwords we were given didn't work, but eventually the lodge manager Fiona turned up with the right password and, after an initial hiccup and a router reboot, we had slow but usable Internet connectivity.

We met the other people we would be travelling with, Janet and Brian and our driver Muba and cook Jackson.

Our first stop heading out of town was a shopping centre, where Camilla failed to buy a rainjacket (the camping store was shut), but we got snacks and an umbrella from a supermarket.

Brian, Janet, Camilla, Simon, Mamie
We got into our campsite in the village of Mto wa Mbu, around noon. The roads were notable for extensive use of speed humps and the presence of tiny little three-wheel cars — and, as Kassim had suggested, a gap between cheap and very expensive vehicles.

After lunch we left Jackson to put up the tents, with some local help, and set off for Lake Manyara National Park, which is just nearby.

Next: Lake Manyara: part 1
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