Off we go

Saturday, February 02, 2013
Arusha, Arusha Region, Tanzania
Our main holiday in 2013 was a five week trip to Tanzania. Initially we had hoped to visit the north of Mozambique and southern Tanzania but we could not find anyone who would hire us a car which we could take across the border so eventually we settled on the north of Tanzania.
We booked a holiday with Safari Drive (a big mistake) and their 14 night fly drive safari but then hired the car for a further three weeks during which we did our own thing.
We left home on Friday and caught a very full train down to Cardiff. Our carriage had a group of drunk middle age women on a jolly. They were drinking bottles of beer and vodka and at 12.00 and were very noisy. I suspect they will be beyond hope by mid afternoon. Changing at Cardiff Central we caught a very old train round Barry Island to the Airport. Cardiff airport has about one plane an hour, as these planes are small it is difficult to see why they need a big airport but I suppose it is a status symbol, the capital of Wales must have an airport. There was one flight to Paris (a 20 seater) at 15. 20, the next flight was ours at 17.20 the one after that was after 19.00. We flew to Schipol and stayed in the Yotel, a tiny hotel inside the terminal. Our room was amazing it is only about 10ft square, the bed is set as a seat when you arrive giving a bit of space to use a desk or dump your things. Press a button next to the bed and it unfolds into a good sized double bed which fills the room. There is also a good shower, a fold down desk with both British and continental plugs but no tea making facilities.
We went though the customs area and into Holland for dinner at the Hilton which is about 10 minutes walk away. I remember the restaurant as being good from my Ericsson days and it is still excellent. I had duck, Gill had salmon and we managed to polish off a bottle of rose to christen the holiday.
Next morning we had a nice lie in, a leisurely breakfast and then caught the KLM flight to Kilimanjaro arriving at 11.50pm local time. The plane was a Tristar (MD110) so must be 30 years old. It was OK but a bit noisy. When we landed the in flight mapping system said we still had 61miles to go, good job the pilot was not using the same system. We paid extra for “comfort” seats which meant we were at the front of economy, we also took the trouble to get our visas in advance so we managed to be the first to the immigration desks where they take you photograph and fingerprints, a fairly long process. We only had hand baggage so we were out of the airport by 12.15 and met our taxi driver. I had not really registered how far it was to the hotel before but it was an hours drive, we were in bed by 1.30 which was good, if we had been at the back of the plane it could easily have been a couple of hours later .
The Arusha Coffee Lodge is very expensive but good. We were in a bungalow with an enormous bedroom and a fantastic bathroom with a two person bath and fancy shower. But probably the best thing about the hotel was it's pizzas. The food in the restaurant was nothing special but they have a big pizza oven in the garden which is going all day. The Turkish pizza had lamb and tsatiski with a very deep base, the best I have ever had.
We were up early next day as we had booked a canoe trip with Safari Drive on Lake Duluti. No one turned up at the allotted time, eventually I got the hotel to sort it out but I was not impressed. The canoe trip was excellent, very simple, two guides, two boats paddling us round a big lake which is in the middle of an extinct crater.
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