Rainy season

Read / lees in : Nederlands

Gombe National Park / Tanzania
As you can see it was really coming down.

Although we were still traveling with the speed of a snail we had reached Tanzania nevertheless. But it wasn’t our intention to stay there very long, but to continue to Burundi as soon as possible. Later this year when we’ll be heading back south again we can stay a bit longer to see them giraffes. So our plan was to drive through the west of the country past lake Tanganyika, one of the largest lakes of Africa, to Burundi. I consulted iOverlander like always, and once again it didn’t disappoint me. On the T9, that we had to take, we could apparently count on at least two hundred kilometers of deep sand. And since we were there in the middle of the rainy season it promised to be some kind of Mud Masters for Kia Sorento’s. Or in short, our planning was impeccable as always. After a few rainy days in Mbeya we had gathered enough booze courage to embark on this precarious adventure.


T9 between Mpanda and Uvinza / Tanzania
I really did my best to invent a tall story to this picture, but…

I would’ve loved to tell you a tall story about how we had to be pulled out of waist deep mud by a couple of oxen of a local farmer, but the bitter truth is that the road was in excellent condition from the beginning to the end. So we reached Kigoma, on the shores of the lake and on the border with Burundi, before we knew it. Right the next day we bought our Burundi visas while outsmarting the lady at the reception who wanted to con us a few times. But before we could continue to Burundi Lucía found out that we were very close to a famous national park, the Gombe NP. Known mostly because of a certain Jane Goodall. She managed, without ever having studied for it, to kill half of the chimpansee population by introducing polio to conduct a groundbreaking study on chimps. She proved that these monkeys, just like humans, possess a personality and maintain complex relationships, and also use tools and hunt in a coordinated way.

Gombe NP

Gombe National Park / Tanzania
‘If I sit here really quiet the guide won’t notice me’, he rightly thought to himself.

The park itself is rather small and expensive, but we decided to go anyway because of my motto: ‘At some point you might regret not having gone/done something, and by then it’ll be much more expensive to go back and do it’. Fortunately we found Angela Merkel and her boyfriend, who had left their names in the guestbook of the visitors center, downtown after we drove up and down the main drag a couple of times. This allowed us to share the cost of the boat ride of a hundred and fifty dollars with them. Once we’d arrived in the park two Dutch students arrived in another boat. They’d been lured there with the story that the entrance fee was only twenty or thirty dollars (it’s a hundred bucks a head). Fortunately they stayed anyway. Because while our guide, who lied to us that he only had to be paid once per group, regularly walked right by some chimps and other monkeys while on the phone, our students did point out the various wild animals around us. So once again the proverb ‘it ain’t much without the Dutch’ proved to be more than true!

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