Both Kenya and Tanzania provide attractions not available by the other, but it takes at least one extra day of simple travel to put them together.
We traveled from Kenya to Tanzania, Thursday, from Amboseli to Arusha and finally into Tarangire. It was a long day. Ever since the dispute between Kenya and Tanzania in 1977 which closed their common borders for several years thereafter, there have been only certain places that tourists can cross between the two countries.
Often the easiest way is to fly between Nairobi or Mombasa, and Dar-es-Salaam, Zanzibar, Mwanza or Kilimanjaro. Most safaris fly between Nairobi’s domestic Wilson airport and Kilimanjaro airport in northern Tanzania.
The connection through Wilson is easy, because Wilson is small. But no matter how close your starting and ending cities are from Wilson and Kili, whether or not there are additional flights into or out of those cities, the day is basically shot getting from one country to the other.
In our case we were ending the Kenyan portion at Amboseli with the next game destination being Tarangire. We did this all in one day, picking up Ake Lindstrom and his girlfriend, Nangini, in Arusha to join us for the Tarangire experience.
Ake is a 3rd generation white East African who has decided to buck the trend of leaving his home once educated abroad, and send his roots ever deeper into the place he loves. He founded and runs Summit-Africa, Tanzania’s finest adventure and climbing company.
My group spent a short time in Arusha, changing money, walking around town, and having lunch at the Arusha Hotel. Afterwards, we traveled to the nearby center of Meserani, about a 20-minute drive from Arusha. Sandy Winge was determined to visit the Snake Park, here, to the surprise of her husband, Ken. But like many people who are afraid of snakes, a guided tour is often the best antidote.
The guides at the Meserani Snake facility are excellent, and the group who took the tour didn’t mind missing the shopping time available at the curio store across the street, or the Tinga Tinga Gallery next to the curio store. Bobby Bjork found her dream Tanzanite, here.
It was a short distance from there on a wonderful paved road to the turnoff to Tarangire Treetops, one of the two upmarket lodges that serve Tarangire. Treetops is located just outside the park on its own reserve.
The road into Treetops is pretty bad, and it was the one time on the trip I didn’t wish for rain! About half way through the 80-minute journey we stopped for a “bush pit stop”. I was leading the foray when I flushed out two hyaena about 20 feet away, shouting to Beverly and Carley Flores to get back into the car.
We arrived lovely Treetops at 6:15p, having left Amboseli at 7:15a. It was an interesting day, and folks had time for shopping and non game viewing sightseeing. But it was a long day, unavoidable when connecting the two countries.