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Just back ! 1 st report

Antwerp, Belgium
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Just back ! 1 st report

Finally our day has arrived !

After months of counting the days, reading every trip report on this forum, we now have our bags packed, 1st malarone pill taken, batteries fully loaded , cash in the pocket, we are good to go .

We = Hubby and me, + 4 kids ( 13, 24, 26, 26 )

A few general comments first :

luggage = we tried to keep to a minimum, 1 bag each, I had one seperate bag filled with donations , 200 pens, about 15 footballs

and 3 pumps

safety = the only time we had problems was in Antwerp

trainstation to go to Amsterdam, Hubby nearly got robbed there.

in Stone Town, on our last day , I did have 2 young boys looking at me with unusual interest. It could have been my natural beauty of course, it also could have been my shoulder bag, but nothing happened.

water & food = we only used bottled water, never ice cubes, you can buy cold sodas & and water in a lot of places . Hubby has a health problem, he never once broke the cook ,boil, peel it rule. The rest of us was carefull, I have to admit, the salads looked so good in some lodges, I could not resist having them. Most of us ended up with stomach problems , ( also Hubby ) nothing too bad, we let nature take its course, only took Immodium for the return flight.

toilets = in the parks most of them were better then expected, even paper available, and water for handwashing; we would wash hands, and then use a wet handy wipe, and finish with a disinfectant gel. Also before every meal we would use this gel.

bugs = saw very few bugs, no mossies on the mainland, only in Zanzibar which is normal for a tropical island; lots of tse-tse flies though. We did have nets in all lodges/ tents.

Mum bag = mothers are always prepared, while the rest had to take care of cameras, lenses, etc , I carried my bag with: toilet paper, dettol wipes, fresh hand wipes, little plastic bags, tissues, disinfectant gels, lip balsem, deet creme, suncreme ( high protect factor ! )

money = I took cash USD with me, divided it between all of us, I had changed some to Tsh upon arrival, but all lodges and shops accept $, maybe exchange rate is not so great, but at the end of the day, we are talking about a very small amount, and bargaining

to get bottom , bottom price , I find difficult in a country so poor.

never used Visa cards.

And then we are off , KLM flight from Amsterdam to JRO

We arrive in JRO at 7 PM, from the plane we can just see the top

of the Kilimanjaro peeking through the clouds. I had taken the comfort seats on the plane, which means we are in the front, and among the first passengers to exit the plane. We are walking from the plane on the tarmac to the terminal, which I always find so exciting ! Once inside the terminal, an officer calls us to the right hand side office; We are 6, it takes a bit of time, but we get our visa, I have the correct amount of money handy, but there is no machine for fingerprints of photograph. There was a bit of confusion among the officers, do we need fingerprints taken yes or no, but a big smile really helped, and we were out !

I mmediately I see a sign with my name on it, and that is quite emotional, a lot of money has been transferred to an operator you don't know, everyone has done their research of course, but when that driver is really there, that's when I felt it : I am in Africa !

He helps us with the bags, the kids need a bathroom, and guess what , no toilet paper in JRO airport, ladies, be prepared !

The drive is about 1 hour to Arusha, it is dark outside, but I see lots of hustling and bustling about as we drive along a nice tarmac road. We get of the main road to take us to the l'oasis lodge, and this road is our first sandy bumpy road of many to come. There are 5 pairs of eyes looking at me, wondering : where is Mom taking us ? but we get to the l'oasis, the gates open, we are welcomed the way it only happens in Tanzania, we are shown to our rooms, the kids have rooms on stilts, and they love it ! Kitchen is still open, we have a delicious vegetable soup, and a chicken curry -rice, Hubby and kids try out some of the beers, it was a wonderfull evening; Tomorrow : Arusha

NY
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52 posts
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1. Re: Just back ! 1 st report

Thanks for the heads up about the TP at JRO. We leave on Friday and I just did a trial run packing the duffle. We are both around 16 lbs. so good to go.

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Just back ! 1 st report

Gladys, nice to hear you had such a great time. I am looking forward to your next installments. Was it all you expected and more? Do you want to go back already?

Bristol
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3. Re: Just back ! 1 st report

Great report. I eagerly await the next instalment.

Alameda, California
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4. Re: Just back ! 1 st report

Great report so far!

Question-So if we aren't to eat anything that isn't peeled, cooked etc, do they serve us salads at dinner anyway, or do they know we won't eat them? Can we tell them no salad, or is salad not a regular thing anyway? I hate to see them waste the food, yet if it appears, it will just sit there (Or worse, i may get tempted to eat it)! I have been to Mexico many, many times so I know the drill about watching these things, as with water and ice. About the ice-so are drinks automatically served without it? (Again, them knowing we only want bottled water). So sundowners without ice?

I had never heard the term "sundowners" until TA. I wasn't sure what it was, but shortly figured it out! Very fun word! i will try it here in the US...well...everyone will look at me funny! (not the first time).

Edited: 20 August 2012, 18:13
Lancaster
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5. Re: Just back ! 1 st report

Great report and really informative. Looking forward to part 2 already!

Antwerp, Belgium
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6. Re: Just back ! 1 st report

QM : it was soooo much more than I expected, the kids fell in love with the country, how can you not ?? We saw animals in 17 days that I never saw in the 3 years I lived there. Do I want to go back ? Why am I on this forum 48 hours after arriving back ? Next time it will be southern parks I think, will start saving ....

Sparks : we had lodges serving choice of salads and / or soup, main course, dessert, sometimes dinner buffet. They did not serve salad if you don't want it. We did have lunch boxes sometimes with sandwiches and salad. Sundowners: we only went for beers and white and red wines .... and mineral water of course, all bottles were always opened in front of us.

Auckland Central...
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7. Re: Just back ! 1 st report

Great report, can't wait for the next instalment. We are traveling at Xmas with 22,22 and 25 yr olds.

Isle of Man, United...
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8. Re: Just back ! 1 st report

Good one Gladys. Looking forward to more. Hope I get all before I have to drag myself away to JRO next week.

Boston...
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9. Re: Just back ! 1 st report

what tour operator did you use?

10. Re: Just back ! 1 st report

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