on extended vacation in Africa
extreme difference Robert and I have noticed between our North American
culture and the African culture, especially in the more rural areas,
is that the Africans choose not to wear deodrant. Tanzania has offered
us an array of body odours ranging from the musky mild odour to
the powerfully strong "knock you off your feet" body odour.
These odours are with us at all times even while waiting in a bank
line up, or going to the shop, sitting on the bus(the worst place
because you cannot escape it), or just walking down the street.
When we arrived back to our hotel from Kilimanjaro a very foul body
odour had followed us into our room. Both Robert and I were perplexed
as to where the smell was coming from. Surely it couldnt me us!!
Absolutely horrified, Robert realized it was coming from his bag.
It must of been his porters body odour that was still clinging to
his bag. Luckily my bag escaped this transfer of smell but poor
Robert, his bag was still steaming. Frantically, he got a scrub
brush and took his backpack into the shower with him.
They were in there a long time but when he returned it was looking hopeful
and he placed the backpack on the balcony to dry. An hour later I was
made to check on the bag but the smell was still clinging strong, so Robert
got out his shampoo and hit the shower again. He turned into this crazed
mad man obsessed with getting rid of the smell. Muttering to himself that
he was going to have to buy a new backpack and dump this one. After about
three scrubbings, a spray of mosquito repellant and a saturation in antiseptic,
Robert finally collapsed on his bed clutching his pack with a satisfied
grin on his face. Thank God for that because I was beginning to worry!
Tanzania offers some of the most beautiful scenery.never ending plains
of long yellow wisps of grass rippling in the wind. Trees that are so
picturesque with their smooth white trunks and large canopies that stretch
out then flatten at the top. My favourites are the Baobab tree, its root
like branches give it the impression its upside down. The sunshine popsicle
tree(this is what I call it, dont know the real name) with its large
umbrella like canopy spotted with yellow flowers that perch ontop like
All this surrounds us as we make our way to the Ngorongoro Crater. It
is one of Africas best known wildlife viewing areas and one of the largest
calders in the world. We camped one night at the rim of the crater before
setting off the next morning into its depths to see the animals.
Not only did we spot wildebeast, water buffalo, ostriches, giraffes, gazelles,
zebras and elephants but dozens of other land cruisers scouting around
like ants searching for food. Our driver opened the roof of our vehicle
which put a different perspective on things. I felt like a typical tourist
with half my body exposed and jutting out of the top of our jeep, armed
with my camera and getting excited about every animal I saw. It was actually
quite comical watching all the other tourists whizzing around and comparing
notes as to where all the best animals were.
We stopped for lunch at Ngoitokitok the name of the springs that bubble
forth in such abundance that a lake is formed before spreading into a
vast swamp on the south side of the crater. As I munched on a sandwich,
suddenly out of nowhere a Black Kite (large brown hawk) came swooping
down out of the sky with incredible speed and accuracy and snatched the
sandwich right out of my hand. I was too stunned to realize what had happened
at first. Then Robert pointed up and we both found dozens of these rather
large and cunning birds circling over us like prey. It didnt take us long
to both dash for the vehicle to seek cover and protection. Our driver
was doubling over with laughter. I'm glad he found it so entertaining.
I almost lost my hand!.
Imagine standing precariously on the edge of a cliff peering down into
a 100 meter deep gorge. At the count of three you take a step into space,
air, nothingness and plummet 50 meters straight down at over 100 km/hour.
Your heart stops beating, the cheeks get a facelift, and all your internal
organs gravitate to the top of your chest cavity. You are simply disconnected
from the world, powerless and absolutely terrified.
Luckily you are harnessed to a rope that pulls you back before you inevitably
would have met the ground, but only to swing you towards the other side
of the gorges jagged rock face. And just before contact you swing back
and the heart starts beating again. A sense of relief shudders through
your body and you then begin to enjoy the ride. And you ask why did I
do this? Challenge, adventure, experience and pure adrenaline
© Emma Segus March 2003
Journeys in HACKTREKS
all rights reserved