giraffeAfter Zanzibar and arriving back in Dar es Salaam, we were once again loving the camping life. There is something wholesome about having only a sheet of canvas between you and the night.

We were up reasonably early and although we had considered going for a run along the beach, there was very limited light at 5.30am, so we decided against it. We left early to try to beat the Dar traffic getting out of the city. We stopped at a roadhouse for brunch before driving through a small national park – Mikumi National Park. We unfortunately were not allowed to stop, but we still saw some elephants, giraffes, warthogs, impalas and beautiful birds along the way.

We didn’t have far left to travel before our camping ground which was in the most beautiful valley in Udzungwa Mountains National Park. With large hills each side covered in boab trees and a fast moving river running through the middle, it reminded me of the Murray and of home in general. We were warned against going too close to the river as it had crocs and hippos throughout it. We spent the rest of the afternoon in this beautiful setting and when night fall came, I spent a great deal of time star gazing and feeling utterly peaceful. We also had another photography workshop where we used 30 second exposures on a big boab tree and then shone our torches on its trunks while moving in front of the lens. If we stayed in one spot for long enough, we could see ourselves looking like ghosts – a very cool effect! I tried to take a photo of the stars but after being told I had to actually hold my finger on the trigger for 30 minutes, I soon gave that a miss :)

We stayed up after the generators went off to soak up the sounds of the night in front of the fire. If it wasn’t for the occasional truck going past on the highway a few hundred metres away it would have felt like we were in the middle of nowhere!

Up at a reasonable hour, we went for a walk and then went over some taekwondo moves to get the muscles moving. As we started, a guy who worked at the camp approached us and told us we probably should steer clear of the box with the paddle on top of it because, yep, it was still there… a snake was inside. Thanks for that!

On the road again, but for a short trip today. We stopped at a stone age site just outside Iringa where a number of excavations have taken place that have uncovered tools from the Stone Age such as hand axes, sling shot balls, spears and scraping tools. After a quick explanation of the tools, we walked through a gorge to see some really old naturally formed stone pillars caused by erosion. It was a truly beautiful sight and we walked through a dry riverbed back to see the stone tools.

Back on the truck, it wasn’t long before we had climbed into more altitude and landed at our resting place for the night. It was quite chilly up there and a bit of a breeze, but the bar was warm with a pot belly stove and some comfy chairs. We sipped hot chocolate with Amaru which was nice and warming before getting an early night due to our 5am departure for Malawi.

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