Whirlwind East African Travels

Sorry for the delay in posting. I have been traveling around East Africa for the past 3 weeks non-stop.

First stop was in Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania. Here I got to see the parliament building (but couldn’t take any pictures due to security restrictions). Dodoma was a very nice, small, walkable town. I met up with another California in Dodoma who had just finished a semester at the University of Dar Es Salaam.

From Dodoma we traveled to Kondoa, Tanzania. It is a VERY small town but has amazing rock paintings from 10,000 years ago. I still haven’t been able to fully comprehend that I saw and was at a ritual site of our ancestors.

Hiking up to the rock caves. Too heavy for the car so we are walking in front of it 🙂

Beautiful view from the rock caves.

One of the rock paintings.

Another rock painting.

Next we headed north to Mwanza, Tanzania to see Lake Victoria. They call Mwanza “Rock City” and it is a well deserved name. It was a very beautiful city overlooking the water and with lots of rocks. However, we quickly found out that Mwanza is also a city of hustlers. Everywhere we went people were trying to rip us off. Not like most places in Tanzania where the people are very friendly and helpful.

After Mwanza we made out first international jump into Uganda to visit its capital, Kampala. Enjoyed walking around the city, seeing the University of Kampala, the National History Museum and their Parliament building. Had my first experience on a boda boda (motorcycle), sitting sideways because I was in a skirt. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.From Kampala we traveled to Entebbe so we could fly to Nairobi. This allowed us to spend another evening on the banks of Lake Victoria.

Overlooking Lake Victoria

Beautiful sunset in Entebbe

In Nairobi we went to Jomo Kenyatta University and met my travel partner’s Swahili professor from Berkeley who is teaching a short course at the university. Very cool to meet him out her and have him explain some of the differences in Kenyan and Tanzanian Swahili.

View from our hotel in Nairobi

At the National Museum. Gourds from all over Kenya.

Elephant skull on display at the museum.

Snake park in Nairobi.

We left Nairobi early on Friday the 25th so that we could make it back to the UAACC for the African Liberation Day Celebration they had prepared. The students, Mama C and various artists from Arusha and Nairobi performed poetry, music and dance. There was even a fashion show.

Mama C speaking to the crowd and performing on the obokano about spreading peace and love.

Agape, one of the children at the center, who is an up and coming obokano star.

The next day we headed to Moshi to prepare for our climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro. We did a 5 day climb and reached the summit early on the 4th day. The climb was beautiful! On the first day we walked through a rainforest, second day moorland, third day alpine desert and finally the ice cap at the top on the fourth day. One of my favorite parts of the climb was walking in and with the clouds and then being above the clouds. I could look down and see windows in the clouds only to see another layer of clouds. It was a very spiritual experience. The climb was physically very challenging. I am just now recovering from the strain of the climb a week later!

Day 1 hiking, one crew member was with us carrying a large backpack and a bag on his head the whole way.

View while hiking on Day 2

Day 2, with the clouds

Horombo Huts

Zebra Rock on Day 3

Day 3, first clear view of the ice cap.

Day 4 Sunset on the summit

Day 4, view from the crater rim

My highest point (altitude sickness kept me from making it to Uhuru)

Day 5 getting sung to by the crew before we descended

Day 5, in the rainforest almost to the park gates

Now my mom is here in Tanzania and we are having a great time traveling together. I will update you on our travels soon.