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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Tanzania - 31 January, 2001

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Ngiri Camp Site (Serengeti National Park) S0225.119' E03451.491' 1,539 m
Finish Speke Bay Hotel (on Lake Victoria) S0216.074' E03347.861' 1,136 m  154 km

Total:

22,471 km

1,551 km

 

Weather: Clear, sunny and warm.  Mid-afternoon partly cloudy. Cool/cold at night.

 

 

Daily Journal Entry:

Today we are heading out of Serengeti National Park towards Lake Victoria, on our way to Kenya and Uganda.  We are up around 6 AM, have breakfast and then pack up the truck and are on our way at 7:30 AM.  We continue to look for game on our way out of the park as we head along the western corridor.  Along the way we see elephants, hippos and the usual hooved animals.

 

Tanzania01_Serengeti_Day3_Bogged_2089_Web.gif (219328 bytes)

After about 2 hours of driving on the dirt road, we come to a spot where there is a big pot hole (which is marked by a large log that has been placed vertical in it) and in the process of trying to go around it, we get bogged in the mud on the shoulder of the road.  We now need to do what we can to get out of it.

 

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First thing we do is start to dig the mud from under the truck's back left tire to try to get down to more solid ground and put in some of the sand mats.  Here is Gilly under the truck.  Lars has to dig the sand mats out on one side - the truck is so deep in on that one side that the mud and dirt was covering part of the mats.  We put the sand mats down and tried to get out, but were not successful.

 

Tanzania01_Serengeti_Day3_Bogged_Digging_Lars_2095_Web.gif (234576 bytes)

So we needed to dig a lot more around that tire - a few more of us got involved.  Here is Glenn, Fred and Lars digging the mud out from under the tire to get room for the sand mats to be put in.  We ran into a big ant hill in the process of digging and we were constantly fighting off the ants which had a nasty bite.  One other thing to note is that we are in a national park with lots of dangerous animals - while outside the vehicle we were exposed to animals like hyenas and lions.

 

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While we were digging, a land rover came by.  They offered to give us a tow to try to help us out.  We finished digging, put in the sand mats and got ready to try to get out.  In order to help the traction on the one rear tire that was on solid ground, as many of us tried to get on the truck in that space - both inside and outside.  And we got out very easily on this attempt.

 

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Here is the hole that we were stuck in.  It took us about 1 hours to get out.

 

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We then headed on our way.  Things went well for about an hour - until we came upon this swollen river.  The land rover that helped us out was there and was getting ready to try to cross.  We were up on the roof and so we got an excellent view of the attempt.  Things were looking good, but after getting about three-quarters of the way across he got stuck.  Gilly and Re (our drivers) got out and walked through the river to see what they could do (the land rover was blocking our way across).

 

Tanzania01_Serengeti_Day3_River_Rover_2106_Web.gif (231623 bytes)

We lent them our steel hawser and, luckily, a land rover appeared on the other side to provide a tow to get it out.  The well laid plans then did not work so well.  The land rovers on the other side then took our hawser and used it to tow a number of mini vans across the river.  We were supposed to go first so that we could clear the road.  Well, one of the rovers and mini vans got stuck in the mud on the shoulder of the road next to us.

 

It was finally our turn to try and get across.  We drove into the river and everything was going well until it seemed like we went into a ditch in the middle of the stream.  The front of the truck lurched into the ditch and there was a horrible sound for a short while.  We drive out of the river and stop.  After a quick look, it turns out that the fan disintegrated and sent pieces flying into the radiator.  All the coolant water was lost and we were going no where.  What a day this was turning out to be!!!

 

Well, we got to work trying to fix it.  Gilly and Re, of course, were in charge, but they welcomed our help and input.  It was quite interesting seeing the whole process.  First thing was to crank up the cab and take out the broken fan and radiator.  After a quick examination, it was decided that we could attempt repairs on the radiator - while it was damaged, the damage was contained to a few locations.  Once again, we would have to look out for lions and other animals while we were out of the truck in the national park!!!

 

Tanzania01_Serengeti_Day3_Radiator_Shade_2111_Web.gif (194145 bytes)

As it was very hot and sunny, Lars and Ika devised a canopy that provided shade in front of the truck where the repair work could be done.  While we were looking at the radiator, another land rover came by.  He offered to take us to the nearest post where they had a welding machine.  So Gilly jumped in with the radiator and the they attempted to drive across the river. It got stuck half way across.  We have to go into the river to help them push the car to the other side.  It turns out that they had also broken their radiator - the third vehicle to be claimed by this river in about one hour.  Gilly walked back with the radiator and we began repairs.

 

Tanzania01_Serengeti_Day3_Radiator_GillyRe_2109_Web.gif (223004 bytes)

What we did was isolate each of the water pipes that was damaged.  They would be cleaned up, some form of glue was applied to them and then they were crimped together.  There were quite a few that had to be repaired in this manner.  We would then put water in the radiator and test the seals.  After a couple of attempts, we seemed to have succeeded.  During this time, we were also filtering the river water to use in the radiator (as we did not have enough clean water on the truck).  After a replacement fan was put in, we put the repaired radiator in.

 

After reconnecting all the hoses and tightening the bolts, the water tank was refilled and then the engine started.  After a while, water started to come out and we had to stop the engine and drain some water out.  We then tried to repair the few leaks left.  After a number of attempts, it was looking good.  We also added some radiator repair fluid to the tank to see if that would help fix the small leaks.  After a while, it looked like we had succeeded.  No water was dripping out.  Gilly and Re had done an excellent job in fixing the damaged and leaking radiator.  It was decided that we should head on - about 4 hours after we broke down.

 

We now need to race to get out of the park as quickly as possible.  While we have already stayed longer then out permits allowed us, we wanted to get to the gate before dark.  We rode on the roof and it was a great drive along the plains in the park as the sun was setting in front of us.  We saw quite a few animals as we drove along.

 

We exited the park shortly after 7 PM - we had some troubles explaining why we were late, but in the end we got through.  As we left the park, we could see the dramatic change that human presence made.  The fields and houses started to appear.  We drove on for about half an hour and came to the Speke Bay Hotel located on Lake Victoria.  We set up camp and then and went and had a beer at the bar.  After a quick and simple dinner, we took a shower and went to bed.  What a day it turned out to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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