Lake Tanganyika part I

After an easy first day in western Tanzania, the next trip must be more exhausting. 240 kilometers to the west coast of Tanzania. There, you find Lake Tanganyika, one of the largest and deepest sweet water lakes in the world. Based on the latest information, the road to get there is 240 km, of which at least 150 km bad dirt road. Again, we were prepared for the worst. 

The dirt road started quickly after we left Kibondo. 'Here we go'. However, the road was much easier than we expected. There were definitely some bad parts, but the entire road is under construction. Some parts were already tarmac, and for some parts, we had to drive beside the road, on a detour. We crossed many police officers, but none of them stopped us. We have adopted a motto from the wise penguins of the Madagaskar movies 'Smile and Wave'. 

The road took us much less time than we expected and we arrived at our camp site at a good time to make lunch/dinner. Before we arrived, we went into Kigoma to buy our groceries. The campsite has a cold shower and a (flushing!) toilet, and a nice sink to do dishes and for the rest, we were on our own. No cell or Internet reception, but we really loved it. We did not have a plan to stay a specific number of days, but we ended up spending 4 nights. We didn't do much, and yet a lot happened. 

The first afternoon was quiet. We cooked dinner and washed the dishes. As usual, the evenings in the tent are reserved for Sudokus in the tent. The first morning, we made banana pancakes for breakfast and did the dishes again. We were hesitating whether to stay an extra night, but then we would have to go to town to get more groceries as we have no fridge to keep things cool.

The weather decided for us. We already heard some thunder in the distance, and it quickly started to pour. We found shelter in the tent, but the thunder intensified and came closer and closer. We used the very scientific 'count the seconds between lighting and thunder' and at some point there was less than a second between them. It was quite scary, but we survived. None of the lightning strikes hit any of the trees around our tent. 

A Swiss lady joined the campsite in the middle of the storm, and we exchanged experiences, recommendations and contact details (later of course). She was planning to head out early the next day. As we needed to head to town, we were allowed to join in the back of her car. We went into town, bought groceries and headed back in a tuk tuk. The afternoon we spent playing pool at the reception, cooking and doing dishes. We love not having to do anything other than just taking care of ourselves. 

One of the reasons we are on this road trip is to experience wildlife in a different way, more intimately. Camping is a perfect way to do that. We are in the middle of many different animals, especially at this campsite. Firstly, there is the single resident zebra, Sebastian. We have not been able to figure him out.

First time we met him, we were walking to our tent in the evening, and he followed us. He started to speed up and run towards Jeroen. He seemed to attack, but did not actually do anything. 

The second time we were at the camp. Sebastian was suddenly there at the car of our new Swiss friend. He let her pet him, but started to act up again, until she chased him away. 

The third time, we were just outside the camp and he came running to us. Emma stood her ground, stretched her arm and stopped him. She petted him again, but a few moments later he started to act up again. We started to think he is used to being petted and fed, but we had no food on us.

Later that evening, he visited our camp again. This was the strangest encounter. We had just finished eating and were about to do the dishes. He kept coming towards us and we kept chasing him away. He clearly knew where to get water, as he kept headbutting the faucet and licking the sink. As soon as we opened the tap, he rushed over and started to drink. He then started chasing Jeroen again before we were able to chase him away. 

A much nicer encounter was with the resident cats. One cat kept coming to our tent and we kept treating her well. We gave her some of our leftovers until suddenly on the third day, she showed up with two kittens. She started feeding them and teaching them to hunt, right in front of our tent. It was really like seeing the miniature version of lions. Then she went off to hunt for herself. There we were, at Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, babysitting two kittens. Mama cat trusted us enough to care for her babies.

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