A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about halima

Lake Eyasi - Arusha

Our last journey with Malisa

View Baby Boomers - Tanzania 2020 on Grete Howard's travel map.

The marauding monkeys made for a very disturbed night: as they jumped from tree to tree, the leaves made a sound like the rustling of a plastic bag, with the occasional abrupt noise sounding like a gun shot; not to mention the racket when they ran across our roof! Thankfully we have a late start this morning – the first one since we arrived in Tanzania (we're not leaving until 9am) – and we spend it exploring the grounds of Kisima Ngeda Lodge.

The camp fire and bar beyond


The observation tower

View from the tower with Lake Eyasi in the background

The wooden boardwalk leading down to a small bird pond - currently out of use as it is under renovation due to being overgrown and unsafe

The secluded swimming pool

Fishermen on Lake Eyasi

The 3½ hour drive to Arusha is uneventful, we just make three stops along the way: to photograph an immature Steppe Eagle; to use the surprisingly clean, modern, spacious and fully stocked / working toilets at a police check point; and for cattle crossing.




Wide load!

And another one!

At Sable Square Shopping Village we meet up with Tillya and Halima (the owners of Calabash Adventures) for lunch.


My highlight, however, is finally seeing the rather rare Shoebill which Tillya has promised me on every single trip so far! Yay! What a wonderful eleventh-hour bonus!


Kia Lodge

From here it's another hour-and-a-half drive to Kia Lodge, the Kilimanjaro Airport Hotel. We have stayed here a couple of time before, and it works so well as it is within the airport grounds and offers free transfers. As always it is sad to say goodbye to Malisa, so we keep it short and sweet. We will be keeping in touch via WhatsApp and Facebook though, which sweetens the parting somewhat.


This is the busiest we've seen Kia Lodge, however, and when we arrive there are people coming, going and milling around. In the confusion the receptionist gives me the passports of a French couple checking in at the same time. Oops! Fortunately I discover it immediately - I dread to think what would happen if I'd just absentmindedly put them all in my bag and not got them out until the airport.

Our room is the furthest away from reception, which is nice, as, unlike the guests who are going off on a safari, we are not leaving until later tomorrow and can have a bit of a lie-in without being disturbed by other guests. We agree a price with the receptionist for keeping the room until lunchtime tomorrow. Despite my hard negotiations and a very decent discount, it is still a hefty $100. Worth it though to be able to have a shower and change before we leave for the long journey home.


We are very pleasantly surprised that dinner is in fact included in our stay, which somehow takes the sting off the rather steep rate for a day-room.

Starter: Vegetable Bruschetta on toast with mango salsa

I have what the menu described as: 'Green Dall and Red Dall cooked in Indian served with Turmeric Rice and Tortillas Cup'.

David chooses Beef Tenderloin with a rich sauce


The chocolate cake with vanilla sauce is a bit of a disappointment in that it is very dry and served with what I would describe as jam.

We retire to the room to finish off the Duty Free that has travelled around with us for the last seventeen days. It is such a delight to have power 24/7 and wifi in the room.

Another fantastic holiday arranged by Calabash Adventures has come to and end. Until next time. Cheers!


Posted by Grete Howard 14:36 Archived in Tanzania Tagged africa dinner tanzania eagle arusha calabash_adventures steppe_eagle lake_eyasi tillya halima kisima_ngeda sable_square_shopping_village showbill kia_lodge Comments (2)

Bristol - Arusha

Heading back to our beloved Tanzania

View Baby Boomers - Tanzania 2020 on Grete Howard's travel map.

For a number of years we have talked about visiting Tanzania during the 'Baby Season', ie. the time of year when the wildebeest and zebra return to their place of birth to to continue the circle of life with a new generation of babies.

Today we set out on the journey to make this happen.

Packing light is not an option when you are a photographer, and we are also taking a number of gifts for our Tanzanian 'family' this time. With my 600mm f/4 lens, known as Big Bertha, travelling in its own flight case, we are dangerously near the 60kg checked in luggage limit for the two of us.


Big Bertha has to be sent as Oversized Luggage, as does the soft bag with gifts, and we reluctantly wave them goodbye at the special desk at Heathrow, and watch them being wheeled off into the belly of the airport. “Take good care of my baby now!”



Once we are rid of the checked in luggage, we proceed through immigration and go to The Commission pub to grab something to eat.

Salmon with curried cauliflower

Fish finger toasted sandwich

Rekorderlig Strawberry and Lime

I didn't quite manage Dry January, it's another three hours to go. Cheers!

Qatar Airways

Thankfully the plane for the first leg of the journey (London to Doha) is not full, and we are able to spread out a little with three seats for the two of us.


There is a screaming child behind us, constantly screeching, crying and whining. While David finds it super-annoying, after years of working in a nightclub I can mostly tune out unwanted noise. I put my cervical collar on and drift off to sleep.



The city looks quite spectacular as we approach the landing, all lit up in the early morning. I try to take some photos through the aircraft window, but fail miserably.

To reach the terminal building, we have a long bus journey following a slow luggage truck around the aiport apron. One we get inside, we are a little dismayed to find our connecting flight to Tanzania is not showing on the Departures Board.


We follow everyone else downstairs to the departures hall anyway, where an official scans our boarding cards and tells us the gate number. It is a long way to reach the other terminal, and involves a train journey. It seems everyone in the entire airport are right here right now, and I find it a little uncomfortable when there is a massive crush for the down escalator.


Like we did on the first flight, we have plenty of space on the aircraft for the next leg too, with two seats each. By the time we take off from Doha, it is daylight, and we have a great view of the city below.


The flight is reasonably uneventful, and although I do manage to grab some sleep, it is very disturbed sleep as a result of taking Lariam this morning (antimalarial prophylaxis which causes dreadful nightmares), restless legs and the overwhelmingly bad BO wafting from the seat in front.


Approaching Kilimanjaro Airport, we initially fly over the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which looks surprisingly dry, with clearly defined animal paths. Later we see cultivated areas, with green patterned fields; followed by the urban areas of Arusha. I cannot believe how much more sprawling the city has become since the fist time we visited in 2007.

Kilimanjaro Airport

After landing at Kilimanjaro, the international airport servicing Arusha and the northern safari circuit, we have to wait ages for the aircraft steps to arrive. The flight goes on to Dar es Salaam, and a number of passengers are continuing rather than de-planing here. A very inconsiderate such lady passenger decides that re-arranging her luggage is much more important than letting the other travellers off the plane, and spends ages blocking the aisle. Eventually she reluctantly steps aside, while still leaving her trolley bag in the gangway for us to step over. Some people should not be allowed to fly!


Before we are allowed into the terminal building, we all have to line up outside and disinfect our hands.

There is a long queue for Visa on Arrival, and as we walk directly up to the immigration counter we are extremely grateful that we applied for ours before we left home.

Both Malisa (our driver-guide) and Tillya (the owner of Calabash Adventures, the company who arranged our safari) are there to greet us with enormous hugs! It feels like coming home to family!

Soon after we leave the airport, Malisa stops to get a small treat out of the car fridge for David – a Savanna Cider, David's favourite!


Gran Melia Hotel

We see the rear side of the hotel from a distance, and comment on how lovely the balconies look. Expecting to be driving to the other side of Arusha to check in to the A1 hotel (a modern but somewhat soul-less establishment), we are delighted to be staying here instead. Despite being a large hotel, the Gran Melia is extremely nice and a completely different class to the A1. We are greeted with the customary welcome drink before checking in to our room.


It is good to see that they are well ahead of the eco-game, using bamboo straws in their drinks





Our balcony looks out over the front of the building, and we love the plants on the roofs below, making the outlook softer, adding insulation and creating more of a green space!


We have a couple of hours before we are meeting Tillya and his wife Halima for dinner, so we take a walk around the resort.

The central atrium

Giant chess set on the patio

The lobby

The lounge

Sculpture at the entrance

The front entrance, providing a covered drop-off point for guests

Love the old car!

Ponds with mosquito-eating fish along the covered walkway from the drop-off point to the reception and lobby

The grounds are more akin to a botanical garden, with the large free-form swimming pool blending in with a natural lake and waterfalls, all connected by walkways and bridges.










Having known Tillya for 13 years, and also communicated with his wife on several occasions via email, it is great to finally meet Halima in person.


The hotel buffet is very nice, especially the dessert section, and we have a lovely evening catching up on news, hearing about Tillya's future plans and discussing politics and current affairs.

Tender beef kebabs, fried yam, a local green vegetable similar to spinach, taro crisps, chicken kebabs, prawns with sesame seeds and a spicy sauce, plus a bowl of delicious dhal

Some of the selection from the dessert buffet. Shhh, don't tell anyone, but I went back for seconds. With so many different dishes to choose from, it would be rude not to!

And so the first day (and second, technically, as we left the UK yesterday) of our latest trip comes to and end; and after 32 hours of travelling, it is a relief to get into bed.

Thank you Calabash for arranging yet another safari for us.


Posted by Grete Howard 07:51 Archived in Tanzania Tagged safari tanzania heathrow cider doha arusha big_bertha calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area kilimanjaro_airport qatar_airways savanna_cider the_commission_pub oversized_luggage malisa gran_melia_hotel psanone_supermarket tillya halima dessert_buffet Comments (5)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]