Travel Journal

Karatu, Tanzania

(Thursday 20 January 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 150 – 1/1/11
We took a bus back into the city center and walked around awhile till we found a minibus that would take us to Namanga at the border. It was a few hours’ drive and we went through customs. There was a rate increase on visa that started on January first so we had to pay the new fee of $100 instead of the old $50. If I had known that, we would have pushed on the previous day. The only ATM at the border takes a specific Tanzanian card so we ended up paying USD for the ride to Arusha where there was an ATM we could use and onward travels to Karatu. On the way we saw Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance. To reach the summit is on my bucket list and it would be good to do it now when I still physically can, but the cost and time involved are too much for this trip. Perhaps I will do it later.
The ride was crowded for the four hour trip with our backpacks migrating around the bus as seats became open they were moved to the open area, when filled they were stuffed into any space available. We arrived at Karatu an hour or so before sunset and went to a Lutheran Hostel nearby to spend the night.
I wanted to organize a safari to Ngorongoro crater and then on to the Serengeti so I was hoping to run into other travelers that we could join and split the cost. We were the only people at the hostel though at rates nearly doubled what was in the guidebook which made it more money than it was worth. The only other places were expensive lodges for westerners or questionable hotels for locals. We met with a guide though who would check if there were any other travelers wanted to join us but later called and said he had no luck. Julie was not happy with the prospect of spending more time at Karatu finding travelers or biting the bullet and going on the safari just the two of us which would be expensive. The costs would be: $50 park entrance at both the Ngorongoro crater and the Serengeti Park, $200 fee to drive down to the crater, $150 a day for the car and driver, additional fee for a guide, $30 each just to stay in the campgrounds within the park and tent rental. Quite a hefty sum for two budget travelers!
I was determined to do the trip since both areas are on my bucket list but what should we do? We went to bed with that question on our minds.

  • Think by Nellie

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