Sunday, 22 May 2011

Day 45 – 20.5.2011 Full Moon on the Kitulo National Park

Day 45 – 20.5.2011  Full Moon over the Kitulo National Park

                                                               Next day - pictures - more pictures - and more pictures

We have coffee at 5:30 and at 6:30 we start to Matamba, here is the provisional headquarter of the National Park Kitulo. The landscape was far more boring, but this is changing from minute to minute. The Kitulo is a park for quiet enjoyment.

The scenery is fantastic, a spectacular view alternates with the prospect of a waterfall, then again, there are fields that we see most up to 2200 meters. At the highest point of the park, we are almost at 3,000 m, but first we need visit the headquarter.

The last visitors were here several weeks ago. They offer us a guide for $ 10, but we want to get out on the other side of the park. So we must say thanks, but we don't take one, the young man is disappointed, I can understand that.

We pay our Obulus of U.S. $ 80 and continue our journey. An hour later we reach the park itself is particularly impressive, the prospects are on the way up.
Above you will feel like in the Alps. Unfortunately, we lack the orchids for which the park is world famous, we are a month too late. Two orchids we find throughout the day. Half way between the park entrance and the Forest Numbi we stop for breakfast, all around us is only landscape, nobody and nothing is visible. A few birds, many flowers and width, width, width.

We continue to the Numbi Forest, walk for a while but that's really tough in that height.
This landscape has to be seen, it can hardly be described. Ok, one or another animal, like a Mountain Zebra, or Roan Antelope, as in the Nyika Plateau in Malwai be nice, but the park is still young.

When we come to the southern park boundary, we are still well above 2000 meters, we actually see people who create new fields up here.
Without machines, only with picks and axes, what a drag. We see some bags of potatoes on the road. These farmers live in makeshift huts made of sticks and plastic sheeting.  But the people are friendly and wave.

Then we start the descent. The appearance of the landscape changes abruptly. At the high southern slopes of an almost rain forest-like microclimate is formed. The trees are covered with moss, everything is green, but only up to the edge. The villages very reminiscent of the Zomba Plateau in Malawi. Everything is foggy and gloomy, yet many, especially children, barefoot on the road, it has 18 °.

A little later we have a serious problem, the automatic transmission is on strike, we can only drive in the 2nd
or 3 gear. Fortunately, it's almost all downhill. It is Friday afternoon. What a sh….. With 30 and warning lights we creep over the hills. In our minds we are already on the way on the 800 kilometers to Lilongwe, where it has the next Mitsubishi workshop.

We manage to reach Utengule Hotel at Mbalizi, near Mbeya, the Lodge is located in a coffee plantation on the slopes of Mount Mbeya, fortunately not very high.

Once again we are very lucky, we are sent to a workshop in the next village, it is 3 o'clock, we don't have lots of hope. We pitch fast our tent when we go on, the whole thing is over, everything works fine again. But that is also Africa, in the workshop welcomes us the perfectly trained Supervisor Christopher, who exposes the old, used transmission oil as the culprit. Together with the height, the stress caused by the slow driving in the park the oil has lost his viscosity. After the gearbox cooled down, the whole thing worked again.

We have changed the automatic transmission oil, followed by a fast (in the truest sense of the word) test drive, a 5 o'clock, we have paid the equivalent of  R 600 and are on the way back to the hotel. We can hardly believe our luck that we found this workshop here in the last corner of Tanzania in the vicinity of some 1,000 kilometers, which specializes in several 4x4 vehicles. And they work on international standards. Even if we had needed a new transmission , they would also know, what to do.
Thank God. The Serengeti is waiting for us.

Km 186, 8 h, 25 °, Sunny
29 000 TSH at the ** Utengule Hotel Mbalizi

$ 80 park fees (20, 20 and 40 for the car) in Kitulo National Park

Tags: Malawi, Kitulo National Park, Matamba, Mbeya, Numbi Forest, Utengule Hotel, Lilongwe, Mitsubishi

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