A circular tour of East Africa

July-August 1989

Route through East Africa  
Our route by train, boat, bus and car around East Africa.
From Tanzania through Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, back to Tanzania and Zanzibar.


28th July. We flew to Dar Es Salaam on Ethiopian Airlines. Stayed at the New Africa Hotel on the first night, then moved to the Kilimanjaro Hotel. It was  expensive, but it had a swimming pool!  We found a really good dual Indian-Chinese restaurant.

Dar es Salaam  
Dar es Salaam  
Fish market Dar es Salaam  
Above left:  Making good use of the swimming pool at the Kilimanjaro hotel!
Above:  A dhow approaching Dar es Salaam harbour.
Left:  In the bustling fish market at Dar es Salaam.

3rd August. Got the sleeper train to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika.  Stayed at the New Kigoma Hotel (Railway Hotel) on the lake.

Tanzania railway  
A stop along the way on the railway across Tanzania. Refreshing slices of pineapple at the New Kigoma Hotel.

We also visited Ujiji, where Mr Stanley met Dr Livingstone.

Liemba steamer at Kigoma  
6th August.  Boarding the old Liemba steamer on Lake Tanganyika, for the journey up the lake to Bujumbura.


Burundi harbour  
A glimpse of Bujumbura harbour through the porthole of the Liemba.
Source du Nile hotel, Bujumbura    
7th Aug. Living in luxury at the very posh Source du Nil Hotel in Bujumbura.
Source of the Nile Burundi  
We went to visit the actual source of the river Nile. It's a little pyramid, miles from anywhere. Water that falls on one side flows north up the Nile, all the way to the Mediterranean, while water that falls on the other side flows south into the lakes.

Then we went by bus to Rwanda.

Road in Burundi  
Burundi farmstead    
The hazards of motoring in Burundi - a collapsed road. A country farmstead by the road in Burundi.


Tour de Rwanda cycle race  
Rwanda farm  
We saw the Tour de Rwanda cycle race in full swing, all four bikes of it. A farm by the road in Rwanda.
Rwanda people  
Whenever we stopped to take a photo, we immediately had an audience!

8th to 9th Aug. We stayed at the very posh Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali, and had two superb French meals in their restaurant!

10th Aug. We went to Gisenyi on Lake Kiru and stayed at the very nice Edelweise Hotel with a view of the lake and Zaire (Congo) beyond. Had an excellent meal at the Meridian Hotel.

Hotel Edelweiss Rwanda  
The picturesque Hotel Edelweiss in Gisenyi.

Then we went to see the mountain gorillas!

Rwanda gorillas  
Rwanda gorillas  
Rwanda gorillas  
The mountain gorillas of Rwanda.

12th Aug. We went back to Kigali and stayed at the Gloria Hotel at a fraction of the cost of the Mille Collines.


We went to Uganda via the Katuna border crossing and stayed overnight at the Highlands Hotel in Kabale.  Then we caught the bus to Kampala.

Bus to Kampala  
On the road in Uganda.

We caught a taxi into the centre of Kampala, but it ran out of petrol and we had to push it!

We stayed at the old colonial Speke Hotel in Kampala, but ate at the Sheraton nearby.

Speke Hotel Kampala  
Spinning fountain in Kampala  
The old colonial Speke Hotel in Kampala. A very impressive spinning fountain near the Sheraton in Kampala.

Kabaka's tomb Uganda  
We visited the historic Kabaka's Tombs near Kampala.

We were debating whether to get the very run-down train or the equally ropey bus to Nairobi, when a very nice man called Raoul offered to give us a lift all the way, which he very kindly did.

Kampala bus station  
The very confusing bus station in Kampala, which we luckily did not have to find our way around.


16th - 17th Aug. We went up-market again and stayed at the New Stanley Hotel in Nairobi.

Carnivore restaurant Nairobi  
Snake park Nairobi  
We had the best meal of the trip at the Carnivore Restaurant on the outskirts  of Nairobi. We had Zebra, Wildebeest, Giraffe, etc - a safari on a plate! No good for vegetarians! We went to the Snake Park and saw snakes and crocodiles.  Check the signpost - not a good idea to trespass in their cage!

Then we got the bus to Arusha.

Tanzania again

19th Aug. In Arusha we booked a safari, and set off in a Land Rover with Yolande from America, who had booked the same trip. First we went to Lake Manyara National Park.

Giraffes at Lake Manyara  
Hippos at Lake Manyara  
Lake Manyara  
Wildlife in the Lake Manyara National Park.

Then we stayed in the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, which was very expensive but there seemed to be no alternative. The next day we went into the crater, which was teeming with wildlife and was great. On the way back we had to walk the last part of the way out of the crater because it was too steep for the poor old Land Rover.

Ngorongoro crater zebra  
Ngorongoro crater lions  
Ngorongoro crater lions  
Ngorongoro crater flamingos  
Wildlife in the Ngorongoro Crater.........

Gibbs Farm Tanzania  
On the way back to Arusha we stopped for lunch at Gibbs Farm near Karatu, which was a wonderful, relaxed survival from more elegant times.

Then we had a dreadful bus ride on the potholed roads back to Dar es Salaam, and then got the fast boat to Zanzibar.


22nd Aug. We stayed for one night at the expensive Hotel Da Bwawani with a swimming pool, then moved to the much cheaper and much more atmospheric Spice Inn in the old town.

Spice Inn Zanzibar  
Spice Inn Zanzibar  
The Spice Inn in old Zanzibar town. On the balcony of the Spice Inn, Zanzibar.
Spice Inn Zanzibar  
Zanzibar old town rooftops  
Checking out the view from the Spice Inn. The rooftops of Zanzibar seen from the Spice Inn.

We spent a couple of days wandering round the fascinating old streets of Zanzibar town.

Zanzibar old town doorway  
Zanzibar market  
An old doorway in Zanzibar town. The market in Zanzibar.
Zanzibar Sultan's palace  
Zanzibar harbour dhows  
The Sultan's Palace by the harbour in Zanzibar. Dhows in the harbour at Zanzibar.

We also went on the spice tour with Abdul in his taxi, seeing plantations of cloves, cardamoms and black peppers.

Zanzibar wedding  
Zanzibar beach  
A wedding celebration that we saw along the way in Zanzibar. A lonely island on the beach in Zanzibar!

26th Aug. Returned to Dar es Salaam and stayed at the Palm Beach Hotel.

Then we flew back to London. On the way, the flight stopped at Kilimanjaro airport. As we took off, the pilot commented that the summit of Kilimanjaro was clear of clouds today, which was most unusual. In fact, so unusual that he did one complete circuit of the mountain as we took off, so that we could get a good view!
Kilimanjaro from the air  
Mount Kilimanjaro, courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines.

If you would like to read about our other travels, please click here ......... Globe