There are two ways of reaching the parks of the Southern Circuit: driving and flying. As distances are huge and roads not always in good conditions, Filippo, Moody and I decide to take the internal flights. A life experience, I assure you.
We arrive at Arusha Airport some time before the departure and we sit quietly in a sort of waiting lounge where all passengers of all flights wait. The boarding cards differ in colour. We are the ‘blue’ group: destination Dar es Salaam.
When the attendant calls us, I realize we are seven in a micro plane which can carry no more than twelve people.
We need to bend to reach our seats: no numbers on them.
I am alone near the left window, Filippo and Moody on the other side of the ten centimeters wide aisle.
The two pilots, a Tanzanian man and a Kenyan lady, welcome us warmly and illustrate the trip. We have to face different stops before arriving at Dar in order to deliver some passengers and pick up others. We take off ten minutes late heading towards the city of Moshi. The first landing.
Another takeoff. I am trying to relax and to keep under control my fears when we start our descent in the middle of nowhere: Same Mkomazi. Two passengers are going to visit Mkomazi National Park. Good for them. What a pity we are landing on a VERY short dirt road! I cannot move, but we manage to arrive safe. The second landing.
Another takeoff: next stop is the city of Tanga.
No particular problems, if you don’t consider the plane itself. The third landing.
Another takeoff and in five minutes something extraordinary appears under our feet: a turquoise Indian Ocean spotted by little and less little islands. Wow Pemba! How beautiful! And over there Stone Town!! The colours are amazing, almost incredible: the beaches, the sand, white, the ocean, huge and fascinating.
Another takeoff. We will reach our final destination in twenty/twenty-five minutes, Dar es Salaam, where we are going to sleep one night before starting our takeoffs and landings to Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park.
We have been on this little plane for four hours more or less, facing turbulences and very singular landing strips, but I don’t know why I feel good. I feel very good. I am ready to start our game drives. Another day, another adventure.