Moving from Tanzania to Kenya

by | May 13, 2021 | Travel stories

Moving Day


7th May

Today we are starting the trip from Arusha, Tanzania to Lewa, Kenya. The car is jam-packed with household goods, two dogs a cat in a cat travel bag, Charl and I. 

According to google maps, it’s around 518km (give or take) from point A to B and should take around 11 hours. Top tip for travel in Africa NEVER believe google’s estimated time! 

We set off at around 7 am and got to the border at around 9:00. In true *pole pole (slowly slowly) fashion the border took forever so once getting my passport stamped I got the cat and 2 dogs out of the car and tied them to a lamp post in the shade.
I felt sorry for duma (the cat) in her little bag so tried to let her out and put her on Roo’s lead (one of the retractable ones), but that didn’t go so well… while on the lead she jumped up into the open window of the immigration office main room, her collars *safety release* opens and now Duma is just running around inside…
I followed her through the (very large open) window picked her up and struggle to put her back in the bag (going out the door on the way out).  All this time there is a *Mzee Askari (older security guard) just watching and laughing at me.  Meanwhile, Roo is loose as her lead was on Duma and I didn’t have time to get another lead before duma jumped….
So there’s me chasing Roo around the car park, next thing an angry immigration officer is shouting at me about arresting me for jumping in the window. He shouts at me “do you jump in your window at your house ‘ (sometimes when I forget the key).
Mzee Askari just sneaks off before I can call on him as a whiteness as to why I might have jumped in the window. Not satisfied with just an apology and explanation, the security guard decided to make me sweat.
As punishment he makes me unpack and carry all the bags back and forth in the 30-degree heat. Each bag had to be sniffed by the sniffer dog (while Roo barks at said dog) and put through the bag scan. I then had to carry them back to the car (while the security man stood and watched) and spend another 45 minutes sweating and swearing while trying to pack the car up again.
Meanwhile, Roo barks because she can’t see me and Rafa sits and waits patiently and silently like the angel he is… Charl, of course, is nowhere to be seen as he is sorting out car insurance!

Finally, we are off again…5 mins into the continued journey poor Rafa, a very un-snuggly dog has been forced to snuggle up to Roo as a bag fell on his side due to poor, pissed-off packing! Lucky Roo is needy and loves him so she is acting as his chin rest. 



As a result, Duma has been given more ‘calming pills’ and everyone is passed out in the backseat while I sit with 6 bags on my lap!

We have decided f*ck getting to Lewa as we will never get there before dark as the border took around 3 hours, we have therefore booked into a beautiful little pet-friendly air BnB cottage near Nyanuki with amazing views of Mount Kenya, to give everyone a well-deserved stretch of their legs, dinner and toilet stop!! 



To be continued Kesho (tomorrow) … 

Second Moving day 

8th May 

Today we are off to a good start, every pet has had breakfast and done their morning ablutions, humans are not so lucky as we have no food with us so we will get something in Nyanuki. Our packing seems to have got significantly worse, I now have the cat on my lap and the dogs somehow have even less room in the back so everyone’s a loser! But hey only 3 hours of driving today! 


The fun continues… we find a beautiful local cafe for some human breakfast, the lady is lovely and says the dogs can just be free so they go roaming, Duma yells from the bag and so I get her out and put her on a lead so we don’t lose her. All is well as Duma walks me around the garden until Roo comes trotting around the corner with a tail hanging out of her mouth.

I’m talking full-on hair, fur and at least 4 inches of tail, she proceeds to settle down to crunch bones, fur and all down her mouth, not even giving it up in exchange for pleas and offerings of biltong, looking forward to that coming out from either end later…

Anyway, after a delicious breakfast at ‘Shop14’ we move off, we have one job to do in town which is registering a sim card so I can get data and be able to call etc. I wait in line get to the desk, ask to register … “we have a problem with registering.. the system is temporarily down, come back tomorrow” OF COURSE IT IS… it’s like being in Tanzania all over again.

Anyway, that’s now a problem for another day, the pets are content and it is just a couple of hours more driving and we will be in our new home.

The drive through Lewa was interesting, it’s about an hour’s drive from the gate to the lodge of course passing many animals as we went. Roo, maybe still too dosed up on ‘calming pills’ just slept quietly in the middle of the car. Rafa suddenly perked up and had his head out the window whining to be able to go and chase everything he could see.

We arrive at the house and put the cat in one room with a litter box and food and put the dogs in the garden with access to the house. Our belongings had been bought up the day before and were kept in the lodge room next to the house.

They decided that the house had too many cracks in the walls (it does) and that we wouldn’t want to stay there. We decided a house with cracks was better than a one-room tent with all of our belongings, 2 dogs and a cat. We had all we needed for one night so decided to start the process of moving everything the next day. 

I thought I had better take the dogs out for a walk to stretch their legs. As I said the camp is in the middle of the conservancy, it does, however (thank god) have an electric fence around the lodge buildings to stop any big animals from getting into camp. It doesn’t however stop small animals (or even predators) as they can get under the electric fence.

So walk number one, dogs on leads so they are not very happy, usually, they just walk next to me without a lead. We go out of the house and turn left, there is a small single track that has been cut into the thicket as a ‘walking trail’ so we take that route, next thing there is a noise and the dog’s ears prick forward, then they charge and a bushbuck goes running off into the distance, dogs panting and trying to free themselves from the lead.

We move on, Rafa suddenly stops and looks ahead, there is a big elephant in front of us, and then Roo notices it, they are not so brave this time and stand staring at it rather than trying to chase it. The elephant is behind an electric fence but it is only about 200 yards away. It doesn’t seem to have noticed us and keeps walking. We slowly walk forward a bit more and the dogs are still unsure what to do. Of course, if an elephant wanted to it could get through the electric fence, so we decided not to use our luck and change course, going back the way we came. 

We continue past the house and continue our walk. A little while further there is another rustle and I look to the right, this time spotting a young black rhino browsing from the bushes, again behind a fence, but again capable of charging through. I decide that is enough excitement for one day and head off home for the first night in our new house.

I spent the evening watching youtube videos on how to train your dog not to chase things….

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Natasha Chapman

Natasha Chapman

Safari planner & Photographer

Follow along with my life in Africa for adventure, photography, wildlife and safari planning.

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  1. Unknown

    Good luck to all 5 of you in Kenya. Hope it all works out okay and that you have a great time a d experience in another country.


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