A Ruaha Safari Adventure in Southern Tanzania
A few years ago four of us decided to go on a bit of an adventure. We would go on a safari to Ruaha National Park in a Landrover.
As properly prepared adventurers, we had some basic safari equipment with us. A proper jack, spade, panga, spare wheels, an electrical winch and most importantly drinking water.
We were full of excitement and expected to see lots of wildlife on our Ruaha safari. Before we reached our camp, we saw greater kudu, elephant, eland, antelope and lots of lions.
We drove through beautiful Miombo forest. It was hot as we were driving in the heat of the day, but we had plenty of water with us and we were enjoying the views and catching a glimpse of many animals by the Ruaha River.
About 20 km from our camp we crossed a korongo. A korongo is the Swahili word for a large channel which often fills with water in the rains. Just after crossing the korongo we heard a nasty sound, and the Landrover came to a total standstill.
Imagine no shade. It was midday and we were in the middle of a National Park, with no communication. Just the four of us and plenty of wild animals.
These days with worldwide mobile coverage, our little Ruaha adventure would have been very different.
We got out of the Landrover to check what had happened, and we found that the rear axle of the Landrover was broken in two parts.
What do we do? Walking back to camp was not an option, knowing for sure that within an area of 5 km around us, there were buffalo, lions and elephant.
In those days in Tanzania, you had to find a maarifa
If you can’t do what must be done, you must do what you can
The solution or maarifa became apparent. We would place one man on the lookout for dangerous animals, two men to jack the car up and one man to get to the problem of the rear axle.
The axle was a sorry sight. The left rear section was broken from the differential. After some heavy thinking, the solution came to us.
We went into the miombo forest and we cut a sturdy tree to the length of the rear axle and approximately 30 cm wide.
We then took one of our spare inner tubes and cut this into rubber ribbons. After that it was a matter of splinting the rear axle, tying the tree with the rubber ribbons to the remainder of the axle, from wheel to wheel.
We managed to drag the Landrover out of the korongo with the electrical winch which was fitted to the Landrover, our cunning maarifa worked.
We drove very slowly occasionally having to retie the rubber ribbons and continued with our Ruaha safari eventually reaching camp before night fall.
We were tired yet full of a sense of pride that our maarifa in the bush had worked. It just goes to show there is life without a mobile phone.
These memories are what make safaris in Tanzania so worthwhile, although the chances of this kind of adventure are not common on a well organised Ruaha safari with Go2Tanzania, Christine assures me it can be arranged if required.