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January 11, 2002

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Our group plans on visiting Tanzania first. We drove south from Nairobi and crossed the Tanzanian border at Namanga. The border crossing was pleasant, quick, and hassle-free; never take an easy African border crossing for granted. We traded our Kenyan shillings for Tanzanian ones. By afternoon we reached Arusha, a town turned into a small city by the tourist trade. Most visitors stop in Arusha before traveling to Kilimanjaro or the Serengeti. Arusha offers tourists banks, supermarkets, package tours, and souvenir stalls on every street corner. We ate samosas at an Indian deli – Indian influence is strong in East Africa and their food is the best fare around. From here we drove a few more hours and pitched camp at the Meseroni Snake Park. Tonight we’ll sleep near vipers, pythons, and mambas.
A mamba bite will kill you in about a half an hour. Mambas are also one of the fastest snakes on the ground. The snake with the best name is the boomslang.
Arusha is the first place most tourists will visit in Tanzania if they come from Kenya.
Lucky for Arusha that Mt Meru is a dormant volcano.