This was my first time to cross an African border by car, and I was a bit nervous about it because I've heard so many stories! We drove up to the Tanzanian side and walked into a small, rundown office with three immigration officers sitting behind a counter. They exit-stamped Anna's and my passports with no questions. Cynthia had to discuss things with them for a few minutes because she showed her Kenyan passport and Amaya's American passport and apparently the Tanzanian immigration authorities wanted to protect America from illegal babies leaving Tanzania. Meanwhile, Lema was visiting a series of offices to authorize the car to cross the border (so he did the difficult part). Anna and I were waiting for him to finish so we could drive over to the Kenyan office (brand new and more official-looking than the Tanzanian office) a few hundred meters away. But then a bus pulled up and dozens of locals and tourists and some of Anna's coworkers from the School of St. Jude flooded into the Tanzanian office. We hopped up and trotted over to the Kenyan side so we could be first in line ahead of all those bus passengers.
We did get in line first, with one entry card from the office counter filled out and ready to present. But when we reached the head of the line, the immigration officer handed us a second card to fill out. By that time, most of the bus passengers were crowded in right behind us. So we filled out the second card and rotated to the back of the line, where we waited about 20 minutes to get our visas and entry stamps for Kenya. The visa costs $25, and must be paid for with U.S. currency. In Tanzania, nobody will accept U.S. currency from earlier than 2001. Somehow, I ended up in Tanzania with two $50 bills from 1996. So I tried to pass one off to the Kenyans. They had accepted old bills from Cynthia on a previous visit. But this time, the immigration officer checked the date and wouldn't accept it. Darn! Next, we returned to the car, where an "agent" of some sort was waiting to escort us to an insurance office so we could buy the required international insurance. This guy trotted in front of the car while we followed, with Lema laughing and going a little bit faster all the time just to see how good the agent was at his job. He guided us to a row of tiny wooden shops which included a hair salon and three insurance offices. A quick purchase and we were on our way into Kenya.
The road was tarmac on the Tanzanian side. And it looked like a major highway on the road map.
Baby Sea Cucumber? I think? It was about eight inches long.
It's very important to stay hydrated in these situations. Me, Amaya, and Anna.
...while the rest of us were fooling around taking pictures (Cynthia's behind the camera).
We came across a small group of elephants only 2 or 3 km farther along the road.
This was Amaya's very first elephant sighting. She kept saying, "Njo," (come here) and waving them over. No, they didn't come.
Not too far from the border and tarmac, we had a short stretch of flooded road. No problem for the safari Land Cruiser.
Even closer to the border, a second flat tire. Again, no problem because the Land Cruiser carries two spares and Lema changed it again while the rest of us goofed around some more.