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This posting is cross-posted on apothecaryshed.com

During our 15 day trip to Tanzania in September, we saw some remarkable things about as up close and personal as you could get. We hiked over 70km in four national parks. And we stayed in tents. But don’t let that last bit fool you, we were “glamping.”

So what, exactly is “glamping” anyway? That’s the subject of this posting. There are 92 pieces of media in this posting.

If you are going glamping, you will need a truck

This is the passenger seat. Just for the record.

On the way to our first tent, we did a game drive for a few hours and saw many things. Including an albino baboon. But that’s another posting.

Without further ado, our first tent in Arusha national park.

The tent in Arusha

These tents have multiple rooms, double beds, and non-plastic showers.

This bed is better than a thermarest pad

Of course, readers of noplasticshowers are going to want to know about the bathroom area. There was a chemical toilet. And some sinks that drained directly outside.

Sinks without water

Mirrors in a tent?! Dang.

The shower also had no running water. It was somebody’s job to put 3.5 liters (not quite enough, that is) into the dispenser just before a “glamping shower.”

Those little handles control the water flow.

The shower from outside

Home for a couple of nights

Then there was the food situation. Just great. Really. No camping food here. Fresh fruits and veggies. Great chefs. Delicious.

Our first lunch. This is a theme we will return to.

Of course, some lunch spots were better than others. Like, say, this one. No bees and only one land shark sighting.

 

The fig tree in Arusha is famous. This is a staged video.

 

Lots of stuff happened between camps. By the time we got to Ngorongoro crater we had seen elephants fighting, black hippos, and more. See this posting for all that nature stuff.

Driving between parks

The roads in Tanzania vary widely. This one, recently completed by a Japanese engineering firm was all shiny and new. We stopped for gas. That’s because in Africa, the cars take gas, just like ours.

Gas station. Mostly familiar.

 

We’re here for the tents, though, and so tents it is. These tents are manufactured in Arusha. They are sturdy and must weigh several hundred pounds. Fortunately, whenever we arrived, they were already set up.  Oh, and the best part about the tents?  The views.

 

 

Another cushy double bed

In the morning, hot coffee was always delivered here. Just outside the door, er, flap.

There was a lunch, this time close to some bees.

Denis does not serve honey near bees

 

 

Base camp with the Maasai includes solar panels

Our little panel pales in comparison

The Ngorongoro base camp was another two night thing.

This lion is checking the exhaust system

More lunch is in order.

Fresh

Product placement opportunity

Did we mention that lunch was great?

Lunch was at hippo-land. I counted 53 trucks.

After Ngorongoro, it was off to the Serengeti for a completely different thing.

You go, Denis!

Your faithful crew enters the Serengeti

Pre lunch yoga

Yeah, there was lunch.

More lunch

Our guide Denis was by this time a great friend.

The roads in the Serengeti get some serious use. And so they also get repaired.

Road repair happens

Our third tent in the Serengeti looked suspiciously similar

We arrived at sunset and were delayed when we came across a pair of mating lions less than a kilometer from camp. For more about the lions, see this posting.

 

The camp lions. We saw this pair 4 times.

Solar

Our tent was cushy

The common areas in the Serengeti base camp were all hipster and very cool.

Firepit. The sand had lion tracks in the morning.

The Living Room tent, charging station and location of cold beer

Stuff

The mess tent

Breakfast was also good

Hitchhiker. This guy forgot his towel.

Make sure that you make up some Pele Pele for every meal. It is best if it stews in the sun for a week in some vinegar.

Dinner setting in the Serengeti

Base camp was great, but our plan was to do some hiking. Actually, it turned out to be mostly a walk in the park.

 

 

 

The scariest thing we came across on foot was this.

Camp was set up each night. Two different camps within walking distance.

Serengeti field camp

Even in the field, there was wine.

 

Who needs civilization?

Our tent in the afternoon. Sweltering.

Reading

Sunset was spectacular everywhere we were. This view from a Kopfe was typical in its atypical beauty.

 

 

Sundown on the Serengeti

Though the walking camps were less cushy than the base camps, they were still pretty cushy. Like, they were all set up, there was no carrying in stuff in a backpack, there were field showers with warm water, and so on. Yeah. We’ve backpacked 65 miles in Montana. This was definitely not the same thing.

Home glow

Field camp 2

Oh, and even when walking the Serengeti…there was lunch. This time buffalo.

Hiking lunch

Grill

The guys tried to surprise us with lunch, but we had binoculars and a sense of what was up.

Lunch was trucked in

James was our walking guide

Everyone was armed, though they were not really paying much attention to their rifles.

Morning at field camp

Then it was back to base camp for a night.

Glamping involves chairs and a fire at sunset

We had another lunch. Just under these bees.

And holy cow. On our way to the Hadza bushmen, there was this cheetah. In a tree. Remarkable. Cheetahs do not climb trees.

 

 

Sometimes there were goats in the road

Fire at night in the Hadza camp

Denis was a very serious person

 

 

Even while hanging around in camp, the Hadza were busy. Making arrows.

On occasion, one must stop for onions.

Onion stop!

Street vendors. Read the signs.

Another lunch shot. Because lunch!

Our last camp in Tarangire was at a tent lodge. The lodge had power, running water, a bar, and a pool. There was net too. Talk about glamping!

Civilization

A pool

Of course we were still, technically, in a tent.

The luxe tent

Which had a view.

View from the lodge

Though the showers were not all that, they did have LOTS of hot water that did not stop after 2 minutes. Woo hoo!

Not the best shower in the world, but hot water.

Anyway, that is pretty much what glamping in Africa is like. African Environments makes everything incredibly easy and fun. If you’re a real camper (like we are), it will seem unbelievably luxurious.

More product placement. We cannot recommend this firm any more highly.

Arusha HQ of African Environments. Where we had…anyone? anyone? Lunch!

Our guide Denis Mollel made the trip outstanding. Best guide in Africa. Ask for him by name.

This is the first in a series of first person cocktail mixing videos we’ll post from time to time using google glass at coalstovesink bar. Why? Because we’re geeks, that’s why. We’ll start with a Jack Rose since a fresh shipment of Laird’s Applejack and 7yr old apple brandy arrived today from Schneider’s of DC.

The Jack Rose is a very easy to drink cocktail from the old school. A bit on the sweet side for our noplasticshowers tastes, but a favorite at the bar in any case.

Jack Rose
1.5 oz Applejack (get some Laird’s if you can)
juice from 1/2 lime
2 generous dashes of fresh grenadine
shake. strain. garnish with lime wedge.

If you are a careful reader of noplasticshowers, you may recall the very first blog entry ever (October 21, 2009). Way back when! What were we whining about then? A Marriott property foist on us by the Kilbourne. You see, some people will do most anything for points. Some people, but not us some people.

Here at the Ritz Carlton you might expect a glass shower, right? Like the ones in Charlotte. Sadly, Atlanta appears to be a hotel desert. And as such, even the Ritz (the Ritz!!) has plastic showers. Alas.

I do not like plastic showers. Really.

A good start in the tiny bathroom, but is that a plastic shower?!

A good start in the tiny bathroom, but is that a plastic shower?!

Queue YES Close to the Edge (yeah I know the title referenced Rush, what can I say?!)

I get up.

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I get down.

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Ah the high life in a high end hamster cage.

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Never fear, there is an amenity that arrived as this diatribe was under construction. Did I say hamster? Eat up little hamster.

All your bar foods are come in BIG BIG bag.  With coke.

All your bar foods are come in BIG BIG bag. With coke.

Of course, Atlanta is a big city and there are plenty of great places to go. Dinner at South City Kitchen was relaxed and very nice with a supremely delicious pork BBQ appetizer. Drinks at 4th and Swift were surprisingly well-crafted by Gabriel. The only fly in the ointment is that Gabriel needs to relax about recipes and understand that every great drink will survive on its own in the light of day. Gabriel was fun at first, and then just plain green.

We concocted a Berryville Passage with Batavia Arrack (which I still need to procure for my bar), some homemade black walnut bitters, and an overly-smokey scotch. The new recipe is called the Peachtree Passage:
1.5 Batavia Arrack
.5 Dolin’s sweet vermouth
.5 Dolin’s dry vermouth
.5 Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash House Black Walnut bitters from 4th and Swift
1 dash Angustora

Wash a cocktail glass with smokey scotch. Shake. Flame a lemon peel over the drink. Drop in peel.

The next day started out right with a quick trip to dancing goats coffee (which would even meet jS criteria) on the way to Krispy Kreme!

The ultimate doughnut.

The ultimate doughnut.

No calories whatsoever.

No calories whatsoever.

The famous hot doughnuts now sign is on and the factory is running.

Proof that the cigital offices actually exist!

Cigital Atlanta

Cigital Atlanta

Night two was even better than the first with a superb dinner at Ecco where they have outstanding charcuterie and a great winelist. After dinner we went to Seven Lamps for the best mixology in Atlanta. Master barman Kevin Bragg created a trio of outstanding drinks, including this experimental beverage which we will call the Georgia Liberal:
2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
.5 Punt et mes
.5 Kronan Swedish Punsch
.5 Amaro Cio Ciaro
1 dash hopped grapefruit bitters
orange peel

We will leave the Ritz in Atlanta with three showerheads, despair that Atlanta just can’t rise to the occasion, and this snippet of YES.

Down at the edge, close by a river.
Close to the edge, round by the corner.
Close to the end, down by the corner.
Down at the edge, round by the river.

Gorgeous ceiling in the Biltmore ballroom.

Gorgeous ceiling in the Biltmore ballroom.