We got up early so we could get in some semblance of a game drive before heading to the air strip to go back to civilization. We were in a different truck with a different guide and different guests. They were hoping to see a river crossing, so we headed over by the river in the hopes the wildebeest would go across. The two of us weren't really in the mood to see this again, but it wasn't our place to say anything, especially since we were about to head out. On the drive we spotted a couple of waterbuck, some elephants, and another hippo returning to the river from night-time feeding.

We found an enormous group of wildebeest that looked to be primed to cross the river, but they just sat there. And sat. And sat. So half our last game drive was waiting for wildebeest to either decide to go or decide not to go across the river. A little after 7:30 - still with no crossing - we hopped out of the truck and got into a truck with Kevin, who drove us towards the air strip. Although this wasn't a game drive, we still saw quite a few things. We saw more elephants and hippos, and actually did see a river crossing - in the same exact spot, with the same exact problems, as the day before. We didn't stay long at the sight, choosing to think happy thoughts and wanting to get on our way.

At the airstrip, our plane couldn't land the first time because of wildebeest running across the runway at the last minute. The pilot rose up, circled, and tried again, and the wildebeest almost screwed that up too. But fortunately a park ranger saw what was happening, and drove onto the airstrip honking his horn shortly before the plane got there. The plane was able to land without incident. It wasn't actually our plane, however. The pilot told us that our plane would be landing in 10-15 minutes. So we waited our time, then hopped on the second plane, which did come in 10-15 minutes later.

Instead of a direct flight, we had two stops prior to Arusha. We didn't catch the name of the first one, but it wasn't too far from our camp, just a bit to the northeast. Because of this, we never elevated too much, and were able to get some good views of the area around our camp. Among other things, we saw that the giant wildebeest crossing that was about to happen at 7am still hadn't happened, even though it was now almost 10am. The second leg of the flight, to Lake Manyara, was about an hour, and Justin slept most of the way. The third leg to Arusha was quite bumpy, but only 20 minutes or so.

We got picked up by Joseph (a different Joseph) from Hoopoe, who drove us to lunch at the Shanga River House, which looked to be some sort of art commune or something. The lunch was good, but once again we were in a bit of a rush, as Joseph told us we needed to be at the airport between 1:30 and 2:00, and he told us this at around 12:30, with the airport being an hour away. He didn't seem particularly worried, however. After lunch, we had to stop by the Hoopoe office to pick up our purple bag that we had left behind. We then slowly got out of Arusha and on our way to the airport, arriving just after 2pm.

Check in and immigration were easy, and we were wondering why we needed to be so early for a 4pm flight. Well, the reason was that our flight was actually a 3pm flight. But they didn't start boarding until about 5-10 minutes after we showed up at the gate. The flight wasn't too bad, but there weren't any good views of Kilimanjaro this time around. When we landed at Nairobi, we taxied in and shut of the engines (and thus the AC), but the bus to drive us to the gate didn't show up for another 10 minutes. If we never have to go through Nairobi again, neither of us will mind. We didn't actually even need to get on the bus, as an agent walked all of the transfer passengers to a different area. After going up some stairs, we realized we were in the same small corridor we had been in twelve days earlier, only it wasn't nearly as packed this time. We killed some time catching up on the diary and reading.

The airport has only one "restaurant," which is really just a cafe/bar with some snacks and sandwiches, but since it is the only place, it was packed. We waited for a table to open up, then pounced on it. We hung out for as long as we could, drinking cocktails and eating potato chips (paprika flavored, not bad). We took off around 8:30 and went to sleep almost immediately, perhaps even before takeoff. We may have mentioned this already, but we'll be happy to never have to deal with Nairobi airport ever again. This flight was our sixth leg of the day, and although all of the flights were quite short (except for this one), it was nonetheless a fairly taxing travel day - first world problems.