I went to Tanzania at the end of 2005 to meet the Saul brothers (Mark & Eric) and to study a website development project for their mining company (www.swalagemtraders.com).
The city of Arusha is sitting at the bottom of the Meru Volcano, and not far from the famous Kilimanjaro. The Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengety plains are the big touristic attraction 15km from Arusha.
Every night people are gathering in the restaurants, The Arusha Hotel and it's casino: Locals, business men (tourism & gem business) and tourists who are based here for their safari and hunting activities.
I use to go 3 days a week at the Tsavorite mine where the Saul brothers have a nice little house sitting on a small hill in the middle of the valley. From there you can keep an eye on the whole mine. The valley is like a horse shoe, a big U, so the mountains are surounding us but in one direction you can see the opening on the Massai plains.
At night, leopards come around the house, trying to get a sleeping dog.
The Maissai Donkeys that are so smart they know how to open the water and steal the precious liquid from the reserve tanks. Water is a big issue here to sort the gemstones by gravity.
At night also, some "feelance" miners from the village nearby come to do some sabotage on the equiment when they are not busy digging galleries underground on miles to steal precious stones from the official mines in the area.
It was really nice to wake up in the morning and to see the fog coming from the valley and stopping right at our feets. The town of Arusha and the Massai plains are already at 1000m altitude and the mine is even higher. So the weather in Nairobi (kenya) and Arusha is sunny and dry but the air is still fresh. Very different from Dar Es Salam where you really feel like being in Africa, boiling in your own sweat.
I could see a lot of animals each time we left the mine in the early morning, heading back to town. On the way I could admire in the same view the Mont Meru and the Kilimanjaro, those plains with baobabs and trees that look like someone cut their head of... Maasais are walking proudly along the road in their colorful clothes but they will have to leave their spears before entering the town. Some of them prefer to live in town and will soon get some surgery to fix their ears totally enlarged by the traditional ornaments.