Archive for November, 2010

I went to Victoria Falls yesterday, but the security guard told me it was dry. I went to the information desk and they told me the same, still $20 to get in though. I didn’t really want to pay $20 to just watch a bunch of rocks, but I am sure it still would have been amazing ! I will just have to go back again one day ..

While I was there, the Zimbabwe border was just meters away and thinking about it, there is not much to see on the route through Botswana. Also, to get to Botswana it is about 60km from Livingstone and then you still have to wait for a ferry to cross the Zambesi river.

So yesterday morning I made the decision to go through Zimbabwe instead of Botswana. I have never been in Zimbabwe and with the recent political problems in Zimbabwe, which I was told is not a problem anymore, I was interested to see what it is like.

Zimbabwe border was easy, I think I had to pay $10 “road access” and $6 “carbon emission tax”. Everything stamped, gate pass on hand I headed for the gate and they let me into Zimbabwe. I made a quick stop in the town called Victoria Falls to get some cash … the ATMs here in Zimbabwe now dispense US dollars as everything is priced and paid for in US dollars. They do not have US cents or coins, so they would instead give you dollar notes and South African rand in coins as change when you purchase something.

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Garda Lodge, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

I headed straight for Bulawayo and to a guest house/lodge I quickly found on the internet yesterday morning. The name of the lodge is Garda Lodge, run by an Italian couple that have been in Africa for the past 20 years, but only in Zimbabwe for the last year. Very nice place and conveniently for me, about 6km out of the city. I like places outside the main city centers, because when I leave in the morning I hate sitting in traffic .. I am staying the night and then head off again in the morning.

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So far Zimbabwe is very nice, friendly people and also beautiful …

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I left the lovely Madidi Lodge in Lilongwe, Malawi for only a short little 140km ride to the Zambia border.

Upon my arrival as usual, you get overwhelmed by all the money changers, this time, I am ready and equipped with an iPhone app with all the currencies, bargained with them and changed my 11000 Malawi Kwacha to Zambia Kwacha.

After they eventually left me alone, I walked over to immigration, stamped out of Malawi, got my Carnet stamped and rode off into Zambia. Same process, immigration, passport stamped, but this time it took a little while to get the carnet stamped. Mostly due to the fact that this is now African time, the customs official is there, but he doesn’t seem to be bothered to do any work.

He finally came round to stamping my carnet, 50000 kwacha please … what ? why, what for ? “Carbon emissions tax” he said … hmmmmm, first I have ever heard of this, but then again, what do you do, pay up and get the hell out of that hot smelly office.

As I rode off into Zambia, I noticed quite a few changes. Kids do not really wave, they just stare … goats and chickens everywhere. Chickens must be the dumbest animals in the world. Instead of running off the road, they always decide with little wings flapping to run straight out in front of you over the road … stupid ! Only good for eggs and chicken burgers ๐Ÿ™‚

Very first town you get is Chipata, BP petrol station, Shoprite and Barclays bank ATM … decent town. I stopped for some cash and then headed straight for Mama Rulas, a camp site and B&B just outside Chipata.

I was the only one there … friendly staff, especially Raphael at the bar. Also the first time I could find a Black Label .. so immediately went for a Schweppes Granadilla (also first time I had this in ages) and a Black Label. Set up my tent, got changed and back at the bar for some more drinks …. ohhhh Fanta grape as well, yummy !

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At Mama Rulas in Zambia, bar in the background and about to pitch the tent

Just as I thought I got the whole place to myself, a big overland adventure truck pulled in with 21 foreign “teenage” passengers … damn !!

While these overlanders prepared their own food, I ordered a Rump Steak and Chips from the menu … massive compliment to the chef, probably one of the best steaks I have had in my life .. and massive portions as well … all for only around ยฃ10, good value ! Great camp site, big place, so was well away from all the other campers, lots of toilets and hot showers ! Definitely recommended !

Next morning I set off for Lusaka, the Zambian capital. I normally use my GPS to find places to stay at my destination using Tracks4Africa. One place that caught my attention right away was Southern Sun Hotel, so I thought I would go check it out.

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At the hotel in Lusaka

Arrived in Lusaka and again, nice city. They also have a few malls with the normal shops we are used to in South Africa .. they also had an Ocean Basket, I knew where I was having my dinner that night …. As programmed, the GPS took me to Southern Sun Hotel Ridgeway. They were willing to do me a discount at $130 per night. Quick glimpse over the shoulder of the check-in staff, I saw their normal rate is $280 … what the hell, you only live once, Do you accept VISA ? Ok, I’ll take it .. in fact I ended staying for 2 nights ๐Ÿ™‚

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After a swim at the Hotel

Next morning, I went to Munda Wanga Park (http://gpslog.cc/-15.5609,28.2719) , a local Wild Life Sanctuary, most of the animals are rehabilitated and released into the wild. They said 14h00 is feeding time, so wanted to check that out.

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Some of the animals at Munda Wanga Park

Last night in Lusaka, I decided rather to go out for dinner (Ocean Basket and some Windhoek lagers like last night), I will stay and have some food in the hotel bar … not the best I have had, but ok … I also enjoyed a few Mosi’s, local award winning Zambian lager which is not bad. I like to try all the local beers wherever I go.

This morning I got up early, went for breakfast at 7am, packed the bike and set off for Livingstone. Good roads, nice ride, although I was a little tired, sometimes struggling to stay awake. I was watched a movie the night before as the hotel had all the DSTV movie channels. Stopped halfway at this “unfinished” but still inviting lodge next to the road near Choma for some chicken and chips, coke and a muffin … and then pushed on towards Livingstone. They also did a brand new road just before Livingstone … beautiful and smooth, so thought I would stop and take a photo for you guys … and to change the playlist on my iPod ๐Ÿ™‚

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The beautifully smooth road to Livingstone

I headed for Fawlty Towers (http://gpslog.cc/-17.8545,25.8545) backpackers in Livingstone, nice location on the main road, but yet still very shielded and behind guarded gates. Right opposite are a few shops, a Shoprite and most importantly an Ocean Basket again which I will definitely visit for dinner …

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Fawlty Towers Backpackers, Livingstone, Zambia

I will stay here for about 2 nights … and then head off towards Botswana … update later.

F800GS Problems

Posted: November 20, 2010 in africa overland, f800gs, General
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Looking at my blog stats, I have noticed the many readers find my blog by searching for “F800GS problems” …

I would just like to say, apart from the problems in Egypt and Sudan … which was only a faulty side stand switch, most probably because it once fell over its own side stand in Egypt, this bike has been absolutely brilliant !! It was only my own fault that I didn’t eliminate the side stand switch earlier.

It just goes and goes, eats up african roads for breakfast … I love this bike and my confidence has definitely been restored. It has now almost taken me to South Africa and I am 100% confident it will take me back up again if I wanted to …. great bike … and it looks better dirty ! ๐Ÿ™‚

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The beast

Sorry for the long post .. going to cover Malawi in one post …

Tanzania – Malawi border was easy going … except for all these money changers at the borders, but I have found a way of dealing with them now. It is not me who wants the cash, they want to get rid of their cash, so I tell them, I will do them a favor and take it off their hands, but at my rate or leave it … they are not sure what to do then ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, Malawi was windy … as soon as I entered Malawi, on a detour off the main road due to road works, I spotted a white pick up with a South African, CEY registration .. I stopped next to the tinted window and they stopped as well. It turned out to be a Dutch couple traveling up from South Africa to Kenya, assuming they bought or rented the South African registered pick up.

They asked me how many liters of petrol I have left as there is no petrol in Malawi .. no ways … What the heck, Malawi ?

With this in mind, I tried to keep my petrol consumption as low as possible, but the constant head wind made it a little difficult. I stopped at the first town, Karonga, to get some cash from the ATM. I went to both petrol stations in town, none had petrol .. but I was approached by some guys selling on the black market .. almost double I had to pay per liter, I think almost ร‚ยฃ2 per liter, Malawi is going to be expensive !!

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I made my way to Sangilo Lodge (http://gpslog.cc/-10.5173,34.2174) run by Mark Stephenson and probably known by some adventure motorcyclists from Long Way Down as Ewan, Charley and the gang all stayed there as well. I initially only went to check it out and for some lunch, but upon my arrival, Winston, the barman, made me feel so welcome. With the beautiful setting and great service, I ended up staying 2 nights.

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View from the bar at Sangilo Lodge

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Lunch at Sangilo Lodge .. everything is home made.

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View from my balcony

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Watching the sunrise at Sangilo Lodge

Mark, who is also an motorcyclists said that if I wanted a good ride, I should go over the gravel mountain pass towards Rumphi via Livingstonia, instead of taking the tarmac road down to Mzuzu. I was convinced … so when I left after my second day, it was exactly what I did. The pass consists of 22 tight turns with straight drops down the mountain side (http://gpslog.cc/-10.6082,34.0926) … exciting and beautiful stuff.

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Riding over the pass towards Livingstonia

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Livingstonia, Malawi

The coming down on the other side, was not so good though … loads of tight bendy bits, but instead of rocks, mostly sand and some thick sand … as you all know sand is my favourite !! ๐Ÿ™‚ 70km of this all the way to Rumphi (http://gpslog.cc/-11.0210,33.8631) only to find out they have no petrol as well … c’mon Malawi. I had 66 miles of petrol left, so if I ride carefully, I can make Mzuzu where I should hopefully find petrol.

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Having a Fanta at the petrol station where there is no petrol, Rumphi, Malawi

No petrol in Mzuzu … all of 6 petrol stations, nothing, I had to get petrol, I will not make it to any other town with the little I have left … I mentioned the “black market” to one attendant at a BP and she immediately said she can call someone .. so I waited with a Carlsberg in hand .. yes they sell ice cold Carlsberg on the petrol station forecourt.

She came back within minutes saying the guy is behind the station, riding around I found a man, with several 20liter containers with petrol. He even wore a BP cap …. even though he promised he doesn’t work for BP and was just passing by .. whatever ! ๐Ÿ™‚ anyway, he sold me 20 liters for 8500 kwacha .. again almost double, but what can I do.

I left Mzuzu on the M5 along Lake Malawi .. what an awesome road .. loads of sweeping bends, wonderful ride. I stopped at Chintheche Inn (http://gpslog.cc/-11.8822,34.1689) for lunch, very nice cheese burger and chips topped off with a chocolate cake for desert. The southern hemisphere is definitely better than the north, at least in Africa ๐Ÿ™‚

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At Chintheche Inn

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Desert

I got an SMS from Lindsay, saying they are at Kende Beach only about 10km from me, so after lunch I went over there … thick thick beach sand .. dropped the bike 3 times in probably only 20meters. No photos, but have it all on video … will post all the videos one day.

I decided to stay the night, it was so hot and sticky … I could not even bother pitching my tent .. so I got a beach cottage instead. Again, early the yesterday morning, I packed up and headed for Lilongwe, the Malawi capital.

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View from my Beach Cottage, Kende Beach, Malawi

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View of Kende Beach from the Lake

I arrived in Lilongwe … quite a long push, but when I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised how nice it is. I also found petrol all the way from Kende Beach to Lilongwe, so I guess southern Malawi is ok with petrol. While at Sangilo Lodge, I saw an advert for a lodge in Lilongwe, but it wasn’t on my GPS, so I stopped at the local mall, again to get some cash and asked a security guard where this Madidi Lodge was, it wasn’t even 1km from the mall, great location, with good directions from the security guard, I was there in no time.

I arrived at Madidi Lodge (http://gpslog.cc/-13.9777,33.7510) around late afternoon, from such a friendly smile from the security guard (Bester)at the gate to a warm welcome by barman, I felt right at home. Beautiful place with en-suite rooms, the price I paid included dinner and breakfast, well worth it … had a lovely stay. Bester, the security guard also washed my bike during the night ๐Ÿ™‚

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Room at Madidi Lodge

This morning, I quickly went to Game (it’s a South African store chain which seem to be all over Southern African countries as well – www.game.co.za), bought some chain cleaner, shower gel and injector cleaner … filled up at the local BP station, came back to the Lodge to clean the chain, pack up and head for the Zambia border …. Malawi is a beautiful country, but Zambia awaits.

Last leg of Tanzania … the road the Tunduma, where tarmac starts again all the way to the Malawi border.

Again, as usual on this trip .. up early, packed everything, had some scrambled egg on toast and Africafe instant coffee in the restaurant of the country club.

I set off, but the road is all tarmac … can’t be .. or they just didn’t know what I meant when I asked them if the road was bad. About 20 miles later, I stopped next to a group of locals, but they directed me back to town and another road … which, yes, is gravel. I think my GPS got a little confused.

The road was not that bad … I can see it had rained, maybe the day before and then it can be nasty, I’m sure .. but today it was good ! The first 120km or so was great fun, some good fast sections, enjoying it, but then the last 70/60 km to Tunduma was just horrible .. rocky and stoney, bike feels like it is rattling to bits.

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First section was beautiful, if a little corrugated

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You got to see my ugly smug at some point

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I reached Tunduma in one piece and immediately set of for Mbeya … only about 100km from the Malawi border. It is good to get an early start every morning … gives you loads of time and by around lunctime you have covered some good distance.

As I was riding into Mbeya … there was something brewing in the air … it was pitch black clouds, wind like hell, sometimes it felt I had to ride at a 45 degree angle. I could see heavy rain hanging over the mountains surrounding Mbeya, so I diverted to the nearest hotel/restaurant that my GPS could find. It just happened to be on the same road .. it’s a place called ICC (IFSI Community Center). It is set on massive grounds … and very decent, they have a hotel, guest house and restaurant. I decided I will try their fish and chips while I wait for the rain to pass. Very interesting .. not sure what fish, but it was good, maybe a little thin on meat.

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Fish and Chips at the ICC (IFSI Community Center)

I also took this photo of an ancient telephone exchange I think that is in their lobby … and they still use it till this day, perfect working condition.

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The old telephone exchange they still use at ICC

Ironically enough, it never rained. The strong winds must have blown it the other way … so I set off to the Utengule Coffee Lodge (http://gpslog.cc/-8.8852,33.3205), a place I found on the internet. It is run by a British lady and her husband .. very welcoming, great bar and restaurant staff that looks after your every need. A little pricey … think my room was $80, but had a great stay. Off to Malawi tomorrow !!

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Photos of Utengule Coffee Lodge

Down Tanzania – Part 2

Posted: November 13, 2010 in General, Tanzania
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Up very early, mainly because he hippos are so damn noisy … cold shower, sharing it with loads of mosquitos, but better than no shower ๐Ÿ™‚

It is a cloudy day … with a constant drissle. I thought I will wait a while for the rain to stop, but it didn’t, so I decided to pack up everything and go .. not getting anywhere by sitting around. I need to get to Sumbawanga and early if I can.

Straight out of the gates, I turn left and left again … this road takes me straight through the Katavi National Park .. not even 200m on this road and I already spotted a herd of elephants to my left. Later on, some buffalo, baboons and loads of giraffe. Loving it …

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Giraffe next to the road through Katavia National Park

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Some buffalo ..

Or so I thought, soon the seemingly good road turned a little slippery at some patches. You just don’t know where these patches are … This made me very weary of the road, so I stood up in the pegs and concentrated hard on the road ahead of me, making it hard to spot wildlife.

With a constant wipe of the visor, so I can see where I am going … I carried on. It even got a little worse, potholes, which at least you could spot easily as they are filled with water and then corrugation .. my favorite ! It soon became hard work .. very hard.

I came to one section where even trucks got stuck in the mud, I had to wait for them to sort themselves out, passed them, just to discover that there is almost no road on the other side … the trucks have practically made a big “mushy” mud section of the road. Luckily, I knew lots of truckers were nearby if I get stuck. I made it through though ..

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Dirty from the mud ..

Today, I also had my first proper fall since I started this trip. They are busy with road works, so they make you divert to very dusty, sandy single laned roads on the side. Trucks in Tanzania know that they are bigger then you, so they won’t move, forcing me to one side of the road where I hit a massive sandy section and down I went. At least the truck stopped, the guys got off and helped me pick up the bike again. Bike and I are fine though, just a fall in the sand.

I eventually reached Sumbawanga (http://gpslog.cc/-7.9588,31.6290) around lunctime, so I went to the local country club for some lunch. I asked around and everyone told me the road to Tunduma (where tarmac starts again) is very bad and with rain on the horizon, I decided to sleep over at the country club for the evening rather than trying to make it all the way in one day … great little place, great food as well.

I also struggled a little to find petrol in town … I don’t think they want to sell … as they do have, but after a chat to the guys in the office, they agreed to sell me 10 liters on one condition, they want to have a ride on my bike … Like that is gonna happen, luckily they still gave me the petrol ๐Ÿ™‚

Tomorrow, I am off to Tunduma .. last 200 or so kilometers before I get tarmac and then I plan to go to Mbeya.

I have divided this road down Tanzania into 3 parts, first day would be to Mpanda, second day to Sumbawanga and the last day before I cross the border into Malawi would be to Mbeya.

The first day is from Kigoma, down a very small and unmarked road to Uvinza and then down the B8 to Mpanda. The road the Uvinza was beautiful … flat red hard packed roads … awesome, sometimes cruising at 100kph, was just loving it !

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On the way to Uvinza

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Beautiful road … hard and fast gravel track

Then turning the right onto the B8, south towards Mpanda was just as good. Lindsay and Delilah was traveling slightly slower due to some problem with Delilahs bike … think the pannier frame was loose and rattling all over the place, so I went ahead on my own.

Brilliant roads, but hard work … all different terrain, hard pack fast gravel tracks, rocky roads, sandy roads … good fun.

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Some of the sandy bits to Mpanda

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Beautiful scenery on this road ..

I eventually reached Mpanda with little fuel left, but the GPS said there is a petrol station in Mpanda … the bad thing then is, when you get there and they say “no petrol” … what the hell now, will never reach the next town. I had a words with the manager in the office and said I only need about 10 liters after which he said “wait” … they started taking the pump apart and then slowly they could pump some petrol. There was petrol, I think they were just too lazy to fix the pump itself.

Filled up and ready, I waited for Lindsay and Delilah, soon becoming a tourist attraction … attracting all the locals ๐Ÿ™‚ … almost 2 hours later, still no sign. Damn, did one of them fall .. maybe broken leg or arm .. maybe even worse. Sent a SMS message, no reply. I waiting about another 15 minutes, so I decided to phone. Delilah did have a few falls in the sand, she is ok thought, but the bike, especially that pannier frame has seen better days. They said they are 19km from Mpanda so I decided to ride back up north hoping to see them very soon.

Found them eventually, we returned to Mpanda for them to get some petrol. They decided to stay in Mpanda and maybe organize a truck to take the bike to Tunduma .. the first town where you get tarmac again. With the sun setting fast and a camp site about 35km away, I left them there to reach the camp site before sunset while they stayed the night in Mpanda.

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Camping at River Side camp … with my beers in a cooler box.

The camp site was a complete dump …. run down and no one in sight. So I came to a camp next door called River side camp. The only one here, but it’s decent .. toilet and cold shower. The only downside, it stink of Hippo crap. When I say hippos, I mean hippos .. and lots and lots of them, only about 10 meters from my tent. They look like big rocks in the water.

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It’s all hippos …. no, not rocks, Hippos, 10m away from my tent

The local guy also offered me “bush meat” and chips … for … wait for it … $80, crazy … maybe he said 18 .. not sure, but still, no bush meat for me, he promised it is not baboon, but you never know. I just ordered 3 beers instead which came in a nice cooler box with ice ๐Ÿ™‚

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Tomorrow part 2 … one I am looking forward to as I am just above Katavi National Park, so tomorrow I ride through the park … there could potentially be lions next to the road, you never know. Looking forward to it … good night !

We arrived in Kigoma a few days ago and whallah … Visa ATM machine ๐Ÿ™‚ Lindsay said we should maybe go to the port first to find out how much a ferry would be, then we know how much money to get, so off we went …

At the ferry port, we found out there is no ferry, but sometimes there are other cargo boats going up and down the Lake which might be able to take us. They said we should come back tomorrow again to find out if there are any boats going …

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Waiting at the ferry/marine port

We went back to the bank, I drew some much needed cash, then we set off for a place called the Hilltop Hotel. Very nice place, but pricey, room for double are $90pp and single $75, if I remember correctly. They also do not allow you to camp on the grounds. We decided to have lunch instead and then off to a beach camp site. Lunch was good, I had a full 3 course, Soup, Salad for starters, Chicken curry for main and Banana custards for desert.

Someone also told us that the owners of this Hilltop Hotel have their own boat and should be able to take us and the bikes to Zambia .. we went to see the manager and after a few phone calls, they came up with a lovely sum of $6500 to take us to Mpulungu, Zambia. He must be out of his mind !!! We kindly refused the offer and off we went.

We set off to a camp site a few kilometers away, called Jacobsen Guest House and Camp … nicely tucked away and what a beautiful little place. We were the only ones there … they provide lanterns and firewood for you at night … very lovely hosts from Norway … great setting, right on the beach, our own private beach to ourselves.

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Camping at Jacobsen Guest House, Kigoma, Tanzania

The water is so clear, you can walk in with water under your chin and still see your feet.

The next day, we packed up all our gear and headed back to the port. Lindsay then found out, there is a boat running to Congo and then we can catch another boat from there down to Zambia. I was not very keen on that idea. They also told him, there is a boat running the next day to Zambia, a cargo ship, so we might have to sleep on the deck somewhere, but they are willing to take us for about $50 each. So with this in mind, we went back to Jacobsen to spent another night, waiting for the boat the next day.

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Some photos of our private beach

Later that day, a South African couple arrived at the camp site with a massive Mercedes overland truck. They are retired and spending some time travelling .. very nice. They told me that they are also taking that B8 – Western route down Tanzania … so I then decided on my own that I am riding down Tanzania, screw the boats and ferries. If anything really bad happens to me, at least I know that this couple in their big truck will be a few days behind me.

This morning Lindsay said they are leaving at about noon … assuming to the port to catch the boat to Zambia, so I told him, they can go, I am going to ride after which he replied they are also riding … they’ve apparently decided that yesterday already ? We go no real communication going on anymore ๐Ÿ™‚

My plan was to leave early tomorrow morning, just incase the roads are really bad, so I can reach the first town Mpanda about 350km away. I now assume they have decided the same … as they seem to stay another night as well .. haven’t packed up yet.

I left the campsite (adrift) in Jinja quite early the next morning, knowing that I have about 500km ahead of me to get to Kabele, just north of the Rwandan border.

I sat off and mistakingly, but maybe unavoidable, the GPS routed me straight through the Uganda capital, Kampala … what a mess. From now on I will make a point to miss all major cities and or capitals on my journey if possible.

Anyway, through Kampala and off I went .. the road wasn’t the best, roadworks in the middle of nowhere with no signs, the road just disappears all of a sudden and this went on for quite some time, maybe the majority of the 500km. The worse thing was hitting thunderstorms around 100km before Kabele and going through the mountain passes, the temperature dropped to around 15c. I couldn’t see anything, I was wet and cold and maybe a little irresponsible, I sped up just to make it to my destination, dodging potholes as much as I could in the pouring rain.

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Veiw from the restaurant at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort

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I arrived at Lake Bunyonyi at a place ironicly called Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort. Very nice place .. cold and wet I decided to take a bungalow instead of pitching my tent … all I wanted was a hot shower, food and straight to bed I went .. I think around 19h30.

Beautiful sunshine the next day, so I hanged all my wet clothes from the thunderstorms the night before to dry out. I got word from Lindsay and Delilah that they are heading my way. When they arrived, we decided to stay one more night at Lake Bunyonyi, but I pitched my tent the second night as it was considerably cheaper.

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In an attempt to get them dry again …

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Our tents next to the lake

The next morning, we had breakfast and headed to the Rwandan border. I was amazed at how developed Rwanda was … especially the capital Kigali. We reached Kigali around lunch time, so we stopped, had some lunch at a very nice coffee shop … some bickering in the camp with no one able to make up their minds were to go next, we just headed straight out of Rwanda again .. all in one day. Did not see much of Rwanda, which is a shame as it looked awesome, maybe one day I will go back ๐Ÿ™‚

We reached the Rwanda – Tanzania border just before sunset … which none of us really like .. never nice to reach a place so late at night. Immigration done, passports stamped, we walked over to customs to get our Carnets (Motorcycle “passports”) stamped and to our disappointment, they were closed already … maybe 5 minutes too late. Lindsay asked if they could phone the customs official to just stamp our carnets so we can get on our way, but no luck … they just refused. We couldn’t go anywhere.

Stuck in “no mans land” between two countries was probably not something I would have imagined on this trip. I love the idea of going into a new country, but I hate borders … and some how all the dodgy people hang around borders and now we were forced to camp there until the next morning so we can get our carnets stamped. No facilities, no toilets, nothing … I should have taken a photo.

Next morning we found out that the customs official actually lived directly opposite the border post, but I assume being a clock watcher, 7pm he was out of there.

Carnets stamped, we headed into Tanzania … not sure if we should go down the western route, the B8 or head east towards Dar Es Salaam and then go down towards Malawi. One thing I didn’t have, was money ! With only $5, 50EUR and very little Tanzanian shillings, we headed for the first town Kibondo, but found out I couldn’t use my visa card to draw money or exchange euro anywhere in town. Stuck again !! Luckily Lindsay had some cash, so I could get around 6 liters of petrol, which should hopefully last me to the next town where there is supposedly a bank which accepts Visa cards. This town was Kasulu which was down the B8 (western route) …. maybe our minds were made up for us … western Tanzanian road down to Malawi it is then.

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Beginning of the B8 route going south in Tanzania

I was actually quite glad as that western route was the way I wanted to go from the start. Some of it you actually ride through a National Park .. with potential lions and other wild animals next to the road … was looking forward to it. The others were not so keen on this road … they probably didn’t say much, but I could see it.

As we reached Kasulu, I found out it was the same bank which doesn’t accept Visa, dammit ! … Tracks4Africa (GPS maps) have it sometimes so wrong … Luckily they agreed to change the euros for me. While I was waiting in the bank for countless papers they have to fill in just to exchange some money, a massive thunderstorm was brewing outside. Money in hand, we quickly headed for the Kasulu Motel just outside the town in pouring rain and yet again, soaking wet.

That evening the discussion came up about the possibility of taking a ferry from Kigoma in Tanzania to Mpulungu in Zambia, skipping the whole western route. Like I said, not my first choice, I came to ride my bike in Africa, not spend time on ferries. Slightly to my relief, we found out that the ferry does not run this week, maybe only in 2 weeks time, so that meant we had to take continue down the B8. I think by this time we realized that what we wanted out of this trip is slightly different from each other.

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At Kusulu Motel, Tanzania

Anyway, still wanting to try their luck … we are off to Kigoma tomorrow to try and find out if there is a ferry or maybe if they can organize one .. at least I can get some cash in Kigoma as they promised me there will be a bank which accepts Visa cards ๐Ÿ™‚

After we left Camp Carnelleys we wanted to camp on Lake Victoria .. but we decided to head straight for the Ugandan border. We arrived quite late in the afternoon at Malaba, the border between Kenya/Uganda.

After all the formatilities at the border (-$40 later for third party insurance as well) it was quite dark and it decided to piss down … massive thunder storm. We stayed at the border for a while, just attracting more attention. I wonder why all the dodgy people always hang around borders ??

As soon as the rain stopped, we headed for a town called Tororo, about 7km from the border and stayed a night at the Rock Classic Hotel … not too bad, nothing works properly, but at least the rooms had aircon and I watched some DSTV (South African Satellite TV) … While watching Australia the movie, I fell asleep and it was soon the next morning.

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Views of the Nile from the Bar/Restaurant

We packed up and headed for Jinja, Uganda. We arrived at the camp site called Adrift. It is really nice and at $5 camping per night we decided to stay for some river rafting the next day. The bar area is really cool with views of he Nile. We pitched out tents, had some beers, food and just relaxed.

The next morning we signed up for a $125 full day river rafting …. seems like a lot of money, but I think it was well worth it. We spend all day on the Nile, going from anything between grade 1 to I think some grade 5 rapids. Halfway they provided a nice lunch and at the end of the day some nice kebabs and some beers after which they drove us on a 40 minute truck ride back to camp.

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Holding on for dear life … was fun though !

I was completely knackered and soon passed out on the nice couches in the bar area. I am also now known as Batman at Adrift … as my bar tab is in the name of Batman, Lindsay is Superman ๐Ÿ™‚

This morning, Lindsay and Delilah left for Kesese, Uganda, about 500km from here where they will visit their CompassionUK sponsor children. Since I didn’t have to go, I decided to stay at Adrift, I should meet up with them at a later stage … maybe just before the Rwandan border.

Andrey (the russian) also left today to get his new camera in Kampala after which he will go back to Nairobi as Chris at Jungle Junction messed something up on his bike which he is not too pleased about, so I doubt it we will ever see Andrey on the trip again … Bon Voyage my friend … hope to visit in Moscow one day !

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My view while typing this blog … sunset over the Nile

I am now on my own, sitting in the bar overlooking the Nile at sunset… I think I will be heading to Kabele, just north of the Rwanda border tomorrow morning early first thing … it’s about 430km and I found quite a decent camp site there on Lake Bunyonyi.

Only Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana left for me … then I should be in South Africa, hopefully around the first week of December ….