Posts Tagged ‘Kasulu’

We arrived in Kigoma a few days ago and whallah … Visa ATM machine 🙂 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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂