Posts Tagged ‘Mpanda’

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 🙂 … 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 🙂

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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 🙂 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.