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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Beautiful Baobab studded Tanzania

"I am the magic ingredient!"

And the sand road begins...

Baobabs, baobabs, baobabs! Beautiful!!!

Resting our boiling shocks!

Where did the road go?

Tanzania has definitely been a highlight so far… beautiful Baobab studded Tanzania! We left Ngorongoro Crater, honestly a bit reluctant to leave our relaxing haven but ready to explore further vistas. Having been so engulfed in Ngorongoro we failed to pay much attention to the road ahead and preparation is always key! The result was taking what we thought was a short cut but what ended up being the worst road yet… 400 kms took us two full days of grueling off-road… wretched corrugated, bone-rattling parts, thick deep sand that goes on for miles sending you sliding wildly across the road… yip… it was intense! 
Thick sand... and hundreds of ruts created by trucks and 4X4's!

Bicycles replace donkeys as the most common form of transport in Tanzania...

Sand, sand, sand...

It is quite amazing what people are able to carry on their bicycles!

But we managed to survive bodies stiff and tired but mostly intact and bikes intact minus a mudguard, registration plate, gloves… we count ourselves lucky! The great thing about this road though was that it really did take us through a very remote area with beautiful rural settings. We rode through amazing expanses of baobab studded plains and past brightly coloured Masai herding their cattle and friendly smiling children who greeted us each time “Jumbo!” and kept us company while we rested our sizzling hot shocks from the rattling road.

When we asked one local whether the road changes i.e. is it dirt all the way, he replied "no it changes.... sometimes its dark red, sometimes white and sometimes brown." Tar is not a common concept in this area... but you can see what he meant.

"Jumbo!" Children coming to keep us company during a rest!

Beautiful kids! We really enjoyed sitting with them... beautiful smiling faces

This part of the road was just thick, powdery sand!
We spent the night in a pitch-dark Kondoa - power cuts are even more “everyday fair” than in South Africa. However… we were absolutely thrilled and literally teary eyed at the sight of tar as we entered Dodoma. We rewarded ourselves with a well deserved Kilimanjaro Beer… “refreshes a Tanzanian thirst!” and lunch at a local favourite before heading on to Morongoro.
Dad enjoying a Kilamanjaro during our lunch break in Dodoma!

We had a real treat the next day on our 700km drive from Morongoro to Mbeya. The highway leads you straight through Mikumi National Park where we were absolutely dazzled by the magical sight of having beautiful herds and herds of giraffes and elephants crossing in front of our bikes. It was a really special moment for both of us.

And a giraffe crosses the road...

Elephant walking into the bush in the background... amazing game drive by bike!

Dad and giraffe ;)
Beautiful Mikumi elephant and her calf... amazing!
After driving through fields and fields of granite boulders… (serious bouldering potential if it hasn’t already been developed I would be very surprised!!!)… we arrived to purple Jacaranda splashed, Iringa for a lunch stop and were then set on trying to make it to Mbeya so we could cross the border into Malawi the next day. This southern part of Tanzania is far more cultivated and as usual we were in awe at how the landscape changes so dramatically… fields of cultivated trees, beautiful tropical banana plantations and cattle replacing the wild life. It was beautiful riding through mountain passes and up and down winding roads. Tanzania has been a truly wonderful experience… one of the most beautiful countries we have ever had the pleasure to see and we had an absolutely spectacular time riding through here… we will be back!   

We are now resting on Lake Malawi and loving it!

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is absolutely amazing! What a great adventure. We also loved Tanzania for all the "Jambo's" and "Hakuna Matata's" but of course we took the easy route through the beach in Zanzibar:-). Good luck for the rest of your trip and then of course in London!