Squaring the Circle ~ 'Lake of Stars'~ East Africa

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by wildside, Mar 17, 2019.

  1. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ The Lake of Stars
    ....Malawi , Tanzania, Mozambique.... DECEMBER 2018


    The idea of riding all the way around Lake Malawi from the southern shores of Malawi, up through Tanzania down to the eastern shore of the now Lake Nyasa and into Mozambique continuing down the eastern shore of the same Lago Niassa had been on our minds for about 3 years now but there was always some reason why we couldn’t pull it off. However, finally our plans were in motion with the intention of actually doing this trip. We dangled the carrot for our daughter, Roxy, whose first adventure ride was to Kubu Island in 2016. http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=192841.msg3566810#msg3566810

    To our delight she grabbed the opportunity to keep us company and participate in this ride. Once she had booked her tickets from the Netherlands, confirming her decision, we knew that this adventure was now for real!
    Hopefully some readers will find my account of our ride around the lake of interest. I have called it ‘Squaring the Circle’ as it was by no means an impossible ride but at some stages it seemed fairly improbable that we would complete the circle.


    “ You who are on the road
    Must have a code that you can live by...
    Teach your children well...
    And feed them on your dreams.... ” Graham Nash



    Believe it or not we had done a lot of preparation for this trip. We tried our best to ‘Google’ other people’s travels around Lake Malawi but information and experiences were not available. The adventure riding sites and 4x4 travel forums also came up with nothing. The info may have been there but we couldn’t find anything that would help us in planning our route down the eastern side of the ‘Lake of Stars’ ...as David Livingston once referred to it.

    We worked with ‘open street maps’ and Google Earth when plotting our route as close to the eastern shores as possible. So the roads were there and we managed to connect all the villages we were passing through. We tried to keep off the main roads by finding the shortest route. After many frustrating weeks of plotting we tweaked it to the point where we could ‘fly’ the route on Google Earth. We did it...we had our route and it was doable!

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    Above is the the Map of the 585 km long Rift Valley Lake Malawi which is split between Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique. It is the fourth largest freshwater lake in the world by volume and the ninth largest lake in the world by area.
    The route we originally planned is the grey route and the blue is the actual route completed. At times I have had to fill in the route manually as the GPS would have been off to save batteries or perhaps the batteries were flat.


    Our recently replaced Honda XR 650’s were sporting new back tyres and were ready to take on the new African terrain. Roxy’s bike was a newly purchased old Honda 200 R, with electric start. The only work done on it was a service, a luggage rack and a long range tank – probably worth more than the bike. So the trailer and bikes were also ready to roll.
    The distance was just too far for us to ride these small bikes to Malawi so we would be trailering the bikes to Cape Maclear – southern shores o Lake Malawi. Once again we had made arrangements with Geoff and Karin from Fat Monkey’s to leave the Hilux and trailer there until our return.

    We were fully aware that it was the wet season up there as we had experienced it 7 years ago when ‘Riding the Rift’ ( http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=90093.msg1774124#msg1774124 ) but December is the only time we have available to take time off work so we were prepared for wet and muddy conditions....or so we thought!


    “Since we can rarely foresee the consequences of anything you do, you may as well do it.” W.H.Austen


    THURSDAY 13 DECEMBER 2018
    HOWICK (KZN) to CAPE MACLEAR – MALAWI : 2627 Km



    “ I’m going up the country, babe don’t you want to go
    I’m going to some place I’ve never been before
    I’m going where the water tastes like wine
    We can jump into the water, stay drunk all the time.” Canned Heat




    It was so good to see Roxy again. She had arrived the previous afternoon and still had some final packing to do so there was a lot of last minute fussing. Preparing for this trip took up a lot of time and by the time we left at 4 am I was physically and mentally exhausted. Sitting in a vehicle doing nothing, except talking, for the next two days was just what I needed.
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    Roxy fighting off boredom.

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    Catching up with Roxy added some excitement and humour to our trip. We chatted so much along the way that we enjoyed very little sleep. We entered Swaziland at Lavumusa border Post and had no problems there. It was very quiet. We assumed that all the trucks had started using the new road via Kosi Bay to Maputo.

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    Our cross over from Swaziland into Mozambique was a drama. It was very quiet here and it appeared that we were the only tourists. As usual the ‘runners’ were immediately indicating where we should park. We ignored the guy who, never the less, insisted on sticking close to us. After getting out passports stamped at Immigrations we moved over to Customs where the officer behind the counter gave the ‘runner’ the forms to complete. When we gave him the genuine value of the vehicle, trailer and 3 bikes he insisted on making them lower as he said we would have to pay R 25 000 for our TIP (Temporary Import Permit) if we gave the real value. We knew this was nonsense and realised this was the starting process of a bribe. Regardless we left the form as he had filled it in and went back to the vehicle. Here he asked for his money. Kingsley offered him R 100 which he immediately declined and requested more because he had saved us a lot of money. It ended up in a loud disagreement and Kingsley being told to keep his voice down. In the meantime we had found the number for the SA Embassy in Maputo and informed them we were making the call. There was no reply, however, Roxy made out that she was having a conversation with them. Kingsley returned inside, was given another form by the officer, completed it with the genuine values, handed it back and walked out without further adieu and no payments made. This incident just left us feeling so rattled and had wasted an hour of our time.

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    A snatch of local village life in Mozambique

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    I couldn't get enough of all the bright colours of the materials and wares


    By the time we reached Maputo it was late afternoon and we slowly worked our way out of the hustle and bustle and headed north...more time wasted. We were all tired by now as we had been on the road for over 12 hours. Xai- Xai was our choice for an overnight stop. It was late evening when we arrived at the backpackers and badly timed with a power failure. The light of the torch was enough to put me off the place and the lack of secure parking confirmed our decision to look elsewhere. Further down the road was the campsite. This was also a poor choice. We decided it was safer to just travel through the night. Lack of tourism to these areas has taken its toll on these resorts. What was once a thriving holiday destination is now a rundown and forgotten part of Xai-Xai.

    We took turns to sleep and drive. This stretch of road is so long and fortunately the condition of the road up to Vilanculos was very good which made for safe driving in the dark but there after it was a shocking road. The left over tar road was so badly potholed that it was wiser to use the gravel section of road on either side. This reduced our travelling speed a great deal and the 403 km to Inchope was frustratingly slow. The scary part about this section were the huge trucks that thundered and bounced towards us and from behind encouraging us to go faster. The poor trailer bounced and jolted around behind us but the bikes were firmly strapped down and didn’t create a problem.

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    These narrow roads made it difficult to over take.

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    Now these guys know how to pack!!

    Somewhere along the way the trailer finally objected to the hectic roads and popped a tyre. Thanks to the truck behind us indicating that something was amiss we were made aware of a flat. Damn.... more time wasted!

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    Roxy took this opportunity to entertain some local kiddies

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    Getting the punctured tyre repaired.


    Heading up towards Tete we decided we had to stop for the night otherwise we would just have to sleep at the Mozambique/Malawi border post and besides we were too exhausted to travel further.

    While Kingsley was sleeping Roxy and I found our way to some accommodation in Tete along the shores of the mighty Zambezi River. What a relief to arrive here, have a shower, freshen up and have a good night’s sleep.
    We left after breakfast the following morning.

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    The impressive Zambezi River...and the impressive Hondas [​IMG]

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    One of the bridges crossing over the Zambezi

    Tete to Zobue (Mozambique/Malawi border post) was another 122 km which should take us about 2 hours but after finding a fuel station, filling up, buying coffee and the bad road conditions delayed us a lot.


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    Another typical day in a Mozambique village

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    Arriving at the Mozambique/Malawi border post at 9.45 am

    Exiting Mozambique was no problem at all as we slipped through any little gap we could find to pass the extended line of trucks snaking down the road and get closer to the border post.

    Once again we ignored the ‘runners’ or 'dobadobas', as they are sometimes referred to, at the Malawi border post and paid a high price in regards to time for it.

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    I think this sign is purely for show...as the 'dobadobas' are plentiful.

    We thought we were so cool in getting all our paperwork done, TIP sorted and Innoculation certificates checked and on departing were informed that, unlike Mozambique, each motorbike had to have its own TIP. So after 2 hours, USD80 poorer ($20 per bike and vehicle) and 40 000 Malawian Kwacha ( 10 000 MWK per vehicle for road tax - about ZAR190 each) later we breathed a sigh of relief and rolled into Malawi (+/-ZAR 1300). This was now our third day of travelling.

    About 10km down the road we were stopped by the police and documents checked. They refused to accept our insurance. We were covered by our personal insurance which was accepted at the border post. So we had to turn around and head back to the border post. I went to the kind ladies who did our TIP’s and she laughed and said they had to accept it and promptly stamped and signed it. This worked and once again we set off in the direction of the lake. It was such a relief to have finally arrived in Malawi.
    It’s a scenic route to the lake and it was good to see the familiar little villages and the friendly folk.


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    The locals trying to make money from selling bags of coal....a very familiar sight all along the way


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    These chaps were in no hurry to moooove along.


    The result of heavy rains was starting to become obvious as all along the road we could see vast expanses of water. The rains had arrived early this year.

    It was evening by the time we completed our third full day of travelling, and with relief, entered through the welcoming gates of Fat Monkeys.
    We now had the opportunity to celebrate Kingsleys 60th birthday - what was left of it. After a delicious meal of fried kampango, (a critically endangered species of fresh water catfish endemic to Lake Malawi) we enjoyed the cake which the chef had kindly made for the occasion. Had we known then that kampango was endangered we certainly wouldn’t have eaten it.

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    CHEERS ~ TO OUR ADVENTURE [​IMG]




    #1
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  2. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    DAY 1 : SUNDAY 16TH DECEMBER 2018

    FAT MONKEY LODGE to NGALA LODGE
    DISTANCE: 318 km
    TIME: 11.00 am - 6.00pm (5hrs)




    “ This is what I live for baby,
    You’re my open road
    You can take me anywhere the wind blows
    Right into the great unknown...” American Authors



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    We thought we had woken up early enough to get an early start but we fussed around for so long off loading bikes, sorting out the luggage –what was needed on the bikes and what had to stay in the vehicle, getting dressed, munching breakfast and enjoying a short moment on the beach checking out the local scene. A very common sight along the shores of the lake is laundry time and with that comes swimming and fun time for the kids. It was good to see the little silver fish drying on the racks as the lakes supply has become so depleted and this is their main food supply. With very little effort the paddles slice into the calm waters as the men in their canoes move up and down the shores. They took no notice of us as we move around in fascination and awe. This resort was very quiet for this time of the year and it appeared that we were the only guests visiting.

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    An unhurried off loading of bikes

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    Roxy trying to make sense of the organised chaos.

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    'Paddles cutting water...'

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    Usipa fish, a small sardine-like fish, drying on the racks. These are sold at most markets in Malawi and play a significant role in the economic livelihood for many families

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    Laundry time. Not sure if it's a good time to go swimming [​IMG]

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    Someones on a mission to find a friend

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    High five little buddy

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    My riding buddies [​IMG]

    It was already 11.00am when we said our farewells to Geoff and the amazingly friendly staff and excitedly departed Fat Monkeys.

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    Another selfie [​IMG]

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    We were now officially on our way. I still couldn’t quite absorb the fact that we were actually pulling this ride off. A few kilometres later we were relaxed on our bikes and used to the heavy load on the back. Roxy, who was in front of me, looked very comfy on her bike that she had never ridden before and we were weaving our way up and down, round and about the lovely narrow stretch of tar road that heads out from scenic Cape Maclear....off to chase our dream.

    Turning right into a narrow little dirt road proved to be very interesting. We passed through lovely tidy, clean little villages lined with friendly, smiling and waving little Malawian kiddies that greeted us enthusiastically all along the way. This was a very pretty area with baobabs, topped in bright green foliage, popping up all around us, adding to the magical spirit of our surroundings.

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    Always connecting with the kids

    However, as we progressed so the road regressed. I did mention earlier that the rains had arrived sooner than expected and as a result the road became messier, muddier and more slippery, requiring all our attention. I wasn’t ready for this type of riding so early on our first day of. I was hoping to get into the more challenging bits slowly over a couple of days but then again we did plan our route to follow the shoreline as closely as possible and avoid the busier roads.

    But wham...here we were slip sliding around the road within the first hour of our ride. Despite all this it was a very pretty route which also led us to a wide river crossing that was just short of a bridge. One of the local gentleman encouraged us by saying that “it was passable/possible”. Roxy shot off confidently in pursuit of Kingsley and I followed after reassured that it was do-able. The kids were fascinated by the stupid ‘Mzungus’ and excitedly followed us across the shallow flowing river with much laughter and loud encouragement.

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    Karen crossing cautiously [​IMG]

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    I soon started to get the hang of this wet riding and started to enjoy it. We continued on our way confident that the worst was over. But we soon came to another obstacle. The road was being repaired and had been dug away making space for huge pipelines.

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    We watched in awe as the locals on their 125 cc pikki–pikkies took a detour across the watery ditch, round the other side over a little drift with no fuss or bother, hopped back on and rode off again without further adieu.

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    By now a curious crowd had gathered to watch how we fared. With lots of laughter, chatting and cheering they watched Kingsley take our bikes across. Our Honda's were rather heavy and trying to maneuver them in the mud was a bit trickier than a pikki-pikki but fortunately there’s always one willing local who will assist us. After a bit of huffing, puffing and waving goodbye we set off once again.

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    This was starting to feel like an adventure already. I thought we had planned an uncomplicated route for our first days ride so this was a total surprise. It took us about 2 hours to complete this 25 km stretch of road. The other little short cut road that I was expecting wasn’t as bad but Roxy managed to have her first fall on the final muddy section – the counting had begun.

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    It was a relief to get back onto the tar road and try make up some time, however, we now had trucks to contend with and with the roads being so narrow with no shoulder area we battled to overtake at times as they would encroach on the whole road so now we really had to be cautious and the going was slow and as you soon frustratingly discover on a motorbike, ‘might is right’!

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    Having a rest and a much needed cup of coffee

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    Happy little faces cheering us along

    The sun was soon slipping behind the mountains to the east of us. Despite the beauty the sunset created, silhouetting the fisherman and there baskets down on the river as we crossed over a bridge, it also forced us to ride in the dark which we promised ourselves we wouldn’t do. The many small villages started to get busier and more active as locals peddled and walked into the markets from both directions to buy their meal from the many vendors on the side of the road and socialize with an old buddy. Piled up high were baskets of ripe mangoes, bright tomatoes, cassava roots, bags of coal, little piles of dried silver fish and more unidentifiable foodstuffs. It became more cramped on the dark roads that split the markets as they moved unconsciously into our space and with thumb on hooter, eyes focused into the dusk we carefully worked our way, following each other’s rear lights, through the darkening bustling villages. Shortly after complete darkness finally descended we turned right and followed a sandy track to the entrance of Ngala Lodge.

    A friendly Patricia came out to meet and welcome us in. Fortunately she still had her staff on duty and we headed straight for the pub and ordered a survival drink and a quick meal. It was too dark to start pitching tents so we opted for the backpackers dorm. We were the only people here and spread ourselves out taking full advantage of all the space to hang up our wet, dirty clothing. We were so exhausted and wasted no time climbing into bed.
    #2
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  3. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    DAY 2 : MONDAY 17 DECEMBER 2018
    NGALA LODGE to MAKUZI BEACH LODGE
    DISTANCE : 70 km
    TIME : 9.00am - 1.00pm



    “Is a dream a lie
    If it don’t come true
    Or is it something worse?” Bruce Springsteen



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    One heck of a storm crashed over our roof during the night, lightening thrashed around and the thunder rolled into the distance waking us up several times as the rain pelted down..... what a relief to be warm and dry.

    Waking up to an unexpected sunny day was surely a sign of good things to come. With coffee and muesli in hand we walked the short path down to the beach to relax before packing up. It was great to be out in the sunshine and sitting on the shore of the calm lake scanning the horizon for signs of the distant and faded Mozambique Mountains giving us an idea where we were planning on heading to.



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    While we were packing up a chap called Grant Atkins came over to chat with us... strangely enough he was actually from our home town and was very interested in our trip as he was returning from a 6 month trip through east Africa with his wife and two young boys whom they had taken out of school for the occasion. I thought this was great as valuable lessons are learnt through the informal teachings while travelling around from country to country, as kids can learn best through their own life experiences, rather than in a boring old classroom. But, that’s a matter of opinion.

    We finally got away and were now fully prepared to head off towards Livingstonia, another 294 km away. An early start would ensure a nice early arrival.

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    We had ridden a good 20 km when Kingsley’s bike just cut out. This was now the first of many frustrating stops as we were soon to discover. On checking out the problem he discovered that there was a hassle with the fuel supply getting to the carburetor which he eventually managed to clear. Chuffed that we had such an ‘ace’ bike mechanic we confidently continued our trip.

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    Just as we were relaxing and settling in for the long ride up north Kingsley’s Honda spluttered to a halt again with the same problem.

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    Fifteen minutes of fiddling resulted in another false start as about 10 km further we stopped again.

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    'The London Shop' - another missed shopping opportunity.

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    This happened about five times and by now we were all silently cursing this unreliable chunk of Honda and putting on brave smiley faces displaying endless patience. Not so sure about this ‘ace’ mechanic anymore.

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    So once again we were on our way and enjoying the cool wind whistling through our stuffy helmets whilst admiring the great scenery on either side. Good grief....he was pulling over again!!

    It was really a matter of smiling through gritted teeth as he explained that he now had a rear wheel puncture. Could this get any worse? This took at least another hour in which time the neighboring kids, teenagers and adults had discovered us and curiously came to observe the changing of tubes. One guy who was so inebriated insisted on attempting to help but was more of a hinderence. Roxy and I were making buddies with some of the ones who good speak a smattering of English and even exchanged phone numbers – perhaps a few digits were swopped around.

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    When all was sorted, tools packed away, helmets on and waving goodbye we rode with bated breath hoping to cover a fair amount of mileage before stopping again. But this was not to be as the bike cut out again about ten minutes later. I took this opportunity to ride back a few kilometers to take some scenic photos of the lake.

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    The rain in the distance didn't go unnoticed.

    Out of frustration Kingsley eventually removed the filter and this proved to be a very wise decision as it actually solved the problem. But all these delays now altered our decision to not continue all the way up to Mushroom Farm near Livingstonia but to rather head to Makuzi Lodge, a short distance away and rather relax for the afternoon than stress about the bikes and ride another 4.5 hours.

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    #3
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  4. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    It was almost midday by the time we made a brief stop at Kande Beach Resort. We just wanted to show Roxy this spot, get something to drink and decide if we wanted to overnight here or move on further north. It was also very quiet but nicely maintained. Obviously still a popular stopover for the overlanders.

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    The locals certainly know how to carve.

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    It wasn’t much further to Makuzi Lodge and arriving at this familiar spot was very special for me and seeing that the gardens and buildings had been beautifully maintained after all these years was welcoming and a relief. We promptly stocked up with booze and found our old familiar camping spot....right on the beach.

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    Check the glint in the eyes.

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    We wasted no time in setting up camp, made it comfy and feeling all hot and sweaty strolled down to the lake for a much needed swim. Now this was a treat. We relaxed on the beach, soaking up cold G & T’s along with the summer sun.

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    Happiness is....

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    After showering it was sundowners on the deck.

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    Here we met Nick, the manager, who was extremely surprised to hear of our plans.

    He had worked for the fishing industry on an island in Lake Malawi somewhere off the Tanzanian coast for over 20 years and he was not familiar with any roads on the other side of the Livingston Mountains that would take us to where we were heading. He strongly advised us against going through Tanzania as it was also the rainy season, which we were fully aware of. He suggested we head for Likoma Island on board the MV Ilala Ferry which departs from Nkata Bay in the evening. From there he suggested we take a small local boat across the short stretch of lake to Cobue in Mozambique and then continue on our journey.

    Now this was something to stew over as it would change a few days of planned riding. Admittedly, this was a section of the trip that did have us concerned during the planning stage and now with bike problems and two girls along as well as the rain perhaps we were aspiring to too much.

    We mulled it over back at the camp whilst preparing dinner and after us all putting in our pennies worth, made a reluctant decision to opt for the Ilala Ferry idea.
    It was good to slip into our sleeping bags and finally get some rest.

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    CHEERS.....to our reluctant decision [​IMG]
    #4
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  5. jorrie

    jorrie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    147
    Location:
    NELSPRUIT,MPUMALANGA,SOUTH AFRICA
    Baie mooi daar julle het meer guts as ek.
    #5
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  6. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    DAY 3: TUESDAY - 18 DECEMBER 2018
    MAKUZI BEACH LODGE to LUKWE BIO CAMP (near Livingstonia)
    DISTANCE: 250 km
    8.30 am --> 5.45 pm



    ‘Does the road wind uphill all the way?
    Yes, to the very end.
    Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
    From morn till night my friend.’ Christina Rosetti



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    The sound of energetic birdsong woke me up at 5 am. It was pleasant lying back and listening to them waking up as well. I took this opportunity to walk on the beach and enjoy the sunrise. Jet, the crazy resident boxer, bounded up also full of renewed energy. So we enjoyed each other’s company while exploring the nearby rocks and shoreline. Eager fishermen were paddling around purposefully, either heading off or returning. It was a perfect scene for a sunrise.

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    Definitely crocodiles in the lake but they do appear harmless [​IMG]

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    The other two had woken up by the time I returned and Kingsley made us some coffee and we munched muesli.

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    Chatting with Brett, the owner, this morning also confirmed that we should give Tanzania a miss. He felt if we were three young males and it was the dry season it would make more sense.
    We were out of there by 8.30 am and looking forward to an easy days ride and an early arrival at Mushroom camp.

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    We hadn’t even gone 10 km and Roxy wobbled to a stop....another puncture. Poor Kingsley had another repair to take care of. We were once again entertained by the kids selling mangoes.

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    We stopped for fuel just outside Nkata but they would only take cash so we needed to go into Nkata village to get cash and check out the ferry timetable. We found two ATM’s which would only accept Visa card....we had Mastercard. So reluctantly we cashed in some dollars. Sometimes if lucky you will find a Standard bank as they accept Mastercard.

    Continuing down the road and through the village took us to the Malawi Shipping Company at the port. A friendly chap came out to assist us and were told that the Ilala was departing next Monday evening, Christmas eve.

    He tried to convince us to go on another little wooden vessel that certainly didn’t look ‘water worthy’. On inspection of this ‘ferry’ which was full of water, a few planks for seating, no shelter and limited space for the motorbikes, I decided ‘not a chance’....with the slightest rough waters the bikes would be thrown off balance. This was leaving on Thursday with a load of ‘medical drugs’. Kingsley and Rox were keen and couldn’t understand why I was not prepared to risk my life in this poor excuse for a vessel. I put the argument to bed with ‘I’m not getting on that f*^@#~g thing’!!! .....Message received !

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    Before leaving town we needed spare tubes as our supply was running out. Roxy managed to buy us two simcards but to find a place to register them was proving to be difficult. All these little stops gobbled up so much time. On arrival at the fuel station back up at the intersection we were now informed that they had no fuel so we needed to move on to the next fuel station...our luck was in. It was a continuous climb up into the hills that led to Mzuzu, 30km away. You could feel the chill in the air and see the rain up ahead. After a quick stop we covered our backpacks and donned our jackets. Within minutes the threatening rain arrived. It’s the feel of that first trickle of water which snakes its way down between your legs that is initially so unpleasant but once you’re completely wet it’s bareable.

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    Once again our pace slowed as we cautiously wound our way up the wet, slippery twists and turns. The skies cleared as we arrived in Mzuzu where we found a Standard bank and withdrew some cash and found a place to set up our simcards. Lunch consisted of bananas which we bought from a local vendor. We still had 160 km to go and an agitated Kingsley politely encouraged us to get a move on.

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    At this stage we were quite a distance inland but as you head towards the lake again there is a pass that leads to the shore with some impressive views but the road surface has deteriorated terribly and rock slides have also blocked off parts of the road. Once again we had to ride with caution. We had company at the view point and offered them our mangoes and they kept us entertained for a while.

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    A family portrait
    #6
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  7. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    It was a pretty ride as we hugged to shoreline up to the turn off to Livingstonia.

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    It was now 4.30 pm and for some reason a vehicle had blocked the narrow little track so we maneuvered our way round between some huts and back onto the road. We had all been looking forward to this 16 km stretch of road that climbs 700m in altitude through a series of 20 hairpin bends. It started off being a sandy strip of road and turned into very rough road with lots of rocks and occasional muddy patches but it improved as we got higher up.

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    We all managed to keep our pace and wound our way up, up and up passing through dense woodland and occasionally we would be treated to awesome views of the lake. I was initially apprehensive about this section of road as I had read somewhere that this route was often described as ‘one of the most exciting roads in Africa’. It was picturesque and a great ride but at no point challenging or dangerous as most of the sharp hair pin bends had been concreted, making riding a lot easier despite some scary drop offs. It was difficult to stop on the uphills to take photos but we do have sections of it on gopro. There is no public transport available on this road resulting in tourists hiking up or being offered lifts by people with their own transport.
    I have posted a quite a few photos heading up the hill just to give you some idea of what the road is like....as you can see it's not so bad [​IMG]

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    It certainly is a lot easier, faster and more comfortable on a motorbike than in a vehicle bouncing around. After about 12km we turned off to the popular Mushroom Farm. From the parking area there’s a steep pathway that led us down to the restaurant and pub area where we met up with a lot of tourists lazing around the place. This Eco Lodge overlooks the Great Rift Valley offering stunning views of the lake. There was such an awesome vibe here and we were keen on spending the night but unfortunately no accommodation was available. So we quickly gulped down some coffee before continuing up to Lukwe Eco Lodge.

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    This camp was also in a very tranquil setting, spread out between the natural bush and linked up with neat little pathways with pretty well kept gardens in between. We all liked the idea of staying here and booked in for two nights as we now had more time on our hands to enjoy Malawi before heading back to Nkata Bay in six days time. The restaurant, pub area as well as our tented chalet had an amazing view all the way across the lush green Rift Valley down to the lake and in the evening the many little flickering lights was an indication of the many villages spread out in the distance .

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    A mattress had been brought in for Roxy and placed on the floor. It really was a comfy and clean spot. We placed our dinner order for 7pm and headed up the long scenic pathway to the showers. From within the showers you also had a view of the surrounding bush as the walls and doorway only came up to neck height so one could socialise nicely with the occupant next door.
    After a generous portion of stir fry we relaxed back on our deck in the darkness and tried to absorb the peacefulness of our surroundings. We have a habit of carrying our alcohol in water bottles, for obvious reasons, so tonight my tooth brushing time came with a numb gum surprise. Nice for a comfy night knowing we had no drama or challenges in the morning.

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    #7
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  8. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    5,544
    Location:
    Temecula CA
    So beautiful!
    #8
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  9. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    20,128
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Continued goodness!
    #9
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  10. flei

    flei cycletherapist

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Oddometer:
    8,600
    Location:
    Western Mass.
    :clap WOW! What a great ride report. Like all good ones it makes me want to fly over there and do the trip myself. Thanks for posting this!
    #10
    wildside likes this.
  11. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    20,128
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    #11
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  12. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    DAY 4. WEDNESDAY : 19 DECEMBER
    REST DAY at LUKWE CAMP
    +/- 15 km riding --- LIVINGSTONIA




    “When it’s not always raining there’ll be days like
    this,
    When there’s no one complaining there’ll be days like
    this,
    When everything falls into place like a flick of a
    switch,
    Well my mama told me there’ll be days like
    this.” Van Morrison




    What a treat waking up to no alarm ringing in your ear and not having to rush around. Once again it poured with rain again during the night but this morning was a lovely day.


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    Kingsley boiled us some water for coffee only to discover to our dismay that he had poured the same ‘water’, as I had brushed my teeth with the previous night, into the pot. So that was now the end of our precious Gin supply.

    A lot of thought and planning had gone into developing this establishment and making it into a functioning Eco camp. The lights are all solar powered...even the little lamps they supplied for our tent. The toilets were very nicely designed ‘long drops’. The user was required to use the wooden spoon supplied to scoop up ash and leaves, dropping it into the pit after use. So no flushing required. Strangely enough there were no flies and an absence of odour. A locally made clay pot filled with water, a cup and a basin next to it was the hand washing facility. All was very clean and tastefully done. Oh...you also had a view of the surrounding bush and trees as again the wooden/reed structure was only shoulder height. A loo with a view!

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    After a certain period of time the used ‘long drop’ would fill up and then be left for a while to allow it to become compost. The other ‘loo’ next to it, in the same enclosure, was now used instead. When I originally saw this I was confused and thought that they were catering for very social toilet behavior. This compost then became the fertilizer for growing the fruit and veggies. Everything that is prepared and cooked here comes from their garden.

    There’s a path that leads through the lush organic vegetable gardens and takes you through the natural bush up to a clearing to view the Manchewe Waterfalls... about a 15 minute walk away.
    These are the highest waterfalls in Malawi plunging about 120 meters into the Rift Valley. A cave behind the falls was apparently used many years ago by people hiding away to escape from the slave traders.
    So after breakfast Roxy and I decided on checking out the falls. At the viewpoint there is a small building with a veranda where tourists can purchase cold drinks and food stuff.


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    If you at any stage plan on visiting the Manchewe falls then take cash with you as unbeknown to us there was a small entrance fee as we were soon made aware of when one of the locals approached us and demanded money for the viewing. After explaining that we had not brought any with us as we were not informed back at the camp that there was a viewing charge we suggested he walk with us back to the camp if he wanted money. Fortunately he left us alone.

    Later in the day we hopped on our bikes and made the short ride further up the mountain to Livingstonia. We were surprised to see a new tar road a few kilometers from our turnoff. However, there are no signposts indicating that we need to turn left and go up the steep road to Livingstonia so after riding a few more kilometers we realized we needed to turn back and eventually found our way to the top of the little hill. It’s a confusing area to ride around with not many people out and about to ask directions. This fascinating and quaint little village was founded in 1894 by Scottish missionaries. The Livingstonia Mission, named after David Livingston, a British physician and explorer in Africa, is located up here in this small forgotten town. It was originally down at Cape Maclear but the malaria problem forced them away from the lake. The Mission church was closed but I managed to peep through the window. Apparently this little church attracts a big crowd on Sundays.

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    The stain glass window shows David Livingston holding his sextant.

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    Dr. Robert Laws was the leading missionary in this village for 52 years, which ultimately led to building of the Livingstonia University in 2003. I was really impressed when I saw building and even more surprised when I discovered that it was a University.

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    After aimlessly riding around awhile we found the original homestead of Dr. Robert Laws, commonly known as the Stone House. This lovely old building, dating back to 1903, now boasts a small museum. Due to lack of interest from the other two we didn’t venture inside.

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    There is also the David Gordon Memorial Hospital
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    There were a few folk milling around the little shops and after enquiring we found the little market where we bought some bananas, eggs and freshly made crumpets....what a treat.

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    The rest of the day was spent relaxing on the deck, admiring the view, cooking and enjoying the time out. We were hoping there would be days like this!

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    #12
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  13. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    TANZANIA

    DAY 5: THURSDAY - 20 DECEMBER 2018
    LUKWE ECO CAMP to MATEMA (TANZANIA)
    DISTANCE: 250 km
    8.15am --> 3.30 pm



    “ I want to feel sunlight on my face
    I see that dust cloud dissipate without a trace
    I wanna take shelter from the pouring rain
    Where streets have no name.” U2



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    Roxy was most unimpressed with waking up at 5.45 am. But with all our fussing around one only gets going about 2 hrs later. I know from experience that it’s necessary to start our day early as we never know what curved balls are going to be tossed our way and we need time to deal with any hassles. Kingsley was really taking his job of looking after us very seriously and spoilt us with decent coffee and scrambled eggs for brekkie before departing down the fun and windy road back to Chitimba on the main road heading north to Tanzania.

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    We really enjoyed this stretch of road and spent a bit of time at the turn off buying curios.

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    Travelling north towards Karonga where we refueled was enjoyable. The road from here to the border post was in good condition and obviously constructed by the Chinese who had improved the infrastructure in many African countries.

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    Departing Malawi was hassle free despite parting with our TIP’s. These we had hoped to keep for our multiple entry, but no luck, we were now going to have to part with lots more money on re-entry...damn.

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    At the Tanzanian border post we had been chosen by one of the locals to be escorted into the building. No matter how determined we were to avoid him so he was more determined to assist us. They just have a knack of forcing their help on you regardless. The officials are also to blame as they don’t communicate with you and leave you wandering what your next move is. I was now required to have photocopies of our documents done for them to keep...so of course you are going to accept help from this guy when he indicates for you to follow. Before I could object too much he was getting my photocopying done, fetching the printed copies, stapling them together and handing them back to the officials....okay, so now we were committed to this guy.

    While I was busy inside Kingsley and Roxy waited outside with the bikes under the shelter as the heavens had opened. On completion of our paperwork this chap now insisted that we need insurance and only because we couldn’t arrange for insurance for Tanzania back home we were kind of persuaded to consider this. In the pouring rain Roxy and I accompanied him to his ‘office’, out past the exit boom, down some narrow little lane, through some dodgy little shops and bar and into a dingy little Insurance office. The warning flags had been raised! He then informed us it would cost $34 per bike ...without even asking for the values of each. Now I smelt a rat. If this Insurance was legit he would have had an office at the border post. We immediately turned around and walked out. I returned to the guy from customs and explained the situation. He told me this guy was taking a chance and that there was no government insurance offices here so we should just continue on our journey as no one will request our insurance documents. On returning to the bikes the same chap was there. We gave him some cash for helping us out and he apologised for having wasted our time. Once again we were on our way into the pouring rain and new territory.

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    'I guess it rains down in Africa..." Our entrance into Tanzania [​IMG]

    Despite the continuous rain it was a lovely ride to the most northern point of the now Lake Nyasa. We experienced various road surfaces as there was a lot of road construction happening. Despite all the mud, puddles and dirt we all just soaked up the beautiful scenery... along with the rain.


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    Some of the images are taken from the Gopro...hence the raindrops...but merely an idea of what we experienced.


    At one stage we headed east into the direction of the Livingston Mountains appearing in the distance. The closer we got to them the more impressive and massive they appeared. I reminded myself that heading into those mountains was what this trip was originally about for us.

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    The finally stretch of tar road was lined with bright green banana plantations and brightly decorated little shops. We all just had a good feel about this place and now riding south towards the lake with the mountains ever present over my left shoulder felt marvelous.

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    Sadly the Blue Canoe Lodge was closed for this period so we found our way along the wet, sandy track to Matema Lakeside Resort which immediately appealed to us. We were fortunate to get a room right on the beach front. This long, sandy, tropical beach was so pretty and ended in the east at the base of the Livingston Mountains which rise up to a height of 2500m. We settled in here very quickly and before long we were showered, dry and clean and in search of some food at the welcoming restaurant as we hadn’t eaten since breakfast.

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    We met up with some very interesting tourists from Germany. Max, one of whom we had briefly seen at the Mushroom Camp, had studied in Cape Town and was finishing off his time in Africa with some travelling. Talking to this youngster who was travelling on his own, through Africa, using only public transport, made us realise we were looking for excuses to opt out of our initial plan. We’ve had no problems up to now and decided to forge ahead into the Tanzanian Southern Highlands and should we feel out of our depth we would simply turn around and go for plan B or C.

    This now meant that we would not be able to stay for an extra night but would have to continue on our way in the morning. We all felt good about this decision and enjoyed a good night’s rest looking forward to heading up into the mountains.

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    #13
    Saso, mbanzi and flei like this.
  14. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    DAY 6 : FRIDAY - 21 DECEMBER 2018
    MATEMA LAKESIDE RESORT to MAKETE
    DISTANCE: 206 km
    8.00am --> 4.00 pm



    “ I’ve chosen a path I may not endure
    One thing’s for certain nothings for sure
    And it all might come together
    And it all might come unraveled
    On the road less traveled.” George Strait



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    I got up before the others to check out the lovely Lake Nyasa and mountains once again. Yup, we had to get to the other side of those mountains. This was part of the trip we were unsure of so we made sure that we all packed our sense of humour. I think we were going to need it.

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    Today required an early start, so by 8.00am we had finished our breakfast, bikes packed and ready for departure. Such a pity we couldn’t spend another night here. It was such a cool place. There was also a waterfall here that I would have loved to visit.

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    It was a pretty ride out from this area with Livingston Mountains on the right with the occasional waterfall tumbling down and the plentiful banana plantations now on the left.

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    This new road also made for ease riding. I had plotted another route to Tukuyu so as to avoid the main road and this proved to be a good choice as it was 70 km of compacted dirt road lined with spectacular country side offering lovely views and scenery. There were very few vehicles on this road but we did encounter some road works. For many kilometers huge piles of rubble had been dumped on one side so at times we were competing for space with the few vehicles and piles of sand.

    Occasionally we would encounter stuck vehicles and some being towed but we always managed to work our way around these problems. We were spoilt with the views as the lush green valley’s dropped down below.

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    In Tukuyu we wasted a lot of time, once again, trying to find an ATM and mastercards were a continued problem forcing us to exchange our dollars for Tanzanian shilling once again. Finding a fuel station with a supply of this now rare necessity also took up time.

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    From here we joined up with the main tar road heading to Mbeya and mingled with traffic before turning right at Izonje. We were now skirting the base of the impressive Rungwe Mountain, 2960 m high. Kingsley who was navigating with his GPS missed this turning and I realised about 5 km further down the road that we should have turned off. His lack of concentration and navigation skills now made me a tad nervous. This stretch of road we turned off onto was very wet and muddy but all- in- all not too bad.

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    We passed through many little villages edged with the usual vendor tables selling bright orange carrots, potatoes and bananas. During planning one imagines these villages/towns to be much bigger and established with modern facilities catering for travellers, but this is definitely not the case. They consist of a few local dwellings, tiny little shops selling only the basics and open tables selling buckets of mangos, tomatoes and charcoal. I couldn’t get enough of the bright coloured fabrics wrapped around the ladies. Colourful ‘crocs’ on feet big and small were also popular. Plenty of bicycles weaved in and out of the pedestrians. We needed to be alert and ride slowly when passing through.

    The weather has been so unpredictable with a down pour every now and again leading us into muddy and slippery sections. There were some really steep, muddy uphills and I was most impressed with the way our bikes handled the mud and rocks. For some reason the chain on Roxy’s bike slipped off as we were heading up an incline. Thank goodness it was on one of the better roads. Once again it was ‘Dad’ to the rescue.

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    We were soon on our way again heading in the direction of the Tanzanian Southern Highlands....finally. We eventually approached the boundary of the newest of Tanzania’s national parks, the 13 500ha KITULO PLATEAU NATIONAL PARK.

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    It is known locally as Bustani ya Mungu (God’s Garden) and apparently also the Serengeti of Flowers as it has long been known as a ‘botanist’s paradise’, boasting a stunning variety of plants that start flowering from November to April and this ‘phenomenon has been described as one of the great floral spectacles of the world’. Unfortunately we didn’t appreciate this knowledge at the time as we merely focused on the road and only gave glances over the shoulders with an occasional rest stop.

    Despite the above information according to Bradt, ‘it is one of Tanzania’s most neglected biological gems.’ It also represents the largest and most important plateau grassland community in Tanzania. I was expecting to see some sort of wildlife up here but we weren’t that fortunate. Perhaps they were hiding from the miserable weather.


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    Two of the highest peaks in the southern highlands rise from this plateau, the 2 961m Mount Mtorwi, which we skirted around, and the 2 929m Chaluhangi Dome. I was so intrigued by the expanse of the plateau and grasslands ....it was all so pretty and it felt amazing being here... such a privilege. Due to time restraints, bad weather and awful roads very few photos were taken but once again a few Gopro shots are an okay reminder of this special place.

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    Now this sign post confused us as our GPS wanted us to go straight but the sign indicated left. When plotting this route i was not aware of any left turns so the GPS won.

    With being so high up we encountered quite a bit of mist along with the intermittent rain and mooshy roads and trying to keep Roxy and Kingsley in my sight was now important. We made a brief stop at the Bamboo viewpoint and here we really felt on top of the world...in more ways than one. Looking down into those valleys and across to more mountains was quite humbling.

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    Some sections of road in the park had been nicely maintained with concrete strips making riding easier as we worked our way out of the park back into the mountainous area through lovely pine plantations. I know I harp on about it but this part of Tanzania was simply beautiful and around each corner there was an even prettier scene to greet us. There were times when we stopped for a rest (and a quick sanity puff for Rox) and unlike Malawi the locals never came up to greet us or where even vaguely curious about us.
    The occasional one who happened to walk past wouldn’t even acknowledge us. We actually seemed out of place up here and appeared to be intruding on their turf. Yet, at no stage did we feel uncomfortable. Going through my mind at this stage was how fortunate these people were to live in such a beautiful setting regardless of the simplicity of their lifestyle. Despite the steepness there were still attempts at small crops being grown and some slopes resembled a patchwork of colours and textures.

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    At this stage it was late afternoon and we were starting to tire. We had been riding in the rain for a long time now and our pace was much slower due to all the twists and turns and mud. We were hoping to get to Ikonda but by the time we reached Makete we were all so wet, tired and cold. As we entered the village I noticed a ‘Guest House’ sign on my left and indicated for us to stop. This was when I noticed that Kingsley’s breathing was compromised. Ikonda was another 25 km away, it was still raining and we knew we would never get there before dark and Kingsley was in no condition to ride. Roxy and I went into the small drinking room alongside the main building and a friendly English speaking gentleman came out to help us. He took us around to the front of the Guest House and showed us around. It was very clean, nothing fancy and would do us just fine. We returned to Kingsley to confirm our stop and when this chap saw the condition Kingsley was in suggested he take us to another place nearby where we would be more comfortable. By now Kingsley had reached panic mode and his asthma pump failed to help. The altitude and cold was taking its toll and he was gasping for breath and shivering. He indicated that he would be okay so we followed our new friend, Peter. We couldn’t believe our luck when we approached the gate of this amazing and most unexpected Madihani Villas Lodge in such a remote area and what is known to be the coldest corner of Tanzania. I can’t understand why we never once anticipated this cold and the breathing problems associated with it for Kingsley at these high altitudes.

    Two delightful ladies came out to greet us, giving us such a warm welcome and immediately showed us into one of their units. We were prepared to pay anything just to get warm and dry. They quickly assessed the situation and wasted no time in bringing us a small portable, already hot and glowing, fireplace into the sitting room and a tray with cups, coffee and flask of hot water. They kindly even offered to get ‘assistance’ for Kingsley, which we declined. In no time at all we had stripped out of our wet clothes, wrapped ourselves up in warm towels and huddled around the fire quaffing back fresh hot coffee. As Kingsley warmed up, relaxed and calmed down so his panic attack subsided. Now exhausted he climbed into bed and slept till dinner time. The elder of the two ladies told us that at one stage she had worked in Pretoria(South Africa) and the lovely younger Mpili had been a contestant for Miss Tanzania and was now the accountant for the lodge. I can only sing their praises. If you ever happen to have the amazing opportunity to venture up into these mountains please stop by the lodge for a visit.


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    Dinner was a delicious bowl of vegetable soup, a huge plate of savoury rice and potatoe wedges. We ate as if we had been starved for days....just what we needed on this cold evening.

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    I was so proud of Roxy at the end of this day. She had ridden like a champ and never complained once about the discomforts....well, perhaps about the lack of food....hahaha... but she handled everything in her stride. I don’t think this trip was quite what she had in mind, as she did remind us occasionally that this was not quite what we had sold her, yet she bravely forged on ahead and made the most of it.
    We wasted no time in climbing into our warm beds with extra thick blankets... thankful to be out of the cold and rain and trying hard not to think about the next day.

    We had made it...this dream was not a lie.

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    #14
  15. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    5,544
    Location:
    Temecula CA
    What an amazing country, some of your pictures from up in the mountains reminded me of the Scottish highlands!
    #15
  16. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    20,128
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Simply amazing!
    #16
    wildside likes this.
  17. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    517
    Location:
    Redondo Beach CA
    Excellent report! Thanks for posting it!
    #17
    wildside likes this.
  18. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    Glad you're enjoying it. :-)
    #18
  19. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    It was the best decision we made....going up into those southern highlands was such an awesome experience. Thanks for following.
    #19
  20. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    DAY 7 : SATURDAY – 22 DECEMBER 2018
    MAKETE to NJOMBE ( Gravel road 110 km) --> continued to SONGEA ( Tar 233 km)
    DISTANCE: 343 km
    8.15 am --> 4.00 pm



    “And the earth becomes my throne
    I adapt to the unknown
    Under wandering star I’ve grown
    By myself but not alone.”
    Metalica



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    We awoke feeling refreshed, revived and hungry and got stuck into a lovely breakfast where we chatted to one of the ladies about our route from Ikonda to Manda. We had been excited about this short cut through the Livingston Mountains that would cut off the dog’s leg to Njombe and then back to Manda on the eastern shores of the lake. Other than the northern shore of Lake Nyasa the rest of the Tanzanian part of the lake is relatively inaccessible. That’s why it was important for us to get to Manda. However, the Bradt guide doesn’t even acknowledge Manda as being accessible but we knew for sure that there was some type of a road down to this village on the shore. From here we were to follow the shoreline down to Mbamba Bay. We had spent a lot of time finding these routes and plotting them and were really looking forward to it. But apparently it was a bad idea as all the rivers would be swollen, roads probably washed away and we were strongly advised to head to Njombe, further inland, and give Manda a miss. We kind of half heartedly accepted this advice and decided to make a decision when we arrived in Ikonda. She also kindly warned us about the very steep muddy detour out of Ikonda to Njombe as well.

    After exchanging hugs with these wonderful people we departed once again in the rain. The mist was hanging low over the distant mountains and the tone was set for the day. We refueled at the little fuel station which provided a great view of this clean and neat little village that we were in no condition to appreciate the day before. It rained all the way to Ikonda making progress slow and slippery but thank goodness for the under surface of gravel which kept us from falling. We worked our way up and down through some lush forests and plantations and enjoyed some great scenery.

    The Chinese have even discovered this remote area and were upgrading the roads here as well resulting in detours and messy sections. If we had tried to continue with our journey yesterday we would have been extremely miserable, arrived in the dark and certainly not found such welcoming accommodation.

    Our approach into Ikonda was a mess of muddy roads and from what we could make out it was really a basic little village. It was decided to take the easy way out and head for Njombe. Who knows what we would have encountered on our short cut. Sadly this is something we will never know unless one of you enthusiastic readers plan on doing this route in the dry season.

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    The detour took us out past the Ikonda Hospital and our lady didn’t exaggerate when she told us about the long steep and muddy road out of town. I don’t know how Roxy and I managed to cope with all this mess but somehow we just cruised up these hills and to Kingsley’s surprise we were always behind him when he glanced in his mirror. This was the first adventure ride I’ve done where I have not worried about what the roads would be like or how I would cope and was feeling very confident and comfortable on my bike. I was falling more in love with my bike with each passing day and watching Roxy cope so well was also an inspiration. Kingsley always made it look so easy as well as he cruised up front and led the way. He had always encouraged us to join him in some bush riding and fun rides at home on our smaller KTM freerides which certainly improved our confidence on the heavier bikes. At the end of the day we were really enjoying our African adventure and we wanted to prove that a road does go all the way around.

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    Rest time
    #20