Ham Jambo  - Greetings from Tanzania

Its been just over 4 months since we set off on our epic journey, and we loving every moment.  We haven’t encountered a single negative experience and have no regrets; with each day bringing new challenges and rewards we just growing in strength and character.

To date we have cycled 6285km and our ascending altitude is 48112m.

Hello Tanzania ( country number 6) known as the birthplace of humankind Tanzania has an area of 943000 square km and a population of 38 million, 1 million of which reside on the Zanzibar Archipelago.  1 South African rand will get you 200 Tanzanian Shillings – with a litre of petrol and a coke costing 2000 and 500 Shillings respectively.
Jitens 3 year stint of learning Swahili for this trip, has finally become a reality and a necessity as very few of the locals speak or even understand English – compared to Moz and Malawi.
As Tanzania is bordered on the West by the deep lakes of the Great Rift Valley, cycling out of Malawi and into Tanzania has been challenging.

On our first night in the country we lodged at a Mosque, where the very accommodating  Imam gave us a separate room with straw mats on the floor.  Mosques have been a fantastic overnight rest stop thus far as we don’t have to pitch tents (becomes tedious after a while – although we can do it backwards in the dark by now) I get to catchup on prayers and you guaranteed an early start the next day as the first prayer is just before sunrise.  Being 1hr ahead of SA, it only starts to get bright by around 7am!

Heading up to Mbeya via Tukuyu was a climb on note (around 2450m) – legs tired and jelly like you learn to embrace the deep burn and constant dripping of sweat from my massive wild beard!
Passing the Rungwe mountains at almost 3000m was spectacular, and its only half the height of Kilimanjaro – I cannot wait for our ascent!

My feeling of trepidation and uncertainty about the country was drowned by the overwhelming hospitality and friendliness of the locals  when we were welcomed by a random stranger (Ebrahim) into his home (mud structure with thatched roof), where we ate and stayed for the night.  We were fortunate to get shelter for the night as it was very windy and temperatures drop down to single digits in the Southern Highlands.
Even the traffic police stop you for a friendly  chit chat and also have a sense of humour.

For the 900km between Mbeya and Dar Es Salaam we had a constant headwind everyday, making the cycling physically and more so mentally draining – this combined with mental bus drivers and a non existent road shoulder just made matters worse.

Its definitely worth a mention that the Nature Fresh Olive Leaf and Parasite  remedy capsules we have been taking, have been brilliant so far in keeping our health and immune system in prime condition.  Casa Castile  - Petes bum cream is keeping our bottoms saddle sore and chaff free – all round amazing stuff!!

50km before Iringa we stopped at the Old Farmhouse where we took a days rest, had a much needed shower and bumped into fellow RSA travellers (Tobie and his wife) who prepared delicious dinner for us followed by hot coffee and Choc Kits biscuits; yes Choc Kits biscuits – what a winner!!  Its the small things we took for granted that we miss the most.
Rest days are lazy days – just as they should be – catching up on washing I have been procrastinating since Malawi and walking to the nearby borehole to fill up water.  Now I just need to learn how to balance that full bucket on my head.
Nicky the owner of the Farmhouse treated us to 3 huge T bone steaks that Jiten braaied  to perfection, while I made a potato curry on the side just to spice things up a little.
The variety of food in Tanzania has been the best so far, and as one gets closer to Dar Es Salaam the Indian influence is very prevalent with hot Chapatis, Potato Bhajyas, Samoosas and Masala Chai in the mornings I feel right at home.
Our daily lunch consists of Rice, Beans, 2 small pieces of Goat meat and very often bitter pumpkin leaves all for just 5 Rand!
The staple Tanzanian starch is Ugali (a thick, filling dough like pap made from Maize or Cassava flour)

Our next 2 stops was Rivervalley camp then Baobab Valley where we were spoilt with running water, electricity and a TV room – Whoa


From Mikumi town we got a lift for 50km through the Mikumi National Park – with big 5 present I was not prepared to take the risk of cycling through.
Next stop Morogoro where we stayed with Daniel and Simone – they cycling from Germany around the world and currently stopped in Tanzania do some work before continuing to Cape Town.
Daniel is very clued up on bicycles and gave us lots of invaluable advice about our bike maintenance.
On the bike front, I ran into my first technical difficulty a few days ago – after increasing the pressure in my back tyre from 3 to 4 bar the tyre started to rub against the frame!! This caused the rim to become slightly untrue which further aggravated the problem.  The gap between the tyre and the chain-stay is way too narrow – and I’m only using a 26 inch X 200 which is not a huge tyre.  Du Toit cycles, professional frame builder my ass!
With our 3 heights and in-seams almost the same, the discrepancy between our frame sizes, designs and posture is massive; so much for a custom built frame – rather get a Surly Long Haul Trucker, Kona Sutra or Thorn frame.

2 days before Dar we got caught in a heavy downpour and got soaked to the core – the following day I needed to cycle barefoot while my shoes dried – now I feel weak in the knees from all that overextension.
We currently 15km before Dar at Kimara Matangini, staying in a hostel and volunteering at TAWESO (Tanzania Animal Welfare Society).  Our reception here by Dr Kahema and his team has been amazing.
As part of the volunteer work we went out to multiple plots vaccinating dogs, and treating multiple Goats and Cattle.  I had to jog my memory to remember university notes as some had East Coast Fever, Anaplasmosis Babesiosis and photo sensitivity.


Dar Es Salaam ( Haven Of Peace) is a crazy busy city, bustling with people, mental / maniac drivers with no road courtesy and extremely humid.
I’m personally looking forward to Zanzibar this weekend – Its apparently very commercial and expensive but a once in a lifetime opportunity to cycle around the island; and with over 90% of the island population Sunni Muslim, the selection of delicacies to break fast with is mouth watering.

Aweh Ma se Kinders