Published: January 14th 2009January 10th 2009
blockage on the road to morogoro
saw a few scenes like this...frightening!
It was lovely not having to pack up the tent this morning, only having to pack up clothes boxes and food instead! Left Nkhata Bay at the usual 6 o’clock sharp as we were hoping to get well into Tanzania by early evening. The road took us through more similar landscapes full with cultivated plots of land and little thatched huts, and people everywhere walking about, bicycling, hanging on the side of the road hoping for a lift…incredible amounts of people which made driving on already very narrow roads rather difficult. Today was a bit of a bad day for poor Robert, who overnight seemed to have contracted some kind of stomach bug, and after the first 100km he had to step away from the car for a moment or two to allow his stomach to rid itself of contents it clearly wasn’t very comfortable. He was very manly and stoical however and we heard no complaint whatsoever and he even drove another 100km before finally admitting that perhaps it was a good idea he didn’t drive again as during the course of the day he continued to have to have ‘moments away’…poor thing. It didn’t hold up progress (much again to his credit) and by 12 we were at the Tanzanian border buying our visas for $50 and then it was back on the rather better quality Tanzanian Roads, heading towards Irringa. Previously in Irringa we’d stayed at the Riverside Campsite but we’d found a little later in the Guidebook another lovely looking place called Kisolanza Farm, which is run by a British family and caters for all budgets. We finally reached there at 6 o’clock Malawi time and 7 o’clock Tanzanian time, although it once again took us quite a while to remember that the clocks had gone forward an hour. On arriving we pulled up next to some other newly arrived travellers, who on seeing the ‘East African Wildlife Safaris’ sticker (Robert’s dad’s company) on our car asked us if any of us knew Jock Anderson, to which Robert responded that the said person was his father…very amusing but embarrassingly none of us can now remember the name of the man. He was very friendly and invited us to the bar with him, except we were all so tired and of course Rob wasn’t feeling too well, that we weren’t able to take up on his offer. We also met the owner of the campsite, who was very friendly towards us considering we are the low end of his customers - the farm offers luxury chalets, rooms within the farmhouse where the family live and then camping…I felt we were treated as well as those who were staying within the luxury chalets, which was very refreshing.
We woke at our usual hour, 5:15, to a bit of a shock - it was pitch black, to the extent that we actually struggled to take down our tent. It remained pitch black for another 45 minutes, so instead of setting off on the road, we decided to stay safe and relax for an hour, drinking tea and eating weetabix. It was also freezing cold, another unexpected shock though probably not unexpected if we’d used our brains a little. Finally got onto the road at about 7:15 and we decided to revisit the town of Irringa, partly because we needed to get out some money for petrol, but more importantly because whilst there last time we had visited an establishment called ‘The Pacific Teahouse’ which served, in Robert and James’s opinion, one of the best cups of Kenyeje in the whole of Southern Africa. However they wanted to try it a second time just to be sure, hence the sort of sidetrack. It was lovely actually - I wasn’t able to have it last time because I wasn’t feeling very well and I feel I definitely missed out. Accompanying our tea we had two mandazis each which they made especially for us since when we arrived they had none. Whilst enjoying the tea and mandazis we took a look at our map and decided instead of taking the shorter route to Arusha back through Dodoma to take a different route out to the East Coast, which we began at about 9. The first part of the road was the stretch from Irringa to Morogoro, which we’d done before and which is a rather frightening road. It winds itself through the Udzungwa Forest National Park, twisting around cliff edges. It’s full of trucks and lorries and potholes hence the ‘frightening’ part. It was a relief when we reached the straight stretch of road which intersects the Mikumi National Park…Seren jokingly remarked that we should put another day aside to revisit it…almost funny! From Morogoro, it was on to a new road, the main road that leads out to Dar es Salaam which was also full with trucks. We turned off the road just before Dar however and headed up north for about 100km finally stopping in a slightly run-down town called Korogwe, which seems to serve the single purpose of breaking up the journey between Arusha and Dar es Salaam. The guidebook more cruelly describes it as a place to have lunch and no more! We found the rather upmarket looking Korogwe Transit Hotel, and managed to wangle a double room for the four of us at 5000 Tsh each. After wandering around the town and discovering that the only food on offer was overcooked goat, we decided to eat in the hotel, an acceptable plate of chips and chicken each that bizarrely came with a free orange! After this we sat in our room watching football (I rather reluctantly!) until sleeping time. Ironically, in the best hotel we’d stayed in there was a problem with water…meaning that there was none! Our showers consisted of a bucket of less than clean water between the four of us, very amusing.