Tuesday, May 12, 2009

7th May – 9th May

Thursday 7th - today we left Nkhata Bay heading up through the Malawian town of Nzuze. We left Nkhata in fantastic clear weather perfect for motorcycle riding. 300 km’s from Nkhata we stopped at the frontier town of Karonga, Where we had a quick lunch. Flat chicken all round, we where looking forward to a lovely succulent chicken, yea right!!!! After a 45 minute wait our lunch arrived. We all agreed that the chicken must have been the last surviving chicken in town and could run the fastest, Never had we eaten a tougher chicken. Anyway food is food and this is Africa. (Not for sissies)

After Karonga it is a short ride to the Malawi / Tanzania border, the border formalities where fairly quick and painless. But the money touts where a complete pain and a bunch of rogues. I changed R500 to local Tanzania Shillings, only to discover that evening when we arrived in Mbeya that I had been ripped of to the tune of R300. Lesson learned.

From the border we rode up and over the highlands heading for Mbeya , The last 100 km’s was ridden in freezing cold pouring rain. Arriving in Mbeya at 5:30, cold, wet and wanting a hot shower, We met up with Johnson Mayo, The local Pannar representative, He gave us two options for over – knighting. Ride another 50km’s to the coffee farm, where we could camp or go 600 meters down the road where a Swiss priest runs a monastery where for the equivalent of R 60 per person we could get a room and a hot meal. No debate here. The monastery was the place of choice.
After a basic dinner we had a comfortable nights sleep and woke in the morning woke and with a prayer of thanks looked outside to see a clear sky and perfect day for riding.

Friday 8th - After a visit into town to exchange money ( at a proper Beareu De Change this time ) and a quick haircut, We stopped off at Johnson’s, Pannar office to say our goodbye’s, We then headed out of Mbeya for the 450 Km ride to our next stop off point. Baobab Lodge, Situated on the banks of the Great Rua River.

The road to Baobab is the main route from Dar es Salaam to Zambia and Malawi and is very busy with huge trucks and busses heading in both directions. The drivers of these vehicles seem intent on wiping motorcyclists of the road. We had to ride keeping our wits about us the whole way. There where a few near misses where busses would overtake other vehicles with scant regard for us heading towards them, We had to get of the road and out of the way a number of times to avoid being run over.

Arriving at Baobab Lodge we were welcomed by the owner Darren Coetzee. He showed us to our chalets and after a good shower we retired to the bar over looking the Rua River for a few cold Killimangaro’s ( A fairly good beer ) The cook got busy with preparing dinner for us and at about 20h00 we sat down to a very large plate of beef stew each.

After dinner we headed for bed and as soon as the generator was switched off the camp is in complete darkness and dead quite. Perfect for a good nights sleep.

Saturday 9th - This morning we have decided to take a rest day here at Baobab Lodge and do some washing of clothes and basically recharge our batteries. But having said that, straight after breakfast this morning what do we do? We jump on our bikes and go for a ride into the bush and off the beaten track to have a look around. The valley down here is dry bushveld with the River running through it. I have never seen so many Baobab trees growing in one area as there are here. It is absolutely beautiful, and wild.
Tomorrow we head off to Moshi and hopefully get to see Mount Kilimanjaro. On the way we will be riding through the middle of the Mikumi National Park where sighting of Buffalo and Elephant are common, that should be interesting on a bike.

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