Tanzania

Leaving Malawi, we were now excited for leg 5 our expedition one step closer to our initial goal of reaching Kenya. The border crossing went surprisingly easy despite the stories we had been told leading up to it and we were through in just over an hour. Following the border crossing we entered some beautiful roads through stunning forest scenery before parking off at some Rastafarians backpackers for the night. We left early planning to get to Mbuya, a 5 hour drive away where we encountered some of the most hectic downhills this far on the trip. It was a tough one because we knew we could absolutely smash our 80km/h record but this would have certainly seen us shooting of the side of the road into the valleys below so we had to work the brakes extremely hard for much of the road. Trying to stay under 40km/h became our challenge because any more than that we would find ourselves starting to roll out of control and fearing our breaks would fail would mean disaster. Occasionally impatient following trucks at 10km/h down the hills we over took and found ourselves in this dangerous scenario having to work the breaks just enough to slow down without burning them out. We managed to navigate the hills and arrived safely in Mbuya before dark and started preparing ourselves for the 4 days stretch to Dar Es Salaam. We were unable to find accommodation at this stage so we parked off at a local petrol station were a guard wielding a pump action shotgun was protecting the place. We asked him kindly if he wouldn’t mind us sleeping in the Tuk Tuk there for the night which he had no problem with and spent most of the time guarding the Tuk Tuk as if at any moment it might be under siege, so we felt incredibly safe to leave it there and walk around and explore Mbuya. After and interesting night’s sleep, we thanked the guard immensely and proceeded on our way towards the capital some 800km away. Not even 100km out of Mbuya a huge amount of road works began to disrupt our drive. There was about 2-4km of tar followed by about 15-20km of off road diversion routes which were hardened clay roads with a relentless number of potholes making this an extremely arduous task. On this one day, there must have been at least 8 diversions that we had to pass through neither better than the rest, so you can imagine the cheer that erupted in the Tuk Tuk when we finally hit the good roads thus ending the torture of our first day.

We kept pushing on, the roads drastically improving and in really good quality. Day 2 on our way to Dar Es Salaam we pulled over next to a forest, tucked ourselves behind the protection of these huge, beautiful trees and made camp. It was some incredible scenery and we took the opportunity to walk through the forest and explore a bit. Day three we had a long drive and ended driving in the dark for a bit until we found a little village which we pulled off into to hunt for a place to make camp. We found this epic tree and set up, cooked up a quick meal on our gas stove and went to bed. In the morning, it was to our surprise that when we woke we had parked right next to a school so there was a flock of children surrounding the tents and Tuk Tuk in awe. It was quite an amusing thing to experience and the teachers after their morning floggings of the students came over to us and welcomed us to their school and thanked us for staying as we did to them. We couldn’t help but have a laugh at the whole situation as we drove off down the road. Because we had pushed quite hard we had a relatively easy drive from there to Dar where we linked up with our good mate from Botswana; Shane Blom who welcome us to stay at his house for as long as we needed.

We had a good time catching up with Shane who we hadn’t seen for years so it was a good reunion as he showed us around Dar and what there is to see and do, where we also met a lot of good people and made more friends for life. Before leaving Dar we had to wait for our Carnet De Passage for the Tuk Tuk to enter Kenya so this delayed us for quite a while as it had to be processed and sent up from South Africa. Shane got called back to work on the mine so we decided we would go to Bagamoyo where we met an awesome lady; Jo who said we could stay with her while we waited. This was where Corban informed us he was unable to carry on as he had to return home to sort out a few things. It was a sad day leaving our fellow adventurer and good mate who had been with us all the way from Cape Town. So, we said our goodbyes and headed off to Bagamoyo to catch up with Jo at her Lodge ‘Firefly’. Firefly Lodge is a stunning place, a renovated old building from the slave trading days in Bagamoyo she has turned the place into a welcoming, peaceful and vibrant location which has become quite popular but not to the extent that’s its overwhelming. The Whole town of Bagamoyo is fascinating with its old ‘stonetown’ style architecture and its location right on the beach gives you both the beach life and a historic feeling as you walk around the town. At one point, we got a ride on a ‘piki-piki’ (motorbike) into town and on the way back asked if we could drive it back with the owner becoming the passenger and they agreed. Being excited about being on a bike again and having a bit more acceleration we have been accustomed to we sped off and as the drives gripped our hips ever so tightly in fear we presume, we arrived back at the lodge safely and satisfied.

We stayed at Firefly for a few days waiting for the Carnet meanwhile fully soaking up the town and beach exploring the place head to toe. Eventually the call came for us to return to Dar to collect the Carnet so we headed off 60km to Dar to pick it up. When we got there, we found out that it had arrived but only at the airport so we had to wait another day for it to come through. So, we took the opportunity to meet up with all the good friends we met in Dar and had one last farewell before we all went our own way. Early the next morning we picked up the carnet and proceeded making our way to the border about 400km away. Our half way stop was Fiefly’s owner; Jo’s other lodge she is developing which is another stunning location right next to the ocean raised about 1.5m on coral and rock mixture cliff. At high tide, the water comes right up with only the tips of trees on the beach protruding from the ocean waters and at low tide it sucks out so far that the roots of the trees can be seen and one can walk quite far out. We watched in the morning as the fisherman took the opportunity of the high tide to launch their boats and sail off for the days catch. This place is called Boabab, has a lot of potential and Jo’s talent in remodelling it is no doubt this place is sure to be beaut once it is completed.

Now came the interesting moment of the border crossing. We weren’t quite sure what we would face with immigration when trying to get the vehicle through even with having the Carnet so we were interested to see what might occur. Just like every other border crossing on our trip, to our luck we must admit was a compete breeze. The officers were extremely friendly and couldn’t believe we had driven the beast this far. The Carnet worked as planned, we paid our foregin vehicle tax and that was that, we had finally reached our goal of Kenya! What a feeling it was. By no means did this mean we were done but atleast we were in and ready to explore Kenya!