Tanzania to Malawi 14-26 March 2014

I’m in Country number 18!!! Hot, humid, beautiful Malawi!

The last two weeks riding through Tanzania to Malawi have been both beautiful but at times very tough. We have enjoyed the pleasure of cycling through Mikumi National Park, seeing wildlife, and spectacular views, plus many cups of tea, a cheap beer, and general friendliness with a few laughs and very little hassle. I’m still in good company, cycling with my friend Alex Rossello and although it has been hard to make contact with anyone back home, Tanzania and Malawi are safe and friendly, so both our mums can relax.

However we have also battled every day with the trucks and terrible driving. On several occasions drivers have taken objection to us not moving from the road and actually driven into us to force us off. I have considered buying something to smash their rear lights but ultimately decided not to as it would start a fight. I still don’t understand why the laid back and friendly people of Tanzania are such utter idiots behind the wheel. Anyway, we now move off the road when we hear a truck beep at us. And usually there is a lane for us to move into which is just about rideable.

And it’s rainy season now. It’s hot, sweaty and when the rain comes, it is a total deluge. Some days we have had to stop after a huge downpour has started, and either sit and have a chai and watch the colourfully dressed fat-bottomed ladies run for cover until the worst has passed or call it quits and sleep in the town we have reached. When the rain has caught us, it soaks everything and the only thing you can do is laugh at how ridiculous the situation is. It’s like riding in a waterfall.

And of course the hills. We knew about the hills but with the hills and the weather (and the awful bumps they put on the roads which don’t really slow the cars down but rattle every bon in a cyclist’s body) we have done some very small days and not had any rest days. So bottoms are now sore and conversation has dwindled to “I need food” or “I need to wash my clothes” etc.

The highlight of the last two weeks was Mikumi National Park. You can cycle through the 50km of tarmac road (Googlemaps indicates a green area with Morogoro in the centre as the Park, but ignore that… the 50km of National park is all immediately to the East of Mikumi). We saw Giraffes, Elephants, Zebra and many baboons. We didn’t see lions as you have to leave the road and go some way into the park (where cyclists are not allowed) but it’s probably for the best. We would make a very tasty treat for a lion.

And the scenery although not as breathtaking as the initial experience of Tanzania, when we first saw the green Volcanic peaks, have continued to enjoy wonderful views of hills, valleys, and forests.

We took a bus back from Pangani to the junction at Segera (which we had already ridden to so I don’t count it as cheating) and then we did…

63km from Segera junction to Mkata

90km to Lugoba

56km to Bwawani

50km to Morogoro

118km to Mikumi

67km to “Crocodile Camp”

121km to Iringa

40km to Ifunda (rain stopped play)

120km to Makambako

97km to Chimala

67km to Uyulu (the town before Mbeya)

100km to Songwe (the border of Tanzania and Malawi)

45km to Karonga

so … 989km in the last two weeks in Tanzania

and that means 16,812 km so far

And now we are in Malawi, it is flat and we are by the lake. Much more peaceful. For the next week we will snake along by the lake until heading West to Lilongwe.

Have a nice day, thanks for reading,

Ed (the thirsty cyclist)

ps. the milky chai in Malawi is unbelievably milky!! (Which is fine as I like milk. I’m just letting you know, that’s all)