My wild camp south of Kambikatoto was great. I heard nothing, not even anything driving down the road. I had my normal barley breakfast, and headed down the road, about 280km to go to Mbeya. The road was definitely worse. It was rocky, basically single lane, so I would have to squeeze to the side in the ditch to let trucks and buses pass. There were not many villages, and no mobile reception. About mid-morning I came to a rope across the road outside a village. This is a common practice with the Police, and most villages have some sort of barrier, but it was always up. I stopped at the barrier, and said a friendly hello to the your man who came up to the window. He spoke zero English. He tried telling me in Swahili why there was a rope, but I kept shrugging no understanding. Then it was the rubbing of stomach, and I knew this was extortion for money. I mentioned the word “Police” several times, and “illegal”, but this didn’t stop him. So I said I can wait here and block the road as long as I want. I switched of the engine, and wound up the window and starred forward, ignoring him. He went over and removed the rope and let me through. This might be inconsistent behavior with me paying the villagers to cross the river. However I was on much stronger ground in the bigger village. A truck or bus would come along some time and have to get past me.
I stopped for lunch then continued what was a punishing road, with corrugations and rocks. I was worried about fuel. I had not really bought enough fuel 200km+ north of me, so it was a sight for relief when I pulled into the first service station for about 200km. Except that it was closed because it had no Diesel. So off down the road, about 1km away, where there another servo, this time with Diesel.
I eventually got close to Makongolosi, where there was a Police stop and praise be, a bitumen road. I was heading for a iOverlander wild camp at the look-out about 34km form Mbeya. Outside Makongolosi as I had got 3g internet for the first time in 6 days, I stopped and uploaded the blog posts and pictures I had done. This timed the arrival at the look-out camp a nice 5:15pm. Unfortunately, the look-out camp was having a fence built and had a security guard, so that campsite was a bust. I turned back down the road, because the area was all pine forest (I was at 2000m+), and within 500m I found a forest track. About 300m down it I found a good spot, out of view of the road. I set up the shower tent for another hot shower, draining the hot water from the roof hot water tank. This was the 5th night of wild camps in a row.