south of Kambikatoto to escarpment Forest camp north-east of Luala

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.

Yet another broken down truck
Bee hive traps, these are all over the place made of different materials designed to trap bee hives
Camped at 2100m+ in a pine forest

south of Unyambwa to wild camp south of Kambikatoto

It was cool when I got up. I guess I am getting further south, and I am at about 1500m altitude. I added the wild camp to iOverlander. I was only getting minimal internet, EDGE or GPRS. There was not much I could do with it, it really only worked on my phone.

I got packed up and left, still not seeing any people until I got onto the T22. About a km away there was another truck crash. The prime mover had become separated from the trailer carrying timber. I stopped for a minute to talk to the locals, but they just wanted me to give them cigarettes.

At about the 10km mark I came across a reasonable service station. However they would not take a credit card, so I gave them 100,000Tsh (about $65) for 30 litres of fuel, which was half the cash I had. I also filled up the water tanks and filled the roof hot water tank so I could have a shower when I stopped for the day.

The road wound south. It went though plenty of villages, but as I got further south the villages got further and further apart. There was not much traffic. Buses, and a few trucks, and occasional cars. I went through a military checkpoint, but they were all friendly. I passed several broken down trucks, cars and buses, as I headed south. I stopped for lunch by a river, and kids from a nearby house played near the river watching me the whole time. When I left they ran and hid. I have seen this before with rural kids and white people (or maybe its just me?).

Later in the afternoon I drove past a village where dozens of people were walked down the road out of the village. About 500m away were lots of trucks and vans pilled with goods that I squeezed past and I saw lots of stalls set up selling goods, and dozens of villages shopping.

At 5pm I turned on the heater element for the hot water and started seriously looking for a campsite. I spied a track of to the side. I left Clancy parked by the road. The track was good, but there was no evidence that anyone had walked or driven down it for a while. I drove down and set up camp. I got all the shower stuff out and had another nice hot shower.

Filling with water at the servo
Village Market
Roadside stop heading south
the corrugated road heading south

Lake Eysai to south of Unyambwa

I packed up at Lake Eysai. It had been a good campsite. My new solar controller and solar panel connection improvements showed with power soon after dawn.

I followed my tracks back to the road and headed south. The road was no large but it was well graded. Very little traffic, a few motorcycles, no cars. I suddenly ended up at a dry river bed and I could not figure out were the road went. I took a track and asked a lady washing where the town was on the main road. She sent me east, and I drove between piles of mud bricks to eventually see a crossing of the river. The road then got very vague. I was following my GPS, but I would often be 200m away from the road as shown on the GPS. A motorcycle went past and I followed his track for a while. The road just meandered through the scrub. There were little village compounds every now and then, surrounded by spikey african thorn bush. I don’t know if this is to keep animals out of keep animals in. I was all very primitive, and every village I went past, people stopped to stare at me.

After 20km or so I came across another river, this one with water in it. There was a barrier across the road and a couple of locals standing around. I got out to talk to them figuring they wanted money. They just put their hand out. I asked “how much”, but they didn’t understand. I went back to the car and got 1,000Tsh. I offered this, but another older man came along and shoke his head and held out a fist. I didn’t get this, eventually he counted out 5 fingers, so I gave him 5,000Tsh (about $A3). They took the barriers down, I walked the river just to check the bottom, but it was sandy and no deeper than 30cm. I locked the hubs, engaged 4wd, and easily crossed the river.

The road continued to meander. I passed a couple of villages who were pulling water out of wells dug in dried sandy river beds. This was definitely not Dar es Salaam. I got close to the town on the main road. Here I crossed another dried river bed with wells dug in it. There were dozens of people carted drums of water on two wheeled carts away from the river bed. It all looked pretty grim.

I got on the main road, which was still dirt. I headed over a newly build bridge over a river and flood plain.

It was then a wander around different side roads, all dirt until I got to Singida. About 20km out of Singida was the first police stop I had been through in 3 days. However they were friendly and let me go quickly. Once through Singida it was down the bitumen of the T3 looking for wild camping opportunities. I decided as it got closer to 6pm, I would wait for the turn-off from the T3 to the T22 that headed to Mbeya. I turned of and was very surprised that the T22 was dirt. This meant I had 518km of dirt road to drive down to get to Mbeya.

Only about 1km after the turn off I saw a track to the side. I backed up drove into the track, then walked further down. It looked like an abandoned field. I drove about 150m down and parked on the side. It was pretty invisible from the road, and I didn’t see anyone all night.


Negotiating the price for the extortion barrier across the road
Checking the bottom of the river
Crossing the river
The faint track meandering around south of Lake Eyias
Sunset at wild camp south of the T3 T22 intersection



Migungani to Lake Eyasi

I started well after the Overland Truck left, who I was camped next to at the campsite. They had packed and left by 7:15am, never have I managed that. I headed west somewhat unsure if I would even be able to get to Lake Eyasi. Its really tourist land, streams of Landcruiser Troop carriers with white people inside go past me, both directions. I climb up a mountain range to about 1500m. I turned off towards Lake Eysai at about the 35km mark. It was a dusty dirt road, with a fair bit of traffic on it. About 40km down the road I passed half a dozen tourist Land Cruisers doing the “authentic” village experience. After then the road forked away from the road to the tourist lodges, and it got much quieter. There were spread out villages, but they got smaller and smaller. Eventually I reached the iOverlander wild camp spot. I wasn’t exactly sure where it was, but there certainly was not a marked track, so I kept going, about 1km off the road, near the lake shore. I arrived about 2pm.

Later in the afternoon a couple of cattle herders came past, but language difficulties kept the conversation short. I was not getting full charge fro my solar panels, and I realised this had been happening for quite a while. So I replaced Anderson plugs, tested everything and got full solar power.

Next morning, I decided because it was such a good campsite, and I wanted to get the solar working even better, I would stay camped next to Lake Eysai, and replace the solar charge controller with a new one I had brought out from Australia. That took me a fair bit of the day. The new solar controller was MPPT, and worked better than the old one. I decided it was time for a shower. I pumped water up to the solar hot water system on the roof. I connected up the heating element in the solar hot water system, and started heating the water, on solar power alone, something I had never done before. I got out the shower tent, and had a great shower with hot water, that actually was too hot.

Then later in the afternoon three kids came along who were herding cattle. The older boy Seghis spoke pretty good English. We had probably a two hour discussion, me telling them how things worked on the camper, and them telling me things about them. Seghis had his sister with him, and another friend. Seghis said he ws 14 and his sister was 11. I guessed he was 11 and his sister was 7. I don’t know if it was a language mis-communication, or he really was 14. He had the gravitas of a 14 year old, but he was way shorter than any Australian 14 year old. He was herding cattle which he did every day from sun-up to sun-down, except when he went to school. When he went to school his mother took care of the cattle. Later on he asked for some food, so I thought here is my chance to off-load the food I know I will not use on the trip. So he got about 3kg of flour. Some salt, miscellaneous cans of things I will never eat. In the end I double bagged it in some PnP bags and he happily went off with his compatriots.

Irrigation areas near Lake Eyais
Camped at Lake Eyasi
Hot shower time
Village near Lake Eyasi
Sunset at camp
The three herders that visited






east of Kafuri to Migungani – turning south

I spent two days at the wild camp east of Kafuri. I didn’t see any crocs, hippos, or Kilimanjaro.  Yesterday it was thick cloud, and it rained two or three times during the day. I had a child cattle herder come past. Maybe he was 10 years old. He had this dog helping him. You would think the dog (and the boy) would get tired all day guiding these cattle. However, no. The boy played with the dog, he threw things for the dog to chase, and the dog ran up and down chasing things. Levels of energy I wish I had. Then the boy playing with the dog in the (crocodile infested) water, catches a fish with his bare hands, and tries to sell it to me.

Later a fisherman came along on the river in his canoe.

I got going early, my battery levels were low, because there had been almost no solar the previous day. Amazing fact of the day. I went through 20+ police stops and did not get pulled over once! The reason for this I think is its tourist central. There are Landcruiser Troop carriers all over the place ferrying white people around, so maybe the police are under orders to leave the white tourists alone.

Then it was onto Arusha. Arusha is big, 400,000+ people. I headed for the Shoppers supermarket to get some more apples. I tried getting more small denomination USD for the Zambia border, but again it was too hard.

I have decided I am going to take a detour, to see if I can drive through the Hadza lands. I am bit bit fascinated with the Hadza, some of the last hunter-gathers left, especially the double labelled water experiments. The Hadza live near Lake Eyasi, so tomorrow I will see if I can pass that way.

So I am camped at a campground at Migungani. First hot shower in five days.

Fisherman on the swamp/river
The furthest north I will get this trip, 3.3 degrees from the equator
The best picture I could get of Kilimanjaro



Dar es Salaam to north of Mailikumi to east of Kafuri

Another slow start out of Mikadi Beach campsite at Dar es Salaam. I was doing some extra cooking to store in the fridge. If I cook when I have power and store it in the fridge, its much cheaper, I don’t use any gas. I also had to check Clancy underneath, check for loose suspension bolts etc.

I thought about taking the ferry across the harbour, but too many unknowns, and I had driven the road in, so how hard could it be? Well returning to the centre of Dar was much harder the other way. The roadworks were routed differently, and it took be at least an extra half an hour to negotiate all the detours. I headed to the Dar city centre, because I wanted to get some small denomination USD for the Zambian border. There was several money exchanges in the centre of town I had seen the previous day. So because of all the one way streets in the city centre I had to follow a tortuous route with the GPS. When I got close I realised my target was wrong and I had to circle around again, all very slowly. I went in a second time, and by chance someone waved a parking spot to me. This was some sort of parking scam with the parking inspector. I gave the guy 1000Tsh (about $0.65), and it seemed to work. I tried the money exchange, but they didn’t have small denomination notes, so it was all a bit useless, and I headed back to Clancy.

Then I headed north to shoppers plaza, with the shoppers supermarket. I loaded up with more supplies. I paid another 1,000Tsh (about $0.65) for a car guard with a double barreled shotgun to guard Clancy, which I thought was very good value. Then I was finally ready to leave Dar es Salaam at 1pm in the afternoon.

I had a target of 290km in the GPS, but I had two sub targets thinking I would never get 290km. I got near Bagamoyo, about 80km north of Dar. The camping ground looked very nice, but I have to get moving. I have 4,500km to do to get back to Joberg.  So I pushed on. At 5pm I passed the next target another 100km on, and I decided I would push on and find a wild camp before the next target which was the original another 116k further on. It got closer to dark, it was 6:30pm, and I could not find any camp. So breaking my African rules again I drove into the night figuring I would make the wild camp at 290km out of Dar. Of course it was horrible, but so many other people drive in the night in Africa. I went through two police stops that pulled me over with their torches. Its crazy for these police to be standing in the middle of the road in the dark. About 7:30pm I came to an intersection with two servos, one a Puma, one an Engen. I tried the Puma to see if they would take a credit card (Puma usually do), but not this time. Try the Engen they said. So off to the Engen. Yes they would take a credit card but they had run out of diesel.

So I slowly drove on the last 8km, doing about 50kmh, and made it to the wild camp along a powerline at 8pm.

Next morning I was up having breakfast at 6:30am, because I wanted to get going and cover the 240km to Misho, the nearest town to Mount Kilimanjaro. The road was good. A couple of police stops along the way, include a surprise one where he wanted to see my passport. So after a lunch stop I decided to make for a wild camp east of Kafuri. So I am camped by the river which the locals tell me has crocodiles and hippos

Camped by the Irara river
Firing mud bricks. I have seen these stacks all over Malawi and Tanzania, but I have never seen on in operation.


Zanzibar, Tanzania

Its been a  4,000km drive from Joberg to get to Zanzibar. I packed up Clancy at Mikadi Beach, and took only a small rucksack and walked the 2.5km to the harbour ferry across Dar es Salaam. It felt strange having so little gear. I took the ferry across with several hundred other people mixed with the cars.  It was then about a kilometer to the Zanzibar Ferry terminal. I had booked the Airbnb on Zanibar, but not the ferry. I had not been able to do it online, so I thought I will get to the terminal early and buy a ticket there. All was OK, and I had no problems buying a ticket, or paying with credit card. It was then about a two hour wait for the ferry.

The Australian built Austral ferry was a smooth 2 hour trip across to Zanzibar. When I disembarked I faced having to fill in a arrival card and show my passport. Zanzibar is semi-independent, a country within a country.  I then fought through the people trying to get me to take a taxi and walk the 800m to my Airbnb. Stone town is very dense, with narrow streets no room for cars, just scooters. I used OSMAnd on my phone to navigate, but when I got close I could not figure out which building. I could not log onto Airbnb, but luckily the host sent me an email, and I replied. He then sent me a message on Whatsapp. Why didn’t I think of that earlier, everyone in Africa is on Whatsapp. I got to the Airbnb and all was fine. The place is run down, but its right in Stone town near the markets, and cheap.

I went to the markets and got late lunch. It was all a bit shocking, white people, tourists around.  I was so not used to seeing tourists. Europeans fly directly to Dar es Salaam and then to Zanzibar, so its a bit of a tourist destination. There are resorts on the north and east of Zanzibar (that I have not seen, and don’t intend to). Having been in Tanzania for a week, I am a bit shocked how everything in the market is so expensive. A bunch of bananas that I bought in Iringa for 600 TSh they try to charge me 3000 Tsh for, I beat them down to 2,000 Tsh, but its still expensive.

So I have spent the weekend wandering around Stone Town. Saturday morning it rained a bit, Sunday morning it rained for a couple of hours. Saturday night was interesting at the shore, lots of people, mostly locals out for Saturday night. I catch the ferry today at 12:30pm back to Dar.


Fishing boats at the shore of Stone Town
Typical street in Stone Town
Stone Town
Another lane in Stone Town
Teenagers on the shore of Zanzibar, Stone Town beach doing spins jumping off a buried tyre.
the route so far

Mikumi to East of Pingo to Dar es Salaam

I left Camp Bastian late nearly 10am, I was using power to cook Potatoes I had purchased at Iringa, and cook some more Pearl Barley. I only had 240km to get to my target of a wild camping spot about 95km west of Dar es Salaam. The road was OK, but not as good as previously. The first 50km went through a national park, and I saw Zebra and Cape Buffalo. I plugged on, went through a town that had a Puma service station. They were willing to take a credit card but I had to pre-purchase an amount of fuel so they could be sure it worked. I got 30 litres, should have tried for 40l.

After stopping for lunch I started looking for a stop where I could do an oil change. I had been meaning to do this for weeks, I needed a quiet off-road spot. I found a turn-off that was the old road, and was great. I got out all the gear, and started work when a young Masaai cattle hearder turned up. He watched me for ages. He even helped me undo the oil container top. We had zero communication, I don’t even know if he spoke Swahili. Oil change done I continued on, with it getting to around 5pm and me needing to find the wild camp. I found it, only to find it was having a building built on it. I went further on, found a track, then followed it to another track, under some powerlines, until I sort of was not so visible.  In the end though I put myself next to a walking track used by all sorts of people, but they didn’t use it much during the night, and no-one complained. The T1 highway was really noisy though. I was camped at least 100m of the road, but the noise was ever present, and continued to some extent all night.

Next morning I got going quickly, because all sorts of people were walking along the track I had parked next too. It was tough drive into Dar es Salaam. Many, many trucks, lots of overtaking, and then once I got into town, the traffic was extremely heavy. Dae es Salaam has 6 million people.  I aimed for a supermarket in the posh part of town that sold western food. I loaded up. I  went out to the car and got caught by the parking meter girl. She wanted 2,000 shillings (which seemed expensive) , I gave here 10,000 TSH and she said she would be back with change. Ten minutes later I go and find her to get the change. Then she comes back and tries to tell me the parking is 5,600 TSH, and I can pay online. At this stage I am pissed off and I know this is a scam. I say to her lets go into the supermarket and ask them how much parking is, to this she backs down. I then drive to another supermarket Shoppers plaza, which is the biggest supermarket I have been to since South Africa. I manage to get more Pearl Barley that I have been looking for everywhere. I then drive to the campsite Mikadi Beach, which is the other side of the harbour, so its a bit of a detour to get there. Its a pretty nice campsite, and they will store my vehicle when I go to Zanzibar.

Don’t hit anything!
Roadside Zebra
Police road stop
The is standard warning of a broken down vehicle in Africa. Every vehicle is required to have warning triangles, I have 3, but most trucks have none, so they put out branches on the road before and after the broken down truck.
This was a very happy police woman doing a roadside stop, she high fived me!
The Masai header who watched me doing my oil change
All set up for the oil change
Driving into the Puma to get diesel
Roadside offerings for sale
Sellers trying to sell to the truckies as they go past
The never ending speed humps
First traffic lights in 7 weeks.
Camped at Mikadi Beach


Unyamwanga to Kisolanza to Mikumi

The long haul to Dar es Salaam

It was cold cold cold in the morning it was 12C! Unyamwanga is at 1300m. I even tried to start the diesel heater, but alas it would not start and I couldn’t bother to stuff around with it. I had a quiet night even though I was close to the village. I headed back to the main road, and then stated to climb. It was overcast, cold, I was wearing gloves while driving (no heater), and eventually I got to 2300m, where there were pine trees growing.

I had set a target of The Old Farmhouse at Kisolanza, which was 295km away. I had read, and been told, horror stories by other overlanders about how corrupt the Tanzanian Police were. The many stories of them faking your speed on a speed camera and trying to get a bribe out of you. All the village speeds are 50kmh, and there is no lee-way, the Police will fine you if you get to 51kmh. So every Village I am slowing down to 45kmh as soon as I see the sign. I would stay at that speed until there was an end sign, and if there was not (often) I would stay at that speed until I was sure I was out of the village. So it was a slow trip. The fast sections I am flat out at 75kmh.

The T1 highway eventually got really good. There was probably 200km of excellent highway, to South African standards. It was probably the best highway I had driven on since South Africa. So there were many many Police stops. I probably got stopped 5 times up to Kisolanza, and was waved through another ten. However the Police were fine. No asking for bribes. I try to be very friendly, and generally they are friendly back. I make a big thing of being Australian, and I think they appreciate that as being a bit different.

About 50km out of Kisolanza I went through tens of kilometers of pine plantations. It was about 1600m, but it was surreal being 8 degrees from the equator and driving through pine plantations.

I got to Kisolanza about 5:30pm. I was the only guest, but it was a nice campsite, it had power and hot showers. The English owner came over later after dark to see how I was. This campsite used to have 80 people some nights, including overland trucks, and now they were down to the odd person like me. They had reverted to being farmers, and opening a couple of roadside shops. They were surviving, but they wondered whether tourism would ever come back to what it was before. It hasn’t in Australia, and it hasn’t in Africa.

I haven’t quite got used to the timezone and sunrise in Tanzania. In Malawi it was getting light at 5:30am, and the sun was up by 6am. Here in Tanzania a timezone further east, the sun gets up at 7am. So I wake up at 5:30am like I did in Malawi, but its still very dark. I really need to go to bed later.

I got going by 8am, I didn’t have any working internet. Internet is not very good in Tanzania. Its either non-existent, Edge (the old GPRS) or overloaded 3G. Its only in the large towns does it seem to work. I was headed to Iringa, a town about 50km north. iOverlander said it had a western style supermarket. So I got into Iringa, which was a bit crazy, as they had multi story buildings. Outside the supermarket were a couple of Australian lads loading a Troopy, headed for a National park west of here. I think they had not planned for the paucity of choice of food in Africa. They had loaded all sorts of stuff including a couple of dozen eggs that I told them would probably not survive the roads. The problem was they had only driven on the good road from Dar es Salaam, and they had yet to experience true African road horror. So I got some supplies at the supermarket, including a small bar of cadbury chocolate. I have not seen cadbury chocolate for quite a while.

I left Iringa and headed east. Eventually I started descending down the escarpment down a winding road. This road had, monkeys running around on it, broken down trucks, very slow moving trucks, and buses doing suicidal overtaking of slow trucks. It was 8km of African entertainment.

I got to Camp Bastian at Mikumi about 4pm. I debated going further, but I was tired, and I had done 240km.  Camp Bastian is pretty good, and has 3 safari tents set up, with people staying in two of them. They offer “full board” for $US25 a day which is accommodation and breakfast , lunch and dinner. So I am guessing the people staying in the Safari tents are backpackers. I am a cheapskate paying 23,000 TSH (Tanzania Shillings) about $A15 a night.

Tanzania is much, much richer than Malawi. Tanzania is the richest African country I have been in since South Africa. Its not South African standards, but peoples houses are bigger than Malawi, people have cars, motorbikes. The buses transporting people are actually buses. In the high altitude regions there is lots of intense agriculture.

Pine trees growing at 2300m
So cold I needed gloves to drive with, its not that I am a wimp, I have no heater
A picture of the houses and street at 2300m
Downtown Iringa
The fruit and Veg market in Iringa, where I got potatoes, carrots, peas and bananas
Broken down trucks on the 8km descent down the escarpment
Monkeys playing on the road between the trucks on the 8km descent
Forests of Baobab trees on the lower ground
Camped at Camp Bastian