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

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.

 

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