We landed in Zambia from Malawi on 12th August 2018 through the Songwe border. 

Country No. 6

12th – 19th August, 2018 (Day 41 – 48) 

If it’s not called Mosi-oa-Tunya in Zambia, it is called Mosi-oa-Tunya 😉 😉 Just remember that.

BORDER EXPERIENCE

We like to always highlight this as it is very important information for all the travelers.  You will note our blogs will always start with the border experience. In Malawi we paid for road access fee. In Zambia we paid for Tar Levy of Zambia Kwacha 70/- (Kshs 700/-) per bike. Please don’t ask us what is the difference in road levy and Tar levy, we too don’t know but you have to pay it anyway. Whether you understand it or not. Since we had the carnet and the COMESA insurance, that was all we had to pay.  The process was first and efficient.

NOW IN ZAMBIA 

We left the border for our first stop over for the night at Petauke. Having come from Lilongwe on the same day, our mileage for the day was 322 kms.  We had looked at the map and thought the best place to sleep was Petauke, not because we wished to cover that kind of mileage but because we thought Chipata may be a very small center and might not have accommodation. Its very near the border as well which could have given us the impression as other centers close to the border have been small and without accommodation.  To our surprise, Chipata is a well established town with street lights, malls, petrol stations and you can find very good accommodation. If you leave Lilongwe  and cross the border late, you should not worry about driving/riding far to find accommodation. It’s only 107 kms from the border and good tarmac road all the way. We however had enough time to get to Petauke and therefore did not spend any time at Chipata.

Zambian roads from the border to Lusaka.

Our way of finding accommodation is either by using iOverlander, asking from the locals or using referrals from other travelers we meet as we travel. We have been so fortunate not to end up sleeping by the road side because we did not make bookings in advance.  Something we don’t do. Once we arrive at our destination for the day, the first thing we do is top up fuel for the bikes and if we need help with the accommodation, we always ask the people at the petrol station. So we did that at the petrol station at Petauke and they all pointed to a lodge right opposite the station. We were tired and just rode in to the lodge called Chimwemwe lodge. We got ourselves a cottage as they did not have camping option. It’s a very touristic lodge just by the main highway. We are so used to our tent and being in a place that is social. That is why we love backpackers and camp sites.  Everyone talks to everyone. This turned out to be our movie night. Thanks to the TV in the cottage.

Chimwemwe lodge. Our home before Lusaka.

LUSAKA

it took us two days from Lilongwe to Lusaka.  From Petauke to Lusaka it is 403 kms. One thing to note is that the roads are really good.  From the border, for the first time we had a road without pot holes, bumps or cops. In all the other countries, we had at least 2 out of the 3 on each road. It is also a very long stretch with nothing much to see only big farms and  good vegetation. Zambia is very green. We however enjoyed driving through the Lower Zambezi National Park and crossing a very beautiful bridge with an amazing view of river Luanga.

The beautiful bridge
The river Luanga

We arrived in Lusaka and we had already picked our new home from iOverlanders as the Lusaka Backpackers.  We went in and got our beds in the dorm.  We always take a decker. It’s fun whispering to each other like we used to do in high school.  I know, you are wondering how a couple sleeps in a dormitory.  Our best experiences have been in the dormitories. We love them. They are also very pocket friendly but the best of all is making friends.  Our dormitory had 5 beds. This one had no deckers though so we were all on the same level. We were three of us in the dorm and did not meet the third dorm-mate Bahar till later in the evening. She is from Turkey and was traveling solo. We would end up having dinner and drinks together and became travel buddies for the next couple of places.

THINGS TO DO IN LUSAKA

We had a day to spend in Lusaka and all three of us spent it together. We avoid the very touristic activities as they cost more.  For example, you can pay a guide to take you for the Lusaka town tour which will include the museum and the Kabwata cultural village for USD 30. A friend from Lusaka organized transport to take us around Lusaka town.  After some errands at the Levy Mall and one of the best salads we have had since we left home from Living Healthy outlet, we left for the Museum and Kabwata cultural Village.

THE MUSEUM

Entrance fee – Zk-50/- per person for none residents. (Kshs 500/-)

No pictures allowed inside the museum.  The museum covers the history and culture of Zambia.  It has emphasis on the colonization and independence history of Zambia.  Opened in 1996, it has a modern layout.

Outside the Museum. The traveling family. Bahar with us
The only picture we managed to take inside the museum.

THE KABWATA CULTUAL VILLAGE. 

If you have been to Maasai market in Kenya, then, the Kabwata cultural village is similar to Maasai market.  The only difference is that, it is set up as a village.  It was a nice experience being here as they have items that we don’t have in the Maasai market but largely the paintings, carvings and some accessories were similar. They have the gemstones and old money (Zambia and Zimbabwean) which were quite interesting to see. You can also buy it there.

OFF TO LIVING-STONE. 

We left in the morning.  Bahar took the bus because we could not fit her suit-case on the bike, otherwise we really wanted her to seat at the back of one of us (perfect pillion). She had told us how she has never thought she could ride a motorcycle but the more we talked, the more we felt she is going to get one some day.  Destination, Livingstone. We were all looking forward to the Vic Falls experience. We arrived at Jollyboys  backpackers and booked our space in the dormitory. We found Christine and Virginia in the dorm and our traveling family had two more members. The dormitories here are very well designed.  Each bed comes with personalized amenities such as own light, own charging point, own locker and the design gives you the comfort of some privacy in your own little space. Here we were also meeting Chris and David who we have been traveling together from Malawi. It was going to be a big happy reunion.

Our dormitory

As soon as we all linked up and were now happy to be together again, we spent a really amazing evening together.  We were to part ways again the following day as Chris and David were leaving to later link up in the next countries but not without helping them make a tough decision on their next move in their adventure. Their transport out of Zambia was complicated and was going to affect a part of their travel. After a tough deliberation, they sort our help in making the decision. This was made by tossing a coin which Dos would be in-charge of. Turned out to be the best way to make a difficult decision. After hugging each other and Chris and David leaving, the three of us sat by the pool side.

See you soon moment to Chris and David.

We heard the roaring sound of a bike and like little kids, we ran to just see. There was a cute yellow BMW 1150 and a very knackered gentleman. We said hello and welcomed him. Chuchi joined our amazing traveling family and the four of us would spend the day at the Vic Falls the following day. He even named Bahar “Chingololo” (her Africa name now) and got us gifts.

We have met and made friends with the most amazing people in this world.  We have been blessed.

We spent the rest of the day talking and sharing our travel experiences, advices and any information that would be helpful to each other on our different adventures.  Chuchi was really helpful with the roads in Botswana and what to expect. The border crossing and planing as he has traveled this route several times on his motorbike. The best advice was on how to handle the world animals which occasionally cross the road randomly and more especially the elephants.  That was really helpful.

THE REAL MOSI-OA-TUNYA (The smoke which Thunders)

If you are still wondering what “the real Mosi-oa-Tunya” is, don’t worry any more.  This name means “The smoke which Thunders” and refers to the Victoria Falls.

Mosi-oa-Tunya

 

You can view Vic Falls from Zambia and Zimbabwe as well. However, we preferred the Zimbabwean side. It was more epic. You can walk across the border to each country and view the Vic Falls. If you need visas to both countries, you need to factor in the cost of visas as you have to pay it with each entry. However, you can get a multiple entry in to Zambia and only pay extra for Zimbabwe if you would like to view the falls from both countries which is possible in a day.  For countries that don’t need visa into the two countries, you only need to pay for entrance fee.

Kenyans – No visa required in to Zambia and Zimbabwe

Zambia entrance fee – USD 25 P.P

Zimbabwe entrance fee – USD 30 P.P

If doing both countries, give yourself the whole day and a walking distance of about 14 kms in total. If doing only one side, give yourself about 3 hours. You may need to hire a rain coat at the gate if you are afraid of getting wet.  We did not, we loved the showers of Mosi-oa-tunya. Have proper and comfortable shoes for walking otherwise you end up with your legs in the cold pool in a cold night like Wamuyu. Carry some drinking water, there are coffee shops and restaurants for a meal on your way out but you can pack your own lunch.  We packed our own lunch and had a picnic lunch in there which was really lovely. They have places you  can eat with nice benches and dustbins.

If you stay at Jollyboys like us, you get free transport to the Vic Falls and only need to get transport back to the backpackers. Taking a taxi by yourself will cost you Zk 60 but if you take a shared taxi, you pay Zk 10 and get dropped at the museum which is right across the road and walk to the backpackers.

There many shops and vendors where you can buy souvenirs at the Vic Falls. There is even a small shop inside the park where you can buy water and snacks.  There are very clean toilets and will only cost you Zk 2 to use, which ticket is for multiple use. The entire place is really well organized and worth every penny you spend.

Just don’t forget to go through the immigration. Get your stamp please.

We extended our stay in Livingstone with another day and the best decision ever as we linked up with Frank again who we had met in Senga Bay Malawi.

 

See you in Botswana. 

 

 

 We entered Malawi on 2nd August, 2018 through Kasumulu border.

2nd – 12th August, 2028 (DAY 31 – 41)

We are not the only ones who use this phrase “Malawi the warm heart of Africa”, many people do and there may be a book titled that too as well.  The people of Malawi are very kind, welcoming and loving to everyone. The make the country earn this title.

BORDER CROSING

Our last night in Tanzania was spent in Kasumulu (you can read all about our last night in Tanzania here) This was border no 5. Getting through immigration and getting passports stamped for both exit and entry has basically been the same process everywhere. What has varied so far is clearing the bikes at the customs.

What you need to know about the border crossing in Malawi.

All borders will demand to see your insurance. COMESA insurance is the easiest to have as it covers several countries down south to South Africa. It is best to purchase it before departure as this will save you a lot of time at the border. However, not all countries are covered and you need to check that when clearing your bike at the borders and purchase insurance for the country not covered at the border. It is illegal to drive without an insurance.

Malawi is covered by COMESA insurance but you have to pay “road access fee” of $20 per bike. This amount is only payable in dollars and you have to deposit it in the bank and present the deposit slip with the paperwork at the customs. The good thing is, the bank is in the same hall. There can be a long wait as everyone crossing the border with a vehicle has to go through the process. The bank is semi-automated and therefore each transaction takes a bit longer as most of the transaction involves quite some paperwork.  There is a forex bureau right next to the building so if you don’t have dollars you can change some money there.  And that means you have to have some cash on you as there is no ATM at the border. Same rules about dollar notes applies here, only dollar notes from 2006 will be accepted. We found a very helpful customs official who came to our rescue when our 50 dollar note was rejected as it was a 2004.

Another thing you need to know is, there is a bit of paper work at the Malawian border at the customs. Whether you have a carnet or not, you will be required to fill up some paper work. In essence, plan your time very well for early arrival and to allow for the paperwork and custom process.

RIDING THROUGH MALAWI

This is very important for everyone who plans to overland through Malawi. Riding or driving, please take time to read through this blog.

Malawi is very very beautiful no doubt about that. Lake Malawi is the main tourist attraction and therefore almost everyone will be using the M1, M5, M14 and M12 roads. We entered Malawi through the Kasumulu border coming from Tanzania.

Taking a break in between a day’s riding.

FUEL AND CASH ACCESS.

From the border, the next town with a petrol station or ATM is Karonga and it is 45 kilometers from the border. Make sure you top up fuel in Kasumulu and get some cash as well. If you miss topping up fuel and cash at Kasumulu, you can top up in Karonga but it would be a risk for cash as ATM’s are down sometimes or won’t accept foreign bank cards.

From Karonga, the next town that you can find a petrol station and an ATM is Mzuzu which is 218 kms from Karonga.  We did not have this information and we left Karonga without topping up fuel thinking there would be a petrol stations along the way and we could get more ullage in the tanks to take up more fuel.  We also did not have enough cash on us and we had no idea what the costs are like.  Our first two nights were going to be in Chitimba 160 kilometers before Mzuzu.  We stayed at a really nice backpackers called Hakuna Matata, where we took up two beds in a dormitory. Fortunately or unfortunately, we were the only ones in the dormitory and so it was just like we had our own room. There were other travelers though in the rooms and we ended up making great friends and traveling together for some time. The owner Mr. Willies was really helpful and he helped us get some fuel from a local vendor that was very clean. No problems at all.  There is always a way out ;).

After two nights at Hakuna Matata, we left heading for Nkatha Bay via Mzuzu.  We had ran out of money too. We actually even owed the camp some money.  We needed to get cash. Here is our other new experience. All Malawian banks will only dispense a maximum of 80,000 Kwacha (Kshs 10,600/-). Our daily budget so far is at Kshs 6,000/- (we are hoping to bring it down to Kshs 5,000). One maximum withdrawal only takes care of one day as we need fuel, accommodation and food. The other surprise was that most of the banks don’t accept foreign cards for withdrawal, only Malawi National Bank accepted all cards. The bright side of this is ATM withdrawals at  Malawian National Bank cost ZERO.  The ATM’s down time is also high and most of the time we would find ourselves waiting for a long time, or walking from one ATM to another hoping it’s working.  Our first experience was in Mzuzu and we were stuck in the town for sometime but we eventually were able to get some money.  Mzuzu is 50 kilometers from Nkhata Bay and therefore easy to ride to the ATM.

No caption

This remained the experience throughout Malawi and it is very very important to plan and budget well otherwise you ran out of cash and fuel with no access.

We also noted that most places do not accept credit/debit card payments.  We were not able to pay for fuel using the cards at all and the only place we used the card was in Shoprite supermarket at Mzuzu and Lilongwe.

NOTE:-

  •  Fill up your tanks and if possible carry reserve fuel depending on your route, distances and tank capacity.
  • Carry enough cash at all time.  Only cash payments in Malawi.  Foreign currency (Dollars and Euros) are accepted in most camps but not in shops and fuel stations.
  • Malawi National Bank is your best bet for ATM withdrawal but you may be lucky with others depending on your bank and type of card.
  • All main roads are good tarmac other than a section after the border where the roads are being repaired.  This should be done in a couple of months.  Towards Mzuzu there is also a section with many potholes but doable.
  • Most of the roads to the campsites are sandy with sections of deep sand. For bikers, you need the right tyres  although we made it with street tyres. 4X4 vehicles are perfect for these roads.
Getting into Hakuna Matata

BACK PACKING IN MALAWI.

There are some hotels along lake Malawi but we do not have the data at all. We never checked for hotels while planning our stay in Malawi. Reason being, they are beyond our budget. However, there are many lovely backpackers along Lake Malawi all the way from the North to South Malawi. Very affordable, awesome community and just the traveler heaven.

We have used dormitories, rooms with shared bathrooms as well as rooms with private showers.  You can never compare the prices to those of hotels whatever choice you make. Backpackers are way cheaper and are just the perfect community, amazing family set up and the best way to meet people, make friends, exchange information about travel and have an absolutely good time.

We have made friends and continued to travel together. Some for a couple of places and others a couple of countries.

If you would like to follow our route, below is where we stayed.

CHITIMBA – HAKUNA MATATA CAMP 

With Willies at Hakuna Matata.

Hakuna Matata is a small camp site. What we loved about this place.

  • The bathrooms are really nice and the designer put some good attention to details. The showers comes with a drying area which is well designed for all your items (a bench you can place your toilet bag and hooks for clothes and towel) The water is hot throughout the day. The sinks are well placed with mirrors and enough space as a shared bathroom.
  • Cleanliness – the camp is very clean, rooms and compound alike. We stayed in the dorm. The dorm sleeps five and has single beds and no deckers.
  • Warm and homely set up – Willies the owner of the camp hangs out with the guests and is very knowledgeable about the Malawi history as well as the rest of Africa.  He will seat with guests over breakfast and dinner and gladly share information about Malawi and entire Africa. Just ask him anything and he knows something very helpful.
  • Food – They have a small kitchen where you order food.  They serve breakfast and dinner but if around for lunch, there is always someone to fix a light meal.  Their food is freshly prepared and very delicious. Make sure to try the butter fish while there.
  • Accessibility – The camp is about 1 kilometer from the main road.  The road is a mix of shallow and deep sand. Our bikes have street tires and this was not easy, however, if you ride slowly you will make it in and out. We did, but the right tyres are better.
  • Activities – Enjoy the view of the Malawi “table mountains” from the beach, the sunrise and sun set is really beautiful as well. Take a trip up the Livingstonia mountains to the Mushroom camp, museum and more.
Hakuna Matata camp

BUTTERFLY SPACE – NKHATA BAY

The view of Butterfly space from the lake.

Butterfly Space is build on a hill or can we call it a cliff ? It extends down to the lake. You have rooms and bathrooms on the cliff and down at the lake there is a nice bar with the most amazing music.  Not forgetting the reception right in the middle and the kitchen with very delicious breakfast.

The pub is managed by young guys with an incredible collection of good music from all around the world.  We actually borrowed some and they gladly shared. You also get to play a game of pool and Bao with them. Your nights will be spent listening to the sound of the waters of Lake Malawi hitting the stones as if to sing a lullaby for everyone.

The lake sings you a lullaby

The bathrooms and toilets are all compost since you can not build septic tanks on the cliff and they are eco friendly as they are keen on maintaining a clean lake and environment.

We traveled down with our friends from Hakuna Matata and made new friends at Butterfly space.  We had some really fun nights at this camp till we extended our stay.

Access to Butterfly space is all tarmac.  The only one we saw that was tarmac all the way.

KANDE BEACH

We spent one night at Kande beach.  We were unfortunate to be there when there were no other guests.  Its really popular for over-landing trucks. A relatively modern camp. The road to the camp from the main road is mostly deep sand.  If riding, please make sure you have the right tires. Otherwise, you will make it, we did.

The good omen tree of Kande Beach

COOL RUNNINGS – SALIMA (SENGA BAY)

Just like the name, this place is purely cool.

Wamuyu, Frank, Samantha and Dos at Cool Runnings

We spent two nights at Cool Runnings and met Samantha who runs this amazing cozy and very homely lodge. There are en-suit rooms, dormitories and camping available (both own tent and their tent). Talk of attention to details everywhere, this place has every bit of it well thought for your comfort. Very very beautiful we must say.

Samantha runs a number of community projects and has volunteers coming in from all over the world.  The most amazing bit is that if you are staying there and would like to volunteer for a day or more, that is possible and very welcome.  We decided to take a day and just volunteer. We ended up having such a great time with everyone and learning so much.  We made more friends and loved this place a lot.

A day Volunteering at Toms (Samantha’s projects)

Accessibility – about 800 mtrs from the main road.  Partly sandy road.

MABUYA CAMP – LILONGWE

Our stay in Malawi was sadly coming to an end.  We were a bit behind schedule and we decided not to go down to Cape Maclear and Monkey Bay. Lilongwe was going to be our last town and stay in Malawi.  We were here for two nights and stayed in a en-suit room. When we called to book, we were given the price of 30 USD per night but we got charged USD 45 a night which we were not happy about. The backpackers is conveniently located walking distance to town.  We were able to walk to the shopping mall and do our shopping. It’s tarmac road all the way to the camp.  There is a swimming pool, self catering, restaurant and a bar. Although located in town, you have everything within the backpackers and will not need to think of a night out in town not unless that’s really what you would like to do.

Parked at Mabuya for our last nights in Malawi

OUR FAMILY GREW IN MALAWI

We made the most friends in Malawi and have continued traveling together. Malawi is beautiful, incredible, indeed the warm heart of Africa and the connection country.

We loved Malawi, we left filled with so much love from everyone we met and we now have a big loving fun family.

WHAT TO DO IN LAKE MALAWI

  • Snorkel and scuba
  • Water sports
  • Explore the villages
  • Drink Malawi gin
  • Soak in malawian warmth
  • Eat lots of fish
  • Try out the mice delicacy
Malawian mice delicacy

We are looking forward to answering many questions because we know yo are already planning your trip to Malawi.

 

 

18thJuly – 2ndAugust 2018

(Day 17 – 32 of the trip)

Total – 16 days

This post is going to include Zanzibar too. We got a stamp of entry in to Zanzibar but we don’t separate it from Tanzania.

BORDER CROSSING NO. 3 -RUSUMO BORDER

We left Kigali at around 9:00 am with a plan to ride to Kahama in Tanzania and cover 460 kilometers in a day crossing through Rusumo border.

We arrived at the border around 12:30 p.m.  We had lost some time on the stretch between Kayonza and Rusumo due to the bad roads, however, we were still in good time for Kahama if we got cleared in good time.

The roads from the border to Oyovu are off-road. Be prepared.

The border was relatively busy as we arrived with a few other groups of over landers. We got our way to the Rwanda section for exit stamps and clearing the bikes with the customs. This was pretty easy and fast. We were done within no time. Next was Tanzania immigration for the entry.

Entering Tanzania was different. First, they scan everything, by this we mean, you have to pass through the scanner for body scanning, then bring your luggage for scanning before going to the immigration. This process takes time and depends on how many people you find and their amount of luggage.  We had to off load our dry bags to take through the scanner. Fortunately, they agreed to check the panniers from the bikes, but this meant opening our panniers in front of everyone and they also asked that we open the little bags like toilet bags and day bags which carry an easy access set of change of clothing inside the panniers.

Once we scanned our big bags, they identified metal and we had to open and pour out everything.  We tried to explain that those were the tools but that did not work.  The process of re-parking took some more time off our schedule and was not very interesting.

TO NOTE: –

  1. Scanning is mandatory.
  2. Make time for this process since the time you spend here largely depends on the number of people you find. Arrive as early as you can.

We eventually got our entry approval and stamp at the immigration and quickly headed for the customs to clear the bikes.  By this time, it was past 1:00 pm and the officers had taken their lunch break.  There was no alternative but to wait till 2:00 p.m for the officer to return from his lunch.

In essence, we spent two hours at the border hence losing some precious time for the remaining part of the journey.

RIDING TO DAR ES ALAM

Our plan was to ride all the way to Dar es alam covering a distance of 1,439 kms in four days. The plan was to do:-

–       Kigali to Kahama – 460 kms

–       Kahama to Singida – 306 kms

–       Singida to Dodoma – 232 kms

–       Dodoma to Dar es alam – 441 kms

We ended doing the distance in 5 days.  Travelers don’t make plans, right? Continue reading and see why?

THE INTENDED RIDE TO KAHAMA.

At the border, we asked a few other drivers how the road to Kahama was and they told us it was bad but doable. That did not exactly define how bad but of cause everyone was using this road. Some people told us it was about 50 kms but we found out it was way more.

We left the border at 2:30 p.m ready to cover another slightly more than 300 kilometers. The truth is the first 40 kilometers were fine, just an old good road. Then, the rest was really a tough ride.

There were sections of former tarmac road now just potholes, there were long sections of diversions that were full of gravel, fine deep soil or sand. The road has many trucks from and to Rwanda and therefore in the dusty sections there was zero visibility at times due to dust and all we could do is wait for the trucks to pass and the dust to settle.

We arrived at Nyakananzi at around 5:30 p.m having covered only about 115 klometers in 3 hours.  Our maximum speed on that road was 60 kph if we got lucky. At Nyakanazi there is nowhere to sleep.  We stopped to fuel and we could see a very good tarmac.  We asked if there were any more diversions ahead and were told only a short one about 500mts long. We hit the road at about 6:00 p.m ready to get to Kahama but hardly 10 kilometers ahead, we got in to the first diversion with many other trucks. This one turned out to be about 2 kilometers but we were so happy when we saw the tarmac again. We pushed the bikes as though to recover all the lost time and get to Kahama but 12 kilometers before Uyovu, we got in to another diversion.  At this time it was dark. The best speed we could do on this stretch was a max 40kps. There were many trucks and that slowed us down too. It got worse when we lost visibility, and our only option was to follow the trucks as they seemed to light better and had a better visibility. We eventually arrived at Uyovu at 8:30 p. having covered only about 50 kilometers.

We looked for a place to stay and found a small lodge.  We asked the lady working there to help us get some food and she gladly got us some chips mayai. We were finally in Tanzania. What a welcome.

And this is how our 4-day plan became a 5-day plan.

Our home after a very tough ride. Oyovu town in Western Tanzania
There was enough and safe parking for Kenia and Jaba

ACTUAL RIDE TO KAHAMA.

The following day we were pretty tired and decided to just do a ride to Kahama and have some good rest.  We covered the 145 kms pretty well and first.  The road was all good, but the winds get tough sometimes.

Arriving in Kahama and so happy with the new home.
A sumptuous meal at Kahama before a good rest.

 RIDING TO SINGIDAM- DAY MILEAG 306 KMS

We spent a night at Kahama and left the following day for Singida.  This was going to be 306 kilometers ride. Wamuyu had been to Singida before, and we were excited.  We went back to the same PHB hotel she stayed at, a year ago and was really amazing seeing everyone again. We took a walk in the beach just like she did one year ago. One night at Singida and we left for Dodoma.

Hotel are not expensive here and we did not see any backpackers.  With Tshs 30,000 (Kshs 1,500), you get a very good room with private bathroom and double bed, AC, TV and fridge. The price includes breakfast too. We highly recommend visiting Singida. Its really beautiful by Lake Singidani.

Enjoying Lake Singidani

RIDE TO DODOMA – DAY MILEAGE 232 KMS

Let’s just give this a name! The windy start.

West Tanzania is mainly dominated by a large central plateau and covered with grassland and plains.  We had experienced winds before, but they were not as bad.  We left Singida in the morning.  The first 30 kilometers were really bad.  The winds were just crazy, they had been the same the whole of the previous night and we had been warned. A few kilometer into it, we stopped for a wind 101 chat ;). From here on the ride was really good and uneventful.

After wind lesson 101, yeah – lets go!

FINALLY GETTING TO DAR ES ALAM

Woohoo we finally getting to Dar and we going to have some rest.

You have no idea how this feel …

We had a really nice ride and only got hard about 25 kilometers to Dar es alam due to heavy trucks traffic. Please don’t make this mistake like us.  Use the Bagamoyo route to Dar and while on that, please stop for a night and day and Bagamoyo.  This small town is so beautiful.

DAR ES ALAM HERE WE COME.

We were welcomed to Dar es alam by our very good host and the Dar Bikers.

We parked the bikes and we were not to touch them again until the departure day. 😉 We had a few activities in Dar before leaving for Zanzibar.

We took a day to experience Dar es alam.  We also met up with Diana our friend from Kenya and experience Dar together. We took a walk in the beach, had fish for lunch and some drinks at a local beach restaurant.  After getting ourselves stuffed, we decided to take a boat ride to Mbudya island.

Having fun at the Dar beach

–       A boat ride to the island takes about 45 minutes.

–       It cost us Tshs 50,000 (Kshs 2,500/-) for a return trip.  The boat guy waits around for you to enjoy the place.

–       There is park fee paid at the island and we paid Tshs 46,000 (Kshs 2,300/=)

To note: –

  1. We highly recommend you eat before your trip to the island or pack a picnic bag. Carry your drinks and water. The place is very beautiful for picnics. There is a small restaurant in there but not a reliable one.
  2. Don’t leave your swim suit behind, the beach is beautiful and a jump into the ocean is well worth it.
  3. There are no clean changing rooms, so wear your swim suit inside and have enough time to dry up. Carry your lotion, sunscreen and a good pair of flip flops.

MEETING THE DARS BIKERS AND FRIENDS.

We had been in contact with Mrusha and Hussein of Dar Bikers way before our arrival in Dar. We were also meeting our long time friend Salim. They gave us a very warm welcome and spent time with us.  Mrusha and Hussein organized a dinner meet up with Dar Bikers. These three gentlemen made sure Tanzania truly is “Unforgettable”. They took us around for many lunches and dinners. Ensured we were well taken care of. We can never thank them enough.

ZANZIBAR

Zanzibar is known for honeymooners, white beaches and good food. Initially, Zanzibar was not in our plan until the last night in Rwanda. We looked our next days of travel and route and we changed all that to add some excitement to the trip. We settled to do Zanzibar. We were in Zanzibar for four days and spent the entire time in Stone town.  We were so lucky to hook up with our friends from back home.

An amazing evening with these two lovebirds.

Zanzibar can be expensive and requires some good planning and budgeting. Besides hotels, there are Airbnb and couch surfing options too.  The hotels range from 5 stars to budget hotels. We stayed in Abuso Inn hotel in old town.

We visited prison islands while there, did a tour of the stone town, ate different types of foods at the Forodhani Gardens and our favorite restaurant at Stone town was Mash Allah restaurant. Great food, ambience and service.

LEAVING TANZANIA

We returned to our host Joseph after ending our holiday in Zanzibar.  We really did not want to leave Tanzania. It had become home, and we were having lots of fun.  At our host place, we met other travelers.  We met Tracy and Katherine. We however had to leave. On Sunday, we packed up and Mrusha and Hussein came to see us off.  We rode with Mrusha to Bagamoyo where we were to have some coffee as we say good bye and continue to Dodoma.

There was the Bagamoyo annual marathon happening on that day, but what caught our hearts is when we rode through the small-town heading to Firefly backpackers for our coffee.  Bagamoyo is really beautiful and when we parked our bikes at Firefly, it took us just a couple of minutes to know we were not leaving the town that day. We had our coffee and headed out for a walk and see the beautiful Bagamoyo town.  We also walked to where the marathoners were gathering having a relaxed time after the run.  It is here that we were fortunate to meet the Minister for Natural Resources  and Tourism – Hon. Dr. Hamisi Kigwangala

If in Dar, please spare time to visit Bagamoyo.  It’s only 50 kilometers from Dar and definitely worth a visit.

After our day and night in Bagamoyo, we were back on the road again, heading to Malawi.  This would take us through Dodoma again, onward to Mikumi national park, Makambako and eventually Kasumulu border. Another 4 days before we enter Malawi and a total of 887 kilometers.

We enjoyed riding through the Mikumi National park.  A stretch of about 100 kilometers within the park and it is all tarmac main road.  However, you cannot stop or take pictures in this section as its dangerous to do so coz of the world animals.  We saw buffalos, monkeys, baboons, giraffes and zebras.  The buffalos were the highlight of the ride.

We stayed at a lodge called Bastian and we recommend this place highly. The staff are very welcoming, the ambience so good, the food is delicious, and the campsite is very clean and well maintained. We camped at their tent for USD 25 per person full board and we even got a lunch box each on our departure day. Their tents come with a bed, matress, bedsheets, warm blankets, a small balcony or veranda with two seats.  We were able to park our bikes right next to the tent.  The bathrooms and showers are very clean, spacious and with hot water. We were grateful we found this place after the place we had been recommended to was full.

Bastian Lodge in Mikumi National park.

At Makambako we stayed at a nice budget hotel and the following day rode to Kasumulu. We had checked on a place to stay on iOverlander app and found one Mara Green backpackers.  We don’t recommend this place although we made our own party and made our stay memorable. We arrived there at around 4:00 pm together with one other cyclist riding his bicycle around the world.  In total we were three people in the entire backpackers which looked more like a deserted place. Nothing works anymore, ran and managed by one elderly man, no kitchen, no bar, no nothing but an old place of what may have once been some nice backpackers.

The gentleman was kind enough to help us order some food from the nearby town and was later delivered by a boda boda rider. The three of us, ate together, enjoyed some drinks and danced ourselves to bed.

And this marked our last night in Tanzania. A party out of Tanzania.

Keep it here for our experience and fun in Malawi – turuuuu