Distance: 326km (Cumulative: 19 307km)
Moving time: 6:44
Average speed: 48km/h
Road surface: 100% Tar
Peace of mind Rest House - R160 p.p
Very nice hotel, with comfy bed and hot shower.
We went down for breakfast at 08:00, taking the Nutella with us from the beginning, but sadly there weren’t pancakes again. Instead there was Mandazi which still went OK with Nutella. Since there were no hard boiled eggs left, they made us fried eggs.
We left Sumbawanga at 9:30 and set off on the same road to Mbeya as in April. We tried to see if we can recognize certain sites or towns, but everything seemed much drier.
In Tunduma they were still busy with the road, but this time there was a detour where we could skip the drive through the city center.
We got to Mbeya at 15:30 where they were also still building the road so the last 6km took us 20 minutes.
We turned in at Highland motors and found Mr Perreira outside. He said he can help us with wheel alignment and balancing as well as covering up the scratches from the Kampala mishap. We should come tomorrow morning at 08:00.
We initially wanted to stay at the JP Safari Hotel again, but didn’t want to drive all the way out of Mbeya, so we went to the Peace of Mind hotel which is 15000TZS more expensive.
We checked in and got a room on the 4th floor. The room is decorated with African material and beadwork and lots of other artwork. The bathroom is big and clean with hot water and the bed and sheets are really comfortable. A big breakfast is also included. So in the end it felt worth it.
We watched half of an episode on Netflix, before going to the restaurant and ordering a steak and chips. The menu said it could take 45 minutes so we went back to the room to finish the episode before going down again.
The steak was a small piece of tenderize meat, but they gave us a big plate of chips and salad even though we only ordered one portion. We almost didn’t manage to finish all the chips.
The next morning we came down for Breakfast at 07:40. They had a big buffet like breakfast with fruits and deep fried potatoes, ox liver, sweet potato, pancakes, juice and lots of different teas.
At 08:10 Hugo went back to Highland Motors where they immediately started with the wheel alignment and wheel balancing while someone started filling the scars with body filler.
After the wheel balancing we went for a test drive before coming back and covering the parts that shouldn’t be painted with newspaper. Around 11:00 Hugo realised it might still take a while before everything is finished. He let Caro know that we should stay another night just as she checked out of the room.
Hugo then walked to the hotel and together we went shopping. First we stopped at a Nyama Choma stall next to the road and ordered six mishkaki (small beef kebabs) and a plate of chips. It only cost R3.60 per kebab and tasted delicious.
We then went to Azra Provisions a decent sized shop with affordable tinned beans and things. Hugo withdrew some more cash and then we went to Muau Cafe which is close to Highland Motors. At Highlands the Hilux was in the paint booth with the paint job finished, but it would take another 40 minutes to dry so Hugo went back to Muau Cafe where we waited until 14:00.
The vehicle was finally ready and it looked brand new, a bit too new as one could clearly notice the difference between the two door panels.
The final invoice was 310 000 TZS of which the paint without labor was two thirds of the cost.
Hugo went to pick up Caro and together we drove 10km out of town the the Oryx depot where we refilled our Cadac gas bottles. It was quite a process which took 90 minutes. We had to park outside so only Hugo went in. He had to give in his cellphone at the security booth and got a hard hat and a visitors pass.
After lots of waiting around someone came too fill the bottles and then it took ages to get an invoice which was made out to a random company as they don’t cater for individuals. They charged 3300 TZS per kg, which is reasonable.
Back in town we refueled the car and the Jerry cans and then stopped at Elegante supermarket for more supplies. Finally we were ready for Malawi and the last leg back home. We only got back to the hotel after 17:00.
For dinner we wanted more mishkaki, but the guy close shop just as we arrived. We then went looking for another place, but it seemed that most restaurants and street vendors are just open during the day. We found a place selling mishkaki, but they were also busy closing and the few kebabs left on the fire looked like it had been there all day. For some reason we still bought one each, even though it was dried out much more it still tasted OK.
Finally we found a small restaurant that was still open. The Sombrero Restaurant could probably only seat 20 people and we were the only guests besides the friendly manager who spoke perfect English and her friend who also had dinner there. We ordered Masala chicken with fried rice, which again was delicious.
On the way back, however, our tummies started to turn. Given all the things we ate today it is hard to pinpoint it to the mishkaki we had for lunch or the one for dinner or the chicken.