Distance: 151km (Cumulative: 9 774km)
Moving time: 3:04
Average speed: 49km/h
Road surface: 50% Gravel, 50% Tar
Holland Hotel - R140 p.p
Bed & Breakfast, clean rooms, safe parking
Hugo couldn’t sleep and stayed awake until 02:00 in the morning, browsing and posting things. So naturally when the alarm went off at 07:00 he just switched it off and continued sleeping.
Eventually after 08:00 we woke up from the thunder in the skies. We decided to leave as we didn’t want the tent to get wet again and we also didn’t have enough Shillings for another night (we forget to get cash in Sumbawanga).
We still had lots of things to pack in and Hugo at to top up the axle oil again, but there was no level ground. Hugo downloaded an app that shows if something is level. The first attempt was to drive onto a rock with the one wheel, but that didn’t work so we found another spot where only driving onto a plank was enough to get the car level.
Eventually at 10:30 we were ready to leave, but first we went to the old Monastery. Apparently, it was built around 1890 when an anti-slavery campaign was undertaken by Congolese White Fathers. Slaves were being rounded up to carry ivory to the coast and then being sold. The missionaries bought slaves to save them and adopted orphans.
The road back was much easier in daylight and without the mud. The sections where we skid across the road was already compacted again. Just as we got into Sambuwanga at 14:00 someone flashed their lights for us and crossed the road to a lay-by area. Turns out it is Chris and Lou from Lake Shore Lodge. They helped us with directions and advice for getting Third Party Insurance, a place to sleep, food, the pharmacy and a mechanic.
We parted ways and first went to the ATM drawing 800 000 shillings (R5000), we needed to do it twice as 400 000 was the maximum. As 10 000 shillings is the biggest denomination we had a thick wad of cash that couldn’t even fit in my wallet. After that we went for the insurance (Bima in Swahili), there are a few different options visible from the main road. We used the National Insurance of Tanzania office behind the dome building. We got insurance for a year as we’ll be returning through Tanzania in a few months, it cost 118 000 Shillings (R750). We then went to the Semeka store, which is supposedly the biggest ‘supermarket’ where Chris shops as well. It literally only has four shelves of which two are full of tea and coffee. We managed to buy a lighter, Omo, 2-minute noodles, a Cadbury slab and water.
We made another quick stop at a Pharmacy (look for the word ‘Dawa’ which means medicine), to buy Bilharzia pills. Hugo then dropped Caro at the Holland Hotel which Chris recommended. Only 45 000 shillings for Bed and Breakfast for both of us. Hugo took the MonkeyMobile to the mechanic, but luckily he couldn’t help and said we must go to Mbeya. Hugo didn’t want another backyard mechanic episode.
Back at the hotel we had linner (between lunch and dinner) and ordered Chicken Masala and Latin American style chicken from the restaurant. The prices are very reasonable and both meals and drinks only cost 19 000 shillings.
After dinner Hugo topped up the axle oil again and then we went to the room to work. We only went to bed again at midnight.
Day 69: Work, work, work
We slept until 08:00 and finally got out of bed to go eat. The price of the room includes breakfast. Basically bread, eggs on order and coffee. When we checked on the car someone washed it thoroughly including getting rid of all the thick mud, we later found him and tipped him 6000 shillings.
After breakfast we worked until lunch. Vodacom Tanzania has quite good reception here (3Mbps) and 1G data bundles for valid for 1 day for only R12. At 14:00 we walked to the big market in town. Most stalls sells clothing, shoes and chitengis. In the middle is the fruit & vegetable section. We ended up only buying a wooden spoon for R6. At another more modern shop we bought Date Syrup, coconut milk and ginger biscuits.
We got back to the hotel at 15:00 and shared a Chicken Biryani, which looked the same as yesterdays Latin style chicken, but some rice kernels were coloured green and red.
After lunch we worked again until dinner. We decided to break away from the chicken and ordered Fish. It came in a batter with two fried eggs draped over it. Somehow it actually tasted quite good. We also shared a Tusker Beer.
We only went to bed after midnight again.
Day 70: Ditto
Today we worked all day, just stopping for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the hotel. For lunch we tried the Chinese Fried Rice and it was so good we had it for dinner again.