Distance: 202km (Cumulative: 12 218km)
Moving time: 5:22
Average speed: 38km/h
Road surface: 85% Tar, 15% rough gravel
Irente Farm - R90 p.p
Beautiful mountain views, good cheese, warm water showers
We packed up everything again the night before so that we can have an early start. We didn’t set an alarm so only got up passed 08:00 and then only managed to leave passed 09:00. We ate the leftover pizza from last night while on the road.
In Tanga, we first went to the market again and bought almost double as many vegetables as last time, but still only paid 6000 TZS. The first 100km of the road was just driving back the way we came. We passed the police who stopped us coming in and gave a sigh of relief – only to be stopped a few kilometres further by another group of police. This time we only went 57 in a 50 zone (according to their WhatsApp image). The image shows the MonkeyMobile photographed almost from the top with absolutely now buildings in the background or next to the road. Hugo thought the payment couldn’t be that high if 68 in a 50 zone was 30 000 TZS, but somehow we had to pay the same amount again, surely this can’t be right? They did, however, stop two more cars who was driving in front of us, but we didn’t get to see how much they had to fork out.
The road to Mombo is in very good condition and the traffic was fine, we only passed one broken down truck and there were almost no speeding buses. From Mombo we entered the West Usambaras, going up a steep tarred passed. We could see the remainder of massive mudslides that covered the road, luckily it had been scraped open again. This 35km section from Mombo took 90 minutes, but that includes a short stop to make some peanut butter and syrup sandwiches.
The last 5km from Lushoto is a narrow gravel road that was quite slippery. One kilometre from our destination we had to cross deep muddy sections. Hugo engaged low-range and proceeded and a steady pace. The previous tracks through us around, but we managed to get through only to do it two more times before reaching the farm.
We stopped at the reception just before 15:00 and just sat in the car for a while to get our breath back. Caro looked like she had been driving the Dakar on a motorbike – even though she was just in the passenger seat.
We checked in for 15 000 TZS per person per night for camping. We found a level spot on their lawned camping area close to the bathroom, we were probably going to be the only campers so we would have it to ourselves in any way. It started drizzling, so we just sat in the car and listened to another Podcast. The last three had been about Love Hurts and a woman’s quest to find the right person – at 42. We are truly lucky to have found each other so early and to share the same passion.
When the rain stopped we set up the tarpaulin again and opened the tent. For dinner, we made egg fried rice with vegetables and lots of soya sauce again. The rice was the leftover rice from yesterday’s lunch, so Caro who got the bottom scoops which was mixed with dhal had a true Indian and Chinese fusion dish. Hugo also bought a block of real hard cheese from the farm shop, which we had for both starters and dessert.
Day 97: Irente Farm
We slept until almost 09:00. Caro made delicious french toast and we had some more of the cheese.
For the rest of the day, we basically did computering in their restaurant with magnificent views over the Usambara mountains.
In the afternoon 2 more guests arrived, we overheard them saying that they’re going to the Irente View Point. It was almost 18:00 already and we haven’t had lunch. We packed up our ‘workstation’, grabbed a banana and also set off to the viewpoint. It is 2km away through some local villages.
It is a ‘community’ viewpoint with an entrance fee of 2000 TZS. We were rewarded with the most amazing view, with almost no clouds in sight. The local guides all said we had perfect timing because it was the first day that it opened up like this in a long time. We waited for the sunset which was spectacular.
The other couple was also up there and we got to know them a bit better. They’re from Argentina and Spain and are backpacking through some African countries. They’ve already been to Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and now Tanzania.
The four of us walked back together and by the time we reached the farm it was completely dark. They went for dinner in the restaurant and we made pasta again with a fresh salsa salad (tomato, carrot, green pepper and garlic with some oil and spices).
After a hot shower, we climbed into the tent and Caro uploaded some photos using the last of our internet bundle. We then watched a Netflix movie that Hugo previously downloaded. Caro hated the movie and had a bad night’s rest.