Getting into Tanzania was easier than expected, well, getting the car in was easier than expected. The last time we brought a car into this country we had our passports photocopied, driving licenses as well, loads of form filling. Then we had to register with the police, and were told off because we had not registered the car with Interpol. On our way the southern border in the middle of nowhere the engine blew up.
We abandoned the car, and thereby we technically imported the vehicle and possibly still owe two or three thousand pounds import duty.
This time the customs man did not want to see anything not even the car, he just stamped the carnet and got back to his newspaper.
The other bit of luck we had, there were money changers at the border. We know, at least according to an internet search, so maybe we think we know that at Kigoma, which is about three days drive from the frontier is an ATM that will take our card.
We took money out of an ATM in Rwanda a day and a half before getting to the frontier in the hopes that we could change enough to see us through to the afore mentioned cash machine.
Our route is in a rather remote part of Tanzania, we have no idea how we are going to get on. I have read ‘Jupiter’s Travels’ in which there is a salient phrase, “I sat down and waited for something to happen, and it always does” that is absolutely right, so there is no problem.
Anybody sitting there thinking that this trip is easy, let me tell you juggling visas and international money is no easy matter. All is well and we got doshed up.
We took a detour to Lake Tanganyika, and if anybody is interested it is the longest and second deepest fresh water lake in the world. But we went to the village of Ujiji and stood on the very spot, or probably somewhere in the vicinity of the very spot, where sometime in 1871 the immortal words “Doctor Livingstone I presume” were uttered by newspaperman Henry Morton Stanley.
I found on the internet that the shoebill is present in the Moyowosi game reserve. This reserve is undeveloped for tourism and where we are staying is, according to two maps, only 30k away, but nobody here has heard of it, or knows where it is. My navigator is not keen on me roaming the African wilderness looking for it so we are moving on.
We are taking a route in a very remote part of Tanzania, the road is a thousand or more kilometres of dirt track. Tonight we are in the very grubby town of Uvinza, and staying in the best lodge we could find, it is very, very basic water in a bucket and all that sort of thing, and it costs £4 a night. Last night in Kasulu, a town that has the same significance on the map, we stayed in one of the many available hotels; we had a huge double bed, electricity, TV, hot water, all very clean and smart, £6.
Uvinza straddles the road south according to my map, no turnings, no room for error. Early start and we are surprised that despite the fact that it is dirt the road it is in good condition and we were making good time. One and a half hours later we find we are going the wrong way, we have taken a wrong turning, all we can do is turn round and go back and even though it is only eleven o clock back in Uvinza it is now too late today to start on the right route…… Tomorrow……
It would seem that the road that goes through the town is a newish road that is not on our map; the road we want is an unsignposted turning two kilometres before Uvinza.
At the town of Mpanda there is the entrance to Katavi national park, we thought we may have a go, it is $40 to go in, $40 for the car, our plan was to camp, which is $60 extra, on top of that the main road to Sumbawanga is closed so we have to use a minor road that goes straight through the middle of the park, and for free. We went for the not spending one hundred and forty dollars option.
We think that was money well saved, we did see a few animals, elephant, giraffe, hippos etc. but the most populous thing was the tsetse fly.
In Sumbawanga we had a day off, we have just had seven days of hard driving, one day we did as much as two hundred kilometres, 120 miles, that was six hours of hard work, soon it will be tarmac all the way. In about one hour’s time we will be leaving for Zambia, we will be on our last 130k of dirt road, from then on everything will be easy.
There are some map markers of Rwanda/Tanzania on http://www.zeemaps.com/map?group=468852
There are a few photos of Rwanda/ Tanzania on http://picasaweb.google.com/mickhelen99