Yes, the road is smooth
'You are very near now. Only thirte... kilometres and the road is smooth all the way.' (Easy for him to say sitting atop his steam roller.)
Thirteen/Thirty which was it? Smooth, we think he meant soft, infact we discovered he meant soft. After finally finding 'the Church' and turning 'light on the lough load' Tanzanias clouds were building for this afternoons deluge, we decided to skip finding the 'Star that Fell from the Sky' (meteorite crater) and return to the Mbeya Paradise Inn.
Tanzania is beautiful. Lush and green, fertile farms, tea and coffee plantations, rich cool mountains, hot humid coast all combined with friendly welcoming people. The Malawian catch cry of 'Give me my money!' is barely audible despite the poverty.
Drying Rice - Near Mbeya
The road from Mbeya to Dar took us two days stopping over in Iringa where we began to detest the word YES. A small word causing much frustration.
'Is this the road to Such-and-such?'
YES (clearly it wasn't)
'Is breakfast included?'
YES (clearly it wasn't)
'Is my hair purple?'
YES (You get the picture)
People often just agree with you as they believe it is helpful.... well it 'aint!
What a Useless Sign
After fighting the Dar es Salaam traffice we crossed the ferry to Kigomboni and Dars southern beaches to meet up with Bonny and Mike whom we last saw in Senga Bay Malawi.
Disembarking the Ferry to Dar's south beaches
Sunrise Beach Resort is located 7 kilometres from the Ferry dock and smack bang on the Indian Ocean.
Sunrise at Sunrise Beach Resort
Fishing Dhows at Sunrise
This idyllic location is spoiled by the cats who like to use your tent as a jungle gym putting holes in the fly and mozzi screens. Our poor wee tent has travelled for 3 years finally gets holes in it! Damn!
'Were goin' to Zan-zi-bar!'
Grant, Mike and Bonny - Ferry to Dar
Our first attempt to catch the ferry to Zanzibar was mared when Mike and Bonnies day pack, complete with camera, passports and ferry tickets etc, was stolen right from under our noses at the Steers Restaurant in Ohio Street, Dar es Salaam.
We were under the impression that it was an inside job, a bag napping ring, as we later heard that it is quite a common occurence in that restaurant. the management was less than sympathetic or helpful accusing us of leaving our bags unattended.
Bonnie and Mike headed to the Police Station, we returned to the campground and that evening the four of us drowned our sorrows over dinner, vowing to be more vigilant. Maybe we had become a little complacement after being on the road for such a long time.
'I've got a lovely bunch a coconuts'.... Load that bike up fella
It is called the Spice Islands, the Zanzibar Archipeligo. It has a long history of trade in spices, gold, ivory and human labour being the jump off point for the East African Slave Trade. It now has a new life in the tourism trade.
Inside the slave holding cell.
Up to 200 unfortunate people were held here secretly at any given time, forced to remain standing for days at a time.
Stone Town is a network of Omani Arab style narrow cobbled streets twisting and turning no wider than a laden donkey. In years gone by the town was brimming with the scent of a thousand exotic spices.
Watching us watching you - Stone Town
Markets - Stone Town
Today you are more likely to encounter a barrage of the scent of two stroke from the inumerable scooters (good thing for Grant as he loves the smell) zipping expertly throught he streets and hot oil for frying chipsis (chips) purchased by hungry school children at lunchtime.
Door - Stone Town
Customs House - Zanzibar
The smell of sweaty armpits of the many papasi (street touts) who want to be your guide, sell you a tour and take you to thier hotel/gift shop etc fills your nostrils.
Jules in Stone Town
On occasion you still get a whiff of spice when you pass by a restaurant, especially those who cater for the Mzungus (foreigners) - We can thoroughly recommend Silk Route for an amazing Indian meal.
We practice our Swahili on the school children 'Hijumbo' we greet, 'Habari' they reply 'Muzuri' we respond. A riot of giggles ensues, but that's as far as we can go as they run off to get home.
Stone Town House, or whats left of it
Cool rest stop - Stone Town
Swathes of colour surround from the bright khangas to the austere black worn by devout Muslim women. Paintings and carvings line the tourist streets becomming repetative and passe, but if you look long enough and hard enough you will find some treasure to take home.
Co-operative empowering women through training.
Handmade cushion cover workshop
Hiring a motorcycle, from the Dodgey Brothers, we headed out to explore some of the island country side.
Hire Bike - Zanzibar
Road to Slave Cave
Road Traffic - Zanzibar
Sunset at Nungwi Beach
Grant, Jules, Mike & Bonnie
We had a great time with Bonnie and Mike, leaving them after a couple of weeks to wait patiently for their new passports.
MMMMM Hot Springs
About 50 kilometres from Moshi we saw the sign to Nyumba Ya Mungu Lodge. Only 15 kilometres down a dirt road. Being aware that lots of Tanzanian roads are less than roads we thought we would just give it a go. Especialy with the promise of hot springs at the end.
Surprisingly the road was good, if not a little further than indicated. As we bumbled along down the valley abundant bird life fled the sound of Piggy's engine and butterflies committed suicide on her screen.
The camber of the road was interesting at times, interspersed with rocky and sandy patches. As we hit the valley floor the temperature became noticable higher and following the signs to the lodge we were faced with a 'kind of' gravel track.
To the Lodge we go
Winding our way through the scrub we wondered if we were going the right way, then we would see a sign to the 'Rangers Station', 'Lodge and Campground'. We headed to the lodge.
Bumping over the rocks, twisting and turning, passing heards of goats the road ran out at the hydro electric dam bank.
No Lodge Here, but please sign our Guest Book
Did we take a wrong turn? What happened? Dismounting for a look around we were approached by a Massai man and his collegue. We asked about the lodge. 'No Lodge' was the response to our questions. We were presented with a guest book to sign and a very flash business card. Laughing, we remarked at yet another Tanzanina Misadventure.
Perhaps if you advertise a lodge you really ought build one!
Ministry of Works needs a little work
With a man on the side of the road
Man: 'I speak English, do you speak English?'
US: 'Yes, we are from Australia, Kiswahili is very difficult for us.'
Man: 'Are you speaking English to me now?'
Are you speaking English to me now?
With a Taxi Driver, Dar es Salaam had just experienced a 24 hour power black out
Grant: 'When did the electricity come back on in Dar?'
Taxi Driver: 'Yes, Manchester United won 6 to 5'
* Immigration stamp out
* Carnet stamp put
* Very easy, very straight forward
HATARI means DANGER - sign in Mikumi National Park
* Visa costs US$50.00 per person
* Ensure you have correct money. US$ ONLY accepted, it is important you have new notes as any notes before 1996 are NOT accepted. The newer, neater and crispier the better.
Boats at Nungwi
* Vehicle Carnet is stamped in, you will not need a Temporary Vehicle Import if you have a carnet that includes Tanzania
* Purchase vehicle insurance - yellow card (US$100.00 valid for 6 months, valid for all countries north (except Egypt - even though it is included) is your best option. It seems like a very strange procedure as the prices vary for Tanzanian Only insurance depending on what money you have. For example we could only afford the premium for 1 month but she gave us 2 months.... go figure!
Boabab Tree National Park - Road to Dar es Salaam
Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.
"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."
"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.
Next HU Events
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!