Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: wildside on February 02, 2012, 04:32:45 pm

Title: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 02, 2012, 04:32:45 pm
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 Before I tell you about our adventure through East Africa I want to give you a brief description of the Great Rift Valley as this is the route we followed.
Africas Great Rift Valley is a 6000 km crack in the earths’ crust caused by violent subterranean forces that tore apart the earths crust causing huge chunks of the crust to sink between parallel fault lines and force up molten rock in volcanic eruptions. This stretches from central Mozambique in South East Africa, through Malawi where it splits into the Western Rift Valley ( also known as the Albertine Rift ) and the Eastern Rift Valley, which runs through central Tanzania.  The most dramatic section that runs through East Africa divides Kenya into two segments and continues all the way to Northern Syria in South west Asia.

 The western branch contains the Rift Valley Lakes which we followed up to Murchison Falls, on the Victoria Nile in Northern Uganda. We then crossed over to Kenya to follow the eastern Rift Valley back down to Southern Lake Malawi.

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MAP OF RIFT VALLEY

The Rift Valley is something that has fascinated me since high school and after our Namibian Meander in 2009, we discussed our next destination and jokingly I suggested that we follow the Rift Valley. Kingsley wasn’t too sure about where or what it was.  To cut a long story short he was soon convinced that this was a good idea as our dream of doing Cape to Cairo  had little chance of ever materializing. This was going to be our Trans Africa trip.

"KARIBU"


This is the word we heard many times throughout our journey, which means “Welcome” in Swahili. This was how we were greeted and how we felt throughout our month long trip through East Africa, likewise I would like to “welcome” you to our Ride Report.

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  Finally we were loaded up with two well prepared motorbikes on the back of our Hilux and ready to roll. We snuck away from work and out of Howick (KZN) on the 7th December 2011, a few days earlier than planned. All responsibilities behind us and an amazing adventure in front us.  We popped in to see our son in Johannesburg, who had just returned from a trip to Bali, and without further adieu we headed for Zimbabwe. It was now 9.00 pm Wednesday evening and with all the excitement we managed to drive through the night and arrived at the Beit Bridge border post (South Africa and Zimbabwe) just as the sun was making its daily appearance.

“The road has got me hypnotised and I’m speeding to a new sunrise.”

                                                                                          Golden Earring


We were so organised and had all our paper work in order, such as Visas, Passports, Carnets, Vehicle/Medical Insurance, International Drivers licence, Yellow Fever Health Card and logbooks. This was going to be a piece of cake.........boy were we wrong!!!!!  This was one expensive piece of cake which left a bitter taste in our mouths.

We exited South Africa and entered Zimbabwes huge, dusty and unmarked parking/waiting area. We were amazed by the number of parked buses and taxis. Spread out next to these was all the luggage and people milling around. Some were even draped over the piles of luggage enjoying a bit of shut eye. We hadn’t even worked out yet where it was safe to park when a hand full of locals ran up to us indicating to us to park in a specific place. We obediently complied and soon learnt that this was our first mistake. We were parked a fair distance from the administration buildings and there was clearly no order in all this mess of vehicles. We opened our window to thank the kind gentlemen. He immediately convinced us that for R200 he would get us through Immigration and Customs. To reassure us that this was a good idea he indicated to all the vehicles around us and told us it would take a couple of days for us to finally clear the Border. We were so naive and willingly accepted his kind offer.

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IN THE CAR PARK AT BEIT BRIDGE PORDER POST.

I stayed behind to look after the vehicle and bikes while Kingsley went off to take care of the paperwork.  About 2 hours later a very pale and flustered Kingsley returned with a receipt for $470. What the hell !!!  Carbon Tax and Road tax for the bakkie and two motorbikes. This took care of a big chunk of our budget. It was now time to pay the ‘runner’.  He demanded $500 !!!! By now there were so many corrupt officials and buddys involved. We were so angry and overwhelmed by what had happened and once through the boom we were being escorted by 5 locals to an ATM. Can you believe it, we actually paid them $500 – totalling a payment of R7500 to enter Zimbabwe.

In hindsight, we must have stood out as easy pickings for the well seasoned runners who were pros at intimidating and overwhelming the inexperienced tourist who are clearly out of their depth. Angry as we were we decided to learn from our mistake and not let it happen again.

For the rest of the day we stewed over this incident and had to recalculate our budget. Fortunately we had no other unpleasant incidences in Zimbabwe and arrived at the Mozambique border at 5.00 pm and within 1hour and R100 down we were through both borders. This was a breeze as we were now wise travellers and managed on our own. It was now a race cross the Tete Corridor to reach the Malawi border post before 9 pm. It was dark when we arrived at Tete and we needed to refuel. We had no Mozambique currency and after negotiating with a manager at a fuel station our dollars were accepted.

After Tete the roads deteriorated and dodging potholes slowed us down and resulted in the snapping of the tailgate support. This dropped the back wheels of the bikes a bit but they were still secure. Arriving late at the border post, we join the short queue and tried to settle down for some much needed sleep. Loud music and voices boomed through the night. Occasionally a black face peered at us through the window to reassure us that he was determined to be our body guard – despite us refusing his request.

 The surrounding area started waking up at about 5.am and the queues were growing longer. The need for the loo also grew. Oh my gosh we must have been desperate because we actually had to pay for the use of this awful, dirty, smelly, and  dilapidated excuse for a loo – no seat, no water, no toilet paper or flushing devise. However, there was a 44 gallon drum with about 5 inches of water in it squeezed into the corner. Hanging from this to support my squatting position I closed my eyes and tried to think pleasant thoughts. Water from this drum had to be scooped up into a container, poured into the cistern and then you had to pull up the flushing stem. Washing your hands also took place in this same drum as I’m sure many other hands had. Kingsley had to endure the same procedure and I had to chuckle at the look of horror on his green face as he walked out.

We exchanged some dollars for Malawi kwacha and eventually got rid of our so-called bodyguard after many threats from him because we refused to pay him. With great relief we headed for the Malawian border. We popped out the other side even more broke and angry with ourselves as once again we fell for the ‘runners’ bribes and so-called formalities!!

 As we drove through the gate some official looking locals carrying clipboards stopped us and told us that we needed insurance for both bikes and vehicle. We discussed a crazy price of MK 35000 ( R1 646 ) and insisted on a receipt. They then told us to park at the building and before we knew we were being ushered into the building and handed Temporary Import Permit ( TIP) forms  to fill in. This chap was so helpful, cheerful and friendly and one couldn’t help responding to him. We were then ushered to another small office to make a payment of MK 1500  ( R70 ) to pay for the TIP.
 None of these offices are sign posted so one responds to a friendly chap directing one in the right direction. OK...... all this friendliness cost us MK 20 000 ( R940 )!!!  When Kingsley said to him “this is f...ing criminal”, he replied with much amusement “we are trying to uplift our economy”.  Our insurance man arrived back with the insurance cards and a receipt which we are convinced had been written in his own personal receipt book and had nothing do with Hollard Insurance. Who knows how much money he made out of that deal. Yes, it happened again – how embarrassing. So much for us wizening up.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on February 02, 2012, 04:44:39 pm
Wow, good start indeed ... makes one very weary of Zim... looks like this can only get better !

Good old Dutch band Golden Earring was ... rock on Radar Love!

Keep it coming.

 8)
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 02, 2012, 04:47:09 pm
We were now in MALAWI ~ The Warm Heart of Africa.

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Just as we were starting to relax and get excited about the start of our ride out steps a man in uniform and pulls us over to the side of the road because we didn’t have reflective tape on our bumper. MK 2000 ( R94 ) poorer  we were soon on our way to Cape Maclear feeling a little disillusioned about this place people refer to as ‘the warm heart of Africa’. This was not a whole lot of money but added to the ever increasing amount spent on silly unbudgeted stuff. This left us feeling a bit vulnerable because if it continued throughout our trip our budget wouldn’t get us home.

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Shortly after this we were stopped again because we were carrying extra fuel as Malawi has a fuel shortage. Did we have a permit? NO! Did we have a fire extinguisher? NO!  Fortunately we got away with a warning.

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The last 18 km stretch of dirt road takes you through some lovely countryside to Cape Maclear, which is on the southern shore of Lake Malawi. Lake Malawi is the most southerly of the great lakes of the Rift Valley. It is the 3rd largest lake in Africa measuring 585 km in length and is up to 100 km wide. The Rift Valley escarpment rises sharply to the west of the lake.

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About 500 m before arriving at FAT MONKEY my bikes tie-down snapped and over went the bike. Fortunately it didn’t fall off. Some friendly locals helped us to off load it and Kingsley rode it the rest of the way to Fat Monkey. What a welcoming sight.

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Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: cloudgazer on February 02, 2012, 04:55:25 pm
subscribed.

jeez they really took you for a ride at the zim border.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 02, 2012, 04:55:59 pm
So we finally arrived Friday lunch time, hot, exhausted, unwashed and poorer. It was good to be back again after 25 years. Once we off loaded the Tenere and chatted to the owners, Geoff and Karon, who kindly allowed us to leave our vehicle at their resort while we Rode the Rift, we spent the rest of the day relaxing, swimming and cheering up.

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Tomorrow was the big day. Our plan was to follow the Great Rift Valley, riding through 7 countries and visiting 7 lakes in the Western and Eastern Rift Valley. After about a year of preparation it was finally time to Ride the Rift.

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Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Rodlau on February 02, 2012, 06:26:33 pm
In hind sight would you still motor your bikes to the start point or would you ride the whole route?
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: BlueBull2007 on February 02, 2012, 07:33:49 pm
Oooh, looking forward to this! I LOVE lake Tanganyika esp. the Zambian bit.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: charlw on February 03, 2012, 01:32:01 pm
Nice route you have planned.

These idiots at the border posts don't realise that by ripping tourists off less tourists will visit their country. Very sad as some areas are very beautiful.

Where is the minister of tourism?

Probably in a 5 star hotel testing the menu.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: GO GIRL on February 03, 2012, 04:48:36 pm
Great to see the familiar road markers in Malawi have only had the privilege of doing that by 4 x 4

Whew you were lucky that the bike did not come off... :o :o

you have a super ride cut out... :thumleft:

Pity about the bribery..... >:(
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Fuzzy Muzzy on February 03, 2012, 08:15:45 pm
OH MY GOSH  !!  where is my popcorn.

This was pretty much the exact route we planned but we had to cut it short when I had my off in Namibia so we never made it around Lake Victoria.. I am going to love this RR.. keep it coming

Muz

PS: you sure got your ass handed to you at the border crossings, stay away from locals at these places and never swap currency with them either or you will get ripped. there is only the bribery that you allow.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 05, 2012, 03:51:38 pm
In hind sight would you still motor your bikes to the start point or would you ride the whole route?

 Rodlau
We motored the bikes up simply because we didn't have the time to cover that sort of distance on the bikes. If we were on the bikes we would have wanted to use the backroads. With the time constraints we were forced to do Howick to Malawi in 48 hrs, something we could never have done on the bikes.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 05, 2012, 04:09:42 pm

FAT MONKEY to KANDE BEACH
Day 1:    Saturday  ~ 12 December 2011
Distance:    408 km
Time out: 8 am ~ 4 pm


“The travellers conceit is that he is heading into the unknown. The best travel is a leap in the dark. If the destination were familiar what would be the point of going there.”                                    [/i
      Paul Theroux


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MAP SHOWING ROUTE AND OVERNIGHT STOPS IN MALAWI

Despite the heat, mozzies, and loud music we slept well. We loaded up our bikes, said our farewells and with butterflies in my tummy rode out through the little village for the start of our big adventure. As we slowly weaved our way through the narrow, sandy lanes passing clay brick and thatch dwellings we noticed the house proud ladies sweeping the sandy area around their homes. We passed a restaurant called “The Boma”. We were hoping to stop here to meet the owner who is a member of the Wilddog forum, but unfortunately it was closed.

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It felt good to be back on the bike again and experiencing the simpleness of Africa. The butterflies were soon replaced with great excitement and eagerness to get the show on the road.  To reach the tarred M5 which would take us north we took a short cut which was an interesting and busy little dirt road. For about 15 km we passed many locals pedalling their bicycles in both directions and little clay houses with scruffy thatch rooves  lined the road. Friendly little kids, with big smiles on their faces, would run towards us with arms waving. All this could only lift your spirits.

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The M5 was very quiet due to the petrol shortage and all the bicycles were taking advantage of the extra space. I was so impressed by the good cycling etiquette. They would ride in single file and kept to the side of the road. There was no road rage and no riding next to each other as do the ‘roadies’ here in South Africa who like to ride 2 and 3 abreast. This whole scene was so peaceful.
These bicycles were being used for transporting all sorts of things, passengers, pigs, goats, thatch grass, long wooden planks, baskets piled high, bags of maize and coal, poles, doors, and crates filled with all sorts of goodies. The women would often sit sideways on the back seat with ankles crossed and display amazing balance as some even held a baby on their lap or strapped to their back.

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I passed a poor chameleon lying in the middle of the road and some kiddies were sitting on the edge of the road watching it. I immediately turned around to rescue it and to the horror of the onlookers I picked it up. Its mouth was wide open and dry. Kingsley poured a few drops of water into its mouth to moisten it, took a couple of photos and we placed him out of harms way. We appealed to the onlookers to please leave him alone. In most African mythology, the chameleon is regarded as a creature of distrust and deceit and often considered as a bad omen.

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Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 05, 2012, 04:15:59 pm


The whole stretch of road to KANDE BEACH was lined with villages, people and bicycles. There was never a stretch of road without people nearby or bicycles passing by and if we stopped for a rest or to take photos we always found ourselves surrounded by curious little faces.

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All the fuel stations we stopped at had no fuel but we finally managed to find some on the black market. 1L cost us R35 . We paid R350 for 10L. At the previous village they wanted R50 per litre. This was going to be a costly exercise. This petrol/money situation was becoming a bit of a problem as we were unable to pay with credit card and there were no ATM’s for us to withdraw cash. We were running out of cash and trying to exchange dollars into Malawi kwacha was crazy. They were offering MK 16000 for $100 which was way below the bank rate. Between us we were carrying an extra 23L of fuel but we were saving this for a real emergency.

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A big sign on the right hand side of the road directed us along a short stretch of road to Kande Beach which was very sandy but we got there without any mishaps. It appeared to be bit of a shabby place but very pleasant and tidy and managed by a friendly fellow called Dave. We hurriedly pitched our tent and without wasting any time headed off to the lake with a G & T in hand and for a swim. A lovely setting to end a lovely first days ride.

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Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 05, 2012, 04:33:32 pm

KANDE BEACH to MIKOMA BEACH RESORT (Karonga)
Day 2:   Sunday ~ 11 December ‘11
Distance: +/- 230 km
Time:  8.00 – 3.00 pm

The overlanders made their presence felt with loud music and raucous behaviour – but despite this we still had a good nights sleep. Enjoyed an early morning cup of coffee on the beach and took some more photos. This was when we noticed in the distance these dark shapes over the lake. These are Lake Flies. After hatching on the waters surface the females fly upwards, followed by the males. Mating then takes place. They have a 24 hr life cycle. If the wind blows them onto the land they make such a mess, getting into every ‘nook and cranny’. The locals catch them with nets, and fry them together with tomato and onion, making a very nutricous patty.

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After setting off we followed a very scenic route northwards. Shortly after the Nkata Bay turnoff we started to ascend into the mountains. The roads were lovely, windy and steep in places with stunning surroundings – lush, green vegetation. The higher we rode the chillier it got and the rain added to the chill. We passed through a rubber plantation and stopped to check it out. The cup ( not visible here ) that the white liquid rubber drains into is protected from the rain by the plastic sheet that you see wrapped around the tree trunk.

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We rode into the first petrol station at Mzuzu to enquire about fuel. The people were very helpful and soon we were following a police driven vehicle with a sign ‘scene of crime’ on the door. We followed them out of town into a suburb and down a few little lanes. Now I started to get a bit anxious. Why should we trust these people. But, my ‘gut’ feeling was still OK. We stopped outside a nice looking home and within minutes people came out and we exchanged cash for fuel. R 50 for 1L of fuel !!!  Outrageously expensive, but we had no other alternative. The fuel situation was becoming quite stressful as we knew our budget wouldn’t cope with many more surprises. 

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We continued through some amazing scenery, rode down a valley alongside a river with mountains on either side of us and a bit of construction going on – thanks to the Chinese.

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We started to descend down a steep, windy pass towards the lake and it reminded me of the Western Cape with the beautiful passes and scenery. The views of the lake were stunning and where ever possible we stopped so that we could try and absorb this beauty around us.

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Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 05, 2012, 04:45:33 pm


Villages are spread out alongside the road the whole way up the lake. What is so sad is the fact that all the fish drying racks are empty. When we last visited, 25 years ago, every village boasted racks upon racks of fish drying in the sun. The fishermen, no doubt, are now having to work a lot harder for a lot less.

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 We had We decided to visit Livingstonia on our return trip as it was already afternoon and we still had to find accommodation in KARONGA. This was a busy little village and the places we checked out were not very inviting. Club Marina looked a bit dilapidated with a view of huge reservoir tanks. Mufwa Lakeside centre was no better and looked very run down and abandoned. We headed off 5 km north to Beach Chamber Hotel and once again were disappointed as there were too many locals milling around both within and out of the broken fenced area and it didn’t look a secure place to pitch a tent. We were now both tired and getting desperate for a place to rest.

I recalled seeing a sign advertising the NIKOMA BEACH RESORT but was unsure of the distance. So we headed back south and 10 km later turned off and found a very smart, clean and well maintained resort. I now remember ‘googling’ this place and found it to be extremely expensive. Peter, the manager( who we found out later was from Pietermaritzburg) came out to greet us  and informed us of the rates, R600 per room and no camping. Well, we definitely didn’t want the room and I think he took sympathy on us and suggested we camp on the beach and use the ablutions in the guest room closest to us. How was that for luck. We were delighted.
 I felt like a teenager again camping out on the beach. They are busy clearing an area for a campsite so perhaps in the near future it will be available.

  After enjoying a dinner of ‘chambo’ (their local fish) and chips we crawled into bed. That night the wind howled and brought the rain. We had to sit up against the tent to prevent it from flattening out, however it didn’t last long and we managed to get some rest.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0259.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0260.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0265.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0268.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0269.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7816.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0270.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0274.jpg)

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: BlueBull2007 on February 05, 2012, 05:16:55 pm
Excellent stuff, keep it coming!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: madmax on February 05, 2012, 05:25:36 pm
lovely
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: goingnowherequickly on February 05, 2012, 06:59:08 pm
Been so looking forward to this..
 :thumleft:
Pity about all the border nonsense...
thanks for posting
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Fuzzy Muzzy on February 05, 2012, 10:21:56 pm
fantastic stuff, you take me back to when I did Malawi, we followed a very similar route to you.. so you decided to give Livinstonia a miss, if you come back down that way you must go past, I will send you a PM of some places to stay and to eat on your way back down you seem to be having a rough time finding a nice place. To be fair i was at Kande beach in 2009 and it was in much better condition than I see in your photo's but the overlander trucks were just as noisy but we raided their spice racks.

I am blown away by the petrol price, the black market is a big money making scheme in many places, we had the same problem in Zambia but it was max R15 / R17 per L, so I am amazed at the price you are being charged. I hope your fuel situation gets sorted soon, be very careful.. if yo udon't have a fuel tester use your nose as best you can and filter it as best you can, they mix the fuel with anything to make it go further.

Keep it coming.. loving this rr and really looking forward to further North
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: KTM Jagermeister on February 06, 2012, 07:53:42 am
 :blob1: :blob1: :blob1:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: The_Boma on February 06, 2012, 07:57:01 am

My apologies for missing you guy’s when you were down in Cape Maclear, I was in Mozambique at the time..
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Tabasco on February 06, 2012, 10:57:43 am
ASANTE  :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 06, 2012, 12:07:21 pm

MIKOMA BEACH RESORT to UKINGA HILL HOTEL ( Tunduma - Zambia)
Day 3:   Monday ~12 December 2011
Distance:  220 km
Time out:  8.00am – 3.00pm  ( 7 hrs)


“When you’re heading for the border lord you’re bound to cross the line”  

                Kris Kristofferson    

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1285.jpg)


MAP OF ROUTE THROUGH ZAMBIA

It was so divine waking up on the beach and looking out onto a calm, shiny lake. The huge mountains in the far off distance belong to Tanzania. I had to continuously remind myself that this was not the ocean. It’s such a huge expanse of water and in many places you don’t see the other side of the lake.

We reluctantly packed up a wet tent and damp washing. On our way through town we stopped at the museum hoping to see the Malawisaurus but unfortunately they were closed. We were both unsure of this next leg of the ride as we battled to find the complete route on Tracks 4 Africa.  We headed west to Chitipa (Malawi border town). This road was under construction for about 100 km. About every 30/40 meters there was a speed hump so we were unable to maintain a nice speed and it became quite frustrating after a while as progress was slow. We travelled over many different road surfaces except tar. Negotiating these roads with oncoming traffic was quite a challenges they were narrow in places. The going was slow and very taxing on the body.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7818.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0275.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0278.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7819.jpg)

KINGSLEY SHOPPING FOR BREAKFAST

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7820.jpg)

SOME PRETTY FLUFFY FLOWERS ON THE WAY


There was no fuel available at the petrol station at Chitipa so we decided to push on into Zambia and get cheaper fuel as the going price was now R60 per litre. Well........ we never did find that Zambian border post!!

We were a bit concerned with this stretch as we were unable to find any information on map source or Tracks 4 Africa , but managed to download a track from Google Earth, something we were not very confident with. Things didn’t start of well as we managed to overshoot the Malawi border and were turned back at a control boom about a kilometer beyond the border post by an uniformed auntie with an ugly  uzzi but a pleasant attitude. The border was just another unmarked building on the side of the road.  After checking out of Malawi we headed to the Zambian border, supposedly only a few kilometres away, however, there were road works and a detour. Nothing was sign posted and we were instructed by the GPS to take the right fork. I should have listened to my internal compass and headed left BUT how do you argue with a GPS.

To cut a long story short we cruised around the northwest corner of Malawi for hours once again riding in the rain along narrow roads, down some tracks, through villages, crossing over broken bridges, battling over wooden bridges, back tracking and looking for new tracks and finding little reassurance from some locals who we passed by. Sometimes the GPS didn’t like where we were going and would coerce us into another direction again through single cattle tracks. At one point we came to a cross road and asked the locals were the border post was. There were four different opinions as to which direction to take – more confusion. Anyway we decided to try and trust this piece of high tech equipment. After several hours we finally popped out to join a main road. We went to a little hut to find out where we were and were told that his home was in Zambia and across the road was Malawi. To our horror we realised that we were now illegal immigrants with no stamp of entry in our passport. He indicated in which direction to go and we told him if it was the wrong way we would be returning for dinner. He was very amused by this and told us that we were most welcome. We were now about 30 km away from the Zambian/Tanzanian border.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0280.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0281.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0283.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0284.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0285.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0286.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0288.jpg)

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 06, 2012, 12:16:14 pm


With great relief we finally headed off in the right direction to Tunduma. The road went from bad to worse. Muddy stretches, crazy potholes, ruts, wash-aways, stones and sand. Exhausted and with sore butts we dragged ourselves into Tunduma at about 3.00 pm. We decided we had to find a bank and get to the Zambian/Tanzania border post to get stamped into Zambia and TIP’s for the bikes. It was a crazy, busy, bustling mess of cars, tuk- tuks (3 wheeler taxis), bicycles, pedestrians and buses taking up every bit of empty space in the main street.  The buses, crossing the border, were lined up one behind the other for about a kilometer. One lane was left for the rest of the traffic moving in both directions and we often found ourselves tussling with everyone to stay on the road.

We were politely bullied by a few ‘runners’ but we were toughened travellers now and stood our ground refusing any help. I left Kingsley amongst the crowds outside to look after the bikes while I went in search of the correct office. I was the only white person ( female at that ) in a sea of African people and not once did I feel nervous or intimidated. They were all friendly, helpful or simply indifferent. I was directed from one office to another. A pleasant gentleman came up and started to assist me. I politely told him that I would not be parting with any money and that if he chose to help me it was because he was a nice, kind person. That was the last I saw of him. After about 45minutes I had all the paperwork completed.

We found a fuel station that had fuel and were relieved to pay R12 per litre.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0294.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0290.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0291.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0292.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0293.jpg)

A huge sign directed us to our next accommodation. We were meant to stay at the Mwetwa Guest House but didn’t feel up to travelling a few more kilometres so we took advantage of the nearby UKINGA HILL HOTEL.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0295.jpg)

We were surprised to find this clean hotel down a little dirt lane. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. After cleaning up we enjoyed a dinner in the pub, chatted to our kids back home and with tired bodies retired for the night – once again a bit anxious about tomorrows route as we knew nothing about this dirt road that would take us west along the southern Tanzanian border to Lake Tanganyika.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7822.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7821.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0301-1.jpg)

YUP.......ANOTHER GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP!




Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: RobC on February 06, 2012, 12:23:59 pm
Another great RR!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Beserker on February 06, 2012, 01:18:07 pm
...... After about a year of preparation it was finally time to Ride the Rift.

vs

After several hours we finally popped out to join a main road. We went to a little hut to find out where we were and were told that his home was in Zambia and across the road was Malawi. To our horror we realised that we were now illegal immigrants with no stamp of entry in our passport.

Gotta love Africa...and the way she treats a "plan"   ;D

Awesome ride, and waiting for the next installment  :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 06, 2012, 01:42:35 pm
UKINGA HILL HOTEL to LAKE TANGANYIKA LODGE (Mpulunga)
Day 4:  Tuesday ~13 December 2011
Distance:  220 km
Time:  8.00am – 2.30pm


The sky is crying....
Can’t you see the tears roll down the street
”  


            Stevie Ray Vaughn


WHAT A DAY!!

 We had a feeling that we were in for a tough ride – not knowing much about this route. No words or photos will ever begin to describe what we went through.

We left the hotel, weather overcast after having rained all night. We travel southwards from Tunduma and in passing the Mwetwe Guest House (which, by the way, seems a very nice place to stay) were cheerfully greeted by someone sitting on the verandah. Shortly after this we turned right onto a muddy road. We were prepared for mud but what we went through was indescribable. It was a continuous 130 km of just mud, potholes filled with water, rivers of muddy water running down the road and huge eroded ruts. It rained most of the way making visibility poor. After a while one is so wet and muddy one just doesn’t care anymore about the continuous trickle of water down ones neck and between ones legs. The rain suit didn’t offer much protection either. We really looked a sorry sight.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7823.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7824.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7827.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7831.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7833.jpg)


We slipped and slid all the way. Most of our riding was done standing up which was taxing on the legs. We passed a few trucks that had slipped into huge ruts and were unable to continue on their journey. They would probably remain there for a few days until help arrived. For a long time we were the only people travelling on this road until I noticed, in my mirror, a bakkie travelling behind me. I decided to pull over and allow them to pass. It stopped alongside me and two very polite gentlemen enquired as to where we were heading and if all was well. I recognised one of them being the one who greeted us earlier on. Brink (a Wilddog member) was from Johannesburg and Duncan from Durban, were on a business trip and heading in the same direction. Strangely enough, just knowing that they were on the same road gave me a bit more confidence because for the rest of this muddy, wet road we passed each other several times.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0313.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0314.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0316.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0317.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0322.jpg)


 About 5 hours later, exhausted and filthy dirty, we turned right onto the M1 tar road. What a relief. By now the rain had eased up and the sun was attempting to make an appearance. Despite that hectic road we were still in good spirits and I realised that I had actually enjoyed that ride.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0323.jpg)

Rode into Mbala to refuel and get something to drink. There was no fuel in the pumps but managed to find some on the black market at a reasonable price of R12 per litre.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7836.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0324.jpg)

We carried our own filters for black market fuel for one can never be absolutely sure what you are buying. Apparently diesel is a much higher risk as it is easier to blend or 'thin out'.



Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 06, 2012, 01:57:18 pm

 Feeling refreshed we headed off to find Mpulunga on the southern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Lake Tanganyika, the longest freshwater lake in the world, follows the contour lines of the Rift Valley measuring 675 km North to South. It averages a width of 50 km and a depth of up to 1 435 m. Despite its smaller appearance it holds a volume of water seven times greater than that of Lake Victoria.

 There was nothing exciting about this busy little town. Went in search of the local market and found a very colourful and popular shopping area which spread out along the shoreline. We didn’t spend much time here as we got the impression we weren’t welcome. Leaving this rather dirty place behind we went in search of Lake Tanganyika Lodge.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0325.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7838.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7839.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7845-1.jpg)


The GPS led us along a filthy little lane through a grubby little village and along what looked like a disused road and it got progressively steeper and rockier. In an arrogant moment I thought to myself that if I could survive that last stretch of road then I could certainly cope with these dry, loose, round rocks that were double the size of tennis balls. Up and up we went and down the other side. We eventually stopped and asked someone where the lodge was.  We had overshot the turnoff. So back up we went and this was when I took my first tumble. My front wheel slipped off a rock and over I went twisting and trapping my left leg under the bike. In the time it took Kingsley to realise that I was not behind him I had managed to remove my helmet and somehow eased my foot out of my boot that was firmly wedged under the bike, as I was in such agony and couldn’t wait for him to help lift the bike.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7847.jpg)
YOU CAN SEE THE BOOT STICKING OUT FROM UNDER THE BIKE.

Within 10 minutes my ankle had swollen up and I battled to get my boot back on. I was unable to ride the rest of the rocky way and while Kingsley rode my bike up I hobbled painfully to the turn off. A combination of exhaustion, heat, shock and pain prevented me from riding the last kilometre. An already exhausted, and asthmatic, Kingsley would go ahead, park his bike, walk back and take my bike and repeated this until we eventually limped into the ‘lodge’.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7848.jpg)
DRIVEWAY TO THE LODGE

 There, through the trees and bushes, close to the shore, were some stone huts, a stone and thatched lapa, rock pathways and all this was surrounded by rocks, rocks and more rocks. We were initially very disappointed as we expected a more typical South African lodge environment eg. pub on the beach and tourists lazing around......etc . We had no option but to stay and thank goodness we did.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7851.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7854.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7857.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7860.jpg)

In no time at all the Zambian couple, Austin and his wife Celeste, who managed this lodge for a Swiss Research Scientist, were sweeping, cleaning, building fires in the ‘donkey  boiler’ to heat water and putting clean linen on the beds. There was no way we could camp in this rocky area.  I dosed up with anti-inflammatories, massaged the ankle and leg with Arnica, wrapped an ankle guard around it and hoped that the pain and swelling would go down soon.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7864.jpg)

 Shortly after our arrival a vehicle drove in. We were delighted to see Brink and Duncan once again. They had very kindly decided to come and see if we had arrived safely and ended up spending the night. In no time at all we were relaxing around a table of Whiskey, beer and Konyagi gin which had Duncan talking fluent Swahili in no time at all. Looking out over the dark lake that night we could see a line of little lights bobbing on the lake marking the position of the nocturnal fishermen on their little fishing boats. It turned into a magical evening with lots of liquor and laughter.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0331.jpg)
BRINK AND DUNCAN ~ ENTERTAINING US

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0332.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0341.jpg)

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: cloudgazer on February 06, 2012, 04:45:18 pm
awesome report.
thats day in the rain must have been rough.
were the roads really slippery?
I dunno how people could ride like that for hours.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: LanceSA on February 06, 2012, 05:32:42 pm
More, I want more. Great rr. Showed to my wife for inspiration 
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Outthere on February 06, 2012, 11:01:57 pm
No pain no gain comes to mind hope the arnica and booze helped and there wasnt to much of an hangover cant wait to read the rest.

Thanks Kevin
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on February 07, 2012, 08:29:14 pm
Wow, that ankle looks terrible... quite a trip this was.

Amazing photo's of the rain.

 8)
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: bmad on February 07, 2012, 08:59:14 pm
Wow :thumleft:

This is awesome, thanks for sharing
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Chuck U Farley on February 07, 2012, 09:04:11 pm
BALLS!  Both of you have balls!

Awesome read!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: DirtRebell on February 07, 2012, 09:09:36 pm
Respect!

Very :drif: report so far!

Keep it coming :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: eikeboom on February 07, 2012, 10:25:54 pm
Thanks, an awesome experience, well told and with great photos!
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Fuzzy Muzzy on February 08, 2012, 12:10:04 am
The border crossing, or rather lack of crossing.. missing it at points, overshooting the mark is to be expected when you enter there, it can be a frustrating process especially if you only have so much fuel.

What an awesome experience.. glad you made it to the lake and hope the swelling goes down without any issues.. I really hope you have not pulled a tendon or something, it really highlights how serious an off can be so far from home. !!

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: White Rhino on February 08, 2012, 05:23:32 am
Wow, true adventure spirit. Well done to both of you. :thumleft:

It's sad how the black market fuel prices exploit the needy traveller. Leaves a blemish on the trip. Would they charge that to a car needing 60l - @R60/l = R3,600 !!!!!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 08, 2012, 08:05:37 am
BALLS!  Both of you have balls!

Awesome read!  :thumleft:

Hahahahaha  :imaposer:  One set between us is enough !!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: JonW on February 08, 2012, 10:03:37 am
Hi Karen

What an awesome trip and report.

Kingsley is fortunate to have a riding partner like you to share this adventure with  :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Offside on February 08, 2012, 01:58:43 pm
Hi Karen

What an awesome trip and report.

Kingsley is fortunate to have a riding partner like you to share this adventure with  :thumleft:
Kind words John, but I like to think that Karen is very fortunate that I allow her to tag along  :mwink:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Dwerg on February 08, 2012, 02:04:32 pm
 :happy1:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: JonW on February 08, 2012, 02:54:09 pm
Hi Karen

What an awesome trip and report.

Kingsley is fortunate to have a riding partner like you to share this adventure with  :thumleft:
Kind words John, but I like to think that Karen is very fortunate that I allow her to tag along  :mwink:

 :laughing4: :laughing4:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: GundaGunda on February 11, 2012, 04:28:39 pm
Amazing - lovely trip - thanks !
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 11, 2012, 11:28:25 pm

LAKE TANGANYIKA LODGE to SUMBUWANGA (TANZANIA)
Day 5:  Wednesday 14 Dec. 2011
Distance:  160 km
Time:  8.30 am – 2.30 pm



  “To me, travel was not about rest and relaxation. It was action, exertion, motion and the built in delays were longueirs, necessitated by the inevitable problem-solving of forward movement.”

                                                     Paul Theroux


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1286-1.jpg)



It rained again all night!!! With all this wet weather our tent and clothing had no time to dry out and things were starting to get a bit smelly. We could hear the cheerful, singing voices of the locals passing by in their dugouts and on looking outwards to the lake one could only feel privileged to be surrounded with this beauty and peacefulness. We had warmed to this place and it was a pity that we had to move on. We had a long day ahead of us. Our plan was to get to Katavi National Park (Tanzania) about 360 km away.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0351-1.jpg)
Not a good picture as it has not been 'stitched' properly.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0349-1.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7860-2.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0347-1.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0355-1.jpg)
The family that looked after the Lodge

My ankle was so tender and swollen and I wasn’t keen to ride that road again so Brink very kindly offered to take my bike back to the tar road and I would drive his vehicle. We didn’t realise it until then that they had taken a different route here. They had turned off onto a dirt road long before Mpulunga and hadn’t travelled on the same awful rocky road that we had used. It was a relief not go back on our route. At the tar road we exchanged contact details said our farewells and headed to Mbala. Fortunately I had recently read a book about travelling in Africa by Chris Harvie, “Do not take this road to Al-Kamara” so we were aware that we needed to clear Immigration in Mbala before riding the 21 km to the border.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0356-1.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0357-1.jpg)

 On arrival at Kaseshe, the Tanzanian Border Post, we discovered a closed Customs office. We hung around attracting a bit attention as these people don’t see too many ‘mzungus’ (white man) in this area. After a while a man appeared and told us that the border official had gone off to Mbala and he was unsure when he would return. Cool...what now! The gates were also locked.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0358-1.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0359-1.jpg)

One of the youngsters indicated for us to pass through the pedestrian gate, which we duly did. So in and out of Zambia was not a straight forward procedure. We crossed over into Tanzanian to find that office also closed. However, someone soon came out from somewhere to welcome us and attend to our needs. This is a very remote border post and weeks can go by without anyone passing through so I suppose it is pointless sitting there day in and day out waiting for tourists to arrive. This was the first border that we used our Carnet as we only had a 5 page one which cost us R2550 each. I must admit, it does make the process a bit easier. We were delighted to only pay $30 each for a visa as we were in transit. Normally it costs $50 for tourists. It was a quick, easy and pleasant procedure and we were soon on our way again.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0360-1.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0362-1.jpg)

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 11, 2012, 11:34:50 pm

From here it was only another 80 km north to Sumbuwanga. We thought that we would get there chop-chop. Well.......it took us 4 hrs ! We were averaging 20 km /hr. It was almost a repeat of the previous day. Wet, muddy roads slowed us down once again. It poured with rain in places and after a while you just don’t care how wet and muddy you are. Despite it raining every day since we left Cape Maclear our spirits couldn’t be dampened. We would also waste time stopping for water and bite of a dry rye bread or nuts. We helped a chap on a little motorbike who had run out of fuel and he was so grateful for the 1litre we gave him. He later found us in town and directed us to an ATM. All the people we came across in this remote area were so friendly.



(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0364-1.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0365-1.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0366-1.jpg)

We only arrived at Sumbawanga shortly after 2.00 pm realising that we would never make it to Sitalike ( northern border of Katavi National Park) which was another 200 km away. In Fipa language  Sumbawanga translates as “throw away your witch craft”. This obviously stems from local superstitions relating to spiritual healers.  We decided to refuel and look for a place to stay. Three of the fuel stations were empty and finally we found one that had fuel and had to tussle with other bikers  to keep our place in the queue as they all just push in front of you and I found myself having to stand my ground and ease myself to the pump without too many sneaking in. We were all nervous that there would not be enough fuel to go around.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0368-1.jpg)

Checked out a few places that we picked out from the GPS and settled for the MORAVIAN CONFERENCE CENTRE.  It looked so welcoming and civilised that I celebrated by stepping off my bike without dropping the stand, startling the doorman, twisting my already unhappy ankle and bursting one of the fuel containers. This bit of carelessness reminded me that on a ride of this nature one should not try to go to fast or too far as once fatigue sets in things seem to unravel.  This nice three story building was clean, well organised but pretty much empty bar a few Chinese guys organising themselves some supper. The en suite rooms were comfortable and spacious. We settled into our room, did all our washing as best we could, popped a few painkillers and headed for the dining room to order our dinner, which was delicious.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7867-1.jpg)

Once again I phoned the kids only to be reprimanded by my son who told me that he was having nightmares about this trip. He suggested I dump the bike and the ‘old man’, board the first plane and head for home. I must admit there were times when I warmed to this idea.
We looked forward to a good nights rest and set the alarm for an early wake up.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 11, 2012, 11:48:33 pm

SUMBAWANGA  to  MPANDA
Day 6:  Thursday 15 December 2011
Distance: 240 km
Time:  6.15am  ~ 2.00 pm

We woke at 5 am after a restless nights sleep, with dogs barking all night. We wanted to get an early start as we were expecting to have a wet and slow day as it had rained again most of the night and it was still raining as we set off for our daily ride.  We found an ATM and headed off once again into the unknown, expecting more mud and challenges.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0371.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0372.jpg)


But we were pleasantly surprised as the road was an improvement on yesterdays. As the morning progressed so the weather improved. It warmed up and out came the sun which attempted to dry up the mud. Whew, what a relief. We could now look around and start enjoying the scenery. There was a lot of cultivated land and everything was lush and green and I’m sure the soil was nice and soft because even the little ones were toiling in the fields.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0373.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0374.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0378.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0375.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7874.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7876.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7879.jpg)

We found this little chap heading for the greener grass on the other side.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7880.jpg)

It was a lovely day in the Tanzanian country side and I supposed having the roads a little drier and more compacted attributed to the more relaxing ride.  The villages were more spaced out and we came upon the occasional busy and colourful markets.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0381.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7883.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7884.jpg)

There was a fair amount of trucks travelling in both directions on this route. These huge overloaded trucks would just bare down on you and not give an inch. If we wanted to survive the day then it was up to us to get out of their way. Definitely a case of “might is right” as they didn’t even seem to acknowledge us. Throughout this trip we both had some very close shaves with these truckers. They would pass us by with a few inches to spare.
 It was also a common sight to see them broken down on the side of the road. What we were aware of was the lack of cars on this stretch of road and as we progressed through Western Tanzania, we understood why. In a few places there was some attempt at road improvements but due to the wet weather these had all come to a standstill. No doubt, in the near future there will be a lovely road through this area. Unfortunately for bikers, they will miss out on the adventure that we were fortunate enough to experience on this route.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0382.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7889.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7886.jpg)

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 11, 2012, 11:53:02 pm

Approaching the remote and isolated KATAVI NATIONAL PARK, the third largest park in Tanzania, the bush became denser and the people fewer. The lush green beauty of our surroundings was captivating. This is one of the most untouched areas of the entire country especially during the rainy season which is from November to March. I suppose this is why game viewing is poor at this time of the year and explains why we only briefly saw a few skittish giraffe which promptly disappeared into the thick bush.  It was a lovely easy ride through the park and we were looking forward to arriving at Katavi Hippo Garden Hotel in Sitalike.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0383.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0387.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0390.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0392.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0393.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7894.jpg)

A Bateleur Eagle
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 12, 2012, 12:27:57 am
 For tourists who are simply passing through, no entrance fee is charged but you are not allowed to deviate from the main road. If you do stay at the Katavi National Park Headquarters, which is about 500 meters from the main road at the northern border of the park, it will cost you $30 per person entrance fee and $30 pp for accommodation in one of the resthouses. We took a brief ride around to check it out and headed for the Katavi Hippo Garden Hotel.


After crossing over a milky grey coloured river with its own resident pod of hippos wallowing around we turned off to the hotel. This was a disappointing sight as it was so run down and shabby and they had the audacity to request $30 per person per banda. It was hard to tell if these buildings were half built or half falling apart. The veranda walls were overgrown with creepers and weeds grew were a veranda floor should have been. I was so horrified that I didn’t even bother to look inside it. Our expectations were obviously too high and we were still adjusting to this east African way of catering for tourists.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0397.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7895.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7899.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7900.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7902.jpg)

Camping was only $5 per person, which was more our scene, but decided against it and because it was still early in the day we thought it would be a good idea to get a few more kilometres behind us. After enjoying something to drink at the local cafe we rode another 39km to Mpanda.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7903.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7905.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7907.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7908.jpg)

The Super Sun Hotel wasn’t even an option and we continued looking for something else. I noticed a sign on the side of the road advertising the Esnatha Villa, with air conditioning, and went in search of it.  To our surprise we came upon a clean, secure and welcoming home in the middle of a typical, run-down, East African neighbourhood. They were just as surprised to see us and there was much giggling amongst the two ladies as we checked in. The room was clean and fresh as was the linen and it had its own bathroom and air con. It only cost us about R80 each. Kingsley went out to the street market to buy onions, potatoes and tomatoes and we cooked up a delicious meal in the room. This was Kingsleys birthday treat.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0403.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0400.jpg)

Later in the afternoon we decided to take a walk around outside and try to find some beer. Ladies were sitting outside their small dwellings sewing, selling fresh produce, looking after kiddies and some were collecting water. Men were socialising with each other in little groups, drinking beer. Bicycles and motorbikes also lined the streets. We felt quite safe and lots of giggles and comments followed us, probably a good thing that we didn’t understand their ‘lingo’. Being the butt of some ones joke does not seem too bad if it is done good naturedly. I suppose it was an unusual sight seeing two ‘mzungus’ walking around the streets in their sarongs. This was the end of a great day, the heat and the dust was the type of African experience we had been looking forward to.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0402.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0404.jpg)

These were our neighbours.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0405.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0406.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0408.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0412.jpg)

Where there's a will there's a way!

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0411-1.jpg)

We did find the beers.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Mzee on February 12, 2012, 06:12:05 am
Lovely, Lovely, Simply lovely.  Reminded me of my own trip from Mbala through Simbawanga Northwords.  I would do that trip over and over again.  I was alone.  You folks are two that makes it a lot easier.   http://mzee-jaki.blogspot.com/2009/10/everyone-has-dream.html
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on February 13, 2012, 01:21:42 am
Hats off to you two ... I can only hope to emulate a similar trip with my wife ... that would be a great achievement indeed.

Thanks for sharing this great RR.

 8)
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: JonW on February 13, 2012, 08:38:00 am
Loving your report  :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: roxenz on February 13, 2012, 12:20:30 pm
Great trip Karen & Kingsley!  Keep it coming. Makes me a bit "home sick" - lived in Tz for 2 years (Mwanza) in mid 90s.

I love the picture below. It has so much atmosphere, just reeks of tripping through central Africa.

I see you like quotes: the start of your trip immediately brought to mind "Innocents Abroad" (Mark Twain).   :D

Now carry on posting!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 13, 2012, 04:04:21 pm

Thanks to all for the positive comments. It makes posting a pleasure and its been a great reminder of the wonderful times we had. ;D I have been typing away furiously at every opportunity so there should be another 2 days of riding soon. Apologies for delays in between.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: charlw on February 14, 2012, 07:00:24 pm
Nice report. And great adventure!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: alwyn_gs on February 15, 2012, 03:21:24 pm
AWESOME ADVENTURE!!!!  :ricky:

RR -   :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 15, 2012, 06:57:42 pm

MPANDA to UVINZA
Day 7:  Friday 16 December
Distance:  200km
Time:  6.15 am – 3.00 pm

“...and I thought to myself,
This could be heaven or this could be hell....”   


                                  The Eagles


A ‘highway of hell’ or ‘heartache highway’, whatever you want to call it, it was a road that demanded constant attention and at the slow speed, just never seemed to end. 
 The first 50 km out of Mpanda was a treat, nice roads passing through lush green and very dense forests. But as all good things come to an end, the going become more and more of a challenge as we progressed. We had thought that Tuesdays ride in Zambia was bad, well....... this was a whole lot worse.
 We passed through fewer villages and clay home could be seen amongst newly cultivated lands.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0415.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0417.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0418.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7913.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7914.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7917.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0428.jpg)


 There were fewer people using the road, no bicycles or motorbikes and less and less pedestrians as we travelled along. We should have seen this as a warning because where we were going people seemed reluctant to travel in the wet season, even in 4X4 vehicles. I have never ridden through so much mud. It was hectic work concentrating on staying on the bike, looking where you are going, deciding which line to take, being careful with the left ankle and trying to maintain a good sense of humour.
 I continually reminded myself that this was an adventure and as long as these wheels were turning I was OK and it doesn’t matter how long it takes. For me it was a slow process getting through the mud but I managed it without any mishaps and my bike never missed a beat.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7920.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0422.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0431.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0433.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0434.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0436.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7921.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7922.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7923.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7924.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0439.jpg)

At one stage Kingsley took a wrong line and really got bogged down. The Teneré didn’t even need a stand to hold it up. This mud created such a vacuum that it held itself up. We pushed and pulled but couldn’t budge it. Two youngsters, who were looking after their cattle nearby obviously heard the commotion and came to our rescue. 
We tied some rope around a thick branch and two of us pulled on it while the other pushed. The bike wouldn’t budge. It was difficult to even walk in this mud as the suction gripped you around the ankles and made it difficult to pull your foot out and having this swollen ankle didn’t make it any easier. As a result I ended up on my butt in the mud. They had to pull me  out of the mud as well.  I don’t think these two guys could quite believe what they were seeing. We must have looked a spectacle.

 (http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7926.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7927.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7928.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0440.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0441.jpg)

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 15, 2012, 07:08:48 pm

We eventually managed to push the bike over onto its side to break the vacuum and between the four of us we dragged it on its side through the rest of the bad patch. After 30 minutes of battling in the mud we rescued the Teneré. Exhausted and filthy we set once again.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0446.jpg)

These muddy roads continued for a long time and the weather was very threatening. We had to have frequent rests as the shoulders were aching, the hands sore from gripping too tight and the rest of the body was also damn sore from bracing ones self the whole time.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP04472.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0448.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0449.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7929.jpg)

We passed about ten trucks of which only two were still travelling. The rest had broken down or were stuck in the mud. The drivers, co-drivers and passengers could be stranded for days. As we passed by they would hold out their one hand and rub their tummy with the other.....indicating that they were hungry.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0450.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0451.jpg)

MORE MUD.......it just went on for hours!!

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0452.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0454.jpg)
A much needed lunch-time rest.

We finally arrived at a river and were once again encouraged by the sight of people and general activity. As we approached the turn off to the village, on the left hand side of the road, were the salt springs. At the time we didn’t know what these were and after ‘googling’ I discovered that Uvinza is famous for its supply of salt from the brine of the salt springs.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0456.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0458.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0457.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0460.jpg)
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 15, 2012, 07:30:50 pm

We decided it would be a wise decision to look for accommodation in Uvinza as we were never going to get to Kigoma in daylight, we were averaging 20kph and Kigoma was still 100km down the road. It had been more of a day than we had bargained for and we needed a bit of time out if we were going to keep our spirits up.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0488.jpg)

It didn’t take long before we spotted the brightly coloured ‘Sleep Lodge’ and we were delighted to find this spot in the middle of this little African village that looked drab, brown and colourless in comparison. This was real ‘truckers’ accommodation but it was bright, clean and a cheerful place for two wary travellers.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0483.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0484.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0485.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0486.jpg)

Once again they were surprised to see us and communication was a problem until someone arrived who could speak a smidgen of English. Bright green and blue floor tiles, yellow walls, blue doors and pink window shutters decorated the little quart yard.  How could one resist being cheerful in this quaint setting. They very kindly allowed us to park inside the quart yard.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0463.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0462-1.jpg)
A very tired and dirty lady!!!

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0465.jpg)
Offside looking equally shabby...!

We settled into our little room with the bright blue walls and private bathroom. The little hole in the floor couldn’t even upset me. Our water supply, for washing and flushing, came from the 44 gallon drum of rain water in the quart yard....jugs and buckets were supplied.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0480-1.jpg)
At least it was clean... :-\

The folk there were so friendly and willing to help. Emanual went off to the market to by our standard supply of tomatoes, onions, potatoes and.......... beer! The old ‘mama’ indicated to us that she would wash our clothes. This was a real treat and she did an amazing job on our mud stained clothes. I rested my foot while Kingsley took care of dinner.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0467.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG00396-20111216-1606.jpg)

It’s amazing what one will be happy to settle for when you start running out of options. Kingsley did his best to convince me that this was a delightful little ‘love-nest’. The joke was on me because in the early evening the was much singing and joviality going on outside and on investigating we realised that it was the bridal couple we had seen earlier at the church when we  rode into the village. The room next door to ours was their ‘honey-moon suite’......! No need to say anymore.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0470.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0473.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0476.jpg)

A pleasant evening passed sitting on the veranda and chatting about the days ride while a group of men sat watching the T.V. It was a very peaceful scene after a hectic day on the ‘highway of hell’.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 15, 2012, 07:54:12 pm

UVINZA to KIGOMA
Day 8:  Saturday  17 December
Distance: 105 km
Time:  7.20am – 1.30 pm


Woke up to a glum day and in a glum mood. It rained again all through the night and I just wasn’t in the mood for another wet day of muddy riding. I lay in bed for a while reluctant to face this day. I had to convince myself that we just had to keep moving forward because knowing what was behind me there was no turning back.

Thank goodness it had stopped raining by the time we left but the roads were saturated, much like our newly washed clothes that had not had a chance to dry.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0489.jpg)

There was a lot of road construction going on and more 4X4 vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and buses using this section of the road. Ones spirits automatically improved because with all this activity there had to be an improvement on the roads. Well..........I managed to drop my bike twice, so they couldn’t have been that good!!  Fortunately I was travelling slowly for the roads were compacted clay and as slippery as ice. We were only managing speeds of 20-25 km/h. It was such a relief when there was a 20-30 meter stretch that was decent and we could accelerate for a short while before we started sliding all over the place again.

I have never experienced so many mood swings on a ride before, one minute feet out on a slippery surface at 20 km/hr, the next cruising at 50 - 60km/hr enjoying the sun and the scenery. These emotional ups and downs went on for about 70 km.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0490.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0493.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0500.jpg)

In the distance I could see a wonderful sight......a tar road! No doubt there are some readers who think “how boring to be on a tar road”, fair enough, but after what we had travelled on it was always a treat .....for a while tho’. No sooner were we on the tar road and the weather cleared up beautifully and it ended up being a magic ride into Kigoma. We rode through some stunning stretches where the road was lined with palm tree plantations.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7931.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7934.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7938.jpg)

At the T-junction in Mwanga we took a left turn to Ujiji. It was a lovely colourful little town with a nice vibe and it’s famous for its historical events.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7953.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7955.jpg)



Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: netrom on February 15, 2012, 08:02:10 pm
UNBELIEVABLE..... You guys Rock.. 8) so much respect.. keep it coming!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 15, 2012, 08:15:56 pm
(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7954.jpg)

We found Livingston Road and headed down a short, narrow lane to the Livingston/Stanley Museum and Monument. Only now can we really appreciate what these amazing men achieved way back in the late 1800’s with no communication and very little infrastructure.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0503.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7950.jpg)

. This site is the place where Henry Morton Stanley, the newspaper reporter from the New York Herald met with Dr. David Livingston with the well known greeting, “Doctor Livingston, I presume”, back in 1871. Livingston had worked his way through Africa to Kigoma in his effort to fight against slavery in East Africa. He believed the only way forward was to open Africa to the three C’s -  Christianity, Commerce and Civilisation.

This basic history lesson was so much easier to remember, being told by an old museum curator with a sing- song voice delivering a well rehearsed repertoire with his mind on a tip. This was an entertaining and amusing break in our ride with us both sitting under the mango tree suppressing our giggles. A tip well spent. There is also a small plaque in the grounds to Speke and Burton who were the first Europeans to set eyes on Lake Tanganyika on 14 February 1858.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7946.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7948.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7949.jpg)

On our return to Kigoma Kingsley stopped at the nearby town of Mwanga and took a long shot at looking for rear brake pads for his bike. Needless to say there were none around. His back brake pads had been worn out with all the mud. This was not a big problem with the speeds we were travelling at, but would become an issue if the roads and weather improved.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7956.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7957.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7959.jpg)

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 15, 2012, 08:30:14 pm

It was quite amazing riding through Kigoma and seeing all these shops, people, cars and general activity after being in the back of beyond for what seemed ages. Camping at Jacobson Beach was on the cards and was a few kilometres south of the town. A sandy track took us to the main cottage which was in amongst some trees with no lake view. The camp site was a bit further away after a steep descend.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0504.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7960.jpg)

 We decided to check out some other accommodation and headed back towards town and discovered the Lake Tanganyika Hotel.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7987.jpg)

ACCOMMODATION HAD TAKEN AN UNEXPECTED AND WELCOMING LEAP FROM ‘DISA-STAR’ TO ‘FOUR STAR’.

We felt and looked like two tramps checking in but we were beyond caring. No sooner had we entered our luxurious room and I was out and over the veranda railing and heading to the pool that overlooked Lake Tanganyika. Poor Kingsley was left with the task of bringing the bikes down and off loading. What bliss. Sun, pool,G & T’s and relaxation.........what more could we ask for. 

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7962.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7965.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0513.jpg)
We seem to have a way of bringing the tone of a place down.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7970.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7961.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7967.jpg)
Hilltop Hotel

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0514.jpg)

A magical sunset over the Congo brought closure to a wonderful day.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0518.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7984.jpg)

Next country....BURUNDI....to follow soon. :ricky:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: JonW on February 15, 2012, 09:38:06 pm
Awesome awesome awesome, big respect for handling all that mud  :thumleft:

I am sure i remember not so long ago Karen being unsure that she would cope with the route on one of our Kzn rides............pfffffft  :biggrin:  :biggrin:  :biggrin:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: madmax on February 16, 2012, 06:26:12 am
loving it and respect .... i dont know i would have made it
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Pleco on February 16, 2012, 10:04:52 am
That road down the east side of Tanganyika used to be the worst road in Tanzania. And you picked the rainy season!

Respect, and I can only wish to do this trip one day as well!

Border crossings are always a problem when you are on a schedule. The vultures there sense your hurry. If you cannot out "Africa patience" them, it will end up costing money.

But don't let that spoil your trip!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on February 16, 2012, 12:28:19 pm
I'm sitting here daydreaming.
Thank you for this wonderfull RR. :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wolfman on February 16, 2012, 02:52:49 pm
Wonderful, glorious... and also sad and broken Africa: One of those stories that brings both a smile to the face and a tear to the eye.

Can't wait for the rest!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 21, 2012, 01:31:09 pm

                                                               BURUNDI                            

KIGOMA (Tanzania) to BUJUMBURU (Burundi)
Day 9:  Sunday 18 December
Distance : 250 km
Time:  8.00 am – 3.00 pm


 “Girl, aint no kindness in the face of strangers.
      Aint gonna find no miracles here”.  


                                      Bruce Springsteen


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1287.jpg)

OUR ROUTE THROUGH BURUNDI.


We enjoyed a lovely breakfast at the hotel after waking up fresh, rested, revived and ready to take on another border crossing. Took some early morning photos before setting off in damp clothing and on mud-caked bikes.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0525.jpg)

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Just before departing Kigoma we spotted the “Jane Goodall Institute”. She initiated the Gombe Chimpanzee Research Project back in 1960 enabling her to observe chimpanzee behaviour in the Gombe National Park, the smallest of the reserves in Tanzania.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0532.jpg)

This is a low keyed and very little-visited reserve as it is in a relatively remote location. Its most southern border is only 16 km north of Kigoma and lies between Lake Tanganyika and the road leading to Burundi. There is no road access and Gombe can only be reached by lake-taxis which depart from Kigoma, therefore, travellers are only able to explore the reserve and do chimpanzee tracking on foot.

The ride north to the Mugina Border Post was quite spectacular with stunning views overlooking hill tops onto the lake and across to the Congo.  We passed by acres of banana plantations and cultivated lands.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7990.jpg)

A FERRY DOCKING AT KIGOMA

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7993.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7997.jpg)


After 4 days of amazing riding we exited Tanzania which was quick and easy and we were entertained by a few little locals.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0544.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0546.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0547.jpg)

Where the tar road turns to dirt we entered Burundi. The scenery suddenly changed and we rode through a beautiful plantation of tall eucalyptus trees that led us to the Immigration office where entry was a quick stamp of the passport and a brief welcome. Only when we enquired about the Customs office were we told that it was 20 km away at Mabanda.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0549.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0550.jpg)


After a few close shaves, much shouting and arm gesturing we realised that we were riding on the wrong side of the road. Now this took some getting used to as one automatically wanted to veer left when confronting a fast moving vehicle on a narrow road. On one occasion I watched in horror as Kingsley forgot the new rules of the road and headed off onto the wrong side in front of an on- coming vehicle. At least we had these 20 km of quieter road to make friends with the right side of the road.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0551.jpg)

Burundi  - “The Switzerland of Africa”, lies in the Great Lakes region and it is a hilly and mountainous country with a western range of mountains running north to south and continues up to Rwanda. Burundi experienced unrest similar to that of the 1994 Rwanda genocide and has also managed to quell other uprising in 2005 following the first ever democratic elections, though suspicions are still rife among the Hutus and Tutsi groups, constituting the government and rebel forces.

On route to Mabande we both picked up a change in the vibe of the country. Unbeknown to each other at the time we both felt uneasy as we passed villages and people on the side of the road as there was much shouting at us and they didn’t appear at all friendly. Many were walking around carrying machetes. But, as Kingsley said, it is a tool of their trade..........I still found this unnerving! Not a place to stop and take photos.

 We somehow managed to find the Customs office on arrival at Mabande. The officer there requested a payment of $40 each but we politely explained that after having paid $90 each for a Visa, which we organised in South Africa, and paying for a Carnet we were not going to be parting with any more money!! Amazingly they settled for this and we were on our way again – quite ‘chuffed’ with ourselves.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_7998.jpg)


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 21, 2012, 01:57:56 pm

We somehow ended up in the middle of their market place. It was a smelly, messy, and busy little maize of a place and we rode round and round, not sure how to get out of this place. It had a colourless, squalid and medieval appearance.  There was much scowling on the already unfriendly faces and they appeared irritated with us as they had to move aside for us to pass. We recognised one of the officers from Customs and he indicated to us which exit to take. It was a relief when we finally popped out onto a tar road and headed out from this hostile town towards Lake Tanganyika once again.

We descended from the mountains down a lovely pass with stunning views of the lake. The steep hillsides resembled a patchwork of all shades of greens and browns. They had utilized every bit of available land to plant bananas, maize, sweet potato and manioc (tuber from a Cassava Tree).

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0553.jpg)


We started to relax as we approached the lake and the people appeared friendlier with much waving and calling out of ‘mzungu’. We had an awesome ride following the shoreline north to Bujumburu as one village blended into the next. There was a well armed military presence all along the road who fortunately showed no interest in us.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0557.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0567.jpg)


As we approached Bujumburu we found a car wash and decided to treat ourselves to a bike wash. The bikes were caked in mud and with mine being air cooled, we were concerned about it overheating. They were delighted to see us and immediately stopped what they were doing and attended to our bikes. There was much laughter and joking going on.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8017.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0568.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0569.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0570.jpg)


 It wasn’t long before we were on our way again heading for the northern suburbs of the town looking for accommodation. Travelling on the right hand side of the road was a bit more difficult in town, especially with the home time traffic. We also became confused when entering and exiting the circles, made a few blunders and irritated a few drivers. Some people had a kind of death wish as they would overtake when they shouldn’t, stressing us out even more! As a result we settled for the first accommodation we could find as we were quite flustered on these busy roads. There was no camping available at Karera Beach Hotel so we paid $70 ( R560) for a double story cylindrical shaped chalet. Kingsley was so uptight by now that he battled to enjoy the rest of our stay.


  “This city desert makes you feel so cold
       It’s got so many people but it’s got no soul.”                         

                                          Gerry Rafferty

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0573.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8024.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8028.jpg)



We needed some cash and were directed to the Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika, about a kilometre away, where we bumped into some South Africans from Pretoria and decided to stay and have dinner at the outdoor restaurant while listening to some lovely live music.



(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8027.jpg)


Looking forward to crossing over into RWANDA tomorrow.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wolfman on February 21, 2012, 01:58:45 pm
Pioneering stuff - well done
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Onetime on February 21, 2012, 02:14:29 pm
Great RR :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: goingnowherequickly on February 21, 2012, 09:52:33 pm
Great Stuff!
( I check daily for updates..)
keep it coming :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Outthere on February 21, 2012, 11:13:26 pm
You guys are an inspiration Africa has so much to offer and so few people will ever experience this what you've done I'm so envious but don't think Ive got the guts to do what you guys have done .

These photos really bring us the whole story I'm going to read it to one rainy day thanks for all the time and effort.

Kevin
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on February 22, 2012, 12:06:21 am
I am not surprised at all that this report just gets better and better... an excellent inspiration to many here I am sure ... at some stage you will have to ellaborate further on what made you two chose this area to explore in the first place?

Thanks for sharing.

 8)
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: neil123 on February 22, 2012, 08:17:48 am
Awesome  :drif: :drif: :drif: :drif:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: netrom on February 22, 2012, 07:02:47 pm
Hope this is going to get into the "Role of Honor" not sure what criteria one needs to make it but its one of the most motivational RR's i read.

Keep it coming..
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 23, 2012, 07:08:50 pm
                                               
                                                                      RWANDA


BUJUMBURU(Burundi) to KIBUYE (Rwanda)
Day 10:  Monday 19 December
Distance: 250 km
Time: 6.15 am – 3.30 pm


Sunrise found us filling up with fuel with our last francs and this early morning start had us weaving our way through motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians northwards to the Ruha Border Post. The narrow western margin bordering the Rusizi River, which marks the Congo border, lies in the trough of the Great Rift Valley and it is along this narrow strip of flat plain that we travelled all the way north to Rwanda.

 We were surprised to meet up with such heavy traffic this early, but everyone was on a mission and heading somewhere important on motorbikes and bicycles loaded with bananas, coal, wood, sweet potatoes, grass, thatch, poles and passengers. You really had to concentrate to avoid all this as well as the cattle, bad patches of pot holes and road works. It was quite nerve wracking.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0578.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0579.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8031.jpg)

A BURIAL SIGHT.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8033.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0583.jpg)


We breathed a sigh of relief as we departed Burundi and entered Rwanda. The whole vibe changed and we immediately relaxed. It didn’t cost us a penny to get into Rwanda. All along the road we were greeted with loud shouts of ‘mzungu’ and friendly waves. It really felt good being here.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8041.jpg)


We travelled along good tar roads really enjoying our surroundings. One thing we were very aware of was taking photos of people. They generally don’t like it and express their annoyance if no permission had been asked. As a result, it’s usually a quick click of the camera to try and capture some memories. Rwanda has a tropical climate and December was supposedly part of their short dry season but there was still evidence of lots of rains as the Rusizi River was in full flow on its way from Lake Kivu to Lake Tanganyika.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8043.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8045.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8046.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8047.jpg)


What really impressed us were the lush green tea plantations that spread out over the hills, valleys and drained marshes. They were beautifully maintained and harvested. Tea is playing a key role in rebuilding the economy after the devastating effects of the 1994 genocide. The high mountains, fertile soils and cool climates are perfect ingredients for producing tea that is exported all over the world. 

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8049.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8059.jpg)


We managed to ride around the outskirts of Kamemba/Cyangugu (name depends on the map you’re using) and got our first sighting of Lake Kivu.  From the little we saw it appeared to be a lovely place with plush houses overlooking the lake and more being built on the banks of the lake. This was all surrounded by the dramatic forest covered mountains of the rift valley giving it a lovely magical setting.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8052.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0590.jpg)

LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF TRANSYLVANIA


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0591.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0592.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0595.jpg)

A BOAT BUILDING YARD.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 23, 2012, 07:31:40 pm

There was a lot of road construction as we left this area so we slowed down considerably as we were now vying for road space. There are no “stop/go’s” and it was up to each individual to negotiate a way through the chaos. It was a matter of dodging graders, front end loaders and on coming traffic so a lot of quick thinking and responses were required which was aggravated by having to ride on the right /wrong side of the road.

Shortly after leaving Kamemba we took a left turn and headed north following the eastern lake shore. Once again we passed through some stunning tea plantations with intermittent views of a very pretty Lake Kivu with its irregular shores forming numerous inlets and peninsulas and with little islands dotting the lake shore, creating a very picturesque setting.

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These colourful little feet always got my attention.

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As the day progressed so the roads became windier and zig-zagged through the many mountains. When we observed this route on ‘google-earth’ it looked an exciting route with its left-to-right zig-zags  but what we failed to observe were the up-downs, up-downs and more up-downs, mountain after mountain after mountain - it was like riding on a roller-coaster. We soon discovered why Rwanda is referred to as “THE LAND OF A THOUSAND HILLS”.

 Kingsley was also battling without his rear brakes and fortunately he had sorted out my front breaks in Bujumburu that had leaked fluid after one of my offs.

The occasional muddy corner was thrown in just to add some more excitement and keep us alert. Being ahead of me meant that Kingsley would have to wait for me to get through the mud but because of the tight corners he wouldn’t always be able to see but he would always hear my bike slowly working its way through the mud and bad patches.........he said it was liked being stalked by an old Lister generator.

We stopped regularly for a rest and to take photies.

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Exhausted and hungry we arrived at Kibuye late that afternoon - a lovely friendly little town. Both Burundi and Rwanda ATM’s wouldn’t accept our Visa/Master credit cards so I had to go into the bank and exchange dollars for francs. As tourists are still a novelty here quite a crowd of motorbike taxi drivers had gathered around Kingsley and he was demonstrating to them how to use a GPS. They were fascinated by this little piece equipment.

After checking out the Eden Hotel and another nearby place we ended up at the Hotel Bethanie which boasted beautiful lake frontage. There was only a hand full of guests in this lovely resort.

 I promptly collapsed on the bed, exhausted and with an extremely swollen left ankle. Kingsley immediately went and booked us in for two nights. This would give my leg a rest and we could catch up with some washing. What a treat. This was an amazing place to have a rest day.

 From our verandah we looked out onto Lake Kivu with all its little islands and surrounding forests. This was a little patch of paradise in the middle of East Africa.

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KINGSLEY ENJOYED THIS BEAUTIFUL BEER WITH A BEAUTIFUL VIEW.


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YOU CAN SEE THE SWOLLEN FOOT ON THE RIGHT


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Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 23, 2012, 07:45:46 pm

REST DAY at KIBUYE

Day 11: Tuesday 20 December 


Enjoyed a lovely late morning, ate a much needed breakfast on the verandah and tried to soak up the beauty that surrounded us. Kingsley really fussed around me as my ankle was really worrying me. After 7 days the swelling had not subsided and I had finished two lots of anti-inflammatories. He promptly went into town to get me more medication while I lazed around resting my leg.

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 The bad thing about this rest day was that my leg was not being strapped, and supported by my riding boot and as a result there was more swelling. I had been using an ankle guard but due to ignorance I stopped using it thinking “....it will get better soon”.
 Only once I got home, 3 weeks later, I discovered, after having an x-ray,  that I had actually broken the fibia right down by the ankle. This meant wearing  a ‘moon boot’ for 6 weeks. No wonder the swelling never subsided. Perhaps it was a good thing that I didn’t know it was broken as I don’t know how this would have affected my state of mind for the rest of the trip.

 
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THE ARROW POINTS TO THE BREAK


After lunch we enjoyed a lovely swim in the clean, warm waters of the lake. Steep terraced hills lead down to the lake shore in this area so there is no beach here but they have prepared an area for easy access into the lake. The lake bed sits upon a rift valley that is slowly being pulled apart, causing volcanic activity in the area, making it particularly deep – a maximum depth of 480 m.  It is the largest of all the Rwandan lakes with a length of 89 km and a width of 48 km.  The worlds’ tenth-largest inland island – Idjwi, lies in Lake Kivu.

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A lovely storm built up over the northern mountains........the same ones that we were meant to be riding the following day and this only meant one thing .......MORE MUD!!!


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Heading off into Uganda the next day.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on February 24, 2012, 02:58:47 am
Looks like a beautiful place Rwanda.

Yep, best you did not know what had happened to your ankle.

Amazing trip this !
 
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Mzee on February 24, 2012, 06:21:03 am
Simply lovely. Reminds me of my own trip.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: GSLaaitie on February 27, 2012, 01:25:57 pm
Wonderful, glorious... and also sad and broken Africa: One of those stories that brings both a smile to the face and a tear to the eye.

Can't wait for the rest!

Couldn't agree with you more.

But great trip! You will remember this and talk about it for the rest of your lives, no matter what.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 27, 2012, 10:18:02 pm

                                                                      UGANDA


KIBUYE (Rwanda) to RUHIJA (Uganda)
Day 12: Wednesday 21 December
Distance: 249 km
Time: 5.30 am – 5.30 pm


Hit the road before its light,
        Trying to catch an hour on the sun
.”

                                                  Neil Young


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Map of Route ~ Kibuye to Ruhija (Uganda) to Queen Elizabeth National park


Feeling rested we left Kibuye before the sun could greet the day. We had a long day ahead of us which included a border crossing and any other unexpected surprises. The 94 km to Gisenyi was much the same as Mondays ride. It was just as windy with some stony patches thrown in but fortunately there wasn’t the mud we had anticipated........ the going was slow never the less. This section took us 4 hrs but included the stops at the Genocide Memorials.

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One section reminded me of the Natal Midlands back home with lush green pastures and dairy cows grazing with an early morning mist hanging around.

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The Tea Plantations never ceased to impress me. The scenery was spectacular.

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oops....sorry...badly stitched!

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Some readers might be aware that Rwanda is associated with the horrific events that unfolded in 1994. They experienced one of the most savage genocides in history. In 1994 an estimated 800 000 Rwanda Tutsis were killed in just 3 months by the Hutu extremists. About 3 million people fled to refugee camps in neighbouring Tanzania, Congo and Uganda. These genocide memorials are a reminder of this terrible event and Rwanda is still in the process of recovery.

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When planning this trip we were unsure about travelling in this area as one hears and reads conflicting reports about the country and its problems. After a fair amount of reading and research on the security and stability in the country we decided, despite tourists still being a novelty, that we would be OK.  Our decision to visit Rwanda was a good one as we had a safe journey and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 27, 2012, 10:30:34 pm

We were now in the north western corner of Rwanda and were heading in the direction of Cyanika Border Post . For a long distance we skirted the Volcanoes National Park which was on our left. This park borders the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is known as a haven for the mountain gorillas and was the base for the zoologist, Dian Fossey, to carry out her research into the gorillas and was widely credited with saving the gorillas from extinction. Sadly she was murdered in 1985 by unknown assailants and is now buried within the park.

For many years this park was declared unsafe for tourists to visit and only back in 1999 was it deemed safe and under control. Although there have since been occasional infiltrations by Rwandan rebels. 

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MUHABURA VOLCANOE ~ VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Sometime after midday we arrived at the Rwandan/Ugandan Border Post

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It was here that one of the Rwanda Officials gave us a bit of trouble and called us into a little hut and requested all our paper work. He wanted our bike insurance and we presented him with our Cross Country Insurance which was not what he wanted but we managed to convince him was suffice. He then wanted a Comesa, which we didn’t have and we informed him we didn’t need it. He was obviously trying to intimidate us so that we would offer him bribe money but we remained calm and pleasant and hung around until he didn’t know what to do with us anymore and eventually he let us pass into Uganda.

We saw two other motorcyclists.....also covered in mud and riding what looked like local bikes. Unfortunately we didn’t get an opportunity to chat as they were leaving Uganda. At 2.15 pm we managed to leave the border and headed for Kisoro. We were relieved to discover that we were allowed to travel on the left side of the road again which was beautifully tarred. The ATMs weren’t working in Kisoro and the banks wouldn’t exchange our money as there was some problem inside as well. We wasted a stressful hour here trying to buy money on the black market. We finally refuelled and headed for the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – about 90 km further.

As we wound our way up and out of the valley we encountered more road works but were also treated to some magnificent views and a scenic route through the bamboo and montane forests of the Echuya Forest Reserve ~ also popular with birdwatchers. It was difficult to stop and take photos due to all the road works and shortage of time.

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View of the northern tip of  Lake Bunyonyi which has also become a popular tourist destination.

Finally, the sign to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. We were heading for Ruhija, our final 26 km for the day.

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Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 27, 2012, 10:52:15 pm

It was a spectacular ride and it is quite obvious were the cultivated land and forest formed a dividing line.

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 Bwindi is a true rainforest, spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys that form the eastern edge of the Albertine Rift Valley. It was so uplifting riding through these magnificent trees and awesome scenery. We had to negotiate a few more muddy patches and passed a crowd of birding tourists walking along the road. However this 26 km dragged on for about another hour and a half.

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ARRIVING AT RUHIJA WAS QUITE A THRILL

We were residents here so didn’t have to pay the $30 park entrance fee .....thank goodness. About a km  after the park entrance a right turn took us through the untidy little village of Ruhija.  We ended up staying at the Ruhija Gorilla Lodge which boasts a terrific view across the forest towards the Virungas and the Rift Valley. Initially they were fully booked and there were no camping facilities. We could have ridden to other resorts but we were now so tired and reluctant to get back on the bikes.
 The manager was so pleasant and accommodating and kindly allowed us a small room with a non functioning communal bathroom as they were still in the process of being built. This was only a short walk away from the main building. We were delighted, despite the fact that we once again had to wash out of a bucket as there was no running water. But who cares....we were finally in Bwindi and tomorrow is a big day for me......... I was going Gorilla tracking.

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Enjoying another home cooked meal. :-\

Later that evening we went up to the rustic pub and restaurant and bumped into a party of 8 tourists who were on a birding safari. One of the elderly couples was from our home town – talk about a small world. We enjoyed the rest of the evening relaxing and swopping travel stories.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on February 27, 2012, 11:07:37 pm
Excellent RR this is !
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 27, 2012, 11:11:35 pm

BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST ~ REST DAY

Day 13: Thursday 23 December



An early wake up and an early breakfast was necessary as I had to get to the park office to secure a permit. I can’t believe that the moment I had been waiting for, for so long, had finally arrived. I was very fortunate to get this permit but I am embarrassed to tell you that it cost me $500!!!!! According to my knowledge it was meant to be $300 but obviously all the info I was reading was outdated – so much for my research.

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There are 2 groups of gorillas at Ruhija, the Bitukuru and the Oruzogo and only 8 tourists are allowed to track each group. One group of tourists arrived late so they allowed me to buy a permit, thinking they were not arriving, and I was initially going to be on my own tracking the Bitukuru group. They eventually did arrive, so now we had a party of 9.....I was very fortunate that they allowed me to continue.

This was the most amazing moment of my adventure through Africa. I didn’t care about my sore ankle.....I just had to do this. I had a handful of pain killers and anti-inflammatories and I was ready to go.

Our guides name was Obed and he prepped us on the gorillas and their conservation as well as other interesting information.

The Bwindi forest is a 300 km square island of dense vegetation and accommodates 340 of the 700 mountain gorillas that are left in the world. The rest live in the Virunga and Volcanoes Forests. A troop is made up of 2 – 40 members and their home-range is about 10 – 30 km square which does overlap with other groups. They move up to a kilometre a day, depending on food availability. The Bitukuru group, that we were tracking, was made up of 13 members -  4  silverbacks (adult males), 3 black backs ( juvenile males), 4 females and 2  babies.


With a strong walking stick in hand I was finally on my way to seeing these amazing creatures – thanks to Dian Fossey. We squashed into a taxi that had brought the rest of the group from Lake Bunyonyi and drove a couple of kilometres down the road where we started the hike. We followed a pathway down a steep hill through dense bush. There were two armed guides up front and one at the back. About an hour later we stopped for a rest and for the guide to get his bearing on where the group was. The going was good and I immediately thought ‘this is cool, it’s going to be easy.’  Hahahaha.... what a joke!!!

 
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After our rest we were taken off the main pathway and the two guides were using their machetes to hack a pathway for us. We crashed through so much dense bush with thorny stems grabbing at our sleeves and hands, tripping over roots, slipping into holes, vines hooking around our ankles and ants trying to find any exposed flesh to pinch.
 This all took place on the 45 degree slopes that we had to work our way up and down, up and down for about another 2 hours. I was at the back of the queue and managed to keep up despite a swollen and painful ankle. I was determined to see these guys. There was much sweating, puffing and panting from everyone.

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I could smell them before I could see them!

Above us, sitting on the slopes was a magnificent silverback. He just ignored us and continued feeding and stripping leaves from the stems. He was surrounded by flies but appeared unperturbed. We sat there in awe for quite a while........ just watching!! Occasionally he glanced our way to watch us clicking away furious with our cameras. What was amusing about this chap was his finger. He had an old injured middle finger and it appeared that he was giving us a rude message......perhaps inadvertently expressing his true feelings.


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You can see his beautiful silverback.

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Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 27, 2012, 11:25:02 pm

We were not allowed to carry our sticks or backpacks as this was seen as a threat to the gorillas, we put them down and moved further up the hill to look for the rest of the group. They were all feeding separately and not interacting in a group.....which was a pity. We were startled by a crashing of branches and undergrowth behind us as a huge silverback rushed down the slopes towards us and performed a mock charge. He stopped just short of us and sent a few people scattering into the bush. He took up an aggressive stance in front of us and then nonchalantly slipped away into the foliage.
 There was much nervous giggling amongst us.


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This one below is the eldest gorilla who is no longer the dominant leader of the group. He moved slowly down towards us also making an impressive appearance, sat down and looked at us calmly, showing his age with his scruffy long coat.

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He looked so wise!

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A youngster enjoying a quiet moment.

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Probably not a good marketing photo!?


We were only allowed an hour to view the group after which we reluctantly headed back to base camp. This only took us about an hour and a half. The last 15 minutes we walked in the pouring rain but we didn’t care as our thoughts were back in the forest with the gorillas.
On return we were handed our ‘Gorilla Tracking Certificates’ and we all headed off back home in different directions.
 
Being asthmatic meant that Kingsley was unable to partake in this amazing experience but he did have the opportunity to befriend ‘Pretty’ – a local ‘squeezer’- who offered him a massage and a meal!?!  He politely declined the offer and appeased her by buying potatoes, onions, tomatoes and bread rolls instead ( have I mentioned these ingredients before.......?).

When I phoned home that evening to share my experience, my son, who had been paranoid about me doing this tracking,  had just watched a program on T.V. called “Banged up Abroad” which was a documentary about a group of 30 tourists, of which only 5 survived, who were kidnapped in this same forest in 2005.

Never-the-less, it was a magical experience.....something one only really reads about.


LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW AS WE HEAD OFF TO QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: White Rhino on February 28, 2012, 12:00:26 am
Awsome, simply awsome to have experienced that face to face.

Thanks
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on February 29, 2012, 09:40:38 am
Simply lovely. Reminds me of my own trip.

Hi Mzee, If you did a RR on your trip I would love to read it. Please let me know the RR name.
Thanks
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: jimjim on February 29, 2012, 12:19:38 pm
Modder en moed! And wise gorillas! What an awesome trip! Great RR!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: schalk vd merwe on February 29, 2012, 11:35:44 pm
Hi Karen, having ridden some of the same roads than you and Kingsley I think you are one tough lady. It is also nice to see an RR from a lady's perspective. I think we will read each others RR from now on a daily basis, kind regards Schalk vd Merwe.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: schalk vd merwe on March 03, 2012, 10:36:44 pm
Hi Karen and Kingsley where are the rest, regards Schalk
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Fuzzy Muzzy on March 04, 2012, 09:51:37 pm
What an amazing experience, it really took me back to my Africa trip, how I long to go back and experience it again. North of Tanzania is everything I expected it to be and more.. you are making very good time.

Respect travelling with the foot being so swolen and sore.. it must have been uncomfortable.

Great RR..
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wolfman on March 04, 2012, 11:16:53 pm
awesome! thank u
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 07, 2012, 08:35:53 pm

RUHIJA to QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK

Day 14: Friday 23 December 2011
Distance: 197 Km
Time:  8.00 am – 3.oo pm


There’s always one more mountain to climb
            But we are all lost travellers in time
                           Long way from home.”[/
color]

                                                             Traffic


I was anxious the previous evening about riding down these muddy, windy roads as it rained into the night. After saying farewell to Shadrack, the manager, who gave us a complimentary breakfast, we set off in the direction of Buhoma – 42km away through the eastern edge of the forest.  Once I got onto my bike I immediately relaxed and started to enjoy the ride. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought. About 25 km into the ride the road turned foul and there was slush and mud for about 2km. Kingsley managed to get himself stuck again by trying to move along the edges. Two ladies were walking up the road and they kindly helped us to manoeuvre the bike out again.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8316.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8320.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0701.jpg)


But there is always light at the end of the tunnel and we arrived at this lovely tranquil spot down at the river. All this beauty that surrounded us made up for all these little challenges.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0703.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0707.jpg)

We passed the Buhoma turnoff ( another base for gorilla tracking) and headed for the Ishasha entrance to The Queen Elizabeth National Park which lies astride the equator and hugs the flat lava plains of the eastern shores of Lake Edward. This is the smallest of the Great African Lakes, 77km in length and only 40 km wide. It was named in honour of Prince Albert Edward, The Prince of Whales, later to become King Edward VII.

 The road, which was close to the DRC border, was a good one and it led us out of the forests and hills and down to flat green grasslands and Acacia trees – Africa as we know it. These remote Ishasha plains in the southwest of the park are often over looked by tourists.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8328.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0717.jpg)


I continuously scanned the trees for any tree climbing lions that the park is well known for but saw none – not sure if it’s a good or bad thing. But we did see the ellies about half way through the reserve. This made my day.  A couple of them were resting in the shade of a tree on the side of the road.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8334.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8343.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0724.jpg)


The rest of the road that leads to the tar at the Katanguru bridge made for easy comfortable riding. After crossing the Kazinga Channel that connects Lake Edward to Lake George we took the second turnoff to the MWEYA Gate and passed by a huge crater lake which is a result of volcanic explosion.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0727.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0728.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0732.jpg)


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 07, 2012, 08:47:09 pm

Arriving at QENP was another costly exercise.They charged us $30 each and $35 per motor bike!! That was the end of our dollars. By the way......... that is a daily fee!! So...130 USD ( R1040) poorer we rode into the Mweya Peninsular.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0734.jpg)

There are 3 types of accommodation here:

    •Upmarket :  The Mweya Safari Lodge ( very posh) – the Ugandan President, DRC President and one other important chappie were        celebrating Christmas here – hence the strong military presence.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0740.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0751.jpg)


       •  Moderate: Mweya Hostel – little rooms with a shared bathroom and it had its own little restaurant that served up delicious meals and was very festive. This is where we chose to stay. It was comfortable enough.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8372.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8369.jpg)


        •   Budget: Camping – on the edge of the peninsular. It was very dry and dusty here with very basic ablutions. In hindsight, I wish we had stayed here. Thembos Canteen, a short distance away would cater for the campers needs. This is a simple but friendly little canteen that also overlooks the Kazinga Channel with lovely views of wildlife on the opposite banks.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8360.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0737.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0738.jpg)


It would have been nice to do a boat trip up the channel but we arrived too late in the afternoon and we needed to make an early start the next day. A real pity as the game viewing was apparently stunning.

We met up with a mother and her 3 daughters from the Western Cape and they had ditched Dad in South Africa and were touring Uganda. It’s really great meeting up with so many interesting folk.
 
We headed off to bed after a lovely days ride and were excited about crossing over the equator into the northern hemisphere the following day.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 07, 2012, 09:02:13 pm

QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK to HOIMA

Day 15:  24 December 2011
Distance: 340 km
Time: 8.00am – 5.30 pm


“Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination,
The more you slip slide away.”


                                                 Simon and Garfunkel



(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1298.jpg)

ROUTE FOLLOWED FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS



We tried for an early getaway but for some unknown reason my bikes battery was flat. We made a plan to jump start it from the Tenere and in no time we were on the road. We were fortunate to see some curious buffalo and Waterbuck. They had a good look at us before becoming bored and moving off.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8376.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8355.jpg)


Finally...........the Equator! A first for both of us.....hopefully not the last. I couldn’t believe that we had come this far.


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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8386.jpg)


The road to Kasese was divine, tar all the way with pretty cotton fields on the left and Lake George on the right. At Kasese we drew cash and refuelled.



(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8388.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8390.jpg)

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3 UP ON A BODA-BODA?!?


Heading north towards Hima we passed ‘a blot on the landscape’......the cement factory belching out smoke. Clearly, we were heading for civilization.

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0757-1.jpg)
HOW GROSS......A COMMON SIGHT.


 After riding through some rain we arrived in the busy town of Fort Portal at about 11.00 am. It was buzzing with activity and it was difficult to stop and take photos as there were so many people and bicycles but we got a few shots. It looked a very attractive place.



(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0759.jpg)
CHECK OUT THE PINEAPPLES.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0760.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0763.jpg)


The Rwenzori Mountains, being the highest mountain range in Africa, runs for almost 120 km along the Congolese border just west of Kasese and Fort Portal. These mountains rise directly from the Rift Valley floor.

We headed east for about 47 km passing by acres and acres of tea plantations. At Kyenjojo we turned left and headed north again on a dirt road taking in some interesting sights.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8402.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8401.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8404.jpg)
HOW IS THAT TAIL HANGING DOWN????


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: schalk vd merwe on March 07, 2012, 09:04:48 pm
That mud looked pretty hecktic.-Schalk
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 07, 2012, 09:23:04 pm


Shortly after this we came across some amazing mounds of rock that were engraved and painted with the names of saints and other inscriptions, some in a foreign language. With the crosses on top one would guess it’s a place of worship.  I have tried to ‘ google’ some information about this site but there is nothing available. I would be delighted if there are any readers who can shed some light on this intriguing place.

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8407.jpg)


By now it was lunch time and we were hot and tired. Initially the going was good but then it became just like every other day on the dirt road. Village flowed into village, each with their brightly coloured  shop fronts, the blue Uganda Telkom, the red Airtel and the yellow MTN.

I dropped my bike down one slippery section and a kind lady passing by helped me to pick it up. Kingsley had to get out of the way of an oncoming vehicle and he also ended up slipping and falling over. By the time we arrived at the turn off to Lake Albert lodge we were exhausted and unsure of heading off to the lake which was about another 26 km in a westerly direction. We finally decided to go for it, but 5 km later changed our minds, as we were progressing at no more than a walking pace.

The roads were of hard compacted clay, extremely wet and slippery, although the road surface was smooth and undamaged, we were totally out of our depth, even the normal camber seemed too much for us.  The only way forward was in first gear with both  feet on the ground.  The little boda-bodas, with their smooth tyres, were handling it better than we were and seemed to be moving along just fine .According to one of the locals these conditions continued all the way to the lake. I was not going to continue as we would also have to ride back on this road the following day. We reached a point that our only concern was for food and shelter, so we turned around and headed for Hoima, too wet and tired to worry about the change of plans or taking photos.

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8412.jpg)

CHRISTMAS DINNER HANGING ON THE BACK!

We arrived early evening and settled for the first accommodation we came across which was the Nsamo Hotel.

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The entrance was a narrow doorway through which we had to manoeuvre the bikes into a tidy little courtyard. It was Christmas eve and there was a lot of excitement and activity out on the streets. Music was blasting out down the roads competing with all the loud voices.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8423.jpg)
THE FRONT OF THE HOTEL

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A ROOM WITH A VIEW........THE BACK OF THE HOTEL!!!

 Once we had settled into our little room it was dark and we were starving, so we hit the street to find something to eat. Strangely enough, at no time did we feel uncomfortable or threatened. The alleys were very busy with many small semi- formal traders who all seemed to be selling the same goods. We must have stood out like sore thumbs, being the only white faces out on the street on Christmas eve.

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0774.jpg)

 We found some stale bread and risked buying a few eggs............yup, and some beers. We went back to the room and ‘cooked up a storm’. This was our Christmas eve special!!!

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0777.jpg)


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on March 08, 2012, 01:42:46 am
Really roughing it now.

Lovely !
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: White Rhino on March 08, 2012, 04:38:06 am
Good gracoius, that'll be a Christmas to remember :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wolfman on March 08, 2012, 06:21:05 am
Cheers! :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Crossed-up on March 08, 2012, 07:40:13 am
I'm so enjoying your RR!  All respect to you for toughing it out and having the experiences of a lifetime.  Great stuff!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: schalk vd merwe on March 08, 2012, 02:32:01 pm
Keep it coming Karen-regards Schalk.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: madmax on March 10, 2012, 08:24:32 am
flip by now u must be a mud riding goddess.... awesome
ps i love the lines of lyrics, so many so familiar
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Flatout on March 10, 2012, 09:41:15 am
Very impressive. Hope South Africa won't look like some of these places in the future :o
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 11, 2012, 07:48:43 pm
flip by now u must be a mud riding goddess.... awesome
ps i love the lines of lyrics, so many so familiar

I don't think I'm any better at riding in mud now than I was before this trip. If there are any tricks to riding in mud  I havn't learnt them. The only way through for me was to keep it slow and 'paddle'.  :-[
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 11, 2012, 07:58:16 pm
Very impressive. Hope South Africa won't look like some of these places in the future :o

Although at first a lot of these places can be a bit of a shock, at no point did we ever feel threatened or compromised. So perhaps from a safety point of view we were better off in these villages/ towns than we would be in similar places in S.A.
Obviously we missed the convenience stores. Many a time a good pizza or Kentucky would have been  treat.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 11, 2012, 08:04:19 pm

To all the interested readers, I have been away for a few days so I will continue to post some more as soon as possible.
Thanks for all your interesting comments.It's good to hear from you.
Safe riding :ricky:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: LeonDude on March 12, 2012, 06:59:40 pm
Very nice report, with some very important information.
Thanks a lot for taking the trouble to write it, and for posting all the pictures!
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 13, 2012, 08:05:37 pm

HOIMA to MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK (Nile Safari Lodge)

DAY 16:      Christmas Day   :santa:
Distance:   130 km
Time:  7.30 am – 11.00 pm


Last night we went to bed with the sound of festive music booming out from the street below, and woke to the same the next morning .........real Christmas spirit!!!  Emotionally I was OK......until I heard a familiar Christmas Carol........well, that was the end of my Christmas spirit.

 Suddenly I missed home and needed to be with our kids and my ill mother. For a while I wallowed in self pity and let the tears flow. :'(  I was feeling at such a low that I couldn’t even be bothered to decorate our bikes with the little Father Christmas character that I had so enthusiastically purchased and carefully packed away for this occasion.

This was the lowest I had felt on the trip. I dragged myself and all my gear down to the courtyard and without any enthusiasm loaded my bike. It was fairly quiet out on the streets as we refuelled and as the town was waking up we tried to find our route out and eventually headed off on a good gravel road. We took a back route via Biso and west towards Butiaba( which is on the shores of Lake Albert) and headed north to Bulisa .As we progressed I started to cheer up again......... riding out into the fresh air and beautiful country side certainly helps to clear the head and it’s definitely therapeutic!!!!

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8432.jpg)
HE OBVIOUSLY HAD A FESTIVE CHRISTMAS


All alongside the road people were dressed in their best Christmas clothes.......ladies adorned in bright, glitzy dresses with wide sashes, men in not-always-matching suites and ties, kiddies in bright coloured shorts and  shirts – some boys even in 3 piece suites. They were all heading off to a nearby church. We had a lovely relaxing ride.

After Biso the road snakes down the Butiaba Escarpment on to the rift valley floor. The views overlooking Lake Albert to the Blue Mountains of the Congo are stunning, despite the haziness.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0782.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8433.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8434.jpg)


The good gravel road heading north to Bulisa took us through the Bungungu Widlife Reserve. This is a small area consisting of savannah and swamp and we enjoyed a few sightings of oribi (type of buck). The architecture in the villages changed back to mud huts with scruffy thatch roofing. There were fewer people and vehicles on this stretch of road. I don’t think that this would be a good road to travel on in the rainy season as it has the potential to become extremely muddy.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8438.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0791.jpg)


At Bulisa we refuelled and headed east in the direction of the Murchison Falls National Park. After 25 km we arrived at the turn off to the Nile Safari Lodge, outside the western border of the park.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0794.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8442.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0795.jpg)


 Nile Safari Lodge boasted a beautiful spot on the Victoria Nile River. The camp site was a short distance ride from the lodge and was only a small clearing with simple ablutions and a limited view of the fast flowing river – no frills. Cost USD 10 per person. A 10 minute walk through the bush connects the campsite to the lodge. It was a bit scary walking along it at night as the sounds of hippo grunts always seemed to be around the next corner. Fortunately all campers were escorted along the pathway at night by a ranger with a stick and a torch  ???   This area is famous amongst birders for viewing the Shoebill which inhabits a mid-river island opposite the lodge. We weren’t lucky enough to see it.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8453.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8454.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0802.jpg)


After setting up camp we took advantage of the pool and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8452.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8459.jpg)


Whilst enjoying dinner we listened to the rhythm of Uganda and watched the rhythmic movements of a group of locals while they entertained the tourists. We had finally arrived at the most northern point of our trip. Our Christmas day, that had started off on such a dull note, came to a cheerful and festive ending.


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 13, 2012, 08:26:19 pm


REST DAY AT NILE SAFARI LODGE

DAY: 26 December 2011

Awoke early to other tourists packing up and heading off to destinations unknown. It was so nice lazing in bed for a while longer. I really enjoyed staying in the tent again. We were so comfortable on our inch thick blow up mattresses and inflatable pillows.

After breakfast we entered the park at a cost of USD 130, again!!!!!!! This was for 24 hr access. We wanted to get to the Paraa Ferry and arrange for a boat trip up to the falls. There was a space available for the morning trip but sadly they didn’t accept any credit cards and it was too late to cross over the river to try and get some cash from the Paraa Lodge. The afternoon boat trip was fully booked which meant that we were only able to view the falls from the top.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8483.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0807.jpg)


It was about a 34km ride to the Murchison Falls. It was a hot, dry and dusty road with very bad ruts and steep descent towards the end. We could hear the distinct roar of water as we walked the short distance from the car park to a small clearing and it is here that the languid Nile funnels through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley Escarpment resulting in a most impressive sight of thunderous raging white water casting colourful rainbows down the narrow gorge. It is quite a deafening sound. If one looks to the left down the narrow channel one can see where it opens up again into the wide river that it is.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0817.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8499.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8493.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8492.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8490.jpg)


On the return trip I stopped to take photos of some wildebeest drinking at a water hole but as I stopped and put my feet out my right foot slipped on the loose granular surface and over I went aggravating my sore leg again. The buffalo must have got more of a fright as he took one look at me and sped off out of sight


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8500.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8501.jpg)
A saddlebilled stork- you can see the distinctive yellow ’saddle’ at the base of the unusual banded red and black bill


We headed back to Red Chillie Rest Camp for some lunch. This popular spot is managed by a pleasant young couple and is obviously the place for young tourist to hang out. The downside is that there is no river frontage or view but it is only about 2km up the road from the ferry crossing.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0809.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8504.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8502.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8503.jpg)


We drove back down to the ferry to see if we were able to cross over but it had just departed and would only return an hour later. Disappointed we returned to our camp and lazed around the pool for the rest of the afternoon. Tomorrow is to be another early start as we have to get in and out of the park within the 24 hrs of todays entrance. We also had to be at DHL in Kampala before there office closed in order to collect Kingsleys Brake pads which had been sent up by Yamaha in Pietermaritzburg. As the day ended I had mixed feelings about whether I was happy or sad about this being a turning point in our journey. We felt that we had been very fortunate up to now and hoped that our luck would hold.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0829.jpg)


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: schalk vd merwe on March 13, 2012, 08:30:02 pm
Good stuff regards Schalk
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 20, 2012, 08:31:46 pm
                                 
                                        The long way Home  :ricky:


MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK to JINJA

DAY  18:  27 December 2011
DISTANCE:  398 km
TIME:  5.45 am – 5.30 pm


    “Head out on the highway with the rising sun...
                           Ain’t going nowhere...
                                    Wanna hear that engine run.”


                                                                 Lordi


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1290.jpg)

ROUTE FOT THE NEXT THREE DAYS


 We awoke in the dark, packed up and rode off just before the sun came up. It was so lovely and peaceful in the reserve.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8505.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0833.jpg)


A perfect place and great weather to be out on a bike. Travelling the 85 km through the reserve we took in some wonderful scenery but saw very little wildlife.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8509.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0836.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8512.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8514.jpg)

It was here that I saw a black and white Colobus monkey flying across the treetops but he was just too fast for me to get a photo.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8518.jpg)
The Exit.




The rest of the gravel road took us to Masinda where we managed to get more shillings. We refuelled and headed off on a delightfully quiet tar road.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8521.jpg)


 We were making good progress until my bike started spluttering. We stopped and Kingsley opened up the air filter and it was so clogged up with dust – even the housing around it was caked in dust. He decided to just remove the cover and we continued on our way.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8522.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8523.jpg)


About an hour later my accelerator started jamming because of all the dirt coming through the carburettor, more spluttering and eventually it cut out. We pulled off the road and decided to clean the air filter with a toothbrush and dish liquid and left it in the sun to dry.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8524.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0841.jpg)

Kingsley put it all back together again and off we went. A few kilometres down the road and the bike started its nonsense again. Once again we found a shady spot and pulled off the road to check it out again. A minute later another motorcyclist stopped to assist us. Keru was a Ugandan riding a Honda 400,  a Harley –look-alike, and lived and worked in Kampala.  He looked so smart in his leather jacket and scarf.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8535.jpg)

He insisted on helping Kingsley repair the bike and claimed that it is the ‘Brotherhood of bikers’ and you don’t leave another ‘brother’ on the side of the road without assisting. In no time at all they had the carb off, cleaned and replaced.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8536.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0843.jpg)


He was so pleasant and friendly and we were both so grateful for his help and company. I quickly scratched in my bag for my clean ‘wilddog’ buff and gave it to him as a token of our appreciation. He was so chuffed and immediately put it on.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0844.jpg)

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 20, 2012, 09:04:22 pm
We swopped email addresses, took a few photies and said our farewells. We are now also facebook buddies and it’s so nice keeping in touch with him. Anyway, within a few kilometres the spluttering started again. All three of us stopped and they removed the filter cover and off we went again and all was well. Back on the road i could not help but wonder how the ’brotherhood of bikers’ would have been of any value to our new Ugandan friend with bike problems in our country. Food for thought, left us feeling a little humbled  ??? Thanks Keru, you were great!!!   :thumleft:

 About 80km later we arrived at the outskirts of Kampala. This was an eye opener. Unfortunately we don’t have any photos as we were unable to stop as the bumper-to-bumper traffic swept us through such slum and squalid areas. It had been raining and everything was wet, muddy and dirty and all we were concerned with was not loosing each other.

Taxis were trying to push us off the road in order to get one space further. The boda-boda’s (motorbike taxis) were overtaking us from all directions. We were all vying for road space and trying to catch up time. Thank goodness Kingsley had his GPS because for about 10 km this home-time mess continued. We eventually joined the ranks of the boda-boda riders and were also now squeezing in and out of the traffic which definitely helped when we got into real standstill traffic jams. I was so involved in getting out of this mess that I was totally oblivious to a little ‘fender bender’ that had occurred  a short distance in front of us. I was actually enjoying myself weaving in and out with all the other bikes. We soon filtered out of the chaos as we rode into the centre of Kampala and headed for DHL. It was very clean and orderly within the city. Kingsley spent the best part of an hour in the DHL offices trying to trace his brakes, only to be told that they were still at Entebbe Airport waiting at customs. Feeling fed up we decided not to head off to Entebbe as we were running out of daylight and we still had to work our way out of the city and ride a further 80 km east to Jinja, Ugandas second largest town which lies on the northern shore of Lake Victoria.

Due to all the traffic it was a slow ride but very scenic. Sugar cane now dominated the countryside and we rode through the spectacular Mabfra Forest Reserve with all its tall lush green, indigenous trees. We eventually arrived at the bridge that crosses over the Victoria Nile River. We both felt quite exhilarated as we were now near the Source of the Nile.
This bridge crosses over the Owen Falls Dam which was constructed in the 1950s causing the Ripon Falls, identified by Speke in 1862, to become submerged.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8626.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8628.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8616.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8627.jpg)

After crossing over we turned left in the direction of the Bujagali Falls and travelled north along the eastern side of the Victoria Nile. We found lovely accommodation at the Nile River Camp and booked ourselves into a tented camp with awesome views of the river.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8630.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8632.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8638.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8642.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0881.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0876.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8541.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8644.jpg)


For the rest of the afternoon I was entertained by the cutest red-tailed monkeys feeding in the trees in front of our tent.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8555.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8552.jpg)


After a much needed shower we headed for the local pub and enjoyed something to eat and drink. Went to bed absolutely exhausted.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8660.jpg)




Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 20, 2012, 09:10:56 pm


REST DAY – JINJA
Day 19:   28 December 2011

We decided to spend an extra day here as both bikes needed a bit of attention and TLC. As a result I enjoyed a lazy morning relaxing in the hammock, reading and soaking up the stunning views while Kingsley spent his morning doing some much needed maintenance on both bikes.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0850.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0852.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0879.jpg)


 We also took a walk around to check out the place and what it had to offer. This was a very popular spot for white-water rafting and kayaking and over time the eastern bank between Jinja and Bujagali falls developed into East Africa’s premier adventure-tourism centre. However, since about November last year these impressive series of rapids ( Bujagali Falls) are no longer as they have been flooded over due to the construction of a hydro-power dam 3km downstream at Dumbbell Island. Never-the-less it’s still a magic place to visit.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0868.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0869.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0857.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0863.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0866.jpg)


When all the maintenance was complete we took a ride south to the Source of the Nile. It cost us 20 000 shillings (+/- R60 ) to enter.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0890.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0891.jpg)


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 20, 2012, 09:21:12 pm


After parking the bikes we passed by typical, colourful African Curio stalls – these resemble the ones back home.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8559.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8561.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8563.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8564.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8566.jpg)

What struck us immediately was the shabbiness of the whole set up. As we got to the edge of the river we were aware of litter and the remains of a broken bridge that once led to a little island. We walked along a shabby pathway further up the river to a restaurant and had something to drink. They were offering boat rides for the tourists which we declined. I’m not too sure what I expected to see here but it was a bit of a letdown. I guess I would have liked to see more of the vastness of Lake Victoria.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8569.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8571.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8576.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8568.jpg)


The Nile is the world’s longest river, flowing for 6 650 km. It has two major sources, the White Nile    ( also known as the Victoria Nile )which flows from Lake Victoria near Jinja, and the Blue Nile which flows from Lake Tana in Ethiopia. After leaving Lake Victoria it flows northwards through the swampy Lake Kyoga then veers west to descend into the Rift Valley over Murchison Falls and it empties out into the northern part of Lake Albert. From here it continues north as the Albert Nile where it merges with the Blue Nile at Khartoum in the Sudan about 3000 km from Lake Victoria. It then works its way north to Egypt where it enters the Mediterranean.

 We headed back to camp via the town and below are a few photos of the interesting architecture within Jinja.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8582.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8585.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8586.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8588.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8590.jpg)
Main street in Jinja

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8600.jpg)


Back at camp we relaxed some more and received all our clean washing that had been done at the laundry. What a treat.  A beautiful sunset over the Nile River was a great ending for our last night in Uganda.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8665.jpg)



NEXT........CROSSING OVER TO KENYA



Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: goingnowherequickly on March 21, 2012, 01:15:15 pm
Fantastic
Keep it coming.... :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: White Rhino on March 22, 2012, 04:34:37 pm
Fantastic
Keep it coming.... :thumleft:

+1000 :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 26, 2012, 09:16:21 pm
                                              KENYA


JINJA to KEMBU CAMP (near Nakuru) ~ KENYA

DAY 20:  29 December 2011
DISTANCE:    445 km
TIME:   6.30 am – 7.30pm


[color=green]“.......in the distance I see a shimmering light,
             My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim,
                           I had to stop for the night.”
[/color]

                                                           Eagles



Reluctantly we rode out of Jinja. We could have spent a few more days in this interesting place with its lovely relaxed vibe. The good tar road heading west was very busy, even this early in the morning. We took in some more beautiful sights along the way.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8673.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8672.jpg)


 Instead of continuing on the main road to Tororo we decided to head south and cross into Kenya at Busia as we assumed that this would be a quieter route.....but we were wrong. The road was full of traffic and as a result the border post was just as hectic, but an easy crossing. We decided not to use our last Carnet page as we wanted to keep it for Tanzania as we thought Namanga might be a problem border....  being a main and busy border post.

We tried to get in with a Temporary Import Permit but the officer would not allow us through without the Carnet. When he saw that it was our last page he warned us that we would not be able to enter Tanzania again without a Carnet and advised us to go to the AA (Automobile Association) in Nairobi and get another Carnet. This was one city we wanted to avoid as there had been recent bombings due to problems with Somalian pirates and the hi-jacking of tourists along the coastal areas.

We eventually entered Kenya but started to stress over the Carnet issue. Kingsley decided to pull over and started to make phone calls to our AA in Johannesburg. We managed to speak to one lady who politely informed us that their office was closed until the following week as was the Nairobi office. Her advice to us was to simply bribe an official by offering him a bottle of alcohol. OK....sure thing!! I wonder if she had ever travelled up that way before  ???

 
We were now heading for Kisumu as I wanted to see more of Lake Victoria and it would also be a good lunch stop. Once again we crossed over the Equator back into the Southern Hemisphere.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8676.jpg)

 The heavy traffic slowed us right down and it took us longer than we anticipated to reach Kisumu.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 26, 2012, 09:33:16 pm

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8678.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8679.jpg)

Thanks to the GPS we found the Kiboko Beach Resort. The ride that leads you out of town to this resort is down a grubby little back street in amongst shabby little homes. At one stage we thought we had to be lost but we eventually found it.

We ordered a quick lunch, looked around, took photos and because we were running late and nervous of bad roads, made a foolish decision and changed our plans ( perhaps I was just getting soft and taking an easy option).  We decided not to head down towards Sitok and Narok but to rather stick to a main route and head for a resort that Duncan, back in Zambia, had recommended which was near Lake Nakuru. So we telephoned our contact lady who suggested we stay at Kembu Camp as she was no longer at Lake Nakuru. In theory this was a good idea.......but it turned out to be a crazy race into the dark.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0902.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8682.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8686.jpg)

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(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8695.jpg)


The going was awfully slow as the roads were extra busy and road works plentiful. We were diverted onto a detour which was about 30 km of bone-jarring, ungraded shale. The scenery was once again crisp green and well manicured tea estates and in the late afternoon sun it looked most impressive. It was just too risky to stop and take pictures.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8696.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8697.jpg)


Eventually we got back onto our original road. Yay...now we could increase our speed and make up some time.......not a chance!!! There were more road works and pothole upon pothole. Soon the shadows were stretching out far in front of us and as the sun sunk lower everything suddenly became a crazy rush. We were now heading in a northerly direction towards the main A104.
 Cars were dodging in and out of oncoming traffic, overtaking on the right and wrong sides, there was an increase in speed and we were trapped in this hectic buzz of frantic drivers. We couldn’t lose concentration for 1 second and at one stage our rain gear fell off Kingsley’s bike and I stopped to pick it up but was unable to make a U-turn coz of the crazy traffic. Kingsley saw I was no longer behind him and came to look for me. I managed to indicated that he had dropped something and must go back to pick it up. While I waited a vehicle pulled up alongside me and the driver yelled for me to keep riding as it was too dangerous and busy to stop. The same driver also had a go at Kingsley further back. In a bit of a panic we again joined the mass of deranged drivers, couldn’t help but feel that we were part of some low budget Mad Max movie.


By the time we reached the A104 the sun had finally set and it was a relief to be out of that mess and mingling with normal traffic again. We rode in the dark for about another 40 km before turning right. We had broken our own rule about driving too far and into the night. It was pitch black on this quiet road with only the odd light flickering in the distance. By now we were exhausted, hungry and stressed out. I started doubting the GPS as we rode and rode through the darkness totally oblivious as to where we were heading – relying only on a piece of equipment. After what seemed like ages we eventually had to do a U-turn and soon found our turnoff,  but........the gate was locked.....my heart sunk as we were now in the middle of nowhere. Eventually a guy with a torch arrived and opened up for us and directed us up a long driveway. With great relief we finally arrived at Kembu Camp.

After pitching our tents in the dark, with the help of our headlights, we shuffled off for a cold shower. We were soon warmed up with delicious homemade soup, fresh baked bread, wonderful company and a lovely fire.



(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0904-1.jpg)

Oops.....forgot to mention the beer.



Andrew, the owner of this campsite, dairy and stud farm, joined us for a chat and he suggested that we don’t try to reach the border tomorrow but rather spend another night in Kenya - but closer to the border. He recommended “Whistling Thorns”. We discussed the Carnet and he suggested it would be a better idea to bribe a ‘runner’ to help us get a TIP – so much for not needing a ‘runner’?!

It was late evening when we finally collapsed into bed with a full tummy and a plan that we hoped would work.



Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 26, 2012, 09:46:01 pm
KEMBU CAMP to WHISTLING THORNS

DAY 21: 30 December 2011
Distance:  225 km
Time:   9.00 am – 2.30 pm


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1292.jpg)

MAP OF ROUTE FOR THE DAY



Enjoyed a leisurely morning at Kembu Camp as we thought we were in for a nice casual ride and would get to our destination in no time at all as it was all tar and mostly main road.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8701.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0913.jpg)
FINALLY PACKED UP.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0916.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0919.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0920.jpg)


Well........by now we have discovered that Africa can toss you many curved balls. Never ever under estimate Africa!!

If the going is good, it’s only for a few minutes, then you have to deal with potholes. As you get over this stretch and you accelerate....WHAM.... you hit a speed bump. Every village has its speed bumps coming into and heading out of it and one village runs into another. OK speed bumps over – hectically slow traffic and then some road works tossed in just to aggravate the rider some more. Just to make it more exciting there would be a bottleneck for vehicles in both directions with each driver taking traffic control into their own hands...........as a result, cars, bikes and lorries bouncing over the edges of the road, everyone doing their best to avoid each other. It’s emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting.

We arrived at Nakuru, which was a big friendly town, and found an ATM. While I went and drew some cash Kingsley entertained a few vendors, some selling stickers and others scarves and curios. They were all very friendly but curious about these two ‘Mzungus’ travelling on motorbikes. We also exchanged some money for their local currency. This we did often and it was always a fair and honest exchange.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8702.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8703.jpg)


On leaving Nakuru we attempted to head south through the Nakuru National Park but sadly we were turned away as motorbikes were not allowed access.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8704.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8705.jpg)


We were soon back on the A104. Once we passed Gilgil  I was very surprised to see a herd of zebra grazing alongside the main road, quite happy and oblivious to the passing traffic. I think this was some sort of reserve but there were houses and other buildings around and it didn’t look like as if it was a protected area.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0922.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0926.jpg)


The vegetation started to change to low bush and thorn trees. As we passed The Great Rift Valley Golf Course we rode through a lovely area of fever trees (acacia) and soon after this the road was lined with vendors selling fresh produce.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0929.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0932.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0933.jpg)


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on March 26, 2012, 09:58:47 pm
After passing Lake Naivasha on the right we started to climb the Rift Valley escarpment and we stopped at a little curio stall. The views from here were spectacular. Unfortunately it was a bit hazy in the distance so photos are not very clear. We looked across the Rift Valley floor to Mount Longonot which has an elevation of 2776m. 
The name comes from a Maasai word meaning ‘mountain of many spurs’. It’s a stratovolcano that last erupted in the 1860’s and as a result it contains a large 8x12 km caldera. This mountain has become a popular hiking area as it is home to several species of wildlife. I wish we had stuck to our original plan which would have enabled us to get closer to this mountain. We have since heard that the roads down in that area are in good condition. Damn!


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8709.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8712.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8713.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0937.jpg)



(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0935.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0938.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0944.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0949.jpg)

ANOTHER VIEW POINT


We continued towards Nairobi and the closer we got the busier the roads became. Fortunately we turned off on the C58 and headed south towards Ngong Hills passed the Nairobi National Park.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0951.jpg)


After 22 km we turned left onto a quieter but badly maintained road. Now we started to feel that we were out in the country and the vegetation changed to thorn trees. It was a lot drier here but nice to be ‘far from the madding crowd’.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0952.jpg)


Whistling Thorns was a nice little getaway about only about 130 km away from the Namanga Border post. After pitching our tent and washing our clothes we headed for the pool and enjoyed a meal. We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to relax while dealing with the anxiety of trying to get back into Tanzania the following day, without a Carnet.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0953.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0954.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0955.jpg)




WILL TAKE YOU BACK INTO TANZANIA SOON



Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: schalk vd merwe on March 27, 2012, 03:28:59 am
Good stuff, keep it coming Schalk.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Firecoast on March 27, 2012, 02:28:06 pm
WOW! Definitely going on my bucketlist!

Thanks for the photos and the read! Looks great so far!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Fuzzy Muzzy on March 27, 2012, 02:33:28 pm
Makes me want to go go go, I agree north of Tanzania is on the bucket list for sure.

What a trip..
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Mzee on March 28, 2012, 12:59:33 pm
Lovely read.  I feel like sitting on my bike follow your trail.  :ricky:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on March 28, 2012, 07:47:03 pm
This is a captivating RR, thanks for sharing.  8)
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Goshawk on March 28, 2012, 08:22:06 pm
Wow, what a fantastic RR, I'm so enjoying it, and looking forward to the next installment!!  Just loving your pics, descriptions, and all the extra info, thank you so much for sharing!  As for those muddy roads - all I can say is 'hectic', and  :salut:

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: madmax on March 28, 2012, 08:40:51 pm
awesome....... i presume you got into tanzania else we wouldnt be reading this  :thumleft:
must say i am loving your report......... need to get rid of mrs and kids and go ride  :bueller:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Hornet on March 30, 2012, 11:12:43 am
A fantastic ride report, thank you.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: GSLaaitie on April 11, 2012, 03:15:19 pm
(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0807.jpg)

This pic makes me realize what you are doing. You rode that far on your bikes! Halfway up Africa on crazy mud roads. That's an epic adventure! Well done. :thumleft:
Very intersted to see how that bribe works out...
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: arrowfeather on April 11, 2012, 03:37:10 pm
very well done~!!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wolfman on April 11, 2012, 11:53:57 pm
What can I say? You guys move me  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 12, 2012, 04:25:29 pm
 Thanks to all the readers who have enjoyed and commented on this RR. It's encouraging to have positive feedback.
Apologies about the delay in further posting as I have been away.
Will be doing more posting this evening.

GSLaaitie - when one looks at the big picture it does seem to put it all into perspective, hey.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 12, 2012, 10:13:35 pm

                                                    TANZANIA


WHISTLING THORNS to MARANGU (TANZANIA)

Day22:  31 December 2011
Distance: 372 km
Time:  6.30 am – 4.00 pm


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1293.jpg)
MAP SHOWING ROUTE FOR THE NEXT 3 DAYS


We departed early in the morning and travelled on the edges of a very bad potholed road but the beautiful country side made up for this. Along this 25 km stretch of road we passed few other vehicles and there were no villages or people cluttering the side of the road.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8717.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0958.jpg)


Turning right onto the A104 introduced us to a beautiful Chinese highway with very little traffic to interrupt the good speed we were maintaining. We were soon at the Namanga Border Post and feeling a bit apprehensive. We expected it to be a very busy place but were pleasantly surprised at how quiet it was and were only hassled a bit by the Maasai ladies selling beads, but nothing unpleasant. Within a short time we exited Kenya and nervously approached the Tanzanian side expecting a rush of ‘runners’ ........which for once we were hoping for .......but.......there were no offers of help. The only people around were those tourists passing through. We hung around for a while......waiting but still no one approached us.

We decided to clear Immigration and purchase our visas which cost us USD 30 each as we managed to convince them that we only needed a transit visa ( a holiday visa costs USD 50 each). It was here that we noticed all the posters on the walls warning tourists against bribing officials!!!! Offenders would be locked up!!! OK...... now we understood why everything appeared to be so quiet, calm and orderly. There were signs all over the place letting tourists know exactly where to queue for visas, immigrations, payments, customs etc. This was one organised and non-corrupt border post. Just what we didn’t need with our Carnet problems.

Nervously we dragged ourselves over to the Customs office and were greeted by a pleasant gentleman. We casually informed him that we require a Temporary Import Permit for two motor bikes. He instructed us to take a seat and handed us forms to complete and asked for duplicate copies of our passports and logbooks.....it was as simple as that!!

 Fortunately I had the foresight to make these copies in the little town called Karen where we refuelled en route to Whispering Thorns the previous day. Karen is actually a suburb of Nairobi that borders the Ngong Road Forest and lies some distance south-west of the city centre. It is generally believed that this little suburb was named after Karen Blixen, the author of “Out of Africa”.  A pity we didn’t spend any time here as they have a sanctuary for young orphaned elephants, a Giraffe Centre and the Karen Blixen Museum.  Sorry ........ got a little side tracked!

Anyway........ in no time at all we had everything stamped and without having to pay another cent we hopped on our bikes and without further adieu we entered Tanzania once again breathing a great sigh of relief.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8725.jpg)
Leaving the border post and entering Tanzania.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8726.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8727.jpg)
As you arrive in Tanzania you cant help but notice the Longido Mountain – 2629m


 The countryside started to change to thorn bush and shrubs and became dusty, dry and rocky. There is a strong presence of Maasai in this area. Most of them wrapped in their traditional red, purple and orange cloths and herding goats or sheep and cattle alongside the road. Some were collecting firewood while others were cycling or just sitting on the side of the road. This really gave me a feeling of being far away from home. It was difficult getting pictures of them as they would get terribly upset. I finally managed to pay a couple of elderly ladies selling firewood to get their picture.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8738.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0972.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8740.jpg)
A maasai youngster selling wood.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8742.jpg)
Maasai piling into a truck.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8743.jpg)
A shepard herding goats.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8744.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8741.jpg)
A typical maasai dwelling.

For a long distance we had Mount Meru ( 4566 m ) in our sights as we travelled south towards Arusha. Unfortunately it was topped with a bit of cloud cover.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0966.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0973.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8748.jpg)


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 12, 2012, 10:51:20 pm

We were meant to take a left turn before the mountain and skirt the back of it and travel between Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro, avoiding Arusha,  but due to the roadworks we actually missed the turnoff and continued towards Lake Duluti  just east of Arusha on the Moshi road. The camp sites looked a bit run down and unappealing so we head off towards Marangu. It was a long ride and already late afternoon but it was a good decision. En route we could see the long sloping sides of Kilimanjaro reaching up into the clouds and it gave us some indication of how impressive this mountain could be on a clear day.

We arrived at the Marangu Hotel which was just south of the Kilimanjaro National Park and set up camp just before an overlander pulled in and took over.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1018.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1023.jpg)

Being New Years Eve we thought that a good dinner would be nice but at USD 40 ( R320 ) we decided against it and created something from our own supply which we enhanced with a moon light trip into the hotels unguarded veggie patch. Later that evening we headed off to the pub. We were too tired to see the New Year in but lay in our little tent at the foothills of Kilimanjaro, listening to all the festivities around us. This last night of 2011 we went to bed well aware of how fortunate we were to have got this far with our personal African adventure.  A great way to end a year!  :occasion16:



REST DAY ~ MARUNGA HOTEL

Day 23:  Sunday  1 January 2012

Awoke early enough to get a lovely clear view of the top of Kilimanjaro which was enhanced by the glow of the early morning sun. This is the highest mountain in Africa rising 5895m and is also one of the most famous landmarks in Africa.  We were very fortunate to experience these clear skies as we were only here for a short time and were well aware of how seldom one gets a clear view of the mountain.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8763.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8754.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8765.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8792.jpg)
This is a photo from the following morning

As you will notice from the above pictures there is only one small ice cap left on the Kibo peak ( the highest of the 3 volcanic cones which make up Kilimanjaro). It is both sad and disturbing to think that over the years it is getting smaller due to global warming. According to a professor of geological sciences from Ohio State University this glacier will be gone within 20 years. About one third of Kilimanjaro’s ice field has disappeared in just 12 years and 82% of it vanished since it was first mapped in 1912. A snowless Kilimanjaro could have economic effects on Tanzania as it is a major tourist attraction and generates crucial revenue for one of the poorest countries in Africa.

After enjoying some breakfast back at the camp we walked around and took some more photos of the place and came across three groups of tourists who had gathered around and were preparing to depart for their hike up Kilimanjaro. Each group is made up of 11 hikers and about 30 porters. It takes 3 days of hiking to reach the summit and 2 days to return. It was all very exciting and I so wished that I could have joined them. As much as I admired the well equipped hikers I couldn’t help but compare them to the ill equipped and overloaded porters ......one has to give these porters a lot of credit and one hopes they get a good tip at the end.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0991.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8772.jpg)
Our camp site.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0993.jpg)
Photos of the hotel grounds.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0999.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1000.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0994.jpg)
Hikers preparing for their trip up Kilimanjaro.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP0995.jpg)


We decided to take a ride to look for a market so we could buy some veggies for supper and went in the direction of Tarakea. There is so much poverty out there and they are all trying to make a few pennies. We found the odd little place open and bought our goodies ( I don’t think i need to mention what we bought). The photos below show a few dwellings we saw on our ride.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1017.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1007.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1011.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1013.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1012.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1015.jpg)


We chatted to a lovely Australian lady, who was the matriarch of the overlanders, and she entertained us with all her travel stories. For the rest of the day we relaxed around the camp and enjoyed an afternoon nap in the shade.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1019.jpg)


Kingsley kept himself out of mischief by cooking up a delicious meal of...............yup, you guessed it........sweet potatoes, tomatoes and onion. This time there was a guard appointed to the veggie patch!!

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1020.jpg)


Tried to contact our daughter who was.....
‘...spending time in Mozambique, where the sunny skies are aqua blue....’  (Bob Dylan)  
but were unsuccessful, however, managed to chat to our son who was recovering from a good New Year back in KZN.

 Really starting to feel the effects of being away from my family.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 12, 2012, 11:11:26 pm


MARANGU HOTEL to LAKE MANYARA

Day  24:  Monday 2 January 2012
Distance: 241 km
Time: 7.00 am – 12.00 pm


“Get your motor running,
Head out on the highway,
Looking for adventure and whatever comes our way.”  


                                                          Steppenwolf



Awoke early to the familiar sound of a little ‘Piet-my-vrou’ ( red chested cuckoo) competing with all the other cheerful bird song. We needed to get moving as soon as possible as the early morning light would be ideal for capturing some more photos of Kili as we were spoilt with another day of clear skies.

En route to Arusha we stopped several times to try and capture the perfect picture of this famous mountain but we had left it too late and the sun was already too high in the sky so we had to be satisfied with the ones below.... which are not too bad.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8796.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8795.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8808-1.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1032.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8803.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1027.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8824.jpg)
This one I captured while we were refuelling.


We worked our way through the bustling town of Arusha to withdraw some cash and I couldn’t resist taking a peek at the Tanzanites on offer at a small jewellers, just opposite Tanzanite Experience, but they were too expensive.....USD 500 for a tiny cut stone. The best place to buy would probably have been on the black market. There was a lady hassling us outside wanting to take us elsewhere out of town but we were a bit reluctant to follow her and were too keen to move on out of this busy area.

On leaving Ausha the country side became very dry and dusty and we had a bit of wind pushing us around. 

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1035.jpg)
A Maasai market day.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1037.jpg)
Maasai and their cattle heading off to market.


It wasn’t long before we moved into a greener area. It was so beautiful and so typical of Africa......with the thorn trees, goats and huts and a mountain range forming a backdrop.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8832.jpg)
The Monduli Mountains

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8828.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8830.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8829.jpg)

It was along this good tarred road that we encountered so many tour safari vehicles moving in both directions transporting tourists to and from the Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti, Lake Manyara and the Tarangire National Parks. This is really a lovely part of Tanzania, as far as scenery is concerned.

Last night we spoke about passing Lake Manyara in order to gain a few more kilometres but once we arrived at the turn off to Mto wa Mbu and had something cold to drink we decided to stick to our original plan.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8834.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8835.jpg)
Stopped at Makuyuni for refreshments.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 12, 2012, 11:41:51 pm


Thank goodness we trusted our planning because after we turned off and travelled west along the lovely 32 km tarred road we caught glimpses of Lake Manyara on our left and the Rift Valley Escarpment appeared in front of us and in no time at all we were in Mto wa Mbu ( I can’t quite get my tongue around the pronunciation of this name ). It was a neat little village sporting several curio stalls and turn offs to various resorts. If one continued on this road it would take you to the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti –unfortunately, being on motorbikes meant that we would not be able to access these areas.
 With help from the locals we eventually found our turn off to MIGUNGA FOREST CAMP which led us along a narrow track passing through a small residential area.  After a short distance a brightly coloured curio stall marked the entrance to a breathtakingly beautiful yellow fever forest........it was spectacular. In initial planning, my enthusiasm to spend time here was because they offered game viewing bicycle rides around the lake area in the afternoons ..........well, having a swollen and painful ankle put paid to that!!!

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8874.jpg)
Colourful Maasai wraps

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8873.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8837.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1038.jpg)


We pitched our tent in amongst these tall, majestic trees. It was so quiet and peaceful – except for the bird song. There were various forms of accommodation available offering smart tented camps around the perimeter of the resort as well as some scruffy looking thatched tents, however, there was something special about pitching a tent in this magical place.....one couldn’t help but keep on looking upwards at the treetops in wonder. The ablutions were rather shabby but this couldn’t dampen our spirits.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8842.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1040.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8839.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8875.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8841.jpg)
This little Kingfisher entertained us while he was looking for his grub(s).

After a meal of crackers and tuna we headed off ( with me riding pillion) down the road through the thorn trees towards the northern lakeshore of Lake Manyara. This soon becomes a cycle track as the trees open up into a magnificent plain. It was quite breathtaking .I was overcome by the same feelings when I was in Botswana riding onto the Makgadigadi pans a few years back. It was a vast open vlei consisting of short light green grass bordered by a range of mountains on the east side and the Rift Valley Escarpment on the West side and in front was the shimmering mirage–like Lake Manyara. We tried to follow the cycle track but couldn’t resist the temptation to wander off in another direction towards what we thought looked like animals.

We could soon make out some wildebeest and Egyptian geese gathered around a puddle of water.  We were so engrossed in our surroundings that we realised too late that the ground surface had changed and we were soon trying to get ourselves out of slimy mud.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8844.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8846.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8847.jpg)
The eastern mountain range.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8861.jpg)
Egyptian Geese.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8859.jpg)
Wildebeest

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8852.jpg)
This wildebeest got spooked by the noise of the motorbike.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8868.jpg)
In the background is the prominant Rift Valley Escarpment and  in the distance beyond that you can see the Ngorongoro Crater

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8855.jpg)
Kingsley ~ stuck in the mud.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8860.jpg)


Lake Manyara is a shallow lake on the East African Rift and only has a maximum depth of 3,7 m and a surface area of 231 km squared. It was described by Ernest Hemingway  “.....to be the loveliest lake in Africa”. We spent a bit more time enjoying ourselves on the edges of Lake Manyara, avoiding the brighter green patches, but the heat on this exposed flat terrain soon drove us back to camp.



(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1041.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1042.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1043.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1046.jpg)
It was too muddy to take the bike closer to the shoreline.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8862.jpg)
A section of dried shoreline.


That evening we went to bed feeling satisfied from a filling buffet and from another exciting day in Africa.


DODOMA.....HERE WE COME!!     :ricky:

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on April 13, 2012, 08:30:18 pm
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: netrom on April 16, 2012, 12:24:14 pm
I am so happy to be sitting at my office desk right now  :(
Keep it coming...
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 18, 2012, 07:57:37 pm
LAKE MANYARA to DODOMA

Day 25:  3 January 2012
Distance:  384 km
Time: 6.45 am – 4.45 pm


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1294.jpg)

ROUTE TAKEN FOR THE NEXT 2 DAYS.



We had a long day ahead of us and decided on early start. We hadn’t travelled very far when we were treated to an early morning sighting of my favourite animals........giraffes! They were fairly close to the side of the road and we watched them grazing in the tree tops and loping slowly around the bushes. They were soon joined by another who nonchalantly walked across the road......stopped.....checked us out for a while and then calmly moved off to join the rest of his herd. We were so delighted as this was probably our last chance of seeing any wildlife.



(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1057.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1050.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8892.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8887.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8888.jpg)


 We headed south on the A104. Better known as the Great North Road – part of the legendary highway from Cape Town to Cairo. It was still a good tar road and the going was good. We were anticipating a long haul of gravel road. In the early morning light everything looked so fresh and appealing. Tanzania definitely has a certain kind of magic about it ....... a place to return to and spend more time. After passing the Tarangire National Park all sights of tourists disappeared and we were the only ‘mzungus’ once again on this long and lonely stretch of road. Most tourists avoid this stretch of road and travel from Iringa to Arusha via Dar Es Salaam........a longer route but all tar.

By 9.00 am we had reached Babati and were back on the dirt road. There was quite a bit of road construction going on which slowed the going down and gave us the opportunity to take in the stunning scenery. We alternated between climbing up into the hills and riding back down into the hot, dry and dusty valleys.

It was late morning when we arrived hot and thirsty at Kolo, which is about 100 km south of Babati and it was fortunate that we came across the Antiquities Department office and Museum of the Kolo Rock Art.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8905.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8904.jpg)


The Kolo Rock Art Site is a World Heritage Site, about 9 km off the main road, with caves containing paintings believed to date back more than 1500 years. As we were pressed for time we only visited the small but interesting museum that we had no idea was there until we stopped for something to drink. ( another excuse to return)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8907.jpg)
I was fascinated by the lovely carving on the door frame

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8910.jpg)
A few photos from inide the museum.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8912.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8914.jpg)


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 18, 2012, 08:12:21 pm

About 50 km north of Dodoma the roadworks started again and we were diverted onto the side of the road. I would hate to travel this road in the rain!! By mid afternoon we were no longer cheerfully greeting the people, admiring the scenery and feeling on top of the world. Instead, my attention was now on my sore hands, the knot between my shoulder blades, checking the odometer to see if it was still ticking over and on my sore butt!

Below are some pictures taken along the way.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8918.jpg)
Surprisingly few accidents considering the vehicles and driving conditions.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8921.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1064.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1065.jpg)
We had to have a photo of this sign as we where hundreds of miles away from the beach.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8925.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1067.jpg)
These locals were actually digging in the dry river bed looking for water.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8929.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8931.jpg)
Having a rest,

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8932.jpg)
Some flooded plains.


Just when I thought I could continue no more there was the TWIGA HOTEL on the right hand side.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1075.jpg)


We had prepared ourselves not to expect too much but this was a lovely sight. Arthur, the manager, made us feel most welcome and at one stage we engaged in a long conversation with him and he took us by surprise as he had a firm grasp on the political situation of his country especially regarding corruption and deals with the Chinese. He left us with food for thought.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8935.jpg)
Our accomodation.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1073.jpg)
 A travellers palm –the sheaths of the stems hold rainwater which can be used as an  emergency drinking supply for travellers. I have also recently learnt that the fan tends to grow in a n east-west line, providing a crude compass


 For some reason there was no electricity here but we were not too concerned as it was clean and comfortable and Arthur reduced the price. We had a cold shower, washed some clothes and relaxed outside. The only food available was rice, spinach and tomato which we enjoyed in our room with the aid of our headlamps.

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 18, 2012, 08:20:33 pm

DODOMA to IRINGA

Day 26:  4 January 2012
Distance: 285 km
Time: 8.30 am – 4.00 pm


Feeling rested we said our farewells to Arthur and his granddaughter and headed off to Dodoma, 10 km away. We withdrew some cash and headed for Iringa.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1077.jpg)


The scenery was once again stunning and the baobabs started to replace the thorn trees and natural bush. The roads were a great improvement on yesterdays despite all the construction work interspersed throughout the whole trip. The down side to all this construction was the uprooting of some magnificent baobabs.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1084.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8938.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8943.jpg)


At one stage we came to the top of a pass and had a hazy but amazing view of a valley of baobabs.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8945.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8950.jpg)
We spotted this little guy resting in a bush next to our bikes.



One of the villages along the way were we stopped for something to drink. We were always grateful for the welcoming cold drink and bit of shade offered by the little stores. The locals never hassled us. They were always polite and respectful.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8955.jpg)



(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8956.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1092.jpg)


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 18, 2012, 08:32:41 pm


Mid way between Dodoma and Iringa we came across the Mtera Dam which is located on the great Ruaha River. It is the biggest hydro electrical dam in Tanzania measuring 56 km long and 15 km wide. On entering this area we were required to stop at a boom, sign a register and were given a permit which enabled us to pass through. We crossed over a dam wall with the dam on our right and a very dry rocky area on our left.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8958.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8959.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8961.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8962.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8963.jpg)



We eventually climbed out of a valley into a lovely mountainous area with spectacular views but plenty of road works.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1100.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8965.jpg)


It was late afternoon when we arrived at Iringa, once again hot, tired and dusty.  After refuelling and stocking up with a few supplies we rode up and down the main street several times looking for the turn off to Rivervalley Camp as the GPS insisted that we turn off in the centre of town but we couldn’t find the turn off  and by now we were getting a little ‘tetchy’ with one another. We eventually continued through town and finally found the turn off to the main Tanzam Highway that leads east to Dar Es Salaam. The GPS picked up directions again on this road and about 10 km later we finally found our turnoff to the RIVERVALLEY REST CAMP. It was a lovely tidy little spot on the  overgrown banks of the little Ruaha River. Arriving late and tired calls for a G&T, cold beer and a relax.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1112.jpg)
This photo was actually taken the next morning as we were leaving.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1104.jpg)
Our campsite.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1108.jpg)
Preparing 'vetkoek' on the open fire.


Tomorrow would be our last day in Tanzania and it is going to be a looong day. Lay in bed with sad feelings of leaving this wonderful country – just another reminder that our adventure was nearly coming to an end.



NEXT......... a long ride back to Malawi.



Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: netrom on April 19, 2012, 05:14:01 pm
What a trip! did you ever have any bike issues?
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: madmax on April 19, 2012, 07:21:26 pm
i am and have been captivated..very interested to hear your arthurs thoughts on the corruption and chinese etc
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 20, 2012, 02:45:24 pm
i am and have been captivated..very interested to hear your arthurs thoughts on the corruption and chinese etc

Hi Madmax. Glad to hear that you are enjoying the RR.
 With reference to Arthur, he seemed to accept that corruption in the country was firmly entrenched and this situation was not going to change soon. However, what did concern him more than the corruption was the problem that the government did not have the skills needed to negotiate these huge deals with the Chinese. He could accept politicians enriching themselves if only they could broker  better deals  for the country and its people.
Thats about it in a nut shell - hope it answers your question.
Take care.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 20, 2012, 02:55:01 pm
What a trip! did you ever have any bike issues?

Hi netrom. Good to hear from you. The bikes gave very little problems but the mud did take its toll on Kingsleys break pads and mine suffered from a lot of dirt in the airfilter as I always seem to travel in the dust at the back and at one point the filter failed and blocked up the carb - which wasnt a real problem and just needed to be cleaned which we managed to do on the side of the road in Uganda.
Hope you enjoy the rest of the RR - its nearly complete.
Take care
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Bollie on April 20, 2012, 04:15:50 pm
Awesome awesome awesome!
Ek is baie jaloers, maar my dag sal kom!!!!!!
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 20, 2012, 08:13:04 pm
Awesome awesome awesome!
Ek is baie jaloers, maar my dag sal kom!!!!!!
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Hi Bollie. Toemaar.... elke (wilde)hond het sy dag. hahahaha :D
Lekker ry.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 20, 2012, 08:31:20 pm
                         

                             BACK IN MALAWI


IRINGA (Tanzania) to SANGILO SANCTUARY LODGE ( Malawi)

Day 27:   5 January 2012
Distance:  574 km
Time: 6.45 am – 5.30 pm


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1299.jpg)

MAP OF ROUTE ALL THE WAY BACK TO FAT MONKEY (MALAWI)....4 DAYS RIDE


OH NO !!!!  It rained all night and continued to rain while we were packing up. My heart just sunk. We eventually moved bikes under the gazebo (shelter) in order to finish our packing. After putting on our rain gear we headed off into a gloomy day. A month ago we arrived in south Tanzania in the wet weather and now we were leaving south Tanzania in the wet weather. We shouldn’t complain as we were aware that it was there rainy season. Fortunately it would be tar all the way as we were now heading south on the lovely Tanzam Highway.

We rode very carefully for the first 150 km as it continued to rain.  We didn’t take much notice of our surroundings as it took all our concentration focusing on the wet busy road and staying alive. It eventually stopped raining but we were now soaking wet and freezing cold.......my teeth couldn’t stop chattering. After refuelling and having something to eat we started to thaw out and relax.

The rest of the way to Mbeya was overcast but dry and the scenery became lush green bush as far as the eye could see. One would expect to see wildlife around here but only cattle and goats grazed in this area. Because of the shortage of fuel in Malawi we decided check fuel stations while still in Tanzania and at Chimala we filled up our tanks and containers.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1115.jpg)
REFUELLING AT CHIMALA


 Which was just as well as most fuel stations from here on were empty.  We had no sooner turned off the A104 towards Tukuyu when my bike started spluttering again. Kingsley just took the cover off again and we continued with no problems. What he did notice was that it had started to use a lot of oil and it needed frequent topping up.

Heading towards the border post we encountered some beautiful scenery along this stretch of road. At one stage we were riding on the top of a ridge of mountains with healthy banana plantations and neat tea estates on either side and beyond this it dropped down into deep valleys with lovely views. We were lucky enough to find fuel again about 40 km before the border. It was so crowded with locals filling up their containers to sell to the black market.

The Tanzanian border was once again clean, efficient and nicely organised compared to the dirty, unpleasant and costly Malawian border. We were now qualified as wise old travellers and managed without any help from the ‘runners’. I must admit it was good to be back in Malawi and another 50 km took us into Karonga once again....... we had now done a complete loop in 25 days. It was quite amazing to think back to the day that we rode out of here, so naive, into Zambia and got ourselves horribly lost.

I insisted on going back to the Cultural  Museum Centre that we had missed out on previously as I wanted to see this amazing Malawisaurus ( meaning Malawi Lizard) that I had read so much about. This handsome chap that lived in the Cretaceous period, measuring 9.1 meters in length and 4.3 meters high, was found in the nearby hills of Karonga. There is an archaeology site called Malema Research Camp about 3 km out of town, where excavations are being done and it also provides accommodation.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8979.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8976.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8973.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8971.jpg)
A BIT MORE INFO ABOUT THE MALAWISAURUS


We were now tired and hungry and still had another 80 km to ride. We arrived at SANGILO SANCTUARY LODGE at about 5.30 pm. What a relief. We spotted this sign on the way up Malawi last month and what fascinated us was the motorbike signage. It also came highly recommended by Peter from the Mikoma Beach Resort were we had camped on the beach. One has to ride about 2 km on a sandy road and down an awful rutted track to reach the resort. The Chalets were too expensive so we pitched a soggy tent in a tiny little patch reserved for campers which sadly, only had a limited view of the lake.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1161.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8980.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8982.jpg)


After a cold shower we settled comfortably in the pub which was at the base of some stairs that led down to the beach and it overlooked a divine secluded private beach. We were definitely in for 2 nights!!! Winston, our friendly Rasta barman took care of our thirst and his sister took care of our hunger and served up a delicious meal of fish, fried potatoes and salad.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9036.jpg)

Later that evening I received a phone call from my sister-in-law informing us that my mother wasn’t doing too well. She had lost weight and was no longer able to walk. She had suffered a stroke 2 years ago and her health had been deteriorating slowly ever since. I couldn’t wait to get back home and tell her all about our travels.


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 20, 2012, 09:00:06 pm


REST DAY: SANGILO LODGE

Day 28: Friday 6 January 2012

Despite the rain throughout the night we had a good sleep. Spent the rest of the day relaxing and swimming at the beach. I have been trying to absorb as much as possible of this place and to hold on to these special feelings one gets when experiencing such beauty. This is a real little patch of paradise and we were the only people here enjoying it. As nice as it is to have this pretty place to ourselves, one must sympathise with the owners who are trying to keep things going when the countries economy is against them. The fuel crisis has really knocked the tourist industry.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1139-1.jpg)
NOTHING LIKE A KUCHE KUCHE EVENING NEXT TO A LAKE   :mwink:

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1120.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1154.jpg)
A LOVELY WOOD CARVING OF A MOTOBIKE IN FRONT OF THE ABLUTIONS.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8986.jpg)
THE OPEN-AIR KITCHEN WHERE DELICIOUS MEALS ARE PREPARED AND THE TOTEM POLE.



(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8991.jpg)
THE PUB


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8992.jpg)
THE BEACH LOOKING SOUTH


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8993.jpg)
THE BEACH LOOKING NORTH


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8996.jpg)
THE DINING DECK


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8997.jpg)
INSIDE THE PUB


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9000.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9011.jpg)
THE UPMARKET ACCOMMODATION

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9004.jpg)
THE VIEW FROM THE CHALET

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9002.jpg)
THE CHALET ABLUTIONS


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9038.jpg)
LOOKING ACROSS TO THE TANZANIAN MOUNTAINS


I have to mention that this is also the resort that Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman  visited during their trip ‘Long way Down’ in 2007. They were lucky enough to stay in the chalets though. Apparently a lot of bikers frequent this spot and Mark, the owner, is also a keen biker.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_8995.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1155.jpg)
MARKS PRIDE AND JOY IS THIS OLD TENERE


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1158.jpg)
HE ALSO HAS THIS OLD BMW EX-MISSIONARY BIKE ( I THINK ONLY A 350 CC ?).... MAYBE A COLLECTORS PIECE?


 Nine years ago he built himself a lovely home on a rocky outcrop overlooking this little bay and seems to have become very critical of the locals in their expectations of the white man to make things happen.

By the end of the day we were feeling so chilled. What a divine place to start unwinding and to add to our many wonderful memories.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1134.jpg)



 TOMORROW..... SAD NEWS ......A SAD DAY!  
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: dassie on April 21, 2012, 04:20:55 pm
This is such a great RR, ive been glued to the PC trying to anticipate what hapens next.  :thumleft: Not looking forward to the sad news, but curious like ive been the whole trip with you guys....
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: spoedvark on April 21, 2012, 07:31:17 pm
WOW!!!! What a ride and RR.

Full respect to you both.

You CAN ride!!!
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: madmax on April 22, 2012, 08:32:52 am
i am and have been captivated..very interested to hear your arthurs thoughts on the corruption and chinese etc

Hi Madmax. Glad to hear that you are enjoying the RR.
 With reference to Arthur, he seemed to accept that corruption in the country was firmly entrenched and this situation was not going to change soon. However, what did concern him more than the corruption was the problem that the government did not have the skills needed to negotiate these huge deals with the Chinese. He could accept politicians enriching themselves if only they could broker  better deals  for the country and its people.
Thats about it in a nut shell - hope it answers your question.
Take care.


yes it does and very interesting...forget the corruption so long as the country also benefits...interesting thought that i guess could work
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 23, 2012, 09:36:49 pm
SANGILO LODGE to MAKUZI LODGE

DAY 29: Saturday 7 January 2012
DISTANCE: 240 km
TIME:  9.00 am – 1.00 pm


“Travelling makes one modest – you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

                                                                                                         Paul Theroux


We awoke to some rumbling thunder and a few spots of rain. I was dreading riding out on the awful driveway as it was steep, rocky and no doubt a bit muddy after last night’s rain.......”I guess it rains down in Africa....”.  After a light breakfast down at the beach we said our farewells and went back up to the bikes.

 We were warming up the bikes when my phone rang. When I saw who was calling my heart sank.......I just knew it was bad news. It was a call from my family letting me know that my Mom had passed away earlier that morning. In the back of my mind I knew it was what Mom would have wanted as she was now in a better place and it was something that we had been expecting to happen sooner or later but one is still never really prepared for it. I just couldn’t image not having a Mom as Moms should be there for you all the time.

After the initial shock we decided that it was best to continue on our way. For me, it was therapeutic being on the bike where I could think and cry and just be on my own. Fortunately there was very little traffic as my concentration wasn’t too good. The country side and time passed by in a blurr and I couldn’t appreciate it in my state of mind. We were meant to have visited Livingstonia on this return trip but at this stage it was the last thing on my mind so sadly we gave it a miss.

At some stage we stopped for a rest on a quiet stretch of road and within minutes a man arrived carrying a bucket lid filled with water and 4 mangoes. He said that we looked like tired travellers and he wanted to offer us some fruit. We couldn’t believe his generosity. While we peeled and messily ate our juicy mangoes we chatted about his farm and he told us in well spoken English that they were “busy with agricultural activities”. When I asked him what they were actually busy with he said “weeding”.  He was joined by two others who spoke English very well. After washing our hands in the water from the bucket lid and scraping mango fur from between our teeth we said our goodbyes and moved on, once again taken aback by the kindness of the locals as no reward or payment was asked for or expected.

Our next stop was at Mzuzu where we withdrew cash and went across the road to a petrol station to find something cold to drink. We didn’t even attempt to refuel as there was no fuel anywhere. As we came out of the shop I noticed an attendant putting fuel into a container in the boot of a white mans car. Excitedly we moved our bikes closer to the pumps and indicated for him to fill up. He looked at us and shook his head and refused. Well... we argued and accused him of turning the garage into a black market outlet, but he was so arrogant about it and challenged us with “what are you going to do about it?”.  We both suppressed the need to punch him!!!


Fed up with corruption we rode off, out of Mzuzu, and to add to our misery, into a speed trap!!! I can’t recall how much we paid but you could imagine how we were feeling at this point. Our next stop was in the rubber plantation. A chap on a bicycle stopped to enquire if we were OK and offered us some fuel. He had 5 litres which he was selling at R60 per litre. We simply had no choice but to buy it. Soon there was another chap offering us the same deal. So now we were R600 poorer and only 10 litres in our tanks. Can you believe it!

Anyway, we enquired about the rubber trees and they gave us a guided tour and demonstration in the plantation of how the rubber sap is tapped from the trees. A coiled formation cut is made around the tree trunk and from that a straight line cut running downwards. The white sap now bleeds from the cut running down into a cup which is secured at the base of the cut. It takes about one and a half hours for the cup to fill up. The plastic wrapping around the trunk protects the milk in the cup from the rain. The dried milky liquid that remains in the scar of the cut can now be pulled away and the locals use this to wrap around a bit of old tyre tubes until a lovely bouncy ball is made. It was so good to learn something from these guys....perhaps our money was well spent after all.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1162.jpg)

THE UP AND COMING ENTREPRENEURS

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1165-1.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1169.jpg)
THE WHITE SAP DRAINING INTO THE CUP.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1163-1.jpg)
A STRETCHED PIECE OF RUBBER TAKEN OFF THE TREE


We decide to call it a day at the Makuzi Lodge turnoff and a 4 km sandy track lead us down to another picturesque spot on Lake Malawi. We pitched our tent on the edge of the beach and were treated to a stunning view of yet another secluded beach. Once again we were the only visitors but sometime late during the night another camper noisily moved in. The rest of the afternoon passed by while we swam, relaxed on the beach, communicated with family back home and mourned for Mom.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 23, 2012, 09:42:18 pm


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1196.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1170.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1172.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9074.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1187.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9041.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9044.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9055.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9077.jpg)


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 23, 2012, 09:49:37 pm

MAKUZI LODGE to FAT MONKEY

DAY 30 :  Sunday 8 January 2012 
DISTANCE: 408 km
TIME: 8.00 am – 3.00 pm


Instead of feeling excited about our last days ride I felt so downhearted and didn’t look forward to 408 km on the road. We eventually left this wonderful spot that I wish I could have enjoyed under happier circumstances. Never-the-less, once I was back on my bike and lost in my own thoughts I started to feel a bit better. It was a chilled ride and we forgot to turn right at Salima and instead headed off to Senga Bay. We were so fed up because we were now running so low on fuel and couldn’t afford to waste it.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1197.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1199.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1200-1.jpg)


It was a relief to arrive at FAT MONKEYS later that afternoon. I think we rode in there on the smell of an oil rag as we had no fuel left. I can’t believe that it was a month ago that we rode out of here all excited for our adventure and now we were safely back with feelings of elation mixed with sadness.

After travelling about 7000 km, visiting 7 countries and 7 lakes we had finally completed our GREAT AFRICAN RIFT VALLEY RIDE.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1201.jpg)



We were greeted by the owners and were relieved to see that that our vehicle was still there. We promptly made a bee-line for the pub to celebrate our return. After having a hot shower and donning ourselves with fresh clean clothes we settled down on the beach and contacted the kids to let them know that we had arrived safe and sound. We decided to spend another day here to gather our wits.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9087.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9084.jpg)


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 23, 2012, 11:10:27 pm


LAST DAY AT FAT MONKEY

DAY 31: Monday  9 January 2012




We enjoyed a lazy morning on the beach watching the locals catch and clean their kampango (catfish).



(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1207.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1208-1.jpg)


 Before loading the bike we took a ride down memory lane and went to visit Otters Point...a short distance north of us and part of Lake Malawi National Park. I was last her 26 years ago and Kingsley was here 10 years ago. This used to be a very shabby but popular spot to stay in years back and has now become a World Heritage Site.........what a disappointment! It was overrun with baboons, the buildings now completely dilapidated and overgrown with vegetation. This area is government owned and was ear marked for a 5 star hotel which never materialised and what was once a beautiful spot on the beach is now a wasted piece of land.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1236.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1238.jpg)


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1240.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1235.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMGP1233.jpg)
This is the same spot we camped in 26 years ago.


After lunch we loaded the bikes with the help and support of the enthusiastic locals and made a start with the packing.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9113.jpg)

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9114.jpg)


 We enjoyed our last evening on the beach and as a farewell treat we had our last stunning Malawian sunset.


(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9100.jpg)


Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on April 23, 2012, 11:21:43 pm

HEADING HOME

DAY 32: Tuesday 10 January 2012
TIME: 9.00 am – 3.00 am Thursday 12 January 2012


 “When you wake up it’s a new morning,
             The sun is shining, it’s a new morning.
                       You’re going home, you’re going home.”
 


                                           Gerry Rafferty


 The next few days were long, tiring and boring as we took turns driving throughout the 2 days and through both nights. We headed south via Mozambique and Swaziland ( giving Zimbabwe a wide birth) but it gave us time to think about and recapture where we had been, what we had seen, experienced and achieved.

It took awhile to settle back into our mundane life again with routine, responsibilities and the loss of a Mom. Life goes on.

(http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab252/karenkrog/IMG_9081.jpg)

                         
                             CHEERS !!!


 “WE’VE BEEN THROUGH SOME THINGS TOGETHER,
          WITH TRUNKS OF MEMORIES STILL TO COME.
                  WE FOUND THINGS TO DO IN STORMY WEATHER.
                                 LONG MAY YOU RUN.”
 
   
                                           
                                NEIL YOUNG



Both Kingsley and I would like to thank all the Wilddogs who have taken the time to read this RR and to those who have supported us with your positive and encouraging comments all the way through the GREAT RIFT VALLEY.

 We hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as we enjoyed riding it.

Take care



Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Hornet on April 24, 2012, 09:04:52 am
I am really sorry to hear about the loss of your Mom.

I have been following your ride from the beginning and have loved every minute of it. Thanks for sharing and well done!

Peter
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: XT JOE on April 24, 2012, 05:18:29 pm
Thanks for sharing,  what a nice ride, sharing this with a friend like you two are, wow. It must have been difficult with the loss of your Mom while being away, sorry to hear about that

You must be about ready to write a book with a couple of nice pics or what !

"Appreciation is a wonderfull thing. It makes what is exellent in others belong to us."
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: roxenz on April 25, 2012, 01:37:35 pm
Eventually I finished reading this epic RR! To wildside and Kingsley: May the memories stay forever!  Thanks.

And sorry about the loss of your Mom.  :(
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on April 25, 2012, 11:23:15 pm
What an inspiration you two are, I really appreciate the time and effort you've taken to post this...it has also made it onto my Favourites list for quick reference.

Perfect time to conclude as tomorrow morning I board a plane to SA to start a little Namibian adventure with a school friend who has never been out of SA.

Thank you for sharing.

Ian    8)
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: madmax on April 27, 2012, 10:15:34 am
a belated condolences on mom. like you said she is happier and in a better place i am sure. and thanx for the time and effort put into this rr i have thoroughly enjoyed it and have often waited with bated breath for the next installment
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: netrom on April 27, 2012, 06:38:58 pm
Thank you for so much for that RR. its been lovely tripping along with you.. Look forward to following in your tracks some day.

RESPECT! :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Would I? on April 27, 2012, 09:19:49 pm
Thank You for sharing this fantastic experience with us.  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

It makes me want to travel........ except Zim  >:(

Sorry to hear of your Mom's passing, may she rest in peace.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: 777 on April 28, 2012, 07:35:33 pm
Weel done guys awsome stuff
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: GundaGunda on April 29, 2012, 06:04:09 am
Thanks so much for all the effort taken in putting this RR together - it is really appreciated.

So sorry about your mother - the circle of life can be sad. 
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: dassie on April 29, 2012, 09:21:07 pm
really one of the nicest rr's ive read.

Well done guys, that really took some guts to do what you guys did. Was amazing to see what the rest of africa looks like... scary...., hope we don't get there soon.

Any way, condolences for the family member. Its always difficult to say good bye to a loved one.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Lourens ツ on April 29, 2012, 10:59:42 pm
I have just spend the best Sunday evening in a long time reading your ride report and what an epic ride report!  Respect to the both of you!

Condolences for the death of your mother.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on May 02, 2012, 09:37:10 pm
What an inspiration you two are, I really appreciate the time and effort you've taken to post this...it has also made it onto my Favourites list for quick reference.

Perfect time to conclude as tomorrow morning I board a plane to SA to start a little Namibian adventure with a school friend who has never been out of SA.

Thank you for sharing.

Ian    8)

Hi Ian,
Thanks for taking the trouble to read our story and for the positive feedback. I really envy you heading into Namibia and I can't wait to read about your adventure.....a place I would love to go back to. No doubt you will have a magic time.
Wishing you both a safe ride.

To all the other Wilddogs who have commented, thank you for your encouragement and condolences .....much appreciated. We have really enjoyed recording this trip and we hope it opens up some new places for people to ride and visit.

Regards
Karen

Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Mzee on May 03, 2012, 06:03:42 am
What a great read! Thank you for sharing.  Life must continue.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: schalk vd merwe on May 04, 2012, 05:12:23 pm
Hi Karen and Kingsley, Thanks for the RR, it is sad about the Boab trees, they are my favourite trees in Africa. Sorry to hear about your mom, it always comes as a shock even if you expect it. Did you manage to get to the funeral in time ?Your well written RR brought memories back and I wish I could just get on the road again. I think for a lady to undertake such a trip must be a tough call. I just came back from the Amageza and their was a lady who completed the two day event ( I will still do an RR on that). Thanks again for a very nice RR and maybe one day we will meet on a Wilddog ride, kind regards Schalk.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on May 05, 2012, 08:52:33 pm
Hi Karen and Kingsley, Thanks for the RR, it is sad about the Boab trees, they are my favourite trees in Africa. Sorry to hear about your mom, it always comes as a shock even if you expect it. Did you manage to get to the funeral in time ?Your well written RR brought memories back and I wish I could just get on the road again. I think for a lady to undertake such a trip must be a tough call. I just came back from the Amageza and their was a lady who completed the two day event ( I will still do an RR on that). Thanks again for a very nice RR and maybe one day we will meet on a Wilddog ride, kind regards Schalk.

Hi Schalk, Good to hear from you. Yes....we did manage to get to the funeral as it had been postponed for a few days to allow us time to return. I'm not sure what the Amageza is but I look forward to finding out about it when I read your RR. It would really be great if we could all meet sometime at a Wilddog gathering and thanks for all your encouraging input.
Take care.
Regards Karen 
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on May 06, 2012, 05:47:42 pm
Karen this was a fantastic read and thank you for takeing the time to wrote.
Sorry for the loss of your Mom. Mine said to me at age 76 it is no fun anymore. She passed away not long after.
They are at a bettter place :deal:
Could Otters Point also be known as Golden Sands? It looks like the place we camped at in Dec 1989.
There are two islands closeby.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: g1_ on May 06, 2012, 11:10:51 pm
sub
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: GSLaaitie on May 28, 2012, 02:53:54 pm
Finally made the time to finish reading this. Brilliant RR. Thanks for all your "moeite". I loved seeing how you grew into experienced travelers through this trip (imagine redoing that entry into Zim now!) I know you said that you don't realy feel like a better sand rider, but seeing what you had to ride through, I'm very convinced that you now are sand's boss! :thumleft:

And off course, condolences for the death of your mother.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: MOGGIE on August 18, 2012, 02:50:18 pm
It was a lovely R&R
My mother vpassed away two weeks ago ass well.  We live far away but I was able to see her off to Heaven.
I am sorry for your loss of your mother.
I am selling everything I have property wise and then do a loooong Africa trip with my 650 Dakar and Mercedes Unimog.
To hit 50 and stay at home waiting to get old is not for me. so here I go. Get fit loose weight.
Then off in hopefully two months time.
Reading your R&R stopped me selling the bike. you were my isnsperation.
Thank you Karen and Kingsley and also michnus on his Africa trip with his companion.
Best regards
Dieter from Hoedspruit
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: Orangeswifty on August 20, 2012, 02:40:03 pm
I just spent the last 2 days reading this RR on and off between work and so on.
You guys seem to have done the undo-able trip. Big kudo's and well done.
To have gone through so many experiences and still be calm and collected when faced with corrupt border officials and rip-off black market petrol prices, i'm sure takes a truly level headed and non aggressive personality! Not to even mention the sad news of your mom passing away at the end of your trip.
I'm sure it will stay memorable!

I have always thought that i have to do a trip like this and have truly been inspired by your tales.
I am now determined to do a similar trip in the not so very far future.
I really hope that you guys plan on going up to the National bash in Rhodes in Sept so that i can meet you!

Respect!! :thumleft:

BTW - The national bash thread where you can book for the w/e..............20 to 24 Sept
..........http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=96764.0
 :peepwall:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: michnus on August 20, 2012, 08:39:38 pm
What a ride,thanks for sharing. It is very difficult after such trips to get back into normal routine.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on August 21, 2012, 05:03:51 pm
It was a lovely R&R
My mother vpassed away two weeks ago ass well.  We live far away but I was able to see her off to Heaven.
I am sorry for your loss of your mother.
I am selling everything I have property wise and then do a loooong Africa trip with my 650 Dakar and Mercedes Unimog.
To hit 50 and stay at home waiting to get old is not for me. so here I go. Get fit loose weight.
Then off in hopefully two months time.
Reading your R&R stopped me selling the bike. you were my isnsperation.
Thank you Karen and Kingsley and also michnus on his Africa trip with his companion.
Best regards
Dieter from Hoedspruit

Thx for your reply. So sorry to hear about the loss of your Mom as well. I sure envy your trip.....it does also help the healing process. One does'nt always have the chance to live ones dreams....so  when the opportunity arises one should grab it. Glad to hear you didn't get rid of your bike!
We wish you luck on this trip and hope all goes well.
Take care
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on August 22, 2012, 09:35:20 am
I just spent the last 2 days reading this RR on and off between work and so on.
You guys seem to have done the undo-able trip. Big kudo's and well done.
To have gone through so many experiences and still be calm and collected when faced with corrupt border officials and rip-off black market petrol prices, i'm sure takes a truly level headed and non aggressive personality! Not to even mention the sad news of your mom passing away at the end of your trip.
I'm sure it will stay memorable!

I have always thought that i have to do a trip like this and have truly been inspired by your tales.
I am now determined to do a similar trip in the not so very far future.
I really hope that you guys plan on going up to the National bash in Rhodes in Sept so that i can meet you!

Respect!! :thumleft:

BTW - The national bash thread where you can book for the w/e..............20 to 24 Sept
..........http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=96764.0
 :peepwall:


Thanks so much for your positive feedback.

 We hope that you manage to ge a trip like this together sometime......you won't be disappointed. Africa does occasionaly test ones patience and endurance levels but  it is character building and despite these little setbacks it still makes for a wonderful adventure.

We will be going to the Snow Valley Bash next month and look forward to meeting you and others and enjoying a good party.

Have a safe trip there.
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: wildside on August 22, 2012, 09:43:33 am
What a ride,thanks for sharing. It is very difficult after such trips to get back into normal routine.  :thumleft:


 Thanks for your comment Michnus.
 I believe that planning a new trip as soon as possible does help with the normal routine. :mwink:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: MRK Miller on March 02, 2019, 03:17:19 pm
awesome....... i presume you got into tanzania else we wouldnt be reading this  :thumleft:
must say i am loving your report......... need to get rid of mrs and kids and go ride  :bueller:

Take them with
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: MRK Miller on March 02, 2019, 04:03:40 pm
What a trip! did you ever have any bike issues?

Hi netrom. Good to hear from you. The bikes gave very little problems but the mud did take its toll on Kingsleys break pads and mine suffered from a lot of dirt in the airfilter as I always seem to travel in the dust at the back and at one point the filter failed and blocked up the carb - which wasnt a real problem and just needed to be cleaned which we managed to do on the side of the road in Uganda.
Hope you enjoy the rest of the RR - its nearly complete.
Take care

Which shows the importance of a carb driven bike. Klr 650 :ricky:
Title: Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
Post by: MRK Miller on March 02, 2019, 04:31:30 pm
I probably should not reply as it will be revived again, but i also think it deserves to be revived. They shouldtake this material and the others to schools, and let the kids read this as a book, to show them what awesome life is really there besides phones and video games, but thank you for pointing me in the direction of this report. Absolutely stunning and gutsy performance. Been reading while waiting for your updates on the circle one. I still believe, a movie or documentary can be made from this. Awesome. Waiting for the rest of the circle  report