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Author Topic: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars  (Read 7256 times)

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Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #40 on: January 31, 2019, 09:11:35 pm »
Thanks for the effort - all here will agree its RoH stuff - well done :thumleft:

Sjoe....this is unexpected  and I am very flattered.  Glad to know that some members are enjoying our adventure. Thanks to all   :ricky:
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 
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Offline Sithe

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #41 on: February 01, 2019, 12:18:55 pm »
The young lady, Roxy, is she your daughter, is she spoken for  :deal:
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Online Sheepman

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #42 on: February 01, 2019, 12:28:35 pm »
Excellent report.I enjoy your writing style and detailed humor.
 

Offline DikZol

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #43 on: February 01, 2019, 01:52:57 pm »
What a ride!!!  Great pics too! 

Really enjoying this!

Offline BMWPE

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #44 on: February 01, 2019, 06:15:01 pm »
The young lady, Roxy, is she your daughter, is she spoken for  :deal:

 :laughing4: stop looking at the pics and read the ride report and you will find out  :laughing4:
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Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #45 on: February 01, 2019, 10:19:56 pm »

DAY 6 :   FRIDAY - 21 DECEMBER 2018
MATEMA LAKESIDE RESORT  to MAKETE
DISTANCE:   206 km
8.00am  --> 4.00 pm



“ I’ve chosen a path I may not endure
One thing’s for certain nothings for sure
And it all might come together
And it all might come unraveled
On the road less traveled.”                                         George Strait





I got up before the others to check out the lovely Lake Nyasa and mountains once again. Yup, we had to get to the other side of those mountains. This was part of the trip we were unsure of so we made sure that we all packed our sense of humour. I think we were going to need it.





Today required an early start, so by 8.00am we had finished our breakfast, bikes packed and ready for departure. Such a pity we couldn’t spend another night here. It was such a cool place. There was also a waterfall here that I would have loved to visit.





It was a pretty ride out from this area with Livingston Mountains on the right with the occasional waterfall tumbling down and the plentiful banana plantations now on the left.





 This new road also made for ease riding. I had plotted another route to Tukuyu so as to avoid the main road and this proved to be a good choice as it was 70 km of compacted dirt road lined with spectacular country side offering lovely views and scenery. There were very few vehicles on this road but we did encounter some road works. For many kilometers huge piles of rubble had been dumped on one side so at times we were competing for space with the few vehicles and piles of sand.

Occasionally we would encounter stuck vehicles and some being towed but we always managed to work our way around these problems. We were spoilt with the views as the lush green valley’s dropped down below.






























In Tukuyu we wasted a lot of time, once again, trying to find an ATM and mastercards were a continued problem forcing us to exchange our dollars for Tanzanian shilling once again. Finding a fuel station with a supply of this now rare necessity also took up time.





From here we joined up with the main tar road heading to Mbeya and mingled with traffic before turning right at Izonje. We were now skirting the base of the impressive Rungwe Mountain, 2960 m high.  Kingsley who was navigating with his GPS missed this turning and I realised about 5 km further down the road that we should have turned off.  His lack of concentration and navigation skills now made me a tad nervous. This stretch of road we turned off onto was very wet and muddy but all- in- all not too bad.




"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 
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Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #46 on: February 01, 2019, 11:46:55 pm »

We passed through many little villages edged with the usual vendor tables selling bright orange carrots, potatoes and bananas. During planning one imagines these villages/towns to be much bigger and established with modern facilities catering for travellers, but this is definitely not the case. They consist of a few local dwellings, tiny little shops selling only the basics and open tables selling buckets of mangos, tomatoes and charcoal.  I couldn’t get enough of the bright coloured fabrics wrapped around the ladies. Colourful ‘crocs’ on feet big and small were also popular. Plenty of bicycles weaved in and out of the pedestrians. We needed to be alert and ride slowly when passing through.

The weather has been so unpredictable with a down pour every now and again leading us into muddy and slippery sections. There were some really steep, muddy uphills and I was most impressed with the way our bikes handled the mud and rocks. For some reason the chain on Roxy’s bike slipped off as we were heading up an incline. Thank goodness it was on one of the better roads. Once again it was ‘Dad’ to the rescue.











We were soon on our way again heading in the direction of the Tanzanian Southern Highlands....finally. We eventually approached the boundary of the newest of Tanzania’s national parks, the 13 500ha KITULO PLATEAU NATIONAL PARK.





 It is known locally as Bustani ya Mungu  (God’s Garden) and apparently also the Serengeti of Flowers as it has long been known as a ‘botanist’s paradise’, boasting a stunning variety of plants that start flowering from November to April and this ‘phenomenon has been described as one of the great floral spectacles of the world’. Unfortunately we didn’t appreciate this knowledge at the time as we merely focused on the road and only gave glances over the shoulders with an occasional rest stop.

 Despite the above information according to Bradt, ‘it is one of Tanzania’s most neglected biological gems.’ It also represents the largest and most important plateau grassland community in Tanzania. I was expecting to see some sort of wildlife up here but we weren’t that fortunate. Perhaps they were hiding from the miserable weather.















We spoke of scores earlier...Kingsleys first off..... ::)




'You know the nearer your destination the more you're slip slidin' away'   ;D






 Two of the highest peaks in the southern highlands rise from this plateau, the 2 961m Mount Mtorwi, which we skirted around, and the 2 929m Chaluhangi Dome. I was so intrigued by the expanse of the plateau and grasslands ....it was all so pretty and it felt amazing being here... such a privilege. Due to time restraints, bad weather and awful roads very few photos were taken but once again a few Gopro shots are an okay reminder of this special place.




Now this sign post confused us as our GPS wanted us to go straight but the sign indicated left. When plotting this route i was not aware of any left turns so the GPS won.

With being so high up we encountered quite a bit of mist along with the intermittent rain and mooshy roads and trying to keep Roxy and Kingsley in my sight was now important.  We made a brief stop at the Bamboo viewpoint and here we really felt on top of the world...in more ways than one. Looking down into those valleys and across to more mountains was quite humbling.



















"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #47 on: February 02, 2019, 12:36:41 am »

Some sections of road in the park had been nicely maintained with concrete strips making riding easier as we worked our way out of the park back into the mountainous area through lovely pine plantations. I know I harp on about it but this part of Tanzania was simply beautiful and around each corner there was an even prettier scene to greet us. There were times when we stopped for a rest (and a quick sanity puff for Rox) and unlike Malawi the locals never came up to greet us or where even vaguely curious about us.
 The occasional one who happened to walk past wouldn’t even acknowledge us. We actually seemed out of place up here and appeared to be intruding on their turf. Yet, at no stage did we feel uncomfortable.  Going through my mind at this stage was how fortunate these people were to live in such a beautiful setting regardless of the simplicity of their lifestyle.  Despite the steepness there were still attempts at small crops being grown and some slopes resembled a patchwork of colours and textures.





































At this stage it was late afternoon and we were starting to tire. We had been riding in the rain for a long time now and our pace was much slower due to all the twists and turns and mud. We were hoping to get to Ikonda but by the time we reached Makete we were all so wet, tired and cold. As we entered the village I noticed a ‘Guest House’ sign on my left and indicated for us to stop. This was when I noticed that Kingsley’s breathing was compromised. Ikonda was another 25 km away, it was still raining and we knew we would never get there before dark and Kingsley was in no condition to ride. Roxy and I went into the small drinking room alongside the main building and a friendly English speaking gentleman came out to help us. He took us around to the front of the Guest House and showed us around. It was very clean, nothing fancy and would do us just fine. We returned to Kingsley to confirm our stop and when this chap saw the condition Kingsley was in suggested he take us to another place nearby where we would be more comfortable. By now Kingsley had reached panic mode and his asthma pump failed to help. The altitude and cold was taking its toll and he was gasping for breath and shivering. He indicated that he would be okay so we followed our new friend, Peter. We couldn’t believe our luck when we approached the gate of this amazing and most unexpected Madihani Villas Lodge in such a remote area and what is known to be the coldest corner of Tanzania.  I can’t understand why we never once anticipated this cold and the breathing problems associated with it for Kingsley at these high altitudes.

Two delightful ladies came out to greet us, giving us such a warm welcome and immediately showed us into one of their units. We were prepared to pay anything just to get warm and dry. They quickly assessed the situation and wasted no time in bringing us a small portable, already hot and glowing, fireplace into the sitting room and a tray with cups, coffee and flask of hot water. They kindly even offered to get ‘assistance’ for Kingsley, which we declined. In no time at all we had stripped out of our wet clothes, wrapped ourselves up in warm towels and huddled around the fire quaffing back fresh hot coffee. As Kingsley warmed up, relaxed and calmed down so his panic attack subsided. Now exhausted he climbed into bed and slept till dinner time. The elder of the two ladies told us that at one stage she had worked in Pretoria(South Africa) and the lovely younger Mpili had been a contestant for Miss Tanzania and was now the accountant for the lodge. I can only sing their praises. If you ever happen to have the amazing opportunity to venture up into these mountains please stop by the lodge for a visit.






Dinner was a delicious bowl of vegetable soup, a huge plate of savoury rice and potatoe wedges. We ate as if we had been starved for days....just what we needed on this cold evening.





I was so proud of Roxy at the end of this day. She had ridden like a champ and never complained once about the discomforts....well, perhaps about the lack of food....hahaha... but she handled everything in her stride. I don’t think this trip was quite what she had in mind, as she did remind us occasionally that this was not quite what we had sold her, yet she bravely forged on ahead and made the most of it.
We wasted no time in climbing into our warm beds with extra thick blankets... thankful to be out of the cold and rain and trying hard not to think about the next day.

 We had made it...this dream was not a lie.




"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 
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Offline Mr Zog

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #48 on: February 02, 2019, 05:05:52 am »
What a lovely report  :deal:  :thumleft:

You have made memories that you and your family will never forget. With time the memories of the hardships will fade, but the memories of the good times will always glow bright  :ricky:
Young enough to know I can, old enough to know I shouldn't, stupid enough to do it anyway.
 

Offline Oubones

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #49 on: February 02, 2019, 06:56:08 am »
Great trip and thanks for taking us along.
It is always interesting that we will go to great lengths to go and appreciate the beauty of an area and to the locals it is nothing.
But then, they do not travel around as they are on subsistence level of development and have not progressed so holidays are not done.
That last section with the red muddy roads make me miss the mountains in Venda. :'(
Keep it coming :thumleft:
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Offline Kerritz

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #50 on: February 02, 2019, 09:11:49 am »
Adventure riding at its best.  :deal:

Enjoying every installment and cannot wait for the rest.  :3some:

Thanks for taking the time to share your awesome trip!  :thumleft:
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #51 on: February 02, 2019, 04:29:11 pm »
Excellent stuff folks, thanks for sharing all this great info.

 :thumleft:
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Offline mike gs

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #52 on: February 02, 2019, 08:08:53 pm »
Wow, wow, wow. Awesome RR. What a trip!

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Offline MRK Miller

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #53 on: February 03, 2019, 03:42:17 am »
The young lady, Roxy, is she your daughter, is she spoken for  :deal:

Find it interesting that she rides without the jacket most of the way, and no one has had anything to say about it. Must be that charming smile, that keeps the silent.  :lol8: Anyways, awesome report and worthy of honory role. Would also love to see that area, as i would a 100 other areas :imaposer:. Love your outfits, i am cutrious though if the back packs don't put a lot of straighn on your shoulders, and when standing, does it not impact your movements. I am lucky in the sence my wife is also my riding partner, with now my eldest son who just turned 18, and after doing one elegal trip he is now legal on the raod. Dec we whent riding as a family, all 5 of us. Was awesome. So having your girl tag along i know is really special. Enjoying your writing, and your trips. You choose your areas well. Thanks for keeping our dreams alive
I would rather fall a thousand times, and keep riding, than to stop riding and never fall
 

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #54 on: February 05, 2019, 07:11:00 pm »
The young lady, Roxy, is she your daughter, is she spoken for  :deal:

Find it interesting that she rides without the jacket most of the way, and no one has had anything to say about it. Must be that charming smile, that keeps the silent.  :lol8: Anyways, awesome report and worthy of honory role. Would also love to see that area, as i would a 100 other areas :imaposer:. Love your outfits, i am cutrious though if the back packs don't put a lot of straighn on your shoulders, and when standing, does it not impact your movements. I am lucky in the sence my wife is also my riding partner, with now my eldest son who just turned 18, and after doing one elegal trip he is now legal on the raod. Dec we whent riding as a family, all 5 of us. Was awesome. So having your girl tag along i know is really special. Enjoying your writing, and your trips. You choose your areas well. Thanks for keeping our dreams alive

Thanks for your  response and interest in the RR. Roxy is so used riding around Bali, where she lived for 3 years, with no protective gear. On all our adventure rides safety has always been compromised for a degree of comfort and we have settled for helmets and boots. The other protective wear are uncomfortable and on longer, wet/hot trips come with hygiene problem. During normal travelling the backpack rests on the seat and one is actually unaware it's even there. When standing we find it best to have the backpack weight added to the body weight on the foot pegs rather than strapped to the bike, baring in mind we are slow riders. We also don't pack them heavy and they're very comfortable. I believe it also offers us some sort of a back brace in case of accident..
You are very fortunate to have your family share your interests and experiences with you. Wishing you many happy and safe trips together. :thumleft:
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 
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Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #55 on: February 05, 2019, 07:12:28 pm »
Wow, wow, wow. Awesome RR. What a trip!

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THanks....glad you're enjoying it. More to come shortly
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 
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Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #56 on: February 05, 2019, 07:16:13 pm »
Adventure riding at its best.  :deal:

Enjoying every installment and cannot wait for the rest.  :3some:

Thanks for taking the time to share your awesome trip!  :thumleft:

THanks....it's been great capturing all these special moments again. More to follow shortly
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 
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Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #57 on: February 05, 2019, 07:21:33 pm »
Great trip and thanks for taking us along.
It is always interesting that we will go to great lengths to go and appreciate the beauty of an area and to the locals it is nothing.
But then, they do not travel around as they are on subsistence level of development and have not progressed so holidays are not done.
That last section with the red muddy roads make me miss the mountains in Venda. :'(
Keep it coming :thumleft:

Yup...you are so right about that. One can only hope that are happy up in those pretty mountains. Venda is obviously a good place to visit then. I need to do some research on that. :biggrin:
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline Oubones

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #58 on: February 05, 2019, 07:56:06 pm »
Great trip and thanks for taking us along.
It is always interesting that we will go to great lengths to go and appreciate the beauty of an area and to the locals it is nothing.
But then, they do not travel around as they are on subsistence level of development and have not progressed so holidays are not done.
That last section with the red muddy roads make me miss the mountains in Venda. :'(
Keep it coming :thumleft:

Yup...you are so right about that. One can only hope that are happy up in those pretty mountains. Venda is obviously a good place to visit then. I need to do some research on that. :biggrin:
:thumleft: Will wait for your RR!  :sip:
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Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #59 on: February 05, 2019, 08:35:51 pm »


DAY 7 :  SATURDAY – 22 DECEMBER 2018
MAKETE to NJOMBE ( Gravel road110 km)  -->  continued to SONGEA ( Tar 233 km)
DISTANCE:   343 km
8.15 am  -->  4.00 pm



“And the earth becomes my throne
I adapt to the unknown
Under wandering star I’ve grown
By myself but not alone.”                                              Metalica





We awoke feeling refreshed, revived and hungry and got stuck into a lovely breakfast where we chatted to one of the ladies about our route from Ikonda to Manda. We had been excited about this short cut through the Livingston Mountains that would cut off the dog’s leg to Njombe and then back to Manda on the eastern shores of the lake. Other than the northern shore of Lake Nyasa the rest of the Tanzanian part of the lake is relatively inaccessible. That’s why it was important for us to get to Manda. However, the Bradt guide doesn’t even acknowledge Manda as being accessible but we knew for sure that there was some type of a road down to this village on the shore.  From here we were to follow the shoreline down to Mbamba Bay. We had spent a lot of time finding these routes and plotting them and were really looking forward to it.  But apparently it was a bad idea as all the rivers would be swollen, roads probably washed away and we were strongly advised to head to Njombe, further inland, and give Manda a miss. We kind of half heartedly accepted this advice and decided to make a decision when we arrived in Ikonda. She also kindly warned us about the very steep and muddy detour out of Ikonda to Njombe as well.

After exchanging hugs with these wonderful people we departed once again in the rain. The mist was hanging low over the distant mountains and the tone was set for the day. We refueled at the little fuel station which provided a great view of this clean and neat little village that we were in no condition to appreciate the day before. It rained all the way to Ikonda making progress slow and slippery but thank goodness for the under surface of gravel which kept us from falling. We worked our way up and down through some lush forests and plantations and enjoyed some great scenery.

The Chinese have even discovered this remote area and were upgrading the roads here as well resulting in detours and messy sections. If we had tried to continue with our journey yesterday we would have been extremely miserable, arrived in the dark and certainly not found such welcoming accommodation.

 Our approach into Ikonda was a mess of muddy roads and from what we could make out it was  really a basic little village.  It was decided to take the easy way out and head for Njombe.  Who knows what we would have encountered on our short cut. Sadly this is something we will never know unless one of you enthusiastic readers plan on doing this route in the dry season.






 




















The detour took us out past the Ikonda Hospital and our lady didn’t exaggerate when she told us about the long steep and muddy road out of town. I don’t know how Roxy and I managed to cope with all this mess but somehow we just cruised up these hills and to Kingsley’s surprise we were always behind him when he glanced in his mirror.  This was the first adventure ride I’ve done where I have not worried about what the roads would be like or how I would cope and was feeling very confident and comfortable on my bike. I was falling more in love with my bike with each passing day and watching Roxy cope so well was also an inspiration. Kingsley always made it look so easy as well as he cruised up front and led the way. He had always encouraged us to join him in some bush riding and fun rides at home on our smaller KTM freerides which certainly improved our confidence on the heavier bikes.  At the end of the day we were really enjoying our African adventure and we wanted to prove that a road does go all the way around.

























Rest time

"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 
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