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Author Topic: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011  (Read 7104 times)

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The_Boma

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #20 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..
 

Online Tabasco

Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2012, 10:57:43 am »
ASANTE  :thumleft:
 

Offline wildside

Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #22 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  




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.









KINGSLEY SHOPPING FOR BREAKFAST



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.















"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: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #23 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.












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.



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.







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




"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 RobC

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2012, 12:23:59 pm »
Another great RR!  :thumleft:
 

Offline Beserker

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #25 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:
My Ride  :ricky:  Angola   Namibia  Northern Cape  Kids
 

Offline wildside

Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #26 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.












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.












 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.



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.





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'.



"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: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #27 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.










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.


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’.


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.









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.



 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.


BRINK AND DUNCAN ~ ENTERTAINING US





"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 cloudgazer

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #28 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.
 

Offline LanceSA

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2012, 05:32:42 pm »
More, I want more. Great rr. Showed to my wife for inspiration 
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Offline Outthere

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #30 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
If not Why not
 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #31 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)
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 bmad

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2012, 08:59:14 pm »
Wow :thumleft:

This is awesome, thanks for sharing
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Offline Chuck U Farley

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2012, 09:04:11 pm »
BALLS!  Both of you have balls!

Awesome read!  :thumleft:
go BIG or go home
 

Offline DirtRebell

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2012, 09:09:36 pm »
Respect!

Very :drif: report so far!

Keep it coming :thumleft:
 

Offline eikeboom

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2012, 10:25:54 pm »
Thanks, an awesome experience, well told and with great photos!
 :thumleft:
Let's go into the mountains...there's likely to be peace and quiet
 

Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #36 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. !!

Africa trip, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania & Moz rr http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=61231.0
 

Offline White Rhino

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #37 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 !!!!!
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Offline wildside

Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #38 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 !!
"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 JonW

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #39 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:
How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?