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Offline netrom

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #60 on: February 15, 2012, 08:02:10 pm »
UNBELIEVABLE..... You guys Rock.. 8) so much respect.. keep it coming!
 

Offline wildside

Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #61 on: February 15, 2012, 08:15:56 pm »


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.





. 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.











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.









"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 #62 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.





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



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. 






We seem to have a way of bringing the tone of a place down.








Hilltop Hotel





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





Next country....BURUNDI....to follow soon. :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
 

Offline JonW

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #63 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:
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Offline madmax

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #64 on: February 16, 2012, 06:26:12 am »
loving it and respect .... i dont know i would have made it
fornicate the proletariat
 

Offline Pleco

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #65 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!
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Online ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #66 on: February 16, 2012, 12:28:19 pm »
I'm sitting here daydreaming.
Thank you for this wonderfull RR. :thumleft:
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Offline wolfman

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #67 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!
 

Offline wildside

Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #68 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




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.







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.



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.



A FERRY DOCKING AT KIGOMA












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







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.






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.



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.




"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 #69 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).




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.




























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.










 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















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.






Looking forward to crossing over into RWANDA tomorrow.

"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 wolfman

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #70 on: February 21, 2012, 01:58:45 pm »
Pioneering stuff - well done
 

Offline Onetime

Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #71 on: February 21, 2012, 02:14:29 pm »
Great RR :thumleft:
Onetime to live your life. No time to wait for someday or you will find that someday was yesterday.

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Offline goingnowherequickly

Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #72 on: February 21, 2012, 09:52:33 pm »
Great Stuff!
( I check daily for updates..)
keep it coming :thumleft:
 

Offline Outthere

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #73 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
If not Why not
 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #74 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)
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Offline neil123

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #75 on: February 22, 2012, 08:17:48 am »
Awesome  :drif: :drif: :drif: :drif:
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Offline netrom

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Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #76 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..
 

Offline wildside

Re: RIDING the RIFT ~ East Africa 2011
« Reply #77 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.








A BURIAL SIGHT.










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.




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.










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. 






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.






LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF TRANSYLVANIA










A BOAT BUILDING YARD.

"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 #78 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.


































These colourful little feet always got my attention.



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.









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.



KINGSLEY ENJOYED THIS BEAUTIFUL BEER WITH A BEAUTIFUL VIEW.




YOU CAN SEE THE SWOLLEN FOOT ON THE RIGHT





"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 #79 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.










 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.

 




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.













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!!!





Heading off into Uganda the next day.

"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