Monday, August 6, 2012

On the Road to Mbeya

I am writing this entry on Monday morning sitting at the Karibuni Centre in Mbeya, south Tanzania.  Anne and I headed out here from Arusha very early on last Thursday morning and things have been so busy that until now I have not been able to write in the blog. So I will now go back to the trip.

Mbeya is about 1200 kms (750 miles) south of Aurusha, but the trip took us 2 full days of hard driving. Here in Tanzania the roads are not that good and they go through every town and village so you have to slow down just as you are getting some steam up. That is particularly true with our truck - it sometimes feels we should be pedalling to get past some of the trucks!

We started out just after 6 a.m., missing the daily traffic jam in Arusha. However, here in Africa there are a lot of people out on the road at that time. You have to be very careful with pedestrians, cyclists and motorbike riders. Some times it seems that they have a death wish. The road are not very wide here and when people walk on the side of the road and a tuck is coming the other way, it gets a bit hairy!

The other problem with leaving early in the morning is the long distance busses. These drive at breakneck speeds, passing on blind corners and often forcing cars off the road. The only thing to do when you see one coming towards you on your side of the road is to give way. I have a belief that you ALWAYS give way to the biggest vehicle.

The first large town you get to when you leave Arusha is Moshi. It sits at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro and we desided to have a break there. We know of a cafe not far from the highway, and while it is not great coffee, its not too bad.  Both Anne and I were suffereing from nasty colds so a cup of the hot brew went down wonderfully!

It was interesting sitting on the verandah watching early morning African life pass by. Across the road is a bus stop for the Dar Express bus. They only stop to pick up passengers from Moshi, but the local traders don't miss their chance of making a sale - holding up their goods to the high windows attached to large boards.

It is a long road from there onwards. We did not get to see Mt. Kilimanjaro as it was covered in clouds, but we passed by the North and South Pare mountains and the beautiful Usambara mountains.
Usambara Mountians
These roads really slow you down!
We stopped about half way through our trip for lunch at Korogwe at a kind of truck stop call the White Parrot. We are able to refuel the truck and us as well. Its in a really neat building with a thatched roof. We always stop there on the way through Korogwe, the people are very nice and the food is always reasonable.

We made it to our destination for the night at about 6.00 p.m.  We were very tired but happy with where we had chosen to stay for the night. Mama Pierinas was a restaurant and guest house owned and run by a Greek lady who was born here in Tanzania. She made us feel very welcome and we were able to rest up well for the next stage of our journey.
On the verahnda at Mama Pierinans

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