Shake, Rattle & Roll on the Road to Tanzania
Up this morning at 5:45am for 6:15am breakfast, a big bowl of corn flakes, rice crispies and weetabix with milk and loads of great fresh mangos topped off with fresh Kenyan coffee. All this on the side of the road. Who said that overlanding has to be rough and tough. Well, it is rough and tough but you get mangos. The reason we’re up early is because we have a 7am start to get to Tanzanian border and then to our campsite near Bihiramulo in an old ex-German army fort.
The road to the frontier was very pretty. Lots of road building going on and, of course, lots of people with huge open friendly smiles.
I’m amazed at Rwanda. I really had no conception of the country and had a largely negative opinion of the place. This was based on ignorance. From my observations, it seems a fairly prosperous and well regulated country. From chatting with locals and reading up, it seems that the crucible of the Genocide has forged a very forward looking, unified and, above all, humanitarian nation. I really like this country and would love to return, one day. I doubt that I will though.
We arrived at the border earlier than expected, probably because its Sunday here so the roads are not so busy. The border post was the usual apparently chaotic collection of buildings with no actual no-man’s land or indication where one country ended and the other started. However, there was a system and we were competently processed. We were in and out as quick as a fiddlers elbow; just under an hour.
The contrast between Rwanda and Tanzania was Immediate. The roads were no longer well paved with cycle paths and footpaths. Instead, they were dirt roads full of huge potholes. We crawled along at a snails pace and Chui shuddered and juddered constantly. So did we. But nobody complained ; we accepted this as an aspect of overlanding, however tacitly. After several hours of jiggling around, we reached a tarmac road. Mind you, they were still full of potholes but the gaps between them increased a little.
The villages we passed through also looked desperately poor but the people still had the open smiling friendliness I am becoming accustomed to here in Africa.
We pulled into a lay-by and stopped for lunch around 1pm-ish. Many hands make light work, as the electrician said. The cook team had lunch prepared in a jiffy and we had tuna mayonnaise with red onions, sliced tomatoes, a huge plate of perfect avocados, Rwandan cheese, sliced melon and passionfruit. We made sandwiches out of these. Delicious to eat in the sun. All we missed was a cup of tea but it would take too long to set up the cooking kit and boil a kettle.
The afternoon was just about enduring the rattling and bobbing along in the back of the truck with the occasional interlude when something interesting was spotted on the horizon.
We arrived at our destination around 5pm with a case of NBS (numb bum syndrome).