So where were we? Well, we met the President! Yippee. This was amazing. Who’d have thought that one day I would ride my bike in jeans and the same t shirt I was wearing the day before, into State House? Well we did.
Day 1 – 12/12/2013. Nairobi – Arusha. 281 km
In my excitement about beginning the ride I woke up about 3am and found it was raining so so heavily. I knew it was gonna be fun! As you grow in your bike life (!), small things like heavy rain cease to be a big deal. You just put on your rain gear and just ride.
My wife was in her element. She really loves dancing.
The next stop was at the Junction. We were joined by close to 100 other bikers who in solidarity had offered to escort us to Kajiado and Namanga but not before doing a nice lap of honour around town.
We crossed the border around 5 pm and the Tanzania portion of our ride began. We arrived in Arusha just past 7 pm and were pleasantly surprised to find that there was a dinner hosted by the Kenyan community in Arusha, to celebrate independence day. We were treated like celebs. It appears that all embassies of the countries we will pass through are aware of our visit.
Pastor Nick spoke on our behalf and prayed. It was awesome. But we were a bit tired after spending such a long time at the border in Namanga.
Day 2. 13/12/2013. Arusha – Dodoma 561 km
We set out around 7am but we actually left Arusha around 9am. Let’s just say one thing led to another.
After about an hour of riding it became clear who the fast riders among us were. Though we were trying to stay together, our different speed preferences began to show. Soon the big bikes were clearly ahead of the others.
Here are the riders and their bikes ordered by size (engine size, not body size)
Mbeche – Yamaha FJR 1300
Nick – BMW GS 1200
Moses – BMW GS 800
Danzo – Honda Africa Twin 750
John – Yamaha Tenere 660
Mwongela – Yamaha 660
Mburu – BMW GS 650
This has pretty much been the order in which we’ve been reaching places. We have been trying to enjoy the ride as well as seeing things of interest. If all you do is just ride fast and not see anything in this trip, you might as well fly ama? Another reason to not go so fast is that all of us realised that riding fast costs a lot more in fuel. For example on my Africa twin, the consumption seems to double at 121kph.
Mburu and I took some selfies with some interesting rocks just before Singida on our way to Dodoma.
Just after Manyoni, John got the first, and so far the only puncture on the ride.
We then took so long to repair the puncture since the tools were all in the support vehicles which were so far behind. But eventually they came and weer proceeded to Dodoma. One of the most interesting things I saw on arrival in Dodoma was this fully dressed dog
We really struggled to get accommodation in Dodoma but we were able to, thanks to Mbeche, Moses and Mwongela who arrived a lot earlier than the rest of us. There was a CCM (ruling party) delegates conference in town. What was a bit frustrating is that there seemed to be no water in the rooms. In fact on of the crew members referred to it as ‘indoor camping’!
Day 3 – 14/12/2013. Dodoma to Iringa 554km
In the morning we had a briefing to avoid the problems of the previous day. Pastor Nick stated with such authority the need for us to stay together and not pull in different directions. Nick speaks in a very “Pastor Oscar” manner, firm but respectful and serious. There is a certain way he can look at you and you just have to listen, or else… and then his bike at 1200cc just exudes authority. Anyway, we set out with new resolve to work together.
We passed through the Tanzanian parliament, no pictures allowed but the building was beautiful. Tanzania also has very good roads. And the country is huge. We had planned to spend two nights but it became clear that we had underestimated and another night was inevitable.
Somewhere on the way we stopped and John blacked out for a few minutes. Sleep is valuable!
This turned out to be the first full day without rain.
Nick ‘discovered’ a nice nyama choma joint on the way.
We arrived in Iringa in the afternoon and met and interesting father/son bike duo who we touring, Cape Town to Nairobi in about two months. It was interesting and I thought hmmm, I’d like to have a trip like this with my son one day.
Day 4 – 15/12/2013 Iringa – Mbeya (Tanzania) – Karonga (Malawi) – 468km
We set out early as we wanted to cross the border into Malawi early enough. The ride was quite nice and relaxed as we were now more realistic in our speeds and more careful not to push the bikes too much. Another reason is that Tanzania has many, very many speed guns and traffic cops.
Mwongela and Mbeche at the first beach resort we visited in Malawi. Very very expensive, so we kept looking.
We stayed at another place which was also a beach resort but as we discovered later, there was no running water.
So we bathed in Lake Malawi in the evening and also the next day in the morning.
Day 5. 16/12/2013. Karonga – Nkhata Bay. 263 km
Or this bamboo bridge built in 1904
We arrived this afternoon at Nkhata Bay. A very beautiful resort on Lake Malawi. Very very beautiful. It is such a good thing that this is where we will spend our rest day tomorrow. Another very good thing is that we have Internet. Working wifi for the first time. Yippee!
I thank God for a very safe journey so far.