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Into Taznania and the Oasis without Water

April 6, 2013

03 April

Well our final task at the Tanzanian border was to settle our account with our very efficient agent Obed. Well we decided to drive to the nearby petrol station to get away from the massive crowds around the car as we felt uncomfortable taking out money with inquisitive eyes everywhere. However this problem only got worse at the petrol station, in fact it was like being in a sea of humanity so we told Obed to get into the car beside us so with three abreast we squashed Obed in and as Geoff slowly urged the little Impi through the crowd Terence managed the gears and off we slowly drove to a spot that we felt was a trifle more discreet.

 

This done we said our cheerio’s to Obed and started on our merry way through Tanzania and looking forward to the fact that we could now make some decent headway as the roads in Tanzania were reportedly much better than those in Zambia. Just as the Imp began to build up to cruising speed out popped a white coated Policeman who hailed us to stop. He need not have bothered; the speed bumps were so annoying and severe that we had no option but to stop. This was repeated about each 15 minutes or so all through Tanzania. Not only was it an aggravation to be slowed down when it took such an effort to get the wee Imp up to speed in the first place, but the damage to the suspension caused by the ridiculous sleeping policemen eventually necessitation a front suspension repair as we headed out to Kenya. Tanzania will not be visited by me again in a hurry, in fact probably never; it is a real turn off if you have to drive.

Our first night however almost made up for the dreadfully unpleasant road trip experience; on the advice of my good friend Arnold we arrived at the most wonderful campsite called The Farm Campsite about 60 kilometres west of Iringa. We drove slowly up the short gravel road to the gate to the farm and were welcomed by two Masai warriors who opened the massive gates and directed us to the reception. Climbing out of the car stretching the weariness of the torrid drive out of our limbs we were merrily greeted and warmly welcomed by Tony the manager who showed us around the various facilities and explained to us the times for dinner etc.

We settled on a campsite in spite of the threat of a heavy downpour later in the evening. No worries here, Tony guided us to possie our tent under a full on thatched lapa with a smooth clay floor and a lively fireplace outside. We wasted no time in grabbing the opportunity and with our tent set up and the kettle bubbling in readiness for us to enjoy our well-earned coffee.

An interesting aspect to the camp was the fact that the only place that had lights was the ablution area! This was generated by harvesting solar power during daylight hours and no other electricity was available. The water for the spotless showers was heated (to boiling) was via the “DONKEY” I believe it is commonly known as; an outside boiler set up where a wood fire burns heartily and goes about heating a massive boiler of water for all the guests to be able to enjoy full, clean and hot hot hot showers.

The accommodation in all aspects was near perfect. One could not really ask for more.

But more we received nonetheless!

We were treated to a first class dinner in the quaintest setting that would make one want to have all modern trappings discarded from their one lives and return to the simplicity of this perfect setting. The setting was delightful; paraffin lamps around the thatched interleading rooms with candles on the table clothed dinner tables nicely appointed and an attentive and friendly service staff waiting to spoil you.

And the dinner as truly wonderful, simple but tasty, hot and wholesome and the dessert to finish off the experience was just the cherry on the top of a first class eating experience.

Tony the manager was hands on and ensuring that each of his guests was being properly looked after. In fact he even went so far as to pack a nice pack lunch for Geoff and I as we were planning to leave at first light the next morning. Tony these snacks really hit the spot the next day and we were super grateful for your kindness.

As planned, at five we were up breaking down our camp and at just before six we were on the road towards Iringa and bracing ourselves for the umpteen cop stops we heads westwards.

 

At Chalinze we turned north to try to get in to Segera before nightfall. The Car performed faultlessly and we had the immense pleasure of driving down a monster pass that took us from 1800 meters above sea level down to just 260! The Imp hugged the corners and it is easy to see how the Imp was such a formidable rally car in its day. That’s more that can be said for the numerous trucks and busses that crash bang walloped their respective way down the pass. In fact not quite all the way down the pass, one crashed here, and another there and at one stage a long articulated truck was stretched across almost the entire road that could easily have blocked the entire road. Next to this particular wreck the crew were camped out on the road next to it and seemed to have been there for a few days already waiting for a suitable crane to sort out the mess. Other crash sites must definitely have had casualties, so with the necessary trepidation we went along our way in our tiny little car.

 

Tanzania and bone jarring bumps on the road are synonomous one with the other in my humble opinion. In spite of this our faithful little chariot pushed us easily up the massive climbs to Segera where we pulled into the campsite STILL IN DAYLIGHT, this a massive luxury for us and added to this we met a super bunch of guys who gave us some top advice on our route ahead. They were on the Southwards journey promoting rugby in Africa.

Well we quickly set up camp next to the rugby guys and decided to njoy a nice long shower to clean up and cool down as the heat of the day was nothing short of oppressive. Exacerbated of course by the front rad in our Imp blasting heaps of hot air on to the firewall of our cabin for the entire journey. Well none of the bathrooms or sinks in the restaurant area had any water so we wondered how we were going to freshen up without the old H2o! Mercy was at hand, the campsite manager Jackson kindly allowed us the use of one of his hotel rooms which had the luxury of a non eastern standup toilet affair and a shower that drenched us withHOT water, sheer luxury.

Dinner however was a sad and sorry effort of cuisine! After an interminable delay we were presented with what could only be reasonable described as a burt=nt offering, two pieces of very athletic chicken and warm and oily chips. Thank God we found a bottle of hot chilli sauce that we could at least give the meal some semblance of taste. Starving as we were we ate it and decidd to treat ourselves with two pieces of sponge cake with coffee after dinner. This was actually quite tasty so off we tottled to bed and before he turned in for the night, Geoff had to see the little bush babies that he could hear chirping excitedly in the trees above our tent. Wildlife spotted, he contentedly went into snore mode for a healthy set of hours, only to be outdone my own snoring.

 

Friday 05 April  

We treated ourselves to a nice long sleep and late wakeup the next morning, we were only ot of our tent at about 07h00. A leisurely tent breakdown and a trip to the local market to buy some fruit and coolies then we pulled up to the petrol pumps in front of Jackson’s hotel. “no petrol” was the greeting from the attendant so in a bit of a panic we asked, where then can we get some? Just back towards Chalinze but not far was the response. We had visions of using up our remaining petrol ato drive back to get more petrol and then leaving ourselves  In the same situation. The next gas station fortunately was just 500 meters back, but our concern here just heightened as they too had no petrol!!! What now? Just one omer kilometre down the road you will find fuel was the comforting nfo we received and luckily this info was actually spot on. So with our two tanks brimful of fuel we uturned our African Imp and aimed for Arusha.

The road towards Arusha was undergoing rebuilding so we were relegated to running on the temporary road next to the actual road. This was 30kms of absolute hell and we felt every nut and bolt on the little car was being shaken to the extreme. We were not far wrong!   

With Geoff on wheel duty I got an uncomfortable feeling that there was something very much awry with the front suspension.  The previous day we had suddenly picked up a speed wobble when we went to 86 kms so we either pushed it to over 90 or dropped it back to 80. When we get to Nairobi we will have to get the wheels balanced! Well this time the speed wobble had shifted from 86kms to now 72 kms!!!  This did confuse my tiny brain. But inspite, we soldiered on.

Each time he braked I felf the floor and the firewall actually shifting under my feet. I knew this was not lekker. In fact I surmised that the rough roads had probably caused the firewall that held the steering rack and suspension swingarms to crack and I had visions of getting the car to a welder in Nairobi, if we actually managed to get the car TO Nairobi.

 

So we tried not the induce the speed wobble where w could and each time we rode over the myriad of speed bumps we just grinded our teeth and prayed that we would make ot to base.  

 

In arusha we found the campsite recommended by our good advisor Roger Pearce with no trouble at all and booked our spot at the far end of the campsite but with the threat of heavy rain we arranged our set-up close to a reed roofed shelter to duck under WITH our tent if it rained.  At the rear of the campsite/guesthouse there was a fine gagage with a full sized pit and I managed to run the Imp over the pit to examine the damage. As luck would have it, the damage was soon spotted and easily reminied; the four bolts holding the rear of the steering rack and suspension arms in place were totally loose in fact they were finger loose and three of them almost fully out of their threads. Ten minutes is all it took to remedy this problem and in fact the speed wobble also vanished with this repair.

 

A short drive to the nearby supermarket allowed us to stock up on some grub ot make supper with and then back to camp to get it on the go.  The meat we bought was really yukkie but we still made a meal fo it and tidied up, and off to bed.

 

It must have been about 02h00 when we both woke up to the sound of massive drops of rain bouncing off our tent roof o in a flash we were both outside the tent dragging it to withing the shelter of the reed shelter and as quickly as we exited the tent we wer back inside again building up a good steam of snore yet again.

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12 comments

  1. Gorgeous what a lovely read. Enjoy a driveless african weekend
    Love c


    • well done on your own BunMobile adventure, now get on yer bike!!! love ya too much!


  2. What a fantastic adventure. So well written and interesting reading. Material for a BOOK. Thanks for detailed updates. Great. SaFe travelling guys.


  3. I am really enjoying your writing and envy you somewhat!!!!!!! Good luck with everything.


    • thanks John, it means a lot to get the encouragement.


  4. TT you write beautifully. I am LOVING reading all about your adventure. Go safe.
    Love Puddy


    • thanks Pud, will write plenty more, keep an eye out for the next instalment, and please gloss ova the myspells cos you know I never let the details get in the way of a good yarn!


  5. Another great update. I hold my breath every time you mention a repair as don’t want to see any delays on your progress. Cheers and drive safely. Howard


  6. Hey Terrence,
    Best of luck with your trip. We loved Arusha. Go and have drinks at theo golf club.
    Regards
    Malcolm van Coller.


    • hi Malcolm, we have now long gone from Arusha, maybe next time!


  7. Good going guys, a lesson to the youngsters here. Very interesting read. I envy you both.


    • ta tony will report more as we progress.



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