Monday, November 7, 2011

When books are open we find that we have wings….

When books are open we find that we have wings…. Inspiration its one of driving power which drive us to achieve so many things in our life, guess ever one have been inspired. When I share my achievement with other especial here back home it happen to find there two main group of audience, first group understand that there inspiration, motivation, etc behind me while the second group thought is a miracle and I just happen to do them by chance. This remands me a beautiful passage from Jane Goodall “Reason for Hope” ‘Africa is locked in a time warp of mystification. Africans mystifies everything. It is the pseudo-modernism of today’s Africa: one foot in the primitive and heavily complexed past and another in Modernism, in a superfluous and destructively competitive way; with no heart in it. It is the same way, through lack of understanding; or un willingness of commit the effort to understand…’ Even though I have never gave too much thought about my inspiration but when I feel this I start to think of long list of inspiration. The list vary from folks I hear about, meet, what I see (Hollywood movies), etc but the one I remember very well it is the one I attain through complex way of peaking one alphabet combine them to make a word, sentence, process it in the brain till I can use it as I knowledge and understand; BOOKS, books carry lot of mystery, this is my list which has a great influence on me in terms of inspiration. Chinua Achebe’s - These were literature books with fictionalized stories of Nigeria which fit in so many sub-Sahara Africa countries. His work such as ‘Things fall apart and Man of the people’ were a stories which before I though it was shame, it was about our awkwardness but after reading it several time I found out it was worth tell story, in young age I was starting to feel proud of my history. I was inspired by the way he twists the reality; put it in fun way with sense of humor yet very concerning. I think there are more stories like that need to be told and I was read to find them one day. Think Big-(Ben Cason) - I grow up in the Christian family pass to all religions to reach ‘respect others believe, mother nature is a supreme’. Thanks that Christianity emphasize on learning more. Ben made it out from huge pool of racial discrimination, suburbs of Detroit and single parent childhood. His work which connected with Christianity is dedicated to youth realizing their potential through ‘Power of positive thinking’ while inspire with his achievement. Reason for Hope - (Jane Goodall) I’m motivated to see the conservation of nature given a priority in our daily life. Jane’s story is one of its kind, how she made it all the way, come up with her mission ‘Education, Conservation and Humanitarian’. I share her optimism. Into Africa - This book come in when it come to the question of adventures and history. It combination of obsession, desire of fame, passion, etc sent first Europeans explores into Africa. Here it is their encounters which are total unimaginable. It also talking of their discovery impacts and consequences such as ends of slave trade and pass Africa to colonial rulers. Paulo Coelho’s - Despite of his books having lots of contradictions and face high criticism back home, Coelho still influence and stimulate lots of people. I come across ‘The Alchemist’ before taking off on my first long bike ride; It was a piece of work which give rebirth of dreams. It was easy to find all of his books from different part, backpacker’s hotel shelves, other travelers, etc. ‘The young all have the same dream: to save the world. Some quickly forget this dream, convinced that there are more important things to do, like having a family, earning money, travelling and learning a foreign language. Others though, decide that it really is possible to make a difference in society and to shape the world we will and on future generation’ Paulo Coelho. Lance Armstrong- Since I switched my awareness in the bike, I come to know this several times winner of Tour De France/cancer survivor, read his bio and achievement it enough to inspire any one. The list run so on and so forth, now I’ll be happy to share them here as part of my inspiration and motivation.

Friday, October 7, 2011

And beyond…. Chile To Kili

On my 25th birthday, I organized and lead 10 students on a mission - trail cleaning, natural studying and, finally, reaching the summit of Mt. Meru. I first conducted a natural study in Arusha National Park, followed by a small, yet meaningful birthday celebration when we reached the summit. The weather was not at its best, but we made it. We made it to the top! Such trip is unusual for the local Tanzanians and indeed, it was the first time for the students, which meant so much to us all, specially myself, I was honored to take the lead as one of the committee member of Wildlife Conservation Society. The same day, we lunch our fund raising project on scholarship for disadvantage students who aim to study and work in the natural resource management field in Tanzania.
Growing up, I have always been interested and involved in nature conservation. I am extremely frustrated seeing the high level environmental degradation around us with lack of passionate and committed local professionals and their minimum involvement. I know that I must take actions to raise awareness of environmental protection, not only for myself, but for us and all our generations to come. My first try was to cycle around Africa and see the Motherland as a whole (http://cyclingaroundafrica.blogspot.com/). A few years of idea sharing with friends and support from around the world, it came to the idea of “Chile to Kili,” my around the world fund raising project in bringing up perspective future environmentalists. The mission is to raise $100,000 scholarship for Tanzanian students who wish to study and work in the natural resource fields. I am cycling on my two wheels to navigate the world in December. I will meet with conservation stakeholders along the way and put in a few hours each day working with them from Santiago to Kilimanjaro. Throughout the project, I shall encourage the use of bicycles as transportation, as well as exchange thoughts and ideas on carbon reduction with people I meet en route. It took two months of preparation for the planning of this project to be where it is now. Thanks to so many people, it has been successful so far and I would not have been able to get this far without any of their help. Less than three months left before my flights to Chile, I must focus on fund raising alone, as it is the first step of the execution of my whole project. Therefore, I would appreciate any donation possible from you. The amount goes directly to the Conservation Resource Center account: Bank name: Barclays Bank. Branch:Arusha Branch code: 002 Account name: Conservation Resource Centre Account number: 9001901 SWIFT CODE: BARCTZTZ We are setting up PayPal and First Giving accounts later to facilitate online donations. For those who would like to take fund raising to the next level(even a Captain Fund Raiser!), they may create an account at the “Fist Giving” website under Chile to Kili, then collect funds from their friends. I am asking you to please help me in support of our community and the beauty of nature that surrounds us which we seem to forget sometimes. For us, our children and the generations to come, let us all learn to love and respect our mother earth by preserving nature and protecting our environment. We should not only rely on organizations but one person, one step at a time! Should you have any project related question or concern, please feel free to email me: elvis@chiletokili.com. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Around Kili with Peter Gostelow

I left Arusha late and drove to the foothills of Kilimanjaro at Maranngu village to meet my grandma. I had long chart because have been a year without seeing her, she is getting more older and more worried. At 6:30am I was awoken with big knock on the door “you said you want to leave early” my grand called out, reminding me of the days of primary school. I was bit lazy but thankfully the coffee was ready, so I assembled my bike as sipping large mug of coffee after that the full breakfast was ready. At 7:30 I was ready on the road warming up with rolling hills, though it took time to become hot as the weather was bit chilly which made the breathing difficult.
It’s always fun to cycle in this banana and coffee plantation with some tall and huge trees like albizia, avacados, mangoe, etc. This time it was totally exhilarating. For more than ten years of living here a tarmac road was a far dream, but now it almost all paved! Can’t help to think of the dust from fast drivers and uncountable pot holes. Passing through chains of villages all with schools near the road, I attract great deal of interest. Students keep running out and shouting ‘Mzunguu! What is my name?, What is this?” Tarmac road with relative little traffic,
picturesque landscape with twin Kili peaks , breezing wind with a little bit of sun, and lush green mountain farms and forest make for the perfect day, no matter how many times I cycle here. I stopped for a coke in the market but forced to finish my drink quickly to avoid the crowed of curious local which was starting to get bigger than I can handle. From Tarake the road becomes more than rolling hills, it is long climbing with few flats, thanks to tailwind. The human habitats stop at Rongai North Kili forest gate. The mixed forest planted and natural forest is so calm, lots of wildlife (plenty of birds) and I was lucky enough black and white colobus monkeys on the river stared at me as I was stare at them.
I made it to Rongai village and border without border post, there a hundred old wooden bands for forest workers. I try to find food in a local restaurant locally know as ‘hotel.’ Please don’t ask for rooms! I popped in the one pointed by pass by, ‘do you have food?’ ‘yes’ ‘what kind of food?’ ‘Chai and chapatti’ (tea and chapatti), ‘where can I find food?’ ‘probably on that big tree.’ I maneuver the way to the big tree and after some direction from maaasai men sitting under tree (as normal). It a M-kamba woman (from the Kenyan plains) ‘ Uko na chakula?’ (do u have food?) Ndio, chain a madnazi! 9yes tea and some cakes) ‘Thanks, where can I get real food like rice and beans?’ ‘Just try at the end o0f the village’ At he end of the village, a woman dress well compared to the rest of the villagers with the hood; ‘Habari gani? ‘alkhumsalam’ (ooh she replay like I said salamu alekhum, she is Muslim). Do you have food? ‘Yes but not now, we cant it now because its holey month’ Thanks, ‘we’ Holey Month’ Doesn’t make any sense to me. I should probably cook but before I decide that someone offered me a direction to somewhere else. By the way, this isn’t a large village. You can just see every where so that is easier than cooking. At this last place took 2 1/2hrs to get rice and beans. I’m now tired and exhausted. It seems like Peter is not going to make to here as the plan, but I’ll wait for his update. I went in the guest house we slept last time. It is just a wooden room of 4.30m wide and 8m long, but it make sense to be called guest house because it cost me 3000Tsh (approx 2$). Around 4pm Peter text ‘45km away, not sure if I can make it, probably I’ll bush camp’. Behind the guest house there was football match and from time to time the ball hit the corrugated iron of my room with a scream, so I couldn’t take a nap. I just wander in the football pitch. The match seemed to be bit serious as I found more spectators than I expected, and players with formal jerseys with hand written numbers. The scene where like imaginary football match on the green pitch surrounded by old wooden bandas, all kinda folks children to adult watching a match, goats, sheep cattle roaming around, forest and hug mass of land with white peak. After 20minuts of watching I could predict the match so there was no point of standing there.It was sun down so better take a walk. I took a walk towards the mountain. The walk was a perfect call, there was an awesome view of mountain two peaks connected with a saddle with colorful reflection from sun set (I wish I had a good camera).
The lush green with high diversity of plant as much as my eyes could tell, the birds call were so varying, fiscal shrike and pygmy falcon perch on electrical polls waiting for last insects to show up, bunch of Hartilabs Turaco telling each how was the day from far, couple Tropical Boubou calling each and paradise fly catcher busy in the mating. This was probably walking to the little paradise. I walk back in the house when it was dark made my spaghetti and canned beans dinner. I set off at 7am to cycle the cloudy and chilly cold mountain, at some point the road return to the rolling hills. It was too cold with little rain in those long down hills.
I stopped in one village for chai. Peter texted ‘I’m getting lazy in my old age, still lying in the tent listening to music but soon I’ll be on the road’. At Kamwanga village where the green forest turn to dry savannah stretching from mountain to Kenyan plains also the tarmac road turns to gravel road with some dust pool. After about 20km from Rongai I was now aware that I might loose Peter probably in the bush or chai stop, I stopped a motor bike driver coming from different direction, ‘Did you pass mzungu on the bike?’ ‘no’ ‘where are you from?’ ‘olmolong’ ‘how far from here?’ ‘may be 2km’ !!! ‘how long do you think it will take me to be there?’ may be 1/30hrs’ ‘Thanks very much and safari njema’. Five kilometers ahead I meet a maasai on his cool traditional dress cord; ‘Habari rafiki? ‘Have you seen mzungu on the bike?’ ‘Yes’ ‘Where’ ‘Here’’ When?’ ‘About 2 or 3 days ago’ Thanks, see you later.’ About 2km from maasai guy Peter was struggling uphill with his heavy loaded bike. We just laugh at each as we great each, we have been up to date each for couple of days . Before going further I just ask Peter, “how did you sleep he just laugh more. ‘I camped after dark, it happened to be the wrong spot, because it was behind a chickens pen. There were tons of cock calling just in my head from 3am or so. 10m from my tent it was pig pen, the smell was unbearable in the morning. But all is fine’ “All is Fine!!” More or less that is what I could say as well so I now realized we’re on the same page.
We stop for about half an hour talking on different subjects. We resume our cycling towards the mountain to Rongai when we start to feel cold. Me and Peter we knew each about 3yrs ago when I was researching for my cycling around Africa mission, in that time he was arriving back home from China by bike. He cycled a lot in central and southern Asia,
actually this there where he started his bikes touring adventures. When he was setting off for ‘Big Cycle Africa’ we hope to meet but never schedule it. Peter cycle for his own pace with plan of London to Cape Town, he said he always tell people that he will be in Cape after 6 months now it almost 2yrs on road and he’s still telling me he will be in Cape after 6 months.
Talking with Peter about his adventure in Africa I think is a first cyclist who had real enjoy and experience ‘real’ Africa. Despite robber attack in Senegal and theft of all electronic equipments in Kenya he is still super positive and never related them with his biking experience. The both happen out of cycling, he took the wrong walking path in Senegal and Kenya incident was thief in the recommended guest house where he stayed while distributing mosquito net which is a cause of his Africa adventure. Malaria is a disease which is a cause of many death in Africa than any, since there have been little done to eradicate this disease a cause like Peter's it invaluable. He is going through most remote part of the continet, central Africa, Congo, etc and set up mosquito nets distribution. I think this is among of worth cause to undertake. Good work Peter! Our meeting was bit strange, after few hours together it was like we knew each for ages. We talked of many different things than bikes. We had later lunch at Tarakea, continued with cycling slow with Peter’s pace, exchanging bikes, make some silly games with locals while listen to Fela Kutte in his external speakers. The dark found us at Rombo, we sorted accommodation here, had long conversation over diner. This was the perfect time for me to talk with Peter about my coming expedition; “Chile to Kili”. The plan is to raise money to offer scholarships for motivated Tanzania students who want to study Natural Resource Management or Environmental Conservation. I am one of these students, who has been struggling to find funding for school. On the way I plan to raise awareness for Nature/environment conservation in different ways. This is quite the same mission with Peter of raise money to “Fight Against Malaria in Africa”. Peter likes the idea a lot, he believes it will be also an inspiration for most of the youth especial African. He relates this with his talking he did in Africa. He is also down to come and join me for couple of weeks in somewhere like Mongolia; “I cant imagine what will be the reaction of people who have never see a black man before” he concluded.
The next day we start our day slowly as we didn’t feel like leaving each other. Peter showed me what he packed, important and not important, useful and not useful, etc. We spent couple of hours at breakfast and coke stops. We gave each other one final hug and best wishes as Peter camped in the rim of Lake Chala and I headed back to Arusha for further preparations of ‘Chile to Kili’. Stay turned for more info as soon we will launch the movement, there will be also plenty of chance if you want to join me for a stretch.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Khartoum-Gondar

It is one hour ago since the bright sun slowly rise from Ethiopian highlands set a blaze the Khartoum vast sky, the gentle breeze from the desert blew the dust on the deserted street create the pleasant moment for the folks on the two wheels. Few men on the whites and woman on the blacks curious staring at mzungus chasing one another, how far are they going? I bent that should be the question. Slowly traffic intensify, on the city outskirt lie bus livestock market most got and ships on sell, the small shacks, the man on the white robes and tabernacles moving around caring bay got or ship, negotiating or sometime shout to each other its total exotic scene. Some riders stop and tack few snaps for Swedish guy, Kistin photo wasn’t enough he actually end up buying small got and put it in the rear camera bag, “Got get a ride”. As town lie behind comes few small town ships where you will greeted buy you children who never give the shirt if you like it or not they will say hello! Repeat for couple of time before we reach lunch it was you against the wind for certain extension of time. It is a stretch of eight days without rest day till we hit Gondar, Ethiopia. Every day was a new day with total different experience hot, dust, flat tires (max. 10 per person per day), bumping road, get lost and last but not on the list Sudanese’s particular kindness. Stranger pop in the village with explanation that they will camp here, within hours you farm it home of more than 60 people moving around just like they have been there for ages. Those with courage especial old folks brought coffee and chai which you may not be able to turn down though it is 30C hot. In one occasion there was a speech from local leader who couldn’t hide his emotion; Asalam alekhum wa barackatu…! It is our pleasure to host you in our village, though we didn’t prepare much for you are coming your most welcome. Next year we ask your management to let us know in advance for now we bring you few drinks”. The cold drinks is un imaginable think which you can only dream or luckily get in the coke stop, this one was consisting mineral water, pineapple juice Pepsi and non alcoholic beer! The speech was in the English which require you rearrange those sentences in order to get proper mining. I’m worry that is you will let this guys no your coming perhaps they will slaughter couple of camel and you will not have space to put what you can’t take. It might be a bit of confusion ordinary people are natural kind to strangers or the basic fundament of their religion is to share what they have now the politician with their bad reputation us it by saying “we are always kind and welcome so…next time bring you family for vacation in Sudan!
The begin of Sudan contradict it end no beer, official progress such as permit for taking photos, persistence hot which eventual reach 47 C and wind plus the 3 days on bumping road make Ethiopia to sound like “Promising Land”. There was big up loud when I announce last ride meeting in Sudan and comment that bordered crossing is a slow process but soon when you’re in Ethiopia side just get “Dishen” a Ethiopian beer and take it ease.

We had lunch in the Sudan side 40km from boarder both Gallabat and Matema border post they among of slowest border I have ever come across, it is just one person recording all needed and unneeded information on large book. If you are from less known country or white and having South African passport they will pass it around discussing and if they will not satisfy themselves they might bomb you with questions as they ask this white South African guy “Where is South Africa?” After spend reasonable amount of time in the immigration where everyone leave on his time been stop is busy Matema small town for beers and injira or cycle 4 km to come.
As you seat you feet in the crossing line between these county which may share some almost forget past historical relation to today oil, labor, food product, etc you will have strong sees of difference. Form body morphology to dressing, if is not every building it vehicles and if not that is everyone on the cloth having a Red, Golden and Green colors. These colors have been adopted with most of African country and most of Africanism organizations plus Rastafarian movement. That is how we enter among of the oldest country in the world. It rolling hills, twisted landscape bushes full of birds and favorable climate together make the best riding day for most of the riders. As well as second day except that this one become more challenge as it take you to the highest climb of the tour 2502m if that wasn’t enough there are fun kids who shout to you “You! You! Where you go?” if you will not replay wave and smile you likely to be hit by stone or get stick. Anyways their lovely kids who may be have been effected “We are the world” so they believe that they should be given everything money, clothes or shoes is what they will comfortably demand from you. Stone throwing is more like a game for them as I come across some of them playing it seriously.
It was a long day as I sweep then get on towards Gondar, it look more historical town with it old castle, several churches. It also a center for highland people Amaranya . Stay turn for next up to day as I’ll be collecting much fact about the legend Ethiopia.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sudan “Land of Blacks”…wild & beauty

That is but contrary in the political. In the northern Sudan east of Nile there is nothing than beautiful calm desert. After spent sometime in the desert we come in contact with might Nile again possible to swim with only caution of crocodile.

Soon after crossing to Sudan with the welcome faces of ordinary Sudanese’s life have become ease once again the tense of Egypt which was built by both environment and social have reduced. In the rest day at Dongola riders are connected to their daily life with coke only, strictly no alcohol! So we take it ease find our comfort in the desert which now it become more sophisticated as it gives you all the hope and energy in the morning as it let the sun catch every one awareness and utter “it is beautiful day”. In the midday it is damn hot, it doesn’t forgive you neither the land. Your venerable so you try to protect yourself by adding sun lotion and drink lot but the war remain for sun and desert. Desert rise wind to cool itself , this might be within three of them and they can be conquered only by patient and that is how we make it to capital of Sudan, Khartoum.
Desert storm…
One thing which I didn’t talk about in the previous blog was a desert storm which hit us in the 2nd desert camp or so. This storm was a worse one so far made people awake till 11pm this is real lait for TDA, it also damage mansions and Sheratons, these are over size tents. Now I refer this storm with current situation in Cairo, it is a storm blew from west to east. It was successful in Tunis but what about Egypt? Where it will be next destination?
No one can imagine if we were still in Egypt since under normal situation we had polices stick with use till we get out. Now in Sudan, thanks referendum results are postponed to February at least we’ll be out of Khartoum on our way to Ethiopia.
In most of African countries it always advice not to discuss politics and I tried to avoid that but Africans we don’t have opportunity to meet often so when I meet with others African it become total impossible avoiding to talk about our problems. Most of Sudanese are naïve and no almost nothing unless they are recent southerner escaped war but for the war which have been there since 1955 , young generation who their family flew to north has little memory and interest may be the political trick of religion have good effect on them. In one occasion I had a long chart with Ethiopian and Eritrean, we are well connected since our syllabuses allow us to learn about each African country. The worst account was from Eritrean guy who tell about business of selling people which is still existing in horn of Africa don’t mention the dictatorship which no could predict it end. As usual such conversation doesn’t have conclusion instead has question, when this part of word will have at least suitable situation? How is responsible for changers?

Nubian...

As we stick with Nile moving from one historical town to another, the scenery is still stunning and wonderful, the green valley bordered with backed desert just divided by road. The bounty of the landscape is added by Nubian villages along the valley, some abandoned, some still in use. These plus Nubian people with their dressing who mostly you will, meet on the carts pulled by donkeys though it not pleasant to look how these people worked the animal here, in most occasion you will see people sitting under shade drinking chai, tea. It is like traveling back to centuries.
At Edfu we had few hours break as we made it in town early, it is harbor of Nile. There are plenty of Nile cruise ships stops here for break whereby passengers board horse cart across the town to the temple. In down town guys shout at me “my cousin” so blacks are cousin of Nubian!
Being tail, head or sides wind it was only dinner talking but eventually we made to Assuan. The most southern and beautiful city of Egypt with all the fancy such Novel hotel on the Nile and MacDonald all this absorb riders for few hours. In the next morning it was convoy though outstriket of Assuan, Assuan dams with magnificent view of Nile as it meander through the desert, our beloved Egypt end on the lake Naser.
It take almost two hours of straggling to get in the boat then two hours again of make sure everything was under control. The boat is the link between two similar but not the same country, Egypt is far to the modern while her cousin straggling in the primitive but with the same need. Arabs are merchants according to history and that is what I found out here. The commodity are range from food product such sugar, rice to electronics such TV, air condition all, cell phone, etc. all is all but “Made in China”. As usual outsider you will be amazed by the local culture and tradition, if you will say let me wait it going to take the whole day. May be somewhere else but here these guys carrying 20 t0 30kg or any sort of balk sack they only shout to each other, “I’m going in!” Yes I see but let me get out first”, “No”” Me first for the god sake this sack it is very heavy “. So it goes for hundred people or so. For western quality it this boat is peace of “shirt” , no one will be left behind, what called “second class” maybe it is not for more than 20 passengers so today most of as we will be in “Non class” on the deck with service of fresh air and wonderful sun set and rise. At 5pm we set off.
At 12am in the next day we was in Wadi Alfa harbor take some few hours going though custom and migration posses ride in convoy for few km to the camp.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Egypt

A part of pyramids tour Cairo wasn’t a place I’ll hang out for more than two idle days. It need time to copy up with locals who take every one as a typical tourist no matter how you may try to avoid it. It was a good time to explore a bit history on this mother of civilization though I find out late I was badly reaped off but it was worth it.

The countdown comes close as I met my fellow stuffs who are simply representing the entire world, shake hands with early arrive rides, diner, Stella (the popular beer which will cost you enough to find it as it considered as “haramu”, forbidden or so) with daily minor tasks all these make the 5 days in the five stars resort pass fast than I was expecting.

My experience in Cairo might make a book so let me keep it on my diary and if I’ll happen to have a chance to publish it when I’m old it will be my pension for me. But few things is Egyptian are specific breed which in order to copy up with them you need some time with lots of patient. They don’t drink but they smoke badly. How they drive is only gods knows. Food is what it will always remand you Egypt their variety, tasty and cheap.
Though tourism have been here for almost 500 years ago few bother themselves to educate themselves more particular in teams of communication. Usually they will bomb you with normal questions You’re name?, Where from? Then Want to see pyramids? Horse, Camel, Donkey ride? Perfume and papyrus are items which they will try to sell you indirectly.
The long waited day 15 Jan final is here probably the largest group of tourist every attempt to cross the legendary continent, Africa. The long queue of 102 cyclists set of from Cataract Pyramids Resort heavily protected by police we maneuver our way to great pyramids of Giza. The open ceremony was brief since it was cold riders take photos, paparazzi try to did what the can. I wonder how they will have to put it so ordinary people will understand the concept behind people crossing Africa on two wheels. Reasonable amount of time was spent on convoy getting out of Cairo though before dark every rider make 134km, that was good begin! As some of riders I happened to chart with such Ethiopian couple this was their longest distance on bike.
It is first desert camp everyone is happy to open the tent for the first time and make most of it on the vast desert space. That was not the end of surprise, James; the cook has great hot soup followed by amazing dinner. The fun thing about TDA no matter how many riders or how strong they might be but always after dinner around 7:30pm the whole camp is quiet. Every one wants to save energy for next day. The next day was long day 167km and the fact that everyone was still tense just to show the legendary continent how best she or he is. In that day there was no much discussion as no one has interest of talk about it.
We are in the Red Sea though it is blue so the days are just desert and sea. It is bit boring but racers they just to finish their day, those who are in good in meditation enjoy the emptiness of desert with plenty of air and those who cannot take more than they can afford their support vehicle to fetch them.
It goes slow when you’re on the last minutes of your day and consider it for 115days but in the actual sense days are passing and the tour become more fun. That was among of the comment of the days, the night passed at Safaga town; the camp was on the Red Sea beach so the time to get shower and cold bears.
The day from Safaga was just the continue of African bounty as we left the beach go through the mountain range. It was real pleasant cycling as the gentle climb road meander through the overhanging rocks. We pass the night at the police check point anyways we do have police with us everyday. It may surprise how tourists security it big issue here but as I say before they also don’t even speak English apart of not having ideal what is tourism by the ways we feel secure in the desert.
The rotation of working up dismantle your tent breakfast jump on bike stop for lunch then pitch tent diner and crush, it might be bit tire some of other if not all; “rest day seem like a holiday in the vacation” one of the rider told me. It is a rest day in Laxour among of the accident town in the upper Egypt. In this particular time riders take time to recover from routine, being conventional tourists by visiting Kings & Queens valley, temples, etc.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tanzania-Rwanda

Here goes the saga of bicycle tour from Arusha Tanzania to Kigali Rwanda, I’m worry that few will be able to go through all due to my frailer of make it short, enjoy it as it is my pleasure to share with you.

Begin…
It start as dinner talk with Hennie in Johannesburg last year then we discus it in the mail, to the phone and finally we meet and go through maps in the detail as much as possible, weather, geography, security and so the list continues. The logistic become more complicated and tense as I’m leading the group unsupported to in the most remote areas, imagine how many question you will have to answer for an Dr. Engineer of 65 years old!
How does someone begin a journey like this one? There should be lot of approaches. The differences come when it is bicycle safari, through tough areas and challenging regions. Anyways we plan put as cyclist Helen Lloyd put it “plans are like rules which are there to be broken” .
There are lots of things to consider but with the experienced cyclists Hennie and Francois, I have less to worry; Hennie, holding the record of the oldest person ever riding the Freedom Challenge while Francois did it twice. Do not get fooled by the name “Freedom Challenge”, this is one of the most respectable mountain bike races by the way you may not even ever hear about it.. Most think about fitness and being able to be number one. Though these count, there are also other things which you will have to consider before making the decision of jumping on it. It takes place during the southern winter, 6 days on the highlands of the Drakensberge in South Africa, no support vehicle; no GPS but only map and compass find you way to the sleeping point! I don’t want to exaggerate but I mean it mountain bike tour which includes so many things more than you may imagine. Please do not hesitate to check out their site www.freedomchallenge.org.za. I’m also dreaming of it but I’m pretty aware that is a damn though if I will be able to transform it into reality soon I’ll be the youngest man.
So this is bit experienced group but adventure it adventure rarely count on experience, anyway we are doing it for the sake of new experience. After driving from airport we had nice Indian dinner of chicken barbecue, variety breads and verges with enough paper. We took short walking around the town for stretching then last parking. We left Arusha town the morning of Sunday with company of Trish, we cycled west north of the town try to avoid tarmac road. As normal or it the character of cyclist I don’t know, we were full of energy enthusiastic. It such moment when I’m tired I always try to remind myself. The cool breeze wind cooling our body while the green escalating landscapes ease our mind and so we pedal counting down kilometers. At noon the sun become ferocious, suck out water from our body result on exhaustion. At the sometime the climb start, cycled uphill towards Mt.Monduli(2660m) it was at its most began. We take a break at it foot hill village Monduli chini (lower monduli). Rice, beans and meat with two cokes each does the job. Here Trish could have to say bye. We were pleased to have female company; she had challenge from her colleges telling them she is going to cycle. She get well with the other and engaged in the different conversation this make her short time more enjoyable, she might be envied for the guys who will do this for more 19 days, thanks she already knew the price; hills, heat it’s what she experienced so far.

Realty, in the greet rift valley basin…

Just after lunch the weather changed H2Oclouds, may be cumulonimbus cover the sky slow down the sun rays pushed by wind now can’t avoid this low pressure part the rain forest will pull water down, this was good omen for us. Soon rain was washing our sweat bodies somehow ease the uphill labor toward the peak of Monduli. As Francois has to push his bike up we had short breaks with Hennie for birds identification, we were now in the mountain rain forest. The secretive Tropical Boubou doesn’t seem to care for our presence, still make it call which give it a.k.a Bottle Bird. These calls vary and eco in the forest and valleys. “Pity my frau” it what Red Chest Cuckoo claim from the high branches. Unfortunately beautiful Hartlabu’s Turaco didn’t come out for Hennie to see what he see in the book. Now the shower was passing but since we were already high enough we continue enjoying the dump air. We stopped at Monduli juu (Upper Monduli), refuel out fuel with strongest brand oil in the universe “Coke Cola”. I used this time to drop some few tips about the region; we are in the home of Maasai by the way these are modern Maasai. Monduli juu is home of Sokoine, former Tanzania prime minister as well as Monduli chini Lowasa though in the last government he has to resign accused for corruption.

We decent to the plains we were amazed of how it was dry, hot, rocks road and middle of nowhere. It is hard to imagine there people live here, the people we come across were Maasai in the meeting under acacia shade. I had quick view to the scene, some sat on the rocks, some ease lay but tentatively listen to the one who was stand and hardly try to explain something to his fellow who now their attention turned to whites and black who lost the direction. I guess he should be the strong one who can not only face lion but strangers as well. From the group walk towards us greet with the best of his Kiswahili and ask to offer me support. I give him little and simple explanation as much as possible but I could sense how hardly he could grasp what I’m telling him. We carry on behind accompanied by expression less faces of the congregation.

I was bit sad know that we real break that meeting which I was told was to solve misunderstand between two families. This scene it real broad topic will be discussed for the certain extend period.
I do admire Maasai for their brevity, their willingness to restore their culture, tradition and their uniqueness but my recent discovery of Maasai character particular men being story tellers it total surprise. Maasai men, I mean the one who already circumcised if you’re not circumcised they do not considered you as man. Soon after circumcision you will get few life storks from your daddy then you can start to build your flock, the flock size determines the size of your family; wives plus children. So these mans apart of counting their beast in the morning and evening, examine who is pregnant who is not they have nothing much to do. They will work across the plains to the meeting place by passing his neighbors’ boma (the enclosure) talk about is beast as this is main topic. They will meet under acacia tree somewhere for the rest of the day chewing tobacco and talk whatever they know but most should relate to the beasts. One of my friend tell me these guys are lease even pronouncing words when he failed to listen what they were saying testing his poor Maasai. So now you can imagine the stranger scene of whites on the loaded bikes, there will be lots to talk their skins, dress, what they eat? Which kind of cow? Et cetera. The fun thing is that they never interrupt each, everyone has chance to explain whatever he knows, and no one will disagree by the way one do not need even to have evidence. They do not know about lying and cheating all are the same to them, Isn’t this interesting?
As the sun start to sink on the west we also start to talk about where we can pass the night, find the best sport it always the agreement but in the bush which look almost the same and the fact that the day become cooler your muscle are total obsessed by rhythm of pedaling it make even harder to make quick decision. The first boma we came across with after couple of hours remand Francois his dream of sleep with maasai. He is real enthusiast and emotional person it will be hard to disagree with his suggestion. We deviated from the main track cycle towards the boma, under acacia tree are some few members of this large compound. I great them in maasai. After short conversation with understand that we need somewhere to sleep one man lead us in the enclosure full of huts then in to one of the hut. By sign and few words from Kiswahili I told him we just need the ground and not his precious bed with cattle hide. Within 1hr there were reasonable amount of spectators, they didn’t come bare hands this will be rude for visitors, they brought about enough flies. We strangle to pitch tents as wind blow and through flies. The flies made this place uncomfortable they tend to concentrate on face places like mouth, eyes, ears they real irritate. Hennie I try our best to copy up while Francois straggle with flies spry but all in vain. Then lastly come the fun and final challenge the spectators doesn’t decrease neither seem to satisfy their curiosity. They could watch Hennie each movement he happened to make, for couple minutes without even exchange the words. We get busy with cooking then me and Hennie remain out there eating while Francois hid on his tent try to avoid all sort of unpleasant. The flush lights, binoculars and cell phones so far seem to be most of their interest at the end.. The fresh milk as normal was brought to us soon after livestock arrived. The arrive of these beast change the entire enclosure, make it busy for a while, the young guys who were in the bush since morning now they have their chance to whiteness what the luck brought to their home. We hide in our tents give chance for our host to discuss a bit about this Ngai’s (god) miracle. It happened to be enough for my clients in the morning we left without even cook the breakfast.

We cycled towards Mt.Kitumbeine (2942m) then avoid it as we take right around the mountain; fortunately, we find water on the foothills. It was 10am but it was hot as mid day, the road have been changed and cut by water. With the plan to get at Engaruka which now we could only guess how far the town lie the only thing we could see it rift valley wall. We plan to have lunch in that village. Our assumptions proved wrong as road get worse and worse. It turn to be deep sand impossible to cycle, then plains changed to simply desert no trees for couple of hours . The only thing you see on the horizon is blackish like water which is evaporation from deadly backed land. This was dangerous for my clients it was impossible to cycle for a km without stop for drink; the risk was to be hydrated which could lead into serious trouble. We cycled between balanites trees the only shade. In one shade a Maasai warrior equipped with spear, stick and a long machete the usually carry on their wrist. We chart briefly then we remain speech less as I couldn’t talk much, he stay with us till we continue cycling then he follows us till he couldn’t keep the pace. That kind of rough, dust, tough and pain ride carry on. This is the time when 2km become like 10kms, patient become expensive commodity, there is nothing else we would feel better to do more than lie down and carried by fatigue sleep.
As it was approaching 3pm as we slowly approached the Engaruka “Oasis”; Just a narrow and long green patch stretch from Great Rift Valley wall and after a while disappeared on the thirst plains. This green and the sign of water was real great relief. Our people are still Maasai; as usual they stand along and let as pass the sign of respect but also have enough time to stare to stranger people. We pay negotiable price for culture tourism program with discount of being such tired poor cyclist. We find semi-cold coke, the cokes which are putted in the water. These are considered to be cold which might be true if you travel by road through the plains and find them. We also had the same kind of food as the last lunch with slight difference which fit according to the distance from modern life. There is decent camping site up the village just close to the escarpment with running water, a privacy and shade what else should we hope for? In the village; the nurse who I knew she prepared a dinner for special order, again for this areas quality we all consider it far better.

Sand rise instead of sun rise….
We had a huge breakfast at the same place with a surprise of egg which had almost a full developed chicken in, any way you do need to rise you voice or show you surprise to much as this might be only the begin of wonders ;what if you eat such egg? Thanks for such big breakfast which though didn’t live long as we begin with 15kms of sands which demand no much than you to push your bike slowly. I sort a friendship with herder boys who in turn help to push my loaded bike. Apart of that the, heart doesn’t show any mercy on poor cyclists. About 2hrs since starting I felt the need of change the way we were cycling; Hennie always push very strong in the morning start to slow down in the midday and straggle in the evening just the same to my 75 year old Danish cyclist , Bent. Francois could stay on the middle though it happen sometime to straggle to finish it. The plan was to make the group to take it more ease as the day is long ahead and difficult. I made them stop at pre-school healed under acacia tree, in the begin it seem inconvenience for them to stop but as we left our bike on the road side and walk towards this unique school things start to change. It Maasai children made circle and in the middle is a maasai girl of about 18-20yrs. Just close lie two Maasai guys. There were also several plastic bottles which contain milk for each child. Also there are little rocks scatted on the dust ground, these are used by the children to write by arrange them to form alphabets or numbers. On their best of courage from stranger visitors they sang to us a Kiswahili song which was about a fool who can’t read so he walks with letter through the village to find someone to read for him. I join in as Francois was busy with filming. This stop apart of change our over concentration on cycling it prove how it may be different for vehicle safari and bike, it give us something to talk for a while then as the momentum slowly built up we take the conversation in our mind; the child studding under acacia, No chairs, No walls, learn to write by using stones, What about if branch failed or it rain?
It is now hot, Francois got flat tire which take us reasonable amount of time to fix. The road it rock and sand total uncomfortable for cycling. In the midday we stop and make spaghetti lunch then continue with cycling which now is in the very foothills of Ol Donyo Lengai. Gazelles and Zebras run away from these unusually creatures or a Maasai headers who run towards the road. These Maasai run towards us, after greeting they ask for what we have but we can’t give. It is surprise or amazing or sad, the maasai headers some young of 10-15yrs while some adult run for reasonable distance as they see us then desperately ask for water “Maji, maji, maji” while they are showing the sign of drinking. Doesn’t matter what you tell them they will repeat again and again as they run with you. After a while they will consider themselves not to be luck enough so they will late you go. The things are the mixed feelings created by this scene, these people they are with huge hear but without water to drink I’m not sure about food because they never ask for. Then come these cyclists with enough bottles on their bikes but each drop is calculated. This cycling in this time was real challenging; what can I do with this you guy running along me telling me he is dying so I should give him water? How did they survivor with their cattle? This was Hinnie’s question which directly I translate to Maasai guy who come to ask for water as we stop for stretching. He said they walk the cattle to the water after each 2 days or so. The water seems to be another precious element because even in the village there was still someone begging for water or a bottle.
The day become longer and more challenge as I had series of flat tires, sand road cut through by water flowing from Lengai. Engaresero village laid about 60km north-west of Engaruka; we passed through two other Maasai’s claiming their collecting village fees, What if every village in the country establishes the same program? The reality is to painful, these money didn’t get as far as stomach of few politician. The second gate is in the middle of nowhere I tell them about my feeling then it was to negotiate. NO COKE STOP. We made it to Engaresero campsite 4pm total exhausted, beaten up but recover after two semi-cold cokes.
The camp is typical tourists place with tented lodge maybe for honey mooned who are the most people I meet here; they come for flamingos, trek or on transit to and from Serengeti. The camping sites it pleasant with wonderful bird life around. We us the pool to cool down our cells, the swimming pool is sun heated water pass through from escarpment, it green in color you need to take extra care as it very slippery without caution note.

Waiters are in Maasai outfit serving what seem far over priced drinks. The dinner cost 25$per person may be worth having western food middle of gods knows but two potatoes, a small meet pie came after little sweet maize it is a joke for a cyclists like us. Francois had good idea to deal with this situation, when our maasai waiter come no complain, no asking but suggestion, I place the suggestion and miraculous it works , addition pates of race and beans become real food for the same price.

Pink horizon….
Francois is full of cleaver suggestion; he knew when to present them and how to put them. As the matter of fact we were not going to do Mt Lengai as it was plan, Francois says the flamingos are worth for a rest day. From the camp to Lake Natron it about 6km on deep sand and deadly hot, I asked the ride from drive with two German old couple but he was too scared so I ask Hennie to go and talk with his age group. We had ride to the Lake Natron the home of thousands lesser flamingo as well as great. They are so many to stretch to the horizon hence pink horizon.
We agree to have lunch and dinner in the village, the village is about 10mint. We walking from camp, as we walk we was accompanied by bunch of Maasai ladies who sales their jewels. They ask what your name each is after 3mint. Or so just to make sure they keep conservation with mzungus. It a real nondescript village, few shirkers and huts give it a category of village unless otherwise it could be something. We had almost worm coke as we were waiting for our rice mixed with ugali (maize meal) and chicken order to be delivered. This kind of food it is already become a tradition dish (rice, ugali, beans, meat with relish and occasional greens). The chicken was among of tough chicken I ever hard, Hennie has got more fun story. He had fibula, the part of chicken leg with enough steak, he take a bite which require extra effort to get meet out unfortunately there was ligament stick on teeth when he pull it the ligament slid through his fingers painful hit his cheek . For the sake of his old teeth he pushes chicken plate to me. Outside the place we sat the Maasai ladies already open the shop so when we got out we were obliged to pay attention to their product but noon was in the mood of shopping so we walked back. Behind the shops were quickly closed down and about four of them followed us begin that we should buy from them, it was irritating and embracing but there was nothing I could do to these persistence ladies. The one who introduce herself early as Helena was almost singing with amazing low tone “Buy this for Helena, Buy this for Helena, Buy this for Helena…” Apparently Hennie’s wife called Helena as well so it was like the song was dedicated to his though he was the one with no interest at all. Actually their trick walk as Francois bought enough souvenir from them finally.
The land of Konyagi…
The dinner was in the same place but this time with advance order so this make things bit soft. Kilimanjaro beer ease things but not to make real change of the world around us, our friend a camp stuff from Arusha he offer “The spirit of nation” Konyagi, it might fit on gin made from fruit so far found only in Tanzania so far. Hennie and our new friend are alcoholic while I and Francois we straggle to swallow this strong white liquor. The noise generator come into life but soon swallowed by reggae music, One love, Together as one, Don’t worry…. are kind of songs plus konyagi which total changed our world around and take us to the sky.
Today we have support vehicle, an old Land Rover (Tdi), it will accompany us till we cross Serengeti. With unloaded bikes we were looking forward to a different day, yes it was, we spent almost half riding time to repaired Francois’ flat tire, he now lost his tubeless. We cycled along the valley wall which often pored rocks on the road make it almost impassable. As we start to accent the escarpment it was midday with 40 degree Celsius. We get in the vehicle and drive for the rest of the day to Wasso in Loliondo district. The Mrs. “Flackefuric” Afrikaan world for earth pig, took us through Great Rift Valley then immerge in the plains which stretch as far as Ngorongoro highland s. It is thick bushes with bit different looking people though dress almost like Maasai. Their bantu people known as Sonjo split during the era of ethnics clashes settle themselves in the middle of maasai and adopt much of their culture and tradition except language. Their now good Maasai revivers, time to time there is break up of clashes. Sonjo use arrow and bow while maasai use spear, thinks should be interesting war. By the way Sonjo being from latest group of the people their happen to be bit clever to maasai. One of the fun story was that, maasai offered scarifies of cattle, got or sheep at Ol Donyo Lengai (the mountain of god) for different purposes such as prayer for rain or stop volcano eruption which they consider to be Ngai hanger. When they leave this gift for their god Sonjo came and takes them away pretend to be their god. So maasai believe that their sacrifice have been total accepted.
We stopped for cake in the center of sonjo land, they’re not real friendly or they don’t know how to interact so when to beg they ask with expression of demanding and in the absolutely different language.
Our land rover straggle with up hills and scramble with down hills in the almost in passable road, all these take as to the maasai town in the middle of total know where. It maasai town, I call them real maasai, they are maasai may be you have never saw before real war like. Men/warriors are tall wearing short toga with beautiful long locks with ridiculous decoration, necklaces the same to the ankle and knee. They paint their brown skin with red okra and cattle oil which give them giraffe’s color. They walk with amazing swagger and look at you as asking did you want to fight? It is a market day the main commodity here is life stork. The whole town is full of people in red toga some on the phone, some carried their got or sheep on their neck as you do carry your young boy and so the scenes goes.
We are now accustomed with some fun things came up time to time in such town, once Hennie ask me “in this part of the world you get tower in the guest house?” Which means he don’t demand as he does early in the expedition the same wonders goes to the food and others stuff of such sort.
We drive to the Serengeti entrance gate, and then spend the whole day inside the park for game drive. Having one day here means we have to go around as much as possible with only short break will saw lots of animals plenty of gazelle, Bunch of elephant herds, lions pride sleep as they are dead, numerous birds just as much as you can imagine. Our enthusiasm couldn’t help us from getting tired, that is what happened in the evening we could hardly keep on talk about animals. As we were driving towards fort Ikoma gate with only intention of finding accommodation, unusual scene which awake our feeling of wonder once again; “ The Migration” , hundreds, and hundreds of wildebeests running on the almost interminable queue . It was thrilling moment which unexpected will carry on in the following day.

Cycle with migration…
After one and half rest day of driving we now back on our four combined machine, two wheal and two legs. Ikoma village where we slept is in Gurumeti /Ikorongo game Reserves less then 10km from the few human settlements the wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles are uncountable.

I think confused by unusual creatures they began to run randomly on the plains but as monitored they soon form a long queue, when we stopped to let them pass it take them about 30minutes to cross to one side then when we start moving they start again and again. I bent they are couple of millions covered about 20km of our cycling track.

They stretch to the horizons in the short green plains when we find trees and bush and hills comes large harem of Impalas under single male; What unfair distribution? When we finish the game reserves comes the chains of villages which insure us enough fuel.
We arrived at the ferry to Ukerewe island in the lunch time , after waiting for a while we board the ferry which Francois says it is a slowest he have ever use. We kept on cycling in the island, after 14km from ferry we arrived at Nasio, the center of Ukerewe islands. We slept in the decent lodge, having shower after two bush camps always accompany by the food we cook ourselves telling each other is delicious while the truth we wouldn’t eat it if we were not starving. Here we had good food and cold beers. In the next day we board boat again crossed to Mwanza in the lunch time we were in the town. We had a chance to enjoy a comfort of home at Hennie’s nephew works in Mwanza.
We left Mwanza cross by 30mint. Ferry to the other side of lake then continue with ride along the shore through chains of village. These are those villages where every stranger called “my friend-rafiki”, some folks sitting on the road side hiss just to take your attention.
The terrains and weather still give as big favor; it is cloud, then sun rise the hot quick then followed by short showers. We are still enjoying birds life with Hennie thanks our fanatic behavior now pull Francois in, he tried to memorize the names but can’t join in when we through our bikes away chasing rare spices such Palm Nut Vulture. In this region we have enough fuel fruits, sweet maize, cold coke and traditional dish (rice, ugali, tough chicken/meet). What we couldn’t avoid it crowd, when we stop in the village within 5minutes we were in the middle of crowd. This situation total embarrass for Francois previous he enjoy it as he record the scene but now it become annoying.
In the evening we arrived at Nkome, this was out of my expectation; everyone was real exhausting. Adding 2km to Rubondo Island National Park gate was unwelcome suggestion if not to avoid crowd. As normal in any tourist area, the management of Rubondo Island Np wanted the payment of 40$ per person for camping on the grass without even running water.
We camp just out of the fence with help of Haji, the range on duty. In the morning come the mass expectators, passing by heading to their farm they spend about 3hrs wondering till Francois cleverly tell them “we are tired!” He got in his tent intestinal but pretending he was changing exposes his buttocks on the window. The mass roar for gilt or shame view while they run away from cause of seen mzungu”s buttock.

Surviving Wooden Vassal...
We finish with our breakfast, dismantle our 6 stars hotels, park and disappear. We cycle downhill to Nkome port, it crowded Saladin port. There few medium size wooden boats, ours no yet to arrive but seen these we had a picture of what sort of transport we are going to us. I was given the time when it might arrive but should I real rely on time in this far isolated world? It was hard to find somewhere to sit and wait in such crowded area which now all the attention is on people on bikes.

Fortunately, we lucky find wooden small restaurant/hotel or mgahawa, it has almost sound proof, Tv and cassette radio which played Celen Dion, Rick martin and West life music so it wasn’t real isolated world as I thought.
Hennie and Francois they were in puzzle which they decided to remain with but I could see it in their faces. Listen such music here in noose small but crowded with the smell of rotten and dried Saladin. If you are those super hygiene folks here you will vomit and you may starve.
Then came our boat it blew two vehicle honk to announce it arrive, it is a wooden vassal with iron sheet roof to keep passengers out of sun and rain, passenger sat on wood benches total uncomfortable for the journey of 4hrs. There generator which supply the power a loudly music out of terrible sounding speakers. If that is not enough to keep passengers out of boredom there is TV playing some local film. On top of roof is captains’ cabin, in this cabin there are bunch of captain with qualification of experience and test of surviving skills. It is a small cabin but they are able to share with their friends or relatives who happen to travel to day. Down stair passenger and cargo are mixed together, there were about 20 large sucks of Saladin. These plus passengers it seem like the boat was overloaded but who knows it capacity? It happen that it was uneven loaded this was when it couldn’t live the shore; it was stark on the mad. It was confirm now we were in certain danger. The bunch of unorganized boat stuffs divides the passengers just by shouting to them, nothing like customer care here. Then cargo at last was even distributed so the boat had got balance but still it was heavy, the engine couldn’t pull it back to the deep water. But in such busy place wasn’t had to get help so the boat was pushed into deep water. After few minutes off shore the engine dead then after less than 5 minutes came into life so we carry on with our almost journey impossible.
It was a long tire someday no matter how we tried to enjoy the beauty of the lake which decorated with several green and rock islands. The stops and speed of the boat uncomfortable benches no chance of take a nap.
At 4pm we made it to Muganza, finally, the “journey impossible” was possible and worth experience. We cycled to the village had lunch then hit the tarmac road for the first time since Arusha though it is for less than 50km. Before dark we sort beautiful bush camp at the isolated house I the vast valley surrounded by hills with perfect sun rise in the next morning.

The heart of Africa…
The terrains once again it is characterized by rolling hills, it seems as we are slowly acceding. We cycled through the most boundary of Biharamulo game reserve, the vegetation switch to miombo woodland which always doesn’t support large population if not at all. No villages and if we come across one it is on top of hill or downhill out of main track, simply it wasn’t worth to try. In the afternoon on those rolling hills come the prize of the day, magnificent view vast region on top of it came the rain. We had rain before but those were showers which we could cycle through for 30 to 45 minutes. This one was heavy and because it rain for extended period of time it become cold. My fellows like water or let me say rain, I don’t but I had to cycle though and slowly I stated to enjoy it but today it got them. They were the one to pull off and find shelter. We cycle to Biharamulo town find the decent guest house. As normal in this rare chance you eat well and drink enough. We had dinner in the nearby pub then we give try to Konyagi again. In this part of the world reggae music is among of the popular music, you may not enjoy it anywhere else as you may do here. Thanks for Dj who happen to sport us then drop few reggae tracks, just as he know, I and Hennie climb to the stage and enjoy ourselves followed by locals so we had honor to open sturdy local part. the part was close to our guest house, it keep awake me till nearly morning.
We tack cab in the morning the junction then add few kilometers for the consideration of Francois GPS worrying of bandit on the miombo forest. After breakfast we jump on the bikes and tackle the hills which getting is incising dramatically. At lunch time we were in Rusumo border post, we stamp ext in Tanzania cross Kagera River and stamp entree in Rwanda. We had lunch at the restaurant overhang on the river valley. The different start with food here it buffee a variety of foods all served together according to you preference, faces are more beautiful proportional built though looking too naïve. If that wasn’t surprise there were more to come, asking information you need to imply about three languages, Kiswahili wasn’t enough, English limited or no at all, French for some literate, Nyarwanda for all. So I remind myself the greetings and few worlds I leant back the days this is best way of starting conversation for the people who meet strangers occasionally.
The big puzzle we left behind is saying to local that we were cycling to Kigali or Chigali as it pronounced by locals. When I see different expression to people I talk with I ask if it is safe the answer was “No” “the mountains are going to kill you”.


Bicycle transportation is well developed here; there are lots of bikes parking waiting for passengers whom I think should be mostly for down hills. Any ways, this is perfect for environmental conservation and it real popular here. As the matter of fact this bicycle transportation seem to provided employment for quick growing population though think logical how many people you have to haul to make sure you collect enough franc. Frankly to say it can’t fulfill ambitions of you generations. However, government didn’t let them free at all; all the bikes are registered and have got plate numbers. Riders have to be certain uniform which differ from town to town.
We probably inspire these cyclists, bunch of them join us as we left the border town, cycle with us up hills. We tried to talk random subjects, I found out some of them they just return to their mother country but they were born in the refugee camps. Though our companion didn’t go far that 10km but we real enjoyed the company and this was repeated time to time as we pass through the village till we were near Kigali where motor cycle takes place of bikes.
We managed to cycle up to Kihere and find accommodation just 1hr before as we were still in Tanzania time. Buffe diners with primus were made everything ease; this is fun things for all cyclists as Alastair Humphreys and Peter Gosteloaw; "Arriving in a new country and trying a different beer, which reassuringly often comes in a 650ml size bottle" though primus are more large. In the next day Francois awake us in Tanzania time then we went for breakfast and complain as it was late for us, there it when I find out we were in different time zone.
The landscape of this country it most stunning future, it is hills; green dotted with red bricks houses. In the valleys it perfect for farming due to it high water table. In the first time as I see the population I couldn’t expect to spot any birds but in this trip we sport the rare and unique vulture, Palm Nut Vulture.
The day was not different from yesterday, it is still hills which we are slowly get used, and by the way they are decreasing. In the junction town we get decent accommodation, self-contained room with Dstv.
We left in the morning, the road it less challenge, the increasing urban life in one way or other energizes us.
At 2pm we was in the top of the one hill just the street of Kigali but to go in the “centre ville” city center, it another odorous job of downhill with traffic jam and traffic light then uphill with sun, unusual looking of folks on the sterling in the jam. After reservations for gorilla trek, calculate the days which will be remain it happen that there will be no enough time to make to Bujumbura so we left it pending. From Kigali I will take bus to Nairobi through Kampala there I will finish with visa of Sudan and Ethiopia then wait to fly to Cairo ready for Tour D’Afrique! Cairo –Cape Town.
Wish to hear about political up to date of recent visited country:
The East Africa countries Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and two twice Burundi and Rwanda slowly are moving to their dream political and economic federation. Recently they open free market and movement of their citizens, being citizen from these countries you can work anywhere within. Prior to Ocampo’s 6 where 6 Kenyan politicians have mention in the first list to work to ICC to answer their charge concerning 2007-8 “post election clashes” which coast about 5000 lives. Observers are saying if this is began then the long arm of law should be extended to Kagame, Museven, Kony, Mkurunzinza, Bashiri, etc. The observations show that the entire region with exception of Tanzania, the rulling governments is accused for crime against human right. Remember that with exceptional of Kenya and Tanzania other are military who after size the power try to turn to the democracy. Kenya which for long time have been strong and stable according to the wikeleak, it mentioned as swamp of corruption, drug money in the politics and dynasty in the current politics are the things which slow down the country’s democracy.
Meanwhile, Southern Sudan government which increase it tire with East Africa countries it is on the countdown to the historical moment, referendum, decide remain to be part of northern Sudan!