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.
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.
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!
Bicycle Tours in Tanzania