Saturday, 20 March 2010


We are back on the saddle after enjoying a 3 day break. It did miracle to our tired bodies and everybody was in a good mood yesterday as we left Arusha.

Tour D'Afrique is the longest stage race in the world with 96 stages and total of 12 000 kilometers. Today we completed stage 50... So now it really feels like we have passed the half way...

We are now heading towards central Tanzania, a region completely untapped by tourism. My guide book on Tanzania did not even have one line about this region. Only one narrow dirt road crosses it and that's it... It is incredible here. There is hardly any traffic on this small dirt road and yet it is the main connection going across central Tanzania. Well, things will change as we saw today, the Chinese (yes, them again...) are starting to build a large paved road heading south. But for now we could still enjoy this amazingly beautiful dirt road that makes its way between volcano formations and indigenous forest. We climbed today, plenty and tonight we are yet again back at an altitude of 1700 meters. Good, because last night was so hot, we all struggled to sleep.

If you ask me, today was the most beautiful day of the tour so far. It was just perfect. The dirt road was rough and the 120 km distance made it challenging. We also had 2 big climbs, but what an amazing countryside here! This region is the best kept secret in Tanzania. It is really incredible. They have plenty of indigenous forest left here, a rare thing in this continent, they also have rivers and lakes and such a diversity of vegetation, you are just mind blown. I took over 300 pictures today, just to give you an idea...

The people were also very nice. Most of them salute us with the famous "Jumbo" (hello in Swahili) and even the kids are mostly well behaved. There are always a few exceptions, we are in a very poor and rural area, so some are a bit aggressive, but nothing to compare to Ethiopia. Many ask for money, but that, we are used to, it is the same all over Africa. The kids call us the "Muzungus", (white man in Swahili) so as we pass them we hear them screaming "hei mzungu, mzungu.... gimme money")
It is actually quite funny as they are more exited to see a white person passing on this very remote and quiet dirt road than serious about begging.
I really like Tanzania, it is a country where you feel good. The climate is also great here. The evening at camp are nice, with a temperature around 25 degrees.
We are going to be on this small dirt road for 5 more days still and the terrain will be similar, hilly and scenic. I am enjoying this very much and advise people who are thinking of doing a section of TDA to do this one, especially if they like off road riding.

                                               They use bicycles for delivering anything here
                                                             Jos fixing yet another flat

                                                                  Race director, Paul
                               Tour leader Frans (Holland). He won this mando stage today as well.
                         The locals are very exited and supportive as we pass along their small villages.
                                                                 This is volcano territory
                                                            Next to our camp last night

                                                                        Camp yesterday
                                                                        Masai child
                                                     Hardy sharing his shots with the locals

                             This game is played accross Africa and is the African version of chess
                      This young guy was doing his home work along the road. He was studing physics.
                                             Beautiful indigenous trees all along our path today
                                   The hills we went through were steep but amazingly beautiful.
                                                  A clever way to park a fully loaded bike...
                          This is the main and only road going through central Tanzania. We loved it.
                                                                     Beautiful Tanzania
                                          Where ever I stop, my bike is always an attraction

                                                         The local fish they catch in the lake
                                                                    Fishermen at work
                                       Big trees provided us plenty of shade along our way today
                          This cameleon was crossing the road. We stopped next to it and
                          he decided to climb on the bike and then made it all the way to
                          the top of my helmet...

             The finish line of this tough but beautiful 120 km stage, all on dirt with 1250 meter of climbing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Haha, love the chameleon! Amanda