June 25, 2024

First post from Tanzania

You might have noticed that some of the posts only appear a day after we’ve typed them. It’s not because we are lazy, but rather a lack of either power or reception. The first day in a new country is also always a gamble as we do not know how the data connections work yet.

Tania had great difficulty uploading the post yesterday at Sangilo Sanctuary. The signal was extremely poor and she had to walk to the highest point in the compound and stand with the laptop in the air as she had to do at Ngepi, way back in Namibia.

BLogging the hard way
While walking around camp I stumbled upon one of the machines from my ‘dream garage’: the original Yamaha Tenere. And it was exactly the one I want, a blue and yellow AJ3 model. Mark didn’t want to swap it for my near pristine Motomia Pachino. He also had a BMW R27 in the shed from when BMW had not yet started using cylinder heads for side stands.

Yamaha Tenere AJ3 - I want one
We headed straight for the border, trying to fill up at Karonga, but there was no fuel. At the border the exit was straight forward, but an insurance agent was on our trail from the start. Money exchangers also kept on trying their best, but we decided to wait to get to the Tanzanian side to change at the Bureau de Change. The people at immigration were very friendly and helpful and we got our shilling legally with no hassles. Thereafter we entered Mr Andrew’s office to pay the third party insurance. Now we’ve been had before at the Zambian border, so we were determined not to be done in. The price was almost three times the Namibian and Malawian rates, but I only had a certain amount of cash. In the end he gave us 20% discount and said we could pay the remaining amount (which I really didn’t have) in airtime once in Mbeya. He sounded sincere, but the fact that we can pay using airtime begs the question whether the money goes to the agency or the agent.

We were knackered and hot and decided to fuel up and head for Mbeya to sort out our data connection for Tanzania. We stopped for Coke once, where we had to down it as you need to hand in the bottles again, or pay extra. We also stopped for tomatoes, onions, a cucumber and bread. All for less than R10!

Buying local
The GPS showed there is a Vodashop in Mbeya, but our estimated time of arrival was 16h58. Afternoon traffic in busy Mbeya caused it to become 17h03, so we just arrived after closing time. The kind people at the shop came out to ask whether we need help ad gave us all the instructions and their number in case we have trouble. We keep being amazed by the people of each new country we head into. Earlier a guy on almost the same bike as us greeted us at the filling station and asked about our trip. As he tore off he shouted: “Welcome to Tanzania!!” Lekker!

It was getting late and on our way to Utengule Coffee Lodge I still had to get hold of a sim card and recharge vouchers from vendors that do not speak or understand English. This proved to be great fun and I ended up with 20 vouchers for TS1000 each. It was not enough to pay the rest of our insurance though, so I need to get some more today. I took everything at every shop I could find as the light faded.

The GPS is sometime a couple of metres out due to the reception, but a few metres can become half an hour’s detour if you get it wrong. We turned off to early (5 metres too early) and ended up in narrow alleys of a small village. Everyone knew we didn’t belong there and laughed at us. Luckily they could direct us the correct direction, but it took a while and some getting stuck in sand and very narrow passages to get on the road again. It was great to feel so out of place, yet somehow normal to go through there. This is Africa!

Here I am busy entering all the PIN numbers of the vouchers:

Airtime for Africa
We decided to have supper in the restaurant and Tania had Herby Chicken and I had pork steak.

Tania eating dinner
We turned in for the night in our tent pitched next to the tennis court. There is a squash court as well here in the coffee farm. We are looking forward to a nice Cappuccino and Americano tomorrow morning before we leave! There are all sorts of coffee making apparatuses here. This one is for you, Eon:

This one's for you, Eon

6 thoughts on “First post from Tanzania

  1. Julle is “legens” soos Villiers sê – ou tannie vra my vanoggend waar die “kinders” nou al in Afrika trek. Dis ‘n ge-O en ge-A as ons vertel wat julle doen. Daar is beslis ‘n paar groen jaloerse mense onder ons. Ek sien julle raak nou al slim by die grensposte. Voorspoed en geniet dit. Dankie Tania vir al die moeite om die blog te “update”. Volgende keer moet jy maar op Frncois se kop staan!

  2. Ek is bly julle is so maklik oor die grens na Tanzania. Julle word nou “streetwise”. V1x

  3. Tania, jy lyk weer of jy opge’dress’ is vir die uiteet! Yummies, dit lyk lekker!! Ek wonder of die mense wat julle ‘blog’ lees, opgelet het dat julle NOOIT negatief is nie – dankie daarvoor! Alles is altyd vir julle ‘n avontuur. 😀

  4. Airtime vir derde party versekering? – klink vir my “fishy” (of in Tanzanie seker “coffee”) Kon julle my sjillings gebruik, daardies wat so min werd was in Rand terme? So van die foto’s af lyk als baie agtermekaar en skoon. Baie bly julle kon weer op die lug kom – as ek weer met internet sukkel, sal ek die dak probeer.

  5. Hi julle! Ek’s weer terug opi lug na 9 dae se vrot sein ini wildtuin. Ek’s bly Tanzania het julle so vriendelik verwelkom 🙂 Die mense daar is regtig amazing!! Ek hoop julle kry kans om by The Old Farm House naby Iringa te slaap…
    O ja, Tania – ek’t vanaand ‘n ou skool maatjie van jou ontmoet by ‘n braai – Renate Viljoen (? ek hoop ek onthou reg). Sy stuur baie groente en volg ook julle avontuur!
    Geniet die koffie en ek stem – dankie vir die goeie gees!
    Vilboetie

  6. ek het opgelet dat julle nooit negatief is nie, what a spirit! Geniet Tanzania oor ‘n 100 xx

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