July 16, 2024

Dodging trucks and buses in the mud


Tania before


Tania after
Today started off all wrong. We woke up at 7h00 and heard the rain pouring down on our roof. We both knew we had to move on, but neither one of us wanted to mention it. To make things worst my stomach wasn’t at its best yet and it is Thursday (aka Mefliam day for me), so I was a bit irritated as always the day before I take my malaria pill. We dry-bagged everything and donned our rain coats (unfortunately the camera had to be wrapped in a black plastic bag and stowed under my coat, so sadly there’s no evidence of the road conditions today).

After breakfast (included in the room’s price) we first had to go into town to get cash and fill up the bikes. The road was extremely slippery as it had been raining non-stop for about three hours. Luckily my bike started, but 2 km later it cut out. I had run out of fuel from all the work on the carb yesterday, but we quickly put fuel in from Tania’s fuel bag. Seconds later (still on our way to town) the bike died again. It started again, but died every couple of hundred metres and finally gave up completely about a kilometre from the ‘bike shop’ where we were helped yesterday. I pushed the bike (heavy from the luggage) the rest of the way and was completely knackered when I finally got there. They took out the spark plug and dried it which sorted the problem. I was still a bit worried that it will happen again and they said I must test it around town for a while and come back if it happens again. After filling up we passed the shop again on our way out of town. The bike was still running fine and everyone waved as we rode past.

The road was soaked and slippery and the rain was still coming down. I was so tired at this stage that I could not keep my bike in a straight line. Tania seemed to do fine behind me. At some stage (still early in the day) I passed a very slow fuel tanker and fell in the muddy track. I think this must have been the lowest point of the trip for me yet. Luckily as the day went on I started trusting the bike again and got used to the rain. After about 70km (we had to do 140km in total today) the rain stopped, but the road was still very wet and you could not relax as the road tires struggled for grip. We started feeling a bit better, mostly due to the friendly waving people next to the road.

The only problem for the rest of the day was the shocking driving from the buses and trucks. They go at the fastest speed possible, around bends (there is only one track) and they do not slow down at all if they see you. We got used to diving out of the way every time we spotted one and Tania got stuck a time or two doing this. It is amazing that we did not see one accident on this road, only broken down vehicles.


We made it to the Sankere Guest House around 16h30 and got cleaned up. We asked whether they serve food, but the friendly receptionist walked with us around the block to show us to a local restaurant. We had rice and chicken and the best tasting soup (don’t tell our doctor). We also met the police commander of Kibondo who spoke excellent English and welcomed us to Tanzania (as everyone does). He also assured us the town is perfectly safe and wished us well on our journey. It is moments like this that make you look back at the tough day in the mud and laugh out loud with satisfaction. We took six ‘bread roll-ish looking’ things take-away for breakfast tomorrow and had a short afternoon nap (with the busy street sounds in the background). It’s the best. I just walked down to pay for the room and bought four Cokes for R10. I lost my flip-flops I bought in Lusaka, so the past few days I’ve been borrowing the hotels’ shower flip-flops to go out. Anything goes, I love it! We haven’t been camping for a while, mainly because there aren’t any campsites, so we need to carry everything off the bikes each night:

Carrying luggage
Tomorrow we plan to break for the border and reach Kigali (in Rwanda) where there is a backpacker’s with a campsite. Hopefully we’ll have better internet there so we can post better photos, read our comments and update the trip stats. We’ve got 90 km left of this treacherous dirt road we started off on seven days ago and sincerely hope it does not rain when we get up… I don’t think either of us has looked forward to tarmac as much as this!

8 thoughts on “Dodging trucks and buses in the mud

  1. Dis ‘n riller! Dankbaar julle is veilig. Wat is beter medisyne as mense se vriendelikheid as jou moed in jou diep, nat, vuil ‘bike boots’ gesak het? Alle eer aan twee dapper boerkinders en Afrika-‘goodwill’. 10/10 ook vir jul humor wat nooit vir lank gedemp word nie. Stortfloppies (wit?) in die restautant, ‘bread roll-ish looking things’ vir brekfis en so laat julle ons vergeet van die harde werklikheid van amper onbegaanbare grondpaaie. Maar, sien ek reg, is dit teerpad van die grens af na Kigali? Jippee!:D

  2. 1 Month and 2 days, and it looks like you two are at least half way. Congrats so far, seems like you gonna finnish with time to spare.

  3. Ai julle – dit klink na ‘n baie rowwe dag! Reen maak alles erger, ne?! Maar ek love hoe julle altyd deur dit druk en glimlag teen die tyd wat julle post 🙂 Ek kan sommer die raserige strate in die agtergrond hoor terwyl julle ‘n slapie maak – klink hemels!
    Ek’t vandag vir Steven ‘n lift gegee Spar toe en vir hom vertel van julle trip. Vir ‘n man wie se woordeskat gewoonlik uit “Ja” en miskien “Dankie” bestaan, was hy vreeslik geselserig! Hy kon nie glo wat julle doen nie en het selfs vrae gevra…en hy’t partykeer net hardop gelag – dit was amazing!
    Ry veilig more en sterkte by die grens. Een van die dae soek julle gorillas!!! 🙂 Ek’s woes jaloers!

  4. Hi Julle
    Sjoe klink na n rowwe dag. Bly julle is ok en ek dink julle gaan later baie bly wees julle het die grondpad gevat en nie die African Expressway nie

  5. Jip – rof gewees, maar die glimlagte is nog daar ! Dit is die belangrikste. Tot nou toe nog GEEN klaagwoord uit julle monde…dit is regtig prysenswaardig. Deur midde Afrika beslis nat paaie, modder en reën in die gesig. Hou maar op die middelmannetjie as julle kan en vat dit rustig. As jy afgaan, probeer so afgaan dat jy nie seerkry nie – fietse kan geniepsig wees! Ons hou alle duime – lekker ry vandag.

  6. Hi Ouens – ek bewonder julle moed en deursettings-vermoë! Daai rit het seker al jul konsentrasie getap het. Daarom wens ek jul vandag ‘n baie beter dag toe – veral vir die laaste stuk “plaaspad” en die grenspos. Mag jul “favor” by die grens ontvang! Veilig ry tot in Kigali die hoofstad van Rwanda. Klink asof jul daar weer kan rus en asem skep en “stock” aanvul. Mooi ry en loop. Pas jul self op.

  7. Aweh! Vir ingeval julle nie die sms gekry het nie, ek en Pappa sit volgende week in Gonarezhou so ons gaan nie die blog kan volg nie… Maar geniet Uganda VREK baie en ons vang op sodra ons terug is! ENJOY!

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