We have made it to the capital city of Tanzania, Dodoma, after four days of riding in some serious heat through Masai land. Along the way we also reached the 4000km mark on our journey from Johannesburg to Moshi at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.
On our cycle leg to Ngwazi Sailing Club we came across a German called Daniel who was cycling from Cape Town to Cairo. We mentioned to him that we would be staying the night at the Ngwazi Sailing Club and we would be happy for him to join us. Warrick shared with him the co-ordinates but we had expected there to be some signs to the place but there were none but alas Daniel managed to still find us.
We spent one rest day at the beautiful Ngwazi Sailing Club, which was in fact Warrick’s birthday. We spent the morning doing some errands which included fixing Warrick and Gareth’s back-wheel hubs and just giving the bikes a much-needed clean. The rest of the day we just relaxed around camp and Derrick and Gareth prepared a delicious birthday braai for dinner.
The next day we had a 90km cycle ahead of us to African Gardens Campsite which is about 10km from the main town Iringa. Derrick was feeling a lot better after having completed a course of the malaria treatment medication so he decided to get back on his Buffalo bicycle again. The first 40km of the ride were really tough as we had roadworks and ended up having to cycle along dirt road diversions with some big climbs. However, as soon as we got through the town called Mufundi there were no more roadworks and we had an awesome smooth road to ride on with a wide shoulder all the way through to African Gardens Campsite.
Whilst we were riding, Bryan drove ahead to Iringa to stock up on supplies before going back to setup our campsite. He also gave Daniel a lift as he was having issues with his bicycle so he was going to arrange a bus to Dar-es-Salaam from Iringa. Daniel decided to also stay at the same campsite with us that night.
The next leg of our journey was a long and really hot 116km cycle through to a bush camp by the Mtera Reservoir. In the first 20km we had a serious climb up to the main town Iringa where we spent a bit of time sorting out some admin including drawing some more cash. After leaving Iringa we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere as there is very little civilisation along the way. Around 90km from Iringa we cycled down this incredible mountain pass with amazing views of the Mtera Reservoir. As soon as we descended the heat picked up to 40 degrees so we were all suffering. Bryan went ahead to try sort out a suitable place for us to “bush camp” for the night and luckily managed to arrange for us to stay at a mission clinic with a Masai warrior as our security guard.
From the mission clinic we had a fairly hilly 93km ride to another “bush camp” spot. We were now cycling through Masai land with some incredible baobab forests scattered across the landscape which was really amazing and helped take our minds off the heat. Bryan managed to find a bush camping spot for us on the top of a hill by a baobab and rocky formation. To ensure we got some kind of permission to camp on the hill, Bryan went to speak to a local in the nearby village called Joshua. As there was a language barrier, Bryan had to phone a contact he met in Rungwe called Daniel to help translate English to Swahili which worked out well and we had no issues camping in this awesome “bush camp.”
Today we had a short cycle of 74km to the Tanzanian capital city, Dodoma, where we are now staying at the African Dream Hotel for one rest day. The first half of the cycle today was flat and really beautiful as we continued to ride past baobab forests and then we had a gradual climb up to the city. Time has really flown by on this phenomenal journey and we can’t believe that we only have 6 more days of cycling left to our final destination, Mount Kilimanjaro.