Day 191 Tanzania : Dar-es-Salaam - Iringa

Day 191 Tanzania

Trip Distance 536 km (333 m) Total Distance 21068 km (13094 m)
Road Condition 100% tar    
Time to travel 9 hrs    
Cost of diesel TSH1375 (£0.65)    
Stopover
Iringa
Riverside Campsite S7 47.876 E35 47.800 TSH12000 (US$9) - Pleasant clean site. Clean longdrop loos and hot showers.

We set off rather late from Mikadi Beach after all the goodbyes with Brian & Carol and the Dylans, a great fryup (at the restaurant) and our usual faffing before we leave.  We bid a temporary adieu to Ben And Kate as we would be travelling the same route as them for the next couple of days and, both having heard that The Old Farmhouse just passed Iringa was THE place to stop, we were all heading for that.  Turns out though that due to our late start and the roadworks around Iringa (more about this later), we weren't going to reach it.

a_SG107210 Here we all are for the last time L-R: Kate, Ben, Sonja, Claire, Tash, Dickie, Jan, Trevor

We headed out west from Dar-es-Salaam remembering to go the long way round on the road instead of the ferry to pick up the A1 and we were away.  But not before stopping to top up the tanks with diesel and buy some last minute cold water.

The drive was pretty much standard but the cops were out in force!  Ben and Kate had left some time before us so sent us an sms to let us know where to look out for them.  We got through unscathed.  At around lunch time we spotted Ben and Kate taking a lunch break and stopped for a chat.  As the day was starting to bleed away from us and we still had several hundred kilometres to do before reaching The Old Farmhouse, we set off again.  Not 20kms later we were pulled over for speeding (yes, we were!).  We used the same tack as we did last time.  "Please can you issue a receipt," and magically the receipt booked disappeared and the fine was halved to TSH 10 000 (about £5) and with the lady policewoman blowing us kisses (so she should!) we hit the road again.  In the meantime Ben and Kate had passed us waving happily out their window as we threw money through ours!

The afternoon session on the road took us through Mikumi National Park.  As the main road traverses the park, there are no park fees to pay but on the way we were treated to sightings of giraffe (crossing the road), elephant, buffalo and the usual antelope grazing right next to the road. 

For a while we travelled together with Ben and Kate in convoy with us behind them b_IMG_1557 and they behind us a_SG107232as we overtook them for the last time with a promise to meet them at The Old Farmhouse.

We wound through a fairly mountain section of road skirting the Udzungwa Mountain National Park and as we drove with the sun starting to sink away, we passed what looked like a fairly reasonable campsite called Crocodile Camp.  We spent a few moments discussing whether to stop or not but The Old Farmhouse was within striking distance (Iringa was 100km away and The Old Farmhouse 50kms beyond that) so we decided to push on. 

About 30kms later we hit the first set of roadworks which slowed us down a little but with light traffic and few trucks the alternate short distances of dirt tracks weren't too bad.  From here on though the delays became longer and longer as the roadworks began affected longer and longer tracts of road.  As we approached the first big roadworks about 7km long, we were waved down to stop but we ignored them and to incredulous shouts, sailed passed them and followed the line of traffic in front of us. Bugger that for a joke.... no ways were we going to stop.  We finally bounced through only to be met by another 2 sets of roadworks, each getting longer and longer.  By the time we were 20kms north of Iringa, night had drawn in, it was passed 7pm and we made the decision to stop despite The Old Farmhouse now only being 70km away.  We were both tired and had no idea of long the roadworks were ahead of us.  It was to be a great call! 

We made our way to reception but were told to register and pay the next day.  We booked for Ben and Kate as they had made the decision to also stop driving and join us at the Riverside Camp so we drove around and found ourselves a campsite.  As they didn't have a GPS, we drove back out to the road and parked at the entrance to wait for them so that they could see where to turn.  30 minutes later they arrived and we all went back to set up.  The Shoprite curry and rice came into it's own as we bolstered it with some beans and with full warm tummies we dragged ourselves off to bed.  Though not before discussing the raging veld fire that we could see over the hill.  So with promises to listen out for crackling or smelling smoke as it approached the camp so that we could wake each other up, we turned in for the night.