Day 194 - 195 Tanzania : Iringa - Mbeya

Day 194 Tanzania

Trip Distance 311km (193m) Total Distance 21456 km (13335 m)
Road Condition 95% tar 5% dirt  
Time to travel 4hrs 30mins  
Cost of diesel TSH1525 (£0.73)    
Stopover
Mbeya
Utengule Coffee Plantation S8 53.097 E33 19.224 TSH26000 (US$20) - A bit expensive but great clean toilets and showers, pool and internet access at TSH2500/hr.

We packed up as we waited for our delivery of 5kg of fresh, organic veggies to arrive.  Once they did, I packed them away and we set off for Mbeya and the Utengule Coffee Plantation.  The drive was uneventful except for the last 15 or so kilometres to the coffee plantation that were a bit rough but nothing untoward.  We arrived at the hotel to find that we were camping on the hotel's helipad but had full access to all the amenities - the pool being the most important one as it was hellishly hot. 

Helga (Ben and Kate's Land Cruiser) was already parked up as they had arrived a day earlier but they were away on a coffee plantation tour.  We set ourselves up, put on our swimming gear and went off to the pool.  Ben and Kate joined us a little later.  As the sun started to sink in the sky we went back to the vehicles to prepare supper - that night on the menu braaied boerewors and greek-style pork belly strips. We used up Ben and Kate's red cabbage from The Old Farmhouse to make a delicious coleslaw and a green salad made up the trio. 

At the hotel they have an open air movie showing every Saturday night.  This night's was to be "Babel".  Kate and Ben had loved their time spent in Morocco and, although they had already seen the movie, wanted to see it again.  Trevor and I hadn't really enjoyed it the first time round, so we decided to skip it.

As the coals from the braai were burning down, we lit up the sheesha (hubbly bubbly) and decided to have a brandy coffee.  As 1 turned into 5, the sheesha burnt down and the movie ended, Kate and Ben returned to find us having our own impromptu party.  Deciding that we had probably had enough, giggling, we climbed the stairs of the tent and went to bed hoping not to get have to get up too early the next day.

But of course, Ben and Kate were leaving and we wanted to say goodbye and, besides, the sun was up and try to sleep in a furnace as the sun beats down and it's impossible.  So we got up.  Trevor went and bought a loaf of bread from the hotel and we shared that with Ben and Kate.  And then it was time for them to leave.  We kissed and hugged goodbye (we'd be doing this a lot in the days ahead) and off they went to cross the border into Malawi.  Their next stop, The Mushroom Farm in Livingstonia.

We washed the breakfast dishes and spent the rest of the day lazing around the pool and with me catching up on the blog (I'm doing a lot of that recently as I seem to spend days not doing it and then have to spend hours catching up).  Luckily their internet access is fairly brisk so uploading documents wasn't too much of a strain.  We had lunch at the hotel restaurant and for the price (it was expensive) the food was ordinary to uninspiring - don't bother unless you really don't want to cook.  Trevor set about doing the daily checks on Sully to find that her air filter was completely clogged, so this was duly changed and we went to bed prepared to leave the following day.