Oct 15th ; Up at 5.30 this morning to get ot the border and through asap as Ben had told us the road in Tanzania is bad.
Made good time to the border, the gate was still locked but it was just before 8am, so we thought it was not open yet.
Drove around to try and find the Customs and Immigration posts, but everythiung was padlocked closed.
Patrick got out to see what was going on and within 3 seconds I was swamped with hordes of snotty kids shouting "white man give me sweets".
Finally an adult appeared and said that the border controls were now in Mbala (the second town we had driven though this morning!!!).
So back we went to Immigration along the bad dirt road. We got there to be told that they could not do the carnet, that had to be done in Mpulungu (the town we had spent the night in!!!!!!!!!!!!)
After many rude words and stressing we had to drive all the way back to Mpulugu, along one of the worst potholed tar roads we have driven in Africa!
Finally got the carnet stramped and then had t make our way back up the steep potholed tar road to Mbala to get the passports stamped THEN drive the 30km's of bad dirt road back to the border.
The whole arsing around took 6 HOURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A very pissed off Patrick and very quiet Sarah at last crossed the border into Tanzania.
It way a bone breaking 2 hour drive on potholed washed away drit roads we were 10km from the campment we would be stopping at. As we rounded the corner I heard Patrick say "for fucks sake" - this was nothing to extraordinary for Patrick so I did not realy take notice until I looked out of the front window.
The bridge over the river was gone!! Not a little bit broken, gone washed away completely un-crossable!!!
Patrick got out and walked the river, this got the attention of the locals. By the time he got back to the car we had quite a crowd around the car all watching to see what the crazy white man would od next!!!
To my horror Patrick drove down the steep drop off anf into the river!!!!!!!!!!!
We made it across in 1 piece but I was just a bit worried about sinking into the mud!!!
Another 40mins of bone breaking got us to the campment and a very very much needed cold beer!
The "bridge" crossing!!
Choosing what to have for dinner
16th Oct ; After a rest we were on the road again to the first National Park we would be visiting in Tanzania.
Ben had travelled the same route that we were about to take around 1 month ago and had warned us that the roads were very bad and it had taken him 3 days to do 200kms!
Well they have been bussy bees since Ben went though because they are in the process of grading all of the roads! There was piles of dirt all over the roads, most of the big holes had been filled ready for the grader to go over them. It was not a good raod by any strech of the imagination but it was not the hell road we had though it was going to be.
We arrived in Katavi National Park around 10.30, and took a slow drive along the main road to the Permit Office.
Along the way we saw some of the most skitty animals ever!! As soon as you slowed the car down to look at them they ran.
We paid our Park entance fees ($100 for 2 people and the car) and them paid for camping within the Park ($20 per person). After a minor heart attack at the prices we went to the camping area to have a look. Well it was a clearing in the bush with a toilet block to the one side!!
We spent the rest fo the day driving around the park determined to get our money's worth of game viewing done!
We tried to ge to the South of the park where there is supposed to be a large amount of Sable and Roan Antelope. Well this in itself turned out to be a nightmare!!!!
As we turned left just past the Permit Office there was a nice "hotel" which allowed camping, on the edge of the river!!! Great if only we had driven around before booking camping in the park.
Oh well, we carried on following the raod around to the track which would lead us to the south of the park.
We saw the turning, but as we turned there was a road works sign, not a problem we thought and carried on.
Well beound the sign were 3 metre high piles of mud and dirt which covered 80% of the road width, every 2 metres for as far as the eye could see!!!
After a few choice words we gave it a try. Well it was so bad that after 5 mins we turned around and went back.
This is the only connecting road within the park which leads to the south! If you dont use this road it is a 45km back track to the next village back then a 40km dirt road to the south of the park!
Not happy with life we went back into the main park area and drove to Kativi Lake and watched the Hippos.
17th Oct ; I was awoken during the night by Hyena's calling from within the camp! Then the early morning wake up consisted of Ellie growls vibrating through the tent!
After the disapointing drive yesterday Patrick was keen to leave the park and get going. I thought we should at least try and see some none skitty game and try visiting the lake again.
We were happily driving around the edge of the lake when I see a "rock", the "rock" then moves, morphs into a Lioness and walks towards the car!
As i'm watching her Patrick points out that there are 2 more lioness's and a lion off to the right too!
As we drove past the one closest to the car crouches down into a stalking posture and watches the car!! We slow down to watch her, as we do she runs behind the car and follows us!
Patrick stops the car and she continues to look around the car, the whole time she is in a stalking posture!!
Once the car is stationary she looses interest and lays down on the shade.
WOW it was the most exciting and humbling thing. It made me feel very vunerable and small.
Very happy with the mornings viewing we leave the park and start the drive to Kigoma.
This road has got to be the worst dirt road we have travelled on to date!! It was worse that the road from the border to Sumbawanga!!!
There were pot holes in the dirt the size of the car, wash aways which would have passed as a cliff edge, loose rocks on steep unhills and huge trucks coming towards us with nowhere for either of us to go!
All of this and more, made for a very stressful and testing drive for both Patrick and the car!!
All 3 of us in one piece we arrive in Kigoma and start looking for Jacobson Beach Camoing which is situated on the shores of Lake Tamganyika.
Camp found we, showered, ate and hit the sack.
18th Oct ; Well rested we went into town this morning to fill up with diesal and try and find the Immigration Office.
Diesal was easy, and the lady at the station was very sweet.
The Immigration Office however was not so easy! We did not see the tiny "home Affairs" sign on the road and ended up in Ijiji.
This is one of the oldest Villages in Africa and the place where it is cliamed that Henry Stanley meet Sir David Livingstone and said the imfamous "Dr Livingstone I presume".
We visited the alleged site of the meeting and then headed back into Kigoma.
This time we say the sign for the Home Affairs but had lost the urge to go!
So insteady we stopped at the central market, had a walk around hen went back to the camp.
We spent the rest of the day sitting in the beach watching the world go by.
19th Oct ; Had a lazy day today.
I had just finished washing the clothes wehn Patrick calmly says "have you seen the size of the strom clouds coming this way" Well I wish I had not looked!!! They were huge black angry clouds over the DRC and they were coming this way fast! Luck was on my side and they never made it over the Lake.
The rest of the day was uneventful.
As always we had not planned out arrival in town very well. The only reason we had come toKigoma was to get the Visa for Burundi BUT we arrived late on a friday so now have to wait until monday morning before we can get the Visa.
Will we never learn?!!!
20th Oct ; Got up eary and went to the Burundi Consulate in town to see if we could get a transit visa.
We arrived at 8.30am, when they opened and there was alrady 10 people siting around outside. This did not please Patrick and a few curses were muttered as we approached the building.
We went straight in only to find that those people were not waiting to go in, they were just hanging around!!
We asked the man behing the desk if it was possible to get a transit visa issued today.
No problems he said, but im sorry, it can take 20 - 30 mins to do. After insisting that we did not mind waiting, he gave us the forms to complete and we were in business!!!!
The visa cost $20 per person for a 3 day transit visa, which was issued within an hour of us arriving!!!! What a result!!!!
We went off into town to try and find an internet connection so that we could check e-mails. Well our luck was in because the first place we tried had access and would allow us to use our laptop!
After informing our nearest and dearest that we were still alive, we headed back to the camp site where we spent the rest of the day sitting on the beach reading and shade bathing (this is like sun bathing but does not involve getting burnt!).
Tomorrow we leave at silly - o'clock so that we can get into, and hopefully, out of Burundi in 1 day.
Nov 12th ; So today was the day we would leave Kenya and go back in Tanzania.
The drive to the border was fine, no hassles.
Leaving Kenya was a breeze, even through Partick had to fill in the Carnet for the Custom Officer!!
Back down in to Tanzania the whole process started again.
When we entered Tanzania last time we were issued a 3 month multi entry Visa so we knew we just had to be stamped in and we were off.
NO, things are never that easy!!!! The Immigration Officer told us that the Visa's were no longer valid because we had left East Africa!!!
This went down like a lead balloon!! Patrick was not a happy camper!!!!
Apparently only Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are classed as East Africa - Burundi and Rwanda do not make the grade!!!
Let the battle commence!!!!!!!
After must "discussion" with the Immagration Officer Patrick is ready to kill!!!
In the end Patrick asks to speak to the person in charge of Immigration and we are shown through to a small room where a stern looking man is sat reading his paper.
Patrick explains to him what has happened - we were told when we first entered Tanzania that it would be fine to enter Burundi and Rwanda (a small white lie but tough), and so did not see why we now have to pay ANOTHER $50 EACH for ANOTHER visa when the one we have is still valid.
After what felt like a life time but was probalbly only 10 mins "Mr Stern" took our passports and walked out of the office. In a panic we followed him out, to see him give them back to the Immigration desk and after talking to the Officer in swahili he walked straight past us and back into his office.
Not sure what the hell is going on now we look at the Immigration officer in horror and disbelief. He just smiles at us then, after what again felt like a life time says,
"You are allowed in, but make sure you spend at least $100 when in Tanzania"
then stamps the passposts and hands them back.
What a relief, we were in!!!!
From the border it was bad dirt road all of the way to Peponi Beach Campsite.
It is here that we have found heaven on earth!!
Each camping site has its own A-frame sun shelter, a power point and are at least 100 metres from the next site!!
A walk around the coconut palm lined grounds, uncovers a palm lined pool over looking a white sand beach, which is just next to a beach volley ball court.
Within spitting distance of the beach is the bar and restaurant - from here you can still hear the crystal clear turquoise sea lapping over the white sandy beach!!!
Oh did I mention the white sandy palm tree lined beach with lapping crystal clear waters is just infront of our campsite?
Overlanding realy is hard work, but someone has got to do it!!!!!!
Diary continued from Kenya ..........................
Nov 13th ; Today was our first full day in paradise!!
My first morning was not quite as relaxing as it could have been, I ended up catching up with washing and finishing the diary for the last few days!!!
Patrick in the other hand, spent the morning turning the car into a bomb site, getting all of his kiting gear out and setting it up!!
Only once all of the kiting gear was ready, did he look at the car do the daily checks - not good!!!
He found what looked like oil under the car. After getting under the car for a good look he realised that the front right shock had blown!!!!
Luckily we were carrying a spare, so, waiting until the "cooler" late afternoon, we changed the shock.
As soon as the last wheel nut was tightened, Patrick was off like a rocket to the beach to launch his kite and get onto the water!
The wind lasted all of 20 mins, but Patrick was happy to be able to get on the water and going properly, for the fist time in 10 months!!!!!
Nov 14th ; Well today was the most stressful day we have had in a long time!!!!
The day sterted with a cup of coffee watching the sun rise over the palm trees infornt of the beach.
Then came a vert tricky decision........
So many loungers to choose from and so many good spot to sit in the shade and read in!!!!!!!!!
Finally I settled for a swim in the pool, then sitting next to the pool reading. When it got too hot, I swam again, then went back to reading.
Patrick choose to sit under the A frame shelter near the car in the morning and migrated to the pool in the afternoon.
After dinner, we finished of the stressful day watching Kung Fu Panda and Ratatouille!!!