The last 100 or so kms in Zambia to the Tunduma border post went
by as we realised the poverty of the people living right next
to the road. They chop down blocks of trees, stack and burn it
into charcoal. We found a few unhappy souls at the border as they
were not allowed to take charcoal out of Zambia. Some villages
have stalls where they all sell the same produce, such as tomatoes
After crossing the border it becomes clear that Tanzania is much
more affluent than Zambia. The villages were brick buildings with
corrugated iron roofs and not the mud and sticks affairs we've
become used to.
Our diesel tanks were running low as we crossed Zambia without
buying any of their expensive R18/l diesel (which was in short
supply anyway). We relied on 6 jerry cans, the 70 liter in the
Lr tank and the 80l in the main tank to carry us through to Mbeya.
At Mbeya we camped at Karibuni Church Centre which we reached
early the afternoon. Karibu is Kiswahili for welcome, karibuni
is welcome to this place. They have showers with cold water only
and ablutions without the porcelein bits. Just a concrete floor
sloped towards a hole. Man you need strong legs for these and
a good aim. We ended up washing ourselves in the tent with a bowl
of water that we heated on the gasstove. Only the next day did
we have enough energy to try the 'refreshing' cold showers.
We saw a Landcruiser bakkie at the church with a goat riding
on top of the canopy. At first we thought it was tied there (we
saw plenty of those during the trip) but this goat was just along
for the ride and wasn't tied to anything.
We found an Engen garage in Mbeya that had a VISA
sign, but they wouldn't take cards. The sign was for the brand
new Stanbic ATM, so we drew 200 000 shillings on a Visa card.
For a brief moment we were rich! And then we couldn't even fill
Ramkat's tanks with it and had to go and draw another 200 000
The road to Iringa wasn't too bad and we were used to the gazzilion
roadblocks where friendly policemen asked all sorts of questions
to practise their english. Just past Iringa we passed a LandRover
with a new sticker on it for 'Crocodile camp'. We promptly got
ourselves invited to be the first guests at this soon to be opened
The campsite on the banks of the river had huge hotwater showers,
a lekker bushpub, a few chalets and Jennifer the owner even prepared
supper for us with local dishes cooked green bananas and rice
boiled in coconut milk. Delicious! We left the next day with a
promise to be back.
Mikumi game reserve was a surprise with plenty game. We even
got to see our first sitatunga. North of DarEsSalaam the climate
got more tropical and we saw plenty coconut and banana trees.
In a small village we were caught speeding and no amount of pleading
got us out of trouble.
Then we arrived at paradise. Literally. Peponi Beach campsite
was the best campsite of our trip. The sea is probably around
35 degrees c. At low tide it pulls back close to a kilometer.
Magnificent!! They have a curio shop, a great pub & restaurant
and showers with hot water (in the evenings). By now it was so
hot in daytime that we didn't mind cold showers.