Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tanzania – Mwanza

Tanzania, Mwanza
Day 265.

Kobero a small town, the border of Burundi - Tanzania. By far one can see the red and white barrier. There is no queue, no large or small cars. And this time no "action", because all around this afternoon is somehow a sleepy and dizzy. I parked the car next to the barrier, only slowly comes a local moneychanger. Jambo, Change Money?? I will let him know that with him and with the money I will deal when all the other formalities are completed and begin to look for the necessary persons. I find the Immigration and they are surprised to see a white person entering the room. But after the exchange of greetings I am directed to a back room to the next officer, who , without having a closer look at the passport shortly announces - "$ 40".

'I am astonished and I declare that I am still trying to leave Burundi, and it should be free. The officer checks the passport, finds Burundi transit visa and says that all is ok, and I can get the stamp of departure from the previous room. And so it was, without further ado.

Next – the formalization of the car for leaving the country. It took only a few minutes. As usual, some questions about the whereabouts of Estonia are required. But if you point upwards and explain, that in Europe, between Sweden and Russia, then they get it . That`s all, no messing with personal things, or checking the engine number of the car. No thoughtless wasting of time. It was just nice, courteous and accurate service.

Return to the car, and already five or six money changers have gathered around. After briefly trading over the swap rate, I change the remaining Burundi money into Tanzanian money.


View back to Burundi.

Having asked about the location of Tanzanian border and the officials there, I was replied that they are located a few miles away. I drive on, this time on the left side of the road. Tanzania is, after all, again, a country of the left-hand traffic. From the opposite direction a truck is coming towards me, also on the left side of the road. Since there is more space on the right, I keep to the right, so that the car could pass me. It could. After all, it seems that there is a kind of transition land between the borders, so one can get used to the opposite side of traffic, or perhaps there is some kind of an unwritten rule that large vehicles are driving on the right side of the road and the small ones on the left.

A few more kilometers, and there is another barrier on the road. And behind it a couple of big trucks. Now on the left side of the road already. I drive up to the barrier, make a hand gesture, but the barrier does not open. I was told to leave the car there and go and register myself into the country. I show the visa in my passport , but the official at the barrier would rather see a yellow fever vaccination. I find the correct document and hand it over. It is now probably the second time during this trip, that the document of vaccination is asked to be looked over. The first time was a few months ago in DR Congo. In a few minutes I get my copy back, everything is ok. No money was asked for looking at the the copy.

I find sitting in front of the house an immigration officer, he goes slowly to the table takes my passport, looks at the visa, takes the data to the computer, and then comes the question: Where I was going to?? To Tanzania, of course. And more exactly?? My answer is to Dar, to the capital that is - Dar es Salaam. The answer is correct. I breathe a sigh of relief, but soon comes a new question - in which hotel I am going to stay. I'm trying to explain that there would be no hotel, I own my hotel on the wheels, but the explanation does not help. "This is the wrong answer", to quote now the classics. The official beckons me to come to the table and shows that the computer needs a name of a hotel. So I take my Lonely Planet travel guide from the car and choose a hotel. All the formalities are completed, everyone is satisfied. And the border crossing stamp stands now on the visa , not in the center of the next blank page. A small thing, but important, because each page significant. Next over the the hot and dusty square to find the Customs.

It seems that I am the first tourist in October. Cool. Looking over the table I notice that in September a foreigner by car has also passed the place.


Tanzania, red and dusty sidetrack.

There is a gas station by the road. I make a stop and somehow very quickly somebody tries to insert the pipe into the tank. That means that it is necessary to check the reader. Whether the reading is still zero in the dispenser. This time, it is not, it reads 10 liters already. The service station employee asks how much I wanted. I wanted to have the reading on zero and then we can continue.

Overnight place - the police station, among large trucks.

It happened as usually happens, when the plan is to spend the night somewhere on the road. Surely could not make to Lake Victoria before dark . So I started a half hour before sunset look to the right and left, to find a shaded place to sleep, because Tanzania is much more sparsely populated than Rwanda and Burundi. Tanzania, according to Wikipedia , is in the list of the world's occupancy the 158-th (46 inhabitants/km2), Rwanda, on the other hand is 31st (380 inhabitants/km2) and Burundi 48-th (298 inhabitants/km2).

And then suddenly in the middle of the road there was a truck-weighing inspection site where the men kindly advised me not to proceed in the dark, but spend the night there in peace and security . Right on time, because twenty minutes later the sun would have been set down and then searching for a place to sleep would have been much more difficult.

Next half an hour I answered the familiar questions – Where, From, and if really from Europe by this car etc. And more questions on this topic. Familiar issues, and again in the end a proposal to sell them the bus. And they wonder why I am driving around instead of having seats in the bus and earning money. Familiar topics. Already in West Africa I thought of having a huge sticker on the sides of my bus „This Car Is Not For Sale“ . Then I need not to explain everybody that I really will not sale it.


The main means of transport is the bicycle. One can transport almost anything on it. The size of the goods on the bicycle is of no importance.





At the shore of Lake Victoria, waiting for Busisi-Kikongo ferry.


This is the first barge, No place. My car was the first that remained behind.


At last on the ferry. Behind me is standing a local travel bus and under it water is flowing out , perhaps the radiator. I let the driver know that something is amiss with coolant. The driver accepts my remark , but there is no visible sign of something to be done with it. Later, after leaving the ferry, this local bus passes me, and in full steam ahead towards Mwanza, so there is still enough water inside.


Circular traffic signs can be very well made from the lids of metal barrels.


And not just circular.

Mwanza is Tanzania's second largest city, located in the south shore of Lake Victoria, and there are approximately 1.2 million inhabitants. According to Lonely Planet Mwanza Yacht Club was supposed to offer camping , and so it was. The price only 10,000 TSH (or 4.3 €), normal facilities , the shower and bathroom are clean, and there is water in the shower . And electricity, to recharge the batteries of laptops and cameras. But no WiFi , but it does not matter because I have planned to buy a local internett card in this country.


View of the city over the bay.

Buying of a personal net. In the center of town at the Vodafone office I wish to buy a SIM card for local 3G internet . The faster connection packet for 30-days costs TZH 70,000 (30.2 €), and volume limitation is 4.5 GB.

Another option is a slower connection with limited capasity. The price is 30,000 TZH (13 €). Really good, but when I ask how slow the slow connection is then the reply is that „ really slow“ . I believe the personnel here, because if they say that the net is slow, then it is particularly slow for Estonians. I choose the faster package , the speed of today is just this:

imageNot a bad result at all.

A few hundred meters further local fishermen sell fresh fish.


Tilapias are cleaned immediately right there on top of the stone.



Now comes food blog - Preparation of the fish with lemon and herbs before cooking.


Then tinfoil around the fish to prevent the loss of something while roasting.


The result in the light of a flash lamp.


Last act. A bit later the cats started to fight over the remains of fish.




Marabou Stork.


And at the end - the journey in East Africa during the recent months.


No comments: