(Day 13) Kande Beach to Mbeya – 12 April 2011
Distance for the day – 498 km Odometer – 5 575 km
Hours on the Bike – 07:36
Donations up to date for Adelaide Hospital – R 47 864.00
We woke early this morning and left Kande Beach at first light.
The rest on the previous day meant a lot and soon after the tricky sand stretch we were cruising on the tar heading north to the Tanzanian Border. What a lovely ride it was, going through some mountainous area on the side of the lake.
We rode through a rainforest and stopped at a section were some huge Rubber trees were planted. Each tree had a little container, made out of the shell of a coconut, attached on the side of the tree. One of the locals showed us how it works, by scraping a piece of bark off every day, allowing the sap from the tree to drip in to the container.
We crossed dozens of big rivers feeding the Lake, a lot of them in flood. The enourmity of all the water is mind boggling, yet very little irrigation developments are seen. By looking at the landscape and type of vegetation, it shows that the whole region gets a lot of rain annually. Additional irrigation is probably unnecessary. The further north we travelled the wetter it became with more and more rice fields that could be seen.
We tried all fuel stations on the route, but no fuel was available. The range on our tanks luckily increased because of the maximum speed of 80km/h that we had to keep. Customs at the Border Post went quickly and we just needed to exchange some currency. Stelios was caught with a quick hand movement of the Black market dealer and was robbed of R400. They are very sly and we prefer to exchange at a Bank or Bureau de Change, but this time they could not help us with exchanging enough Rands.
Tanzania also has a speed limit of 80km/h and the roads seem to be a bit busier. The first 120km’s to Mbeya has a lot of hills and tobacco, rice, maize bananas and tea plantations can be seen everywhere.
The economy is mostly based on agriculture, which accounts for more than half of the GDP, provides 85 percent (approximately) of exports, and employs approximately 80 percent of the workforce. Compare this to SA, with Agriculture contributing 3% and USA at 1.0% of their GDP’s. Tanzania is the third-largest producer of gold in Africa after South Africa and Ghana.
We are staying at ICC (Ifisi Comunity Center) in Mbeya for the night. It is a project of the Mbalizi Evangelistic Church (MEC). Following the 1905 gold rush, Mbeya was founded as a gold mining town in the 1920s. The area around Mbeya has been called the “Scotland of Africa”, and with good reason.
It was the longest day in the saddle, 7 hours 36 min, but we only covered 498km’s. These KLR’s definitely do not want to run much harder than 100km/h or their fuel consumption will increase a lot. On one of the previous days we were riding +/- 120km/h with a bit of a headwind, which gave us a consumption of 15.2km/L. Today we got 25km/L doing +/- 80km/h.
The day also brought some laughter. Rufus was still wiping the sleep out his eyes, when he once again ate the dust less than 100m from Camp. Shortly after this Normans bike made the usual topple over, but this time the one mirror broke off and he also bent his handlebar protector. Stelios got robbed and Richard complained that his behind has told him that the way it felt it reminded him of the school days when the late Mr. Billy Rowlls gave him six of the best.