(Day 16) Dodoma to Lake Manyara – 15 April 2011
Distance for the day – 323 km Odometer – 6 531 km
Hours on the Bike – 06:12
Donations up to date for Adelaide Hospital – R 47 864.00
We are heading for the halfway mark soon, the bodies are believingly strong with much less aches and pains than anticipated and the motorbikes are holding up. We decided not to request our spare tyres to be sent to Nairobi, because we think we should make the whole distance on the set we set off with in Cape Town. At this stage there seems to be very little to choose between the Michelin Annakee 2’s and the Heidenau K60’s.
The last two days were nearly identical with regards to distance, with +/- 600km’s of gravel for the two days. It was an amazing experience with a bigger challenge for the bikes than the riders. The condition of the roads do not allow you to average more than 50km/h and all loose items rattle to pieces.
One has to regularly check everything and we took a break every 50 km’s or so to get the shocks to cool down. Rufus’s bike lost an important bolt that secures the engine to the frame and before we left Dodoma we went on a wild goose chase into down town to source one. The bracket on his one pannier also broke and he tied the whole box onto his top box. This caused it to buckle the alue rack and break the bolts securing it to the bike. New plans had to be made.
The actual riding time to Lake Manyara took us just over six hours. We stopped for another two and a half hours along the way. Yesterday it was eight hours stopping time. We once again saw some beautiful countryside and the exact same trees that you see in the Movie “The Lion King”. The people in this part of the country dress a little different with the Muslim head gear. As we got closer to Lake Manyara the views just became overwhelming with big open areas and mountains in the background. We got back onto a beautiful tar road that now runs from Babati to Arusha and the last 20 km’s to our night stop was a dream.
We checked in at the Maramboi Tented Camp at Lake Manyara. It is idyllic and for $70p/p/night including dinner, bed and breakfast, it was exactly what the doctor ordered – highly recommended to anybody. The Manager, Elisha Marco gave us a brief introduction of the area and showed us to our luxurious tents with the most beautiful views, with Zebra and other game grazing within a few metres from the tents. We had a first-class dinner and the service was excellent. A night guard patrols the area at night and escorts the guests between the tents and the main entertainment area. Maramboi is on the edge of Lake Manyara and situated between two Nature Reserves with animals roaming freely between them. The eyes were heavy and the bodies longing for a bed, so it was an early night – at least for some of us.
Tomorrow we are invited by Trish (Daughter of Dr. Pat Meyer, of Adelaide) & Rob Ferguson to visit one of their Lodges at Ngorogoro Crater. We will leave our bikes and go by vehicle for one day. This would definitely be one of the highlights of our trip and we are all very exited.