Long story short: TANZANIA
Time spent: 10 days (February 3rd to 13th)
Distance traveled: 2450 kilometers
If you wish to see the detailed route, please this click the image of this map above to open a new page with OUR FULL ROUTE on Google Maps.
Entering and exiting:
IN: We entered through Rusumo border crossing point. All very easy and fast. The immigration officer had us fill in some papers with basic information for visa. We paid 50 USD per visa (directly to them, cash and USD only), got receipts for that and were ready to go in no time. Customs officer filled in the Carnet de Passages for us without looking at the motorcycles.
OUT: As quick and easy as the entrance: filled in some basic information into small paper forms they gave us and received the exit stamp to the passports. The customs officer filled in the Carnets for motorcycles, registered something in his own journals and off we went.
1. Long distances between the interest points :) We got so used to small fun rides in the hills of Rwanda, that long and flat Tanzanian riding stretches often felt seriously boring.
2. Road signs. We were told by many different people that Tanzanian traffic police can be annoying with their efforts to get money from drivers in the form of fines or bribes. So we decided to ride in Tanzania strictly obeying the speed limit signs to not give those officers a chance to get anything from us. The problem was that the road signs, if you pay attention to them, are often positioned ridiculously: there are "end of speed limit" signs missing where they obviously should be present or in many places the speed limits are absurd (maybe suitable for big cargo trucks, but not for cars or motorcycles), so it took some patience to actually follow those signs...
3. Some strange rule to stop at every pedestrian road crossing (zebra) which is enforced only in some regions of Tanzania. Truck and car drivers in some towns actually do stop at every zebra and it creates slow moving traffic jams.
Roads: All the main roads are more or less paved, but a lot of them need maintenance - there are stretches with lots of potholes. Some of them are fixed temporarily using red mud, some not... However, there's a newly finished stretch of the road A104 from Babati, through Dodoma up until Iringa, which is well paved, with barely any traffic on it and winding up and down the hills with very beautiful scenery.
Fuel: About 0.85 EUR per liter of premium unleaded. Our favorite gas station was Total, the fuel quality there was good. We tried Oryx once and immediately felt that our engines were not too pleased with their fuel quality. In Tanzania all gas stations would only accept cash payments from us.
1. A few relaxed days on the coast of lake Victoria in Mwanza, camping in the yachtclub.
2. The opportunity to see Mt. Kilimanjaro peaking out of the clouds in the little town called Moshi.
3. Chasing some zebras off the road between Lake Manyara and Tarangire national parks.
4. All the giant baobab trees and the cows with enormous horns!
People: As everywhere we have seen in Africa - Tanzanians are as well very nice people. However, as they mostly speak Kiswahili, many people we met, could understand simple English, but spoke very little.
Roadside eateries: There are lots of places where they grill meat or fish and serve it with fries or some vegetables. The interesting thing is that the cutlery is almost never offered. Instead there is always a bucket of hot water and soap available to wash your hand before and after eating.
Accomodation: The prices vary from 5 EUR for a double room with en suite bathroom to almost 20 EUR for camping. Everything got very expensive (compared to the prices in other regions) when we approached the touristy Northern area next to Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Mt. Kilimanjaro were roads are mostly used safari style cars full of white-faced tourists, happily paying whatever quoted for accommodation and all the attractions Tanzania has to offer.
Traffic police: As mentioned above, we have heard that they can be a nuisance, so we tried harder than usually to obey the law when riding in Tanzania and were never stopped by the police when doing something wrong. We were only stopped once and the officer wanted to see our driving licences and then carefully checked... if the turn signals on both motorcycles blink properly... :)