Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The End of the Game

Mercado Central, Inhambane, MZ
After nearly ten months away from family, friends and Switzerland, I'm back in town. I've left for my adventures on the 26th of August 2012 and was back on the 24th of June 2013. That's the longest period of time I have spent out of Switzerland.

When I left I wasn't sure at all at about what I was going to do. Now it feels great to have lived through this amazing adventure. Yes, it has been kind of an adventure. Starting with the Divemaster course, I didn't know where I would land or whom I would encounter. It comes out I have met some great people at Tofo Scuba and Tofo in general, and some less great ones. But then, you can't be friends with everyone I guess.

Tofo Scuba boat, Tofo, MZ
I am sorry I didn't send many postcards. They were not easily available, and if they were, then mostly old looking ones. If I pay more than a dollar for a postcard, I want it at least to look nice. And then you still have to find a post office to send them off.

I have lived through so many things in these ten months, more than I would have in a normal year at home, at work. I loved taking care of our customer's needs and accompanying them on dives during my course. The boat rides weren't always easy but hey, who wants a life that is too easy? Five and a half months spent diving in this marvelous spot where you encounter whale sharks (if you're lucky; and very lucky on a dive), manta rays, devil rays, stingrays, other rays, potato and other groupers, reef sharks, leopard sharks and so on. The reefs are a beauty of their own. Maybe not as colorful as other places you might go, but still quite a sight. I would only recommend going to Tofo for some spectacular diving. Tofo Scuba is very professional and always puts customer's security first. Their well trained IDC instructors really know what they are doing.

Bus ride in Mozambique
Enough praise for TS for now.

Someone said to me one day, that for a person to be generally happy, he or she needs to see a new place every year or so. I've seen tons of new places in only about 4 months of traveling. As it took me five and a half month to complete my Divemaster, I only left Tofo for good by mid-February. There has been this damn pool which had to be re-plastered and generally improved and then December came along and thwarted my plans to be a Divemaster by the end of the year as all the South African Christmas Holidays people came in for Ocean Safaris. But then I finished in January and had a great Visa Mission to recover my lost passport. I wrote lengthily about it, so I won't repeat myself too much. But just to say, this was, if it hadn't been for such a dramatic reason, a great little trip around Swaziland and Northeastern South Africa. But so has been the wedding I have been invited to last year in October. Black Jack as he calls himself, this really awesome fellow working with Lorien for Travel2Mozambique invited me and a German guy doing a practical at the same company for a traditional wedding over a week-end. Black Jack spent some years in Germany during the war in Mozambique, so he speaks a very good German.

Diving in Tofo, MZ
During those Christmas and New Year holidays, when I got a chance at participating in a complete Open Water course, I got invited by Nelri's mom, Kathryn, to come over and visit them in SA. Nelri was doing her OW. Kathryn already was a diver, but hadn't dived for quite some years, and was a bit insecure concerning the currents on Giant's Castle. So I took her by the hand and accompanied the group just for her. She was really glad about it, so she could enjoy the dive and get more confident about diving in rough conditions again. Sometimes you don't need much to do something you feel a little insecure about, and then you enjoy it greatly.

Trash heap in Maputo, MZ
I've spent more than a month with Kathryn and Nelri at their place in Hoedspruit. It's in the National Park area and is one of the entry points for Kruger Park and for a lot of private game reserves. I've spent an amazing time there watching wild animals at the door step. Yes we lived on a private game farm property where there are giraffes, warthogs, zebras, wildebeests and so on. During this month I also started a Field or Nature Guide course. But as I would probably never would use it, I thought it too much work to learn all the 50 trees, hundreds of grasses, mammals with gestation periods, arthropods, snakes, birds, fishes, insects, basic geology, basic astrology and so on by heart. It was just too much to ingest and digest on such a short period of time. But I've had a great time during the practicals and learned a lot more than I would have on normal game drives. I was put in different lodges where I helped out a little in order to see what there is to do and how it is done. I also met some great people during these times.

Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga, ZA
Although Kathryn organized me a gyrocopter flight, I still got itchy to move on after a month of staying static again. Perfect timing, as the Kathryn's aunt was coming over to stay for a while. So I left and went to “My father's town” (Johannesburg; silly joke) and met again with Laurentia and Robert, my couchsurfing friends from when I first got to South Africa end of August. My luck that Robert couldn't go back to work so he was there with Laurentia. Unlucky for them though, as it meant he wouldn't get any salary for the time being. The unrest that prevented him to go back to DRC must have settled since, as he's currently back at work. We had scheduled another meeting to go and visit Soweto, but now that Robert is working again, the plan fell to pieces. Thus I flew home over Dubai instead of Johannesburg. Which is a lot shorter anyway.

Zebra, ThornyBush, Mpumalanga, ZA
Then it really started with Gaborone in Botswana, from where I left for Zimbabwe. I still remember the Botswana customs officer's chuckle when he saw me going to Zimbabwe. I still don't know why. I spent three great weeks in Zimbabwe and saw many a beautiful scenery and amazing old sites and ruins. On the path of Cecil John Rhodes and his crazy empire-building. And seeing the Victoria Falls again and in full force this time, was absolutely amazing. The change is impressive.

From Zimbabwe I went up to Zambia, where I spent most of my time chilling out in Livingstone's Jollyboys and in Lusaka's Kalulu backpackers. But I've managed to make some new lifetime friends I think. Eve and Andrea, the two Texan ladies I've met in Livingstone took me on to Kafue and Eve then advised me to go to South Luangwa. I've had great pleasure in traveling with you girls for a few days. South Luangwa proved to be absolutely marvelous. The setting of Marula camp with its river view is gorgeous and a place where you can sit for days watching the hippos and the birds. There I met this crazy Spanish dude Marc, who did a motorbike trip from north to south.

Gyrocopter, Hoedspruit, Mpumalanga, ZA
From Zambia, my travels led me eastward to Malawi. I crossed the border and went to Lilongwe (it's a lil' long way) where I caught up with the guy from Wales whom I seemed to be following from Lusaka through Chipata to Lilongwe. But then our roads separated.

Again I “settled down” for a few days in this beautiful spot of the world called Monkey Bay, where Marc joined me. I got a little sick there and was really tired, so that I ended up spending quite some time sleeping. Then I left for Cape Mclear where I spent another five days or so, being sick and recovering. After that I had seen enough of Malawi and made a two days trip out to Tanzania. I didn't have any tour guide and relied upon what other people had told me. But nobody had told me anything about the southern part of Tanzania, where I would enter the country. People speaking Swahili didn't help much. But then I met this lovely couple, Pat and Tom who took me under their wings for a few days. They invited me to Simambwe, the village where they are doing 2 years of Peace Corps work trying to improve the choos (toilets). In the process I helped Michael, father from their hosting family, to get some computer and spreadsheet knowledge.

World's View, Matobo's, ZW 
After that I traveled to Iringa in order to visit Ruaha NP. As I didn't find a good offer straightaway I spent some time helping out the manager of Central Lodge getting a Facebook page for the lodge, and registering it on different hostel booking sites. I finally took a cheaper offer (still expensive) and met Tiffany on the way. From Iringa I planned my next steps before home: my holidays at the end of my traveling. I organized a trek to Mt Meru with FairTravel and five days of diving out of Dar es Salaam.

I've discovered some new beers and have collected a certain number of SIM cards. Although more and more the phone companies cover multiple countries. So I ended up taking Airtel cards in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. But my Zimbabwe one got stolen with the phone.

Great Zimbabwe, ZW
This is the End of this Game. The next Game starts soon but won't be about traveling. I've ended up being accepted as a volunteer, not in Peace Corps, but at Paléooooooléooooooooléoooooooooo ! :)

I will miss the cheap food you can get anywhere, the street vendors selling stuff to bus and car passengers, the negotiable prices, and a lot more. I won't miss people thinking I'm a filthy rich mzungu, the crammed busses and minibusses and so on. All in all, it has been a very positive experience!

Thank you everyone for your support, in whatever way it was given, and for some, still giving.

Chocolate whiskey cake at Tony's, Bvumba Mtns, ZW

Chinhoyi Caves, ZW

Road gang, Livingstone, ZM

Victoria Falls, ZM

Leopard being chased by baboons, South Luangwa, ZM

Watching hippos, South Luangwa, ZM

drinking chingombingo, Monkey Bay, MW

Sunset in Cape Mclear, MW

Birthday cake, Cape Mclear, MW

Modi & Happy, Michael's kids, Simambwe village, TZ

Impalas, Ruaha, TZ

Descent from Mt Meru, Arusha, TZ

The flight home with John & Rebecca, EK726

And what I certainly won't miss, are the African style choo (toilets)!


And congratulate my cow for having followed for more than 28'000 kms! She unfortunately lost her two forelegs in a diving accident. A moray eel bit them off. Untrue story.


Saturday, 15 June 2013

Mt Meru

Arusha National Park gate
I left Iringa in a bus to Arusha. The bus comes from Mbeya where it probably should leave around 6 and pass Iringa around 10. As it happened, and as it is usual, the bus only arrived around 11. Then instead of the scheduled 14 hours, it took 16 hours to get to Arusha. We got there around 3 the next morning.

Tiffany, whom I had met on the Ruaha tour, organized me a pickup with a friend, Mponjoli, she had met in Arusha. He waited several hours and then brought me to a cheap lodge a little outside of town. Ben, the owner of FairTravel had told me I could stay at his house if I arrived before midnight. He said I should call if I didn't find any place to stay. But everything turned out to be fine, thanks to Tiffany.
The next morning Mponjoli fetched me at the lodge and we took a dala-dala or two to go to Ben's house. There I prepared the mountain equipment I would need for the expedition with him. When that was done, I took off with Mponjoli and we went back to town for Internet, food and beers. We also found another cheap guesthouse for me, as Ben already had a group of 5 or 6 people staying at his place.

The following morning I took a piki-piki to Ben's house where my main luggage and expedition equipment was. From there we left with Honest who would be my tour guide, to Arusha National Park. On the way we picked up our porter and cook, Frank.

Once we get to the park gate, the driver (Eric) and Honest go to pay the entry fees. I wait a while and talk some to Frank. After a while they came back and we drove through the park to Momella gate. There, Frank and Honest get their stuff packed and ready for the trek. Then we only have to wait for the ranger who would guide and protect us. At Momella gate I met a married Irish couple, Catherine and Conor, who were on their second honeymoon. They originally had wanted to go on this trip one year earlier, but after their wedding, didn't have the funds. Another married couple, Laura and Javier, from Pampluna in Spain, were on their proper honeymoon. We each were on the trek with separate tour operators, and so each had our own guide and porters.

Our guides
The Irish couple had been dropped off at a lodge in the park and had been told to present themselves at Momella gate at nine the following morning. Another guide would then come and take them up to Mt Meru. As we arrived around 11, they already had been waiting for more than two hours. We finally all left around noon.

The first part was mostly flat and through bush. We saw a herd of buffalos nearby the road. Then it started getting forested and climbing somewhat. The forest looked quite humid. The whole vegetation had more water than its southern counterparts. We stopped to eat our lunch boxes at Fig Tree Arch. My lunch box had a quarter chicken, chips, an egg, an apple and a cookie in it. It was way too much so I kept the egg and the cookie for later.

Ants
After 4 hours or so of walking, we reached a plateau which was out of the dense forest. On the left side we saw Ash Cone and all opposite us a huge dropping wall rose up to the sky. That's where we would be walking up the following day. Currently, we had risen enough and reached our first stop, the Miriakamba hut at 2500m above seal level. We had just done our first elevation of 1000m.

At the hut we were helped to our rooms for the night, each group having his private dorm of four beds. Catherine and Conor still didn't have any news from their crew. They were simply not there. I quickly got some hot water to wash myself, and Frank got some ready for Catherine and Conor too. Honest later told me tea was ready, and that I should invite my friends as well, as they wouldn't have any otherwise. Tables were nicely dressed up for us and for Laura and Javier. Although they had separated them, as they had a different guide. We then all drank tea together and told our guides to dress one table for all of us for the following meals. During tea, Catherine and Conor's crew finally arrived. But they didn't have sleeping bags for them. The tour company had told them it wasn't necessary for them to take any as they would be provided. After tea, which was served with biscuits and popcorn, we soon had dinner.

Before getting to Miriakamba hut
The following morning we woke up just before seven to wash and then get breakfast. Although I couldn't sleep at all, so I went to watch the sunrise way before that. I even spotted Kilimanjaro in the distance for the first time. After breakfast we left for our second day, up to Saddle Hut. There are a lot of steps on this part of the hike. As I was very tired, I already felt some exhaustion while climbing up. The first cabin being at 2500m didn't help, and we went up to 3500m. Honest took out some stuff out of my big bag, and carried it himself. I tried to protest, but to no avail. The others all had small day bags with only necessary stuff for the hike. But there bags were now weighing less than mine. After arriving at Saddle Hut, we had lunch, we washed quickly and then had some tea before climbing the 300m up to Little Meru. From there we had our first glimpse of what the view would be the next day. But only slightly. Catherine and Conor decided to rest at the hut, as with her blisters it wouldn't have helped. And it didn't help the next two days anyway.

Sunrise from Miriakamba hut
After the short climb we had dinner at five thirty and then went to sleep. We had to wake up close to one in the morning to start ascending the summit. We put on all the warm clothes we had been carrying around for two days and presented ourselves for tea and biscuits. A necessary step before starting the climb in the now cold weather.

It took us about an hour to get to Rhino Point at about 3800m. Hiking in the dark is not so easy. And it's even less easy if you have a headlamp that doesn't light too much.

View of Ash Cone and Saddle hut from Little Meru climb
After some time I had troubles getting enough air, so I had to slow down and separate from the group. Without any hiking for three years, I was not in a good shape. I took it really slowly, but it was a tough climb. At sunrise we met the other two groups again at the ridge close to the summit. We watched the sunrise there before attempting the last bit which was the worst. The really steep climb presented huge steps and winded me out at every one of them.

I finally made it anyway, and I was really happy about it. My highest summit so far (and probably forever).

Ready for the conditions
After that we walked back down, which was much easier and quicker. Walking sticks are a great help if you have weak knees or other leg problems. We rested a while at Saddle hut and had lunch there, and then went on down to Miriakamba hut. As Catherine and Conor had a flight to get the next day at three in the afternoon, their guide arranged for them to be picked up by the rescue car. But after walking down the next day with Laura and Javier, we learned that they were still waiting for their lift. So they would have better come with us to see the waterfall and the giraffe.

Sunrise from the ridge close to summit

Descent

Honest on summit

Descent

Twiga in plain close to Momella gate

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

16 hours in a stuffy bus

Ok it was a big bus, so it was much more comfortable. But let me tell you, 16 hours in a bus where you can barely see out of the small windows is still too long. And then the seats are still pretty squeezy. But I made it to Arusha around 3 am (departed from Iringa around 11am). So I guess I can't complain.

The next and last big African bus ride will be from Arusha to Dar-es-Salaam. But that's for another day, after my trek to Mt Meru.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Ruaha


In Iringa I spent a night in Wihanzi Guesthouse which had been recommended to me by Pat & Tom. Once I found it, namely after having been way too far down one road, it happened to be really close to the bus station. The only problem was communication, as I don't speak Kiswahili, and the staff doesn't speak English, or any other language that would help for that matter. But I inquired for Ruaha anyway, as I saw a notice for budget travellers.

Costs to Ruaha are calculated by car to go there, do game drives and come back. Accommodation and food is calculated per person. As I am alone, it would be quite expensive. The first price was at USD 350.-. As it was late, after my bus drive that took forever, I had to wait until the following morning to go to check prices at other companies. I first went to Warthog, which Pat & Tom used for their trip to Ruaha. But the price was still really high: USD 250.- for the first day, and then USD 150.- for every successive day. That means if you plan to spend a night, the cost for the car is USD 400.-. That is without food and accommodation so far. I walked into Masai Alley, which is famous for its crafts market in Iringa. There I bought some beautiful paintings and told the guy about my problem finding cheap safari. He said he knew someone who could maybe help me.

A little later, a guy hails me in the street. He wore a dirty old t-shirt, so I thought he wanted money. It happens it was the guy who could help me with my safari. Michael, the guy's name, brings me back into Masai Alley, further in, where there also is a lodge. Central Lodge, managed by Titho, an astonishing fellow. He's very friendly and helpful and said I could stay here for the same price as I pay in Wihanzi. I said I would come, but probably only after my safari. Michael tells me he's trying to reach someone who was interested in going to Ruaha. That guy couldn't be reached again, so I ended up bringing my stuff to Central Lodge with Titho's help.

The next day still nothing new. Some people have their own car, but is full, other people simply don't go, and most of all, there aren't that many tourists around. I end up helping Titho and Michael setting up a Facebook page for the lodge and for their tour operator company, as well as registering on different hostel and lodge websites.

The following day I get to use Titho's bicycle to go to Isimila, the stone age site where there also are natural pillars. I first take the wrong road that leads me 5-10 kms down on the road to Ruaha. The bicycle's saddle is low, so I can't pedal efficiently. The saddle's quite hard as well, and soon I have a butt-ache. But I get back up to Iringa, and decide to try the road that should lead me there. The way down from Iringa Town Centre is quite easily done, but then it's 15 kms towards Mbeya. After some time and a lunch of fried bananas with onions and meat, I finally get there. There I meet the tour guide who shows me around and tells me there are different tools that had been used in the stone age: round killing stones, spear killing stones to finish killing if the animal is not dead, scraping stones to remove the skin, knives to cut meat, and axes to cut off limbs. After showing me the heaped tools that had been excavated, she shows me around the magnificent natural pillars. Two dogs I met at a nearby lodge which was otherwise empty, followed us around. The way back was much quicker as I was getting used to having a butt-ache.

The same evening, Michael told me he often works with another tour operator who can arrange something cheaper for me. So we gathered the same evening and agreed to a price. They told me they have other people leaving the next day as well, but that the car is full. The following day I go buy some bread, peanut butter (the first was finished) and tea bags, as breakfast would be cheaper that way. Later I get picked up to go finalize the deal at the tour operator's office. The deal gets slightly less good, but still a lot better than the full price. Anyway, we arrange for me to get picked up at two in the afternoon. Both cars would be traveling together.

Felix came around two, and picked me up. He would be my driver. He doesn't speak too much English, and I still didn't learn much more Kiswahili. But communication is possible, if kept simple. He drives fast and quite wildly on the dirt road towards Ruaha. The 130 kms are supposed to be done in two or three hours. I think just narrowly didn't kill a kuku (chicken) on the road. At some point the right brake didn't work as it should, and we spent half an hour trying to fix it. Me watching him trying to fix it, as I'm no good at mechanics. The brake doesn't want to be repaired, so we just leave it off and roll on with only the left brake. When I asked Felix about it, he says “modified”.

There are quite a lot of people and villages on the road to Ruaha and we dangerously pass along. Nearby the park entrance, we spot some elephants at a waterhole.

At the gate, I used my credit card to pay the car, driver and my entry fees as well as accommodation for me and Felix. The price difference is quite amazing. It costs USD 20 for my entry and another USD 20 for my accommodation, and for Felix it costs less than USD 1 for the entry and about USD 3 for his accommodation.

On the bridge closest to the gate we finally catch up with the other car. It's full of 5 girls and one guy, all volunteers or teachers of some kind. We watch a spotted hyena walk by, and then the sun sets beautifully. Another African Sunset.

At supper, I finally introduce myself to the group, and eat together with them. The menu is quite small: kuku and chips, kuku and rice, or maybe beef could be had as well. I order kuku (chicken) with chips, but it happens to be a small quantity. For the price we pay, it is quite bad. We are supposed to order breakfast for the next morning, but I don't order anything as I plan to eat my own stuff.

We then drive to our sleeping place, called the bandas. I think banda means hut in Kiswahili, but I am not sure. Anyway, they are simple houses with concrete floors and corrugated iron roofs. Just to be sure, I asked Felix if we were actually leaving at six in the morning or if we get up at six. He said we would be leaving at six.

The next morning I woke up at 5:30 and got ready. At six my stuff was in the car and I was ready to leave. But nobody else was there yet. Around six the others woke up, and we finally left around 6:15. The sunrise drive was amazingly beautiful. We saw many birds, but not many other animals. But the landscapes are gorgeous.

After sunrise we went to have breakfast at the same place where we had supper last night. I expected to eat my own breakfast, but they made a pancake and spanish omelett with sausage for me anyway. So I ate it. But it cost me another USD 3.-. We then took the lunch boxes and went out again for our morning game drive.

We drove out quite far, and a different way from the other group. We didn't get sight of another car for quite a while, which was nice. We saw tembo (elephants), swala (impalas), tandala (kudu), twiga (giraffe), ngiri (warthogs), niuni (monkeys) and mbuni (ostriches). After some time driving around, we got a call about simba (lions) lying somewhere 10 kms away from where we were. So Felix drove fast and during the trip we passed quite a few dazzles of pundamilia (zebras). We then crossed path with many cars coming from the simba sighting. As we got there, it was already around midday, and the lions were lying in the shade. We stayed a while watching them (and I watched the guys from the other car as well). Just for good notice, you shouldn't make yourself visible outside of the car's outline. Animals, but particularly predators, need to keep believing that cars are big animals without small animals inside. If you stick out of the car, the predator might recognize you as a human and decide to eat you for lunch.

Speaking of lunch, the previous night I had asked for a lot of rice for my lunch box. Guess what, it wasn't enough again, and we barely had beans and vegies inside. And all that for USD 4.-. You can get a full meal for less than USD 1.- around here. And they might even serve you again if you're still hungry. Not so there. Luckily, Tiffany, one of the other car, had some pizza for lunch, which she shared as she wasn't hungry enough to finish.

After that we went back to our respective cars for the afternoon drive and the ride back. I asked Felix if I could drive and he said yes. Although he wouldn't let me. We saw a flight of ground hornbills, some vultures and an eagle. A while later Felix said I could try out driving. So I drove around the park trying to stay on the road while looking out for animals.

A while later we reached the gate and I thought I would pass over the driving to Felix. But Felix was quite content and happy to be able to write text messages. So I kept on driving. We had to stop at the first village out of the park to pick up some mzungus. It happened to be Stephanie, a girl I tried to call to know if she could help getting me a safari for a budget. She knows Pat & Tom McCabe, they're all with Peace Corps. We picked her and her friend up because she called Michael, and Michael asked me if it was OK. She looked a bit unsettled when I stopped the car and she saw me driving and Felix sitting next to me. She probably expected a usual safari setting: a mzungu tourist and a local driver and tour guide.

I drove all the way back to Iringa on the dirt road. Just before town, Felix took over and drove into town. Don't tell anyone.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Another fancy bus ride

TIA you say? Once again it's proven that even when you get used to do one thing a day; get ready to spend almost a full day in a bus or even worse, a minibus; get up at 6.30 to catch an early bus around 7 – 7.30; planning to wait an hour or two until the bus departs; expect to be 300 kms further around 6 or 7 hours later; you still end up discouraged when the bus finally starts its engine to go nowhere.

a bus
Let me explain. I got up at 6.30 that morning to catch an early bus that should've let me arrive in Iringa around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, with plenty of time to go find an internet access and get organized for the following days. But then, after an hour waiting in the bus, the driver finally started its engine to warm it up before leaving. They usually do that about 15 minutes before leaving (no exact science though). But it soon became apparent that the engine didn't want to cooperate, and it turned off all the time. That's the lack of maintenance. I really want to tell them, but to what avail? Anyway, after trying to get out (with a police woman on board) we stop again in a side road in town. Then another bus comes along and stops in front of us. I thought this one was there to help us. Our driver kept trying the engine again and again. A lot of people were talking and arguing outside. I kept on reading my Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf. After another long time we managed to take the bus to the police station, which astonished me a bit.

another bus
In the second bus there were two white girls who apparently understood what was going on as they seemed to speak fluently Kiswahili. A third bus came along and took all the passengers from the second bus with it. Before this happened I quickly asked the girls what was going on, and they told me the buses should have left, but as they were almost empty, they wanted to wait longer. So the police said they wouldn't leave the police station again this day. She told me another bus was going to fetch us as well. When it finally arrived after another 15 minutes or so, it turned out to be one of the medium sized minibuses. Great. I had a nice seat in a big bus that was now swapped with a squeeze-in seat in a minibus. Awesome. I really enjoyed the previous squeeze-in minibus rides and I really want to do it again and again as many times as possible before leaving this place. Sarcasm. So after having spent about 3 hours waiting for any bus to take me to Iringa, I got uncomfortably squeezed into that minibus.
When the bus or minibus starts, it usually does about 10 stops before leaving for good. It picks up another half thousand people until it gets finally so fully squeezed-in that even the operator says it's full. Hardly believable? But it happened.

a church that look like all the others in Tanzania
We then went on our way at a good speed. I thought we would finally make it to Iringa around 4 this afternoon when we arrived in Makambako. But that was without counting on the road that was currently being rebuilt and thus limited to 50 km/h. Unfortunately the driver seemed to over-respect the limitation and drive at 40 km/h even if there was no one ahead of us. But then, luckily he sped up a little after leaving the town. We managed to be there around 5.30.

Great.

I had to skip my supper because the wireless place's restaurant was closed in the evening and I had to be back in the guesthouse at 10. If I had known I would have bought one of these avocados while walking to the wireless place. Because when I walked back, the lady selling them was gone.

So I checked my mail, got the good news that I would be working at Paleo and booked my return ticket to Switzerland. Didn't have the time nor the opportunity to plan for Ruaha yet.