cycling africa

Fast Forward to Victoria Falls, Windhoek

I’ll take another break from cycling for the next 3 weeks. I had to store the bike in Lusaka and take a bus to Windhoek, Namibia to be here in time. That’s 26 hours on the bus in 2 stages but I did see some wildlife (Elephants and Antelopes) along the way which is always even more fascinating than seeing them in a national park. And the other highlight was stopping over at Livingstone for a day to visit Mosi oa Tunya (“smoke that thunders”), also known as Victoria Falls. I’m planning to collect the bike in Lusaka and continue cycling from there in early January.

Zambia: Great Eastern Road

I met Simon again just before leaving Malawi. Or rather he found me and suddenly stood in my door after somebody had told him where I was staying.

The place we stayed at was funny. Founded by a guy from Denmark who died a few years ago it is now run by his very nice family. They actually assembled and sang for us to wish us a safe journey when we were ready to leave in the morning.

Nkhata Bay, Lilongwe

Going back down to the lake I’ve spent some time in Nkhata Bay. I’m now in the capital, Lilongwe and will leave for Zambia tomorrow.

Tukuyu to Malawi

I’ve been in Malawi for the last few days.

I was planning to do some hiking in Tukuyu, the last Tanzanian city before the border. It’s way up at around 2000 meters and there are some crater lakes and a natural rock bridge to explore. But it was cold (well, relatively) and foggy there so I wanted to get out of there fast and continued right away.

Mbozi Meteorite, Walking Pilgrims and Lots of Crying Children

I’ve climbed from the 770m meters of Lake Tanganyika to almost 2000 meters of altitude near Sumbawanga. Parts of the road from Sumbawanga to Tunduma are still under constructions but even those parts were quite nice to ride. There’s always people around but only very little traffic. This changes after Tunduma. Because of there border crossing to Zambia there are many trucks on the road. I hope to be in Mbeya tomorrow, from there go to Tukuyu and then cross into Malawi.

Here’s a few things I encountered on that roads during the last days riding there:

MV Liemba

I went from Kigoma to Kasanga by boat. That ship, the MV Liemba is quite remarkable. Not only is it the world’s oldest passenger ship in regular operation, it was sunk and stayed submerged in the lake for 8 years before being recovered and restored.

Kigoma and Ujiji

I’m still in Kigoma, waiting for the ferry that should leave for Zambia on Wednesday (but I’ll disembark before crossing the border and stay in Tanzania for now). I want to go to Malawi first.

Kigoma is a nice place with great beaches (and the weather was very beach-compatible) but there’s not that much to do so after 10 days here I’m looking forward to move on.

OpenStreetMap: Custom Areas for the Garmin GPS

I’m using OpenStreetMap data as my primary means of navigation. For backup and overview I also have paper maps. Those are mostly Reise Know-How world mapping project maps. The ones for Eastern Europe have been great, as has the Uganda one. The Tanzania maps has some errors, distances are sometimes off and the size of towns/villages listed (which is an important indicator for whether you’ll find accommodation there) is not always accurate.

But back to OpenStreetMap, here’s something I learned along the way and how I prepare the maps for my GPS device:

From Bukoba to Kigoma

I’m in Kigoma now and I’ll be here for a while because the ferry I want to take to the southern end of Lake Tanganyika won’t leave before Wednesday next week.