cycling africa

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.

Bukoba, Rock Paintings

After 2 weeks there I left Bukoba on Monday. I hope to be in Kigoma in about a week.

I liked staying in Bukoba once again (I think I have been here 6 or 7 times now). It was nice meeting old friends there and making some new ones.

I’m still far from able to have an elaborate conversation in Swahili but I feel confident about the basics (asking for accommodation, buying stuff, ordering food, bargaining). And I’ll get more practice every day now.

Here’s some pictures from Bukoba and a trip I took on Saturday to a nearby place where you can see ancient rock paintings.

Maruku Beach

While there’s a nice beach directly in Bukoba there are other ones in the surrounding area. Last Sunday we went to visit Maruku beach.

Tanzania, Bukoba

I’ve arrived in Tanzania yesterday and in Bukoba on the shore of Lake Victoria today.

The border crossing in Mutukula went really smooth, I did not even have to fill out forms like all the previous times I’ve been here. Maybe it’s a good idea to come on a Sunday. And it definitely helped to be on a bicycle, all the immigration officers were very helpful and interested in my travel plans.

Hoima, Updated Plan

I’ve arrived well in Hoima yesterday.

As I had some time (and pretty good mobile internet) today I’ve reorganized the map pages a bit. There are now 2 maps in the Route & Map section, displaying the African and European part of the routes I have cycled so far.

Then I’ve moved the planned route so a separate page and added some explanation on how the plan evolved.