Mikumi NP to the Tanzanian Coast: 16 October

We reluctantly left Tan-Swiss and the pool the next morning after about 3 “one last dips” in the pool. Because we stopped 80km before we should have the previous day, we now needed to add that to what would have already been the longest stretch of the trip.

20171016_125433We waved goodbye to Marcia and Matt (Marcia did not feel well that day) and hit road. The drive was a repeat of the day before and I again got to play my game “Where in RSA am I?”. We drove through the Karoo and every now and then the North West and open stretches of the Free State. The closer we got to Dar and then the turn off to Bagamoyo the greener it became and eventually it resembled the coast of KwaZulu Natal. We got stopped a couple of times by the white-clad traffic cops – a sight that I am still not used to – and besides a failed attempt at a speeding fine the previous day, the cops were all very amiable.

Tanzania has a very creative way of catching you speeding. Around the villages (that are spaced about 10km – if even that much – from each other) you need to drive 50km/h. Not 51km/h, 50km/h or less. To catch you they station a guy about 100m after the 50km/h sign and the moment you pass it they take a very nice photograph of you and your car, showing your speed and the location of the 50km/h sign. Sometimes they sit just before the sign and catch you from behind. This photo is then sent to cops on the other side of town who will then proceed to pull you over and with a cocky, we gotya smile showing you your own personalized photo. One problem with this plan however is their dependency on mobile communication specifically the internet connection that is extremely slow in the rural areas. This means that although they can phone the cop on the other side of town and let them know to pull off the little red beetle and its big, khaki buddy, they still need to send that photo through as proof.

If you have time on your hands then you wait. If not, you pay a bribe to get on with your journey as soon as possible. The one thing we have is time so after about 10 – 15 minutes of sitting under a tree, waiting for better days the cop waved us off. Cops 0 : Bertus & Woody 1!

By the way: we were not speeding. Never mind the fact that Clayton and Matt are the slowest drivers, we saw the cops just before town and we definitely drove on the right side of 50km/h. He also did not even had the radar-thingy pointing at us.

Our GPS has a bit more faith in Bertus than what we do.

Our trusty Garmin has now completely failed us. Since entering Tanzania we have not driven on any roads according to the GPS, always just a little bit to the side and sometimes the road is nowhere in sight: Bertus has gone rogue. We are therefore completely dependent on Maps.me which thus far was more than capable to do the job and most of the time matched the route that T4A showed Marcia and Matt. With us being solely dependent on it, it cracked under pressure (this would happen quite often going forward in the trip by the way!) and it sent us off onto the smallest dirt track used mostly by bicycles and bikes.20171018_070713

We eventually made it Traveler’s lodge in Bagamoyo. Although located right on the beach the campgrounds were lush green lawns and large trees casting a green shadow over everything. After a quick check-in and a beer we walked down to the beach for our first glimpse of the eastern-Africa coastline – a place we highly doubt we would see with Bertus but yet there we were!

Unfortunately I did the one thing I really should stop doing: I compared it Mozambique.

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Not the white sandy beaches I had in mind?

Maybe it was just bad timing. Surely it looks better with high tide, right? 

At least it had the setting sun going for it which cast a golden, almost perfect filter, over the bay.

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The sun setting over Tanzania

(Yes, I think I might be becoming a location snob or maybe I am already one. I was brought up in Cape Town after all and Capetonians do not go anywhere without a view – Life is too short to have sundowners overlooking a car park, or in this case a less than amazing beach.)

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