Cycling in Western Tanzania
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Jan 23, 2013 1:45 PM Last Post By: LukeIRL
Aug 15, 2011 4:46 PM
Cycling in Western TanzaniaHello!
This is our experience biking in Western Tanzania in July 2011. It is part of our travel in Africa. We started in Egypt in Febr 2011 and are heading to Cape Town.
If you want to have more info, maps or see the pictures of our travel our web is: http://www.velobrousse.overblog.com
.....or just send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Information as of July 2011
Visa: You can get a transit visa for 14 days at all major borders (20 USD) or a 3 months visa (50 USD for most European countries)
Onward Visas: You can get visas on the border for following countries (Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia) so there is no need to apply in advance in embassies. Check the case of crossing to DRC by boat in case you need a visa in advance (better to apply in the Congolese consulate in Kigoma)
Weather: Try to avoid the rainy season from mid March to May and Nov-Dec. In the inland areas it rains from January to April. The global dry season is from June to August
Food: Normal breakfast in Tanzania is mandazi, dougnuts, chapati and tea (chai rangi- black tea or chai maziwa- milk tea). You can also find fresh milk and yogurt. Traditional dishes are ugali, fish, chicken, beef, goat, rice with beans, matoke, casava, rarely some vegetables (eg sukuma wiki) and french fries (chips). You can also find a chips omelette (chips mayai) that somehow resembles the traditional Spanish omelette. In terms of fruits you can find oranges, bananas, pineapples, papayas, apples and avocados
Water: In general it is better to purify the water from the tap
Sleeping: Guest houses are good value
Camping spots: In the Western part of Tanzania you can find great places to pitch the tent
Routes: We crossed from Burundi to Tanzania at Mabanda-Manyovu border (open for foreigners!). We biked to Kigoma where we took the MV Liemba boat (every 2 weeks on Wednesday afternoon, tickets go on sale on Monday morning, our trip was on 20th July 2011) to cross Lake Tanganyika till Kasanga. From Kasanga we biked to Mpui (see description of shortcut below), Tunduma and Tukuyu (we used the shortcut from Mbalizi to Kiwira and we did not pass through Mbeya). Finally we crossed to Malawi at Songwe border.
SHORTCUT DESCRIPTION: if you are coming from Kasanga (MV Liemba) and heading to Mpui you do not need to go through Sumbawanga, here is a detailed route description with name of villages and kms from Kasanga to Mpui using the shortcut which is a good piste and a nice place to bike
Kasanga is km 0 (alt. 850mts), Kawala at km10 (alt. 1,100mts), Kasote at km15 (alt. 1,380mts), Limba at km35, Mkaowe at km42 (alt. 1,650mts), Mbuza at km52 (alt. 1,700mts), Matai at km63 (alt. 1,735mts).
At the junction out of Matai take right. 2km after take a left (this is km0, there is a sign to Itekresha). You reach Myunga (alt. 1,780mts) at km9, Kalalasi at km16, Itekresha at km26 (alt. 1,870mts), Kilesha at km32, Kambo at km38, then there is a junction at km40 (take left), Mwazye at km46 (alt. 1,860mts), Musoma at km51, Ilembo at km59, Mpui at km64
Road: The road from the Burundian border to Kigoma is all tarmac. From Kasanga to Sumbawanga and all the way to Tunduma they are building the tarmac road (expected to be completed in 2013). At the time of writing it is a rough corrugated piste from Mpui to Tunduma. From Tunduma to Tukuyu through Mbeya the road is asphalt, the shortcut between Mbalizi and Kiwira is a rough rocky piste (however it is a nice alternative to the busy tarmac road with both a continuous climb to 2,100mts and an easy downhill to Kiwira). The road to the Malawian border is tarmac
Topography: The west part of Tanzania is quiet hilly but the climbs are continuous and not steep
Orientation: Easy to navigate
Locals: We found Tanzanians to be very polite people. They do not get so excited when they see mzungus as in other African countries and they are always very respectful with their comments. We hardly heard the common African expresion of "mzungu, give me money". Easy to communicate in English although it is worth to learn some Swahili in the little villages
Animals: We did not see wild animals in Western Tanzania (we did not go to Katavi NP)
Onward Travel: Roads to Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique are open for foreigners. Check the case of crossing by boat to DRC from Kigoma
Edited by: josebaperezmayo
Sep 12, 2011 8:17 AM
Sep 13, 2011 2:08 PM
Nov 13, 2012 10:08 PM
3Thanks guys. I'm taking the Liemba today, and will be following your route from there to Malawi!
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