Cycle Route Babati - Mbeya
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Dec 12, 2012 1:06 PM Last Post By: alcotteer
Nov 7, 2012 11:22 AM
Cycle Route Babati - MbeyaThis is quite a last-minute post, but you never know!
I am cycling from Norway to South Africa and am in Babati, Tanzania now. I am looking for the a quick comfortable route from Babati to Mbeya and see that I have three options:
1: Babati - Kondoa - Dodoma - Iringa - Mbeya (854km)
2: Babati - Singida - Dodomat- Iringa - Mbeya (993km)
3: Babati - Singida - Igoma - Mbeya (the western route) (753km)
I heard that the Babati - Singida road is now perfect tarmac. Iringa - Mbeya is also good tarmac. About the rest I am quite unsure. Which route would you take? Do you have any recent info on road conditions?
Tomorrow morning I will depart Babati, if anybody has some advice on what you would do, highly appreciated.
Nov 7, 2012 1:09 PM
1Wow what an amazing feat!
I traveled the Iringa to Mbeya rd in Aug and there was a lot of road works repairing the road, know how fast things move in Africa I very much dout if they have finished it yet. They were also working on the road in Tunduma but I think this is finished now. If you are going down the western side the road between Sumbawanga and Tunduma is also having a lot of work done on it.
Good luck with your trip!
Nov 9, 2012 5:59 AM
2Wonderful adventure! I'm not a cyclist, but I am very familiar with the Morogoro - Mbeya route and personally I can't think of a more horrible road to cycle on! It is simply crammed with non stop big trucks, and racing buses. I've only ever travelled part of the western route, but in my opinion you have a better chance of an enjoyable trip that way. Whichever the very best of luck and enjoy!
Dec 1, 2012 9:34 AM
Dec 2, 2012 9:27 AM
4Tommy, thanks for the comment - I was already planning to write a little about my experience:
Eventually I chose to go for option 1: Babati - Kondoa - Dodoma - Iringa - Mbeya (854km). It definitely was not the most comfortable option, but maybe it is the quicker and more scenic option.
Babati - Dodoma: I cycled in 3 days. They plan on making a tarmac road but I guess this section will take another 4-5 years before it is there.
Day 1: The first 15km is tarmac, afterwards you get about 30km of o.k. dirtroad where you twirl through a scenic jungle. After another 60km you reach the Kondoa turn-off. These 60km's are not so comfy for cycling because of the washboard, but o.k for a car I guess. From the turn-off it's a 3 km downhill on perfect tarmac to Kondoa.
Day 2 &3: From Kondoa I cycled 87km and camped in the bush, the next day I did the 83km's to Dodoma. The road is quite bad for
cycling (either you cycle through a sandpit with rocks thrown into it or everything shakes when you have the washboard road.
In Dodoma eat at Leone L'africano. Great Italian Food, great setting, and great Italian manager.
Dodoma - Iringa I cycled in 4 days (two half days and two full days). On the full length of the track the Chinese are building a new road - great for cyclists (you are mostly allowed to use the flat surface of the new road while the cars have to use the side-track. It will probably take more than one year before the whole road is finished. Even though the roads looks to have some crazy bends on Google Maps it actually goes up very gradual - quite scenic as well.
I bushcamped for the first two nights and stayed in Luange (only heard people saying it, don't know how it is written) the third night. There are towns every 25km's or so. I saw some signs saying "guesthouse" in New Mtera (after 120km) and Migoli (after 140km). I stayed at a guesthouse in Luange (215km from Dodoma, 45km from Iringa). It is behind the restaurant with the pool table in front and not marked as a guest-house.
In Iringa I stayed at Neema Crafts Guest-House, good value for money and a really cool place to be.
Iringa - Mbeya I cycled in 3 days.
They are currently doing some roadworks on the first 50km's of this road. Long waits for cars, but no problem for cyclists. The road is perfect tarmac - yet quite dangerous for cycling. Every 2nd vehicle is one of the monster-trucks bringing oil to Zambia/Malawi or exporting copper from Zambia. You need some nerves (and perhaps a mirror) to survive this part.
Looking back I would have probably taken this route again. My average was 13-14 km/h on the dirt-roads where my normal average is around 20km/h on tarmac.
Enjoy central Tanzania!
Dec 10, 2012 1:49 PM
5great info - thanks. I leave Nairobi on 13th and will follow as you say, Tommy
Dec 12, 2012 1:06 PM
6Hi cape to cape,
what a great adventure and quite a feat of stamina!
Glad you enjoyed Neema Crafts, I always call in for coffee and cake but got to stay in their new accommodation this Aug as well, as you say 'a really cool place'
I meant to tell you to go on a slight detour at Mbosi ( between Mbeya and Tunduma) to see the meteorite, it is only about one hours ride (a lot less for you I expect!) and well worth seeing.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$50.07 per night
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