Time is over. Time to return into crisp winter air. Time to get woken up by blackbird sounds in the morning. Time to stroke a black computer mouse again. Time to listen to Black Metal in public radio 🤘. Time for statistics over the past two months.
3 border crossings
863.36 litres of diesel: average consumption of 10.9 l/100 km
2 thefts: 1 fancy micro-USB cable, 1 expensive but useless Olympus camera USB cable
1 attempted theft: red handkerchief, got the boy and turned him inside out
1 flat tyre
0 payments at police controls
a lot of funRead more
I stroll around Bagamoyo to find my last, real, honest street foodi: Ugali with "local spinach", fishies with yellow chilli and okra in rich tomato sauce. People on the market greet me with "How is Israel?!" and "Hey Jesus!". I don't know why :pRead more
Surprisingly beautiful landscape along this dirt road. Have to sleep here instead of driving further in direction of ugly Dodoma! :p
What the f ... nail? After lunch I just discover another nail by incident while approaching the car from behind. Now in my rear right tyre and on the inner side which sucks for a quick fix. Because I am not loosing any air and the nail looks as if it has resided there for quite some time, I drive 15 km out of town and in a shady place without people I remove the wheel to get my hands on. The nail did not penetrate the wall and is sitting horizontally in the rubber tread. How the hell is that possible? Must have been deflected by the wall. I can easily remove it - in opposition to yesterday's nail - and without loosing air I decide that there is no need to do anything more even though some of the tyre's wire mesh shines through the penetrated surface and I felt it when pulling the nail. I categorise this under "advanced real-world application outside the sterile laboratory environment" and will carefully observe the tyre's performance on the following 200+ km of soft dirt track where speed will most probably not exceed 60 kph anyway.Read more
Bukoba, the first big centre on Tanzanian side is my destination. Surprisingly nice, big but calm and very friendly atmosphere! I am charmed and think that it must be the only city in Tanzania where all people I talk to understand English. Wow. I even manage to get my personal, Michi-registered SIM card (finally!!!) which all other Tanzanian places before never accomplished. Also a new 12-month insurance for leaving behind the car in Dar. And a good lunch in the public police canteen. This must also be Tanzania’s capital of efficiency. I never got so many things done within 2 hours in this country. Would have taken 2 days anywhere else.
The lakeside campsites are all washed away due to the increased water level of lake Victoria and I drive to some elevated cliffs not far away which are the perfect spot for the approaching night! Yeehaaw! Around me just grass, the ruins of a never finished hotel, an orthodox church to the south and a seminar and bishop’s seat to the north. I have read many down-turning things about that lake but this western side is very idyllic which does not change while moving further south. Late in the evening the ferry to Mwanza departs and squeezes between thousands of small fisher-boat lights. The bay of Bukoba is partly visible from my spot. I expect to be woken up by an epic sunrise but instead wake up by the thunders and lightnings of a distant storm above the lake, half an hour before sunrise. Equally epic!
After packing my stuff and getting ready I discover a flat rear left tyre. Ha, a thick nail! The first flat one on these BFGoodrich tyres after 27,454 km, finally! I was about to think that they must be a miracle after what I was throwing at them. The front wheels I already swapped with my spare ones after approx. 18,000 km, but the rears haven’t been touched since Germany. They are well-worn already but today’s air must have escaped just now during morning cliff coffee because I have not noticed any tilted car when waking up. Finally I can experiment with my fancy tyre repair kit: remove the nail, widen and clean the hole, insert rubber sealant, done. Luckily the nail is exposed in a way that it is facing me in a perfect angle
and I do not have to move the car much nor to unmount the wheel. Still, as it requires much more force than I have expected to push the sealant in, I get a free morning workout session in the same run. (The guys on the tool promotion videos must all be bulls with double my
body mass and/or they do not demonstrate it on heavy-duty tyres and for them it looks as easy as pushing a knife into butter :p) But I consider my workout a solid mission because for the next 540 km on dirt, tar and a lot of rain no air escapes and the car runs as usual. Brilliant!Read more
Southern Uganda, pretty uninteresting. Many people around and all are growing plantains, these green East African Highland bananas, partially scattered with coffee bushes in-between. Must be the main agricultural region here. I want to sleep on a village’s football pitch but a local security officer insists in deposing me in the village centre next to the police station because we are bordering the influence of a cannibalistic tribe and he is worried that they never tasted white flesh before. There is litter and cow shit all around my car but it still stinks of Colobus monkey pee anyway, so it seems to integrate perfectly. The night is noisy and short. The cannibals would have been the better option.
In the morning on the opposite site some of these beautiful Ugandan cows are loaded onto trucks and are beginning their journey to cow heaven in Kampala. I very much like the Ugandan street cuisine which is more diverse than what I know from Tanzania and Kenya. The beef from these free-grazing cows is so damn soft, juicy and tasty! You mostly get just 2-4 smaller chunks bathed in a thick, intense broth which serves as the main flavouring component of the huge side dish of maize porridge, rice or matoke (cooked, mashed green bananas). Additionally, beans or cabbage and fresh juice for lunch.
But for my breakfast I manage to find a half-litre mug full of chai and a rolex. Rolex! The best! Why don’t Kenya and Tanzania have this awesomeness?? Its base forms one chapati, an Indian-style, pan-fried, flat wheat bread, like a pancake but different. In Kenya, Tanzania and eastern Uganda they use whole-grain flour, here in the south-west rather plain white flour. On top of this chapati they put an omelette of two fried eggs with onions, peppers, tomatoes and sometimes avocado and a pinch of salt. Then they simply roll it to the form of a big cigar. Off I go!Read more
Unfortunately my time is running out. I think that compared to all previous hiking options until now – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya, Mt. Elgon – the Rwenziori Mountains in the west of Uganda would be the most fulfilling choice. I will leave this spot “for the next time” and just drive up as far as I get in order to spend a last cool night in the mountains before starting my returning hurry to Dar es-Salaam. Up here at the slopes they also grow Robusta mixed with Arabica coffee and I found at least two big washing stations which are not open to the public. There is also a charity-backed coffee place and a fancy brass sculpture museum which offers me local coffee. Yum yum!Read more
At the edge of Kibale Forest I search for traces of the Kibale Forest Coffee Project and find a guy to show me around. Unfortunately, without prior announcement we cannot visit many places and also my time is short.
But first we visit a nice tea plantation. Each professional plugger manages to harvest 50-250 kg of leaves per day which is a lot and will satisfy the Indian plantation owners but the worker gets just 71 UGX (0,02 EUR) per kg. Again, most of it is exported, all is non-organic industry and nobody knows why Indians import East African tea. They all produce only broken black tea. There is no such thing as "green tea in whole leaves" or "single origin tea" or any quality label at all. Somewhat boring.
The coffee (Robusta) in turn is growing scattered between outer forest trees and banana plants and processed in organic ways. In order to keep the animals from leaving Kibale Forest and securing their crops the locals plant bands of coffee, tea, pepper and tobacco at the forest boundary. All these crops are not eaten by the wild things. Additionally, in order to keep elephants from raiding around they establish bee hives because somehow elephants don't like bees around their ears and return into the forest. This is mainly financed by the national park fees. Interesting! But the coffee marketing could be improved. Difficult to buy in the place, I don't know where all of it is going nor the locals seem to know. Also the coffee processing is inefficient. They do this home-roasting on fire but with that you cannot process large quantities after a harvest. Also the roasting is very inhomogeneous. I bought a pack of which more than half of the beans are coal - crushable to powder between my fingers - and the others are still light brown. This is not tasty. Grinding is another issue. There are no grinders around. The people totally freaked out when I showed them my Turkish-style hand grinder. They even did not have any clue how such a thing works. I see some potential ...Read more