Tanzania
Soda

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    • Day 37–38

      Lake Rukwa

      December 12, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      Eh, what a contrast to Tanganyika. It seems like no tourists are coming here at all. There is no touristic infrastructure. Generally, nobody talks about this lake. German Wikipedia says that the shores of lake Rukwa are nearly unpopulated. Arriving in the western part I can tell you that this is so very not true. It feels like one elongated village of super-friendly people. But still, the slopes of the escarpment leading down to the lake are dense with natural forest. Not (yet) cut down for charcoal production. The road down is awesome! Wiki also says that the lake’s depth is somewhat between 3 and 5 metres only. Driving planlessly in direction to the waterfront I quickly realise that what is "road" or "village" on the map is "water" in reality. The people laugh and tell me that the depth is rather something around 10 metres further out there. Now, nearly 1 km earlier than expected I have to start searching for a campsite.

      In the village I stop and talk to just the right person again. Peter the boat driver. He and his friends lead me to a nice camping spot next to a tree not far from the water. I share my beers with them. Later, Peter brings me one new beer as compensation for the one I gave to him. Unexpected!! There is no "beach" or whatsoever, just a smooth transition between land and not-anymore-land. You walk on grass. Then you walk on wet grass. Then you find yourself walking in shallow water. Better search for a boat now.

      The morning’s light is great. I have an appointment with Peter for a boat tour. It was a bit complicated to communicate the time of departure on the previous evening because he always kept repeating something like "at two hours". 02:00 at night? Hmm. At 07:30 I learn that the people here start counting the time of the day from sunrise on. Thus, at 08:30 we jump into a huge wooden boat with some of the other guys. Everybody in good mood, as always. The water smells a bit like a syphon. Also, it is generally opaque and brownish but currently covered by an additional intense green layer of algae. Peter is not a fisherman. He rather transports goods between villages. On our departure his colleagues are unloading huge bags of smoked, rolled (cat) fish which they say is exported to Burundi and Congo. I learn that the intense algae bloom correlates to abundant fish at the moment. I suppose that the fish are simply weak due to lack of oxygen and thus easier to catch. On our small round trip we visit fishermen on the lake and the boys show me different types of fish they commonly catch. Small fish 😕. Most of the time I am allowed to steer the boat while the boys chill. For that I will even tip them afterwards, lol.
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