Day 155: Mwanza to Sengerema

Date: 18.03.17
Blog entry date: 18.03.17
Distance: 85km
Odometer: 8 013km
Avg speed: 16.8km/hr
Time on bike: 5h03min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying at a local guest house.

We are excited to be on the road again and look forward to complete the last phase or our journey.

Leaving Mwanza the first 15km was chaotic. It was very busy, as expected. Fortunately this changed quickly once we diverted from the main road that connects Mwanza to the interior. Suddenly it was quiet and good cycling conditions prevailed through the rest of the day.

About half-way we reached Mwanza Gulf where we had to do a 20min ferry crossing. We did not have to wait long and everything was done in a very efficient manner. 

We were both wondering when last we were on a ferry and agreed it must have been Saxony-Switzerland on the Elbe, good memories πŸ˜πŸ‘.

Once back on land it was not long before Sengerema. As we entered town we reached one of our last major milestones, 8000km’s!! This is the last full 1000km’s of our tour and we are very excited and grateful! Sometimes we still cannot believe where we are. Those 2 bicycles used to carry us around the Cape roads. Feels unreal to see them standing here.

Once we enjoyed the moment we had to find accommodation. This proved difficult and we cycled around to and fro. At least it was worth it as we found a clean, quiet place in the end (as I write this, someone just fired up his sub-woofer. Let’s hope for a power cut 😁).

Thanks for following.
Willem & Eva

Once on the Sengerema road the conditions were very good.

At the ferry crossing. It was about a 20min ride.

Eva enjoying the moment.

8000km’s! With the sun in our eyes πŸ˜†

Sengerema, our location after 8000km’s since leaving the Cape.


Days 153 & 154: Mwanza

Date: 16.03.17 & 17.03.17
Blog entry date: 17.03.17
Distance: 0km
Odometer: 7 928km
Problems: None

We’ve decided to take another 2 days in Mwanza. 

As a last luxury we are spending more time close to the lake at Ryan’s Bay. We are relaxing and preparing ourselves for the last part of the tour to Rwanda and Kigali. 

We are seeing many mzungu’s at Ryan’s Bay, something strange for us at this stage, but nice to blend in again πŸ‘πŸ˜‚.

We estimate 9 more days of cycling to reach Kigali. With approximately 550km to go this is a conservative estimate but we will take it easy, especially with lots of climbing as we approach the land of a 1000 hills.

Yesterday while relaxing around the restaurant/pool area I imagined I heard some Afrikaans. Listening carefully I heard it again and saw 2 gentleman having a discussion in my mother-tongue.

This was a big surprise here in Mwanza and I had to go and introduce myself. 

Francois and Andre are on a business trip. Involved in the mining industry their jobs require relative frequent travels into different parts of Africa. 

It was great to meet some South-Africans, understanding what it is to travel in these parts. We had interresting discussions about our tour and their jobs. After having a beer together they offered to pay for it πŸ‘πŸ˜. 

We plan to be back on the road again tomorrow, to daily chip-away those last kilometers.

Thanks for following, for all the messages and especially support received for Josiah Trust.

Willem & Eva

Mwanza is one of the largest cities in Tanzania. We found a shopping mall with good infrastructure, including this ramp. We cycled right up to the entrance.

View over Lake Victoria from Ryan’s Bay. A comfortable place and real treat. Everything worked and we could even have a hot shower with adequate water pressure 😁. Here we could relax and recuperate before the last stage of our journey.

Was great to meet Andre and Francois who kindly bought me a beer. Almost felt like a “kuier” at home 😁. Eva was relaxing in the room.

Days 151 & 152: Magu to Mwanza

Date: 14.03.17 & 15.03.17
Blog entry date: 15.03.17
Distance: 69km
Odometer: 7 928km
Avg speed: 20.4km/hr
Time on bike: 3h23min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying at the Lahe hotel.

What was supposed to be an easy odd 65km, became a difficult 69. That happens when you let your guard down, thinking tomorrow will be easy. When your mentally not in he right place. We were again reminded that not one single kilometer comes for free. Even those downhills are paid for in uphills.

Mwanza is our last stop at Lake Victoria and a bigger town. We need to attend to some chores and are taking a rest day, maybe more than one before the last days to the Rwandan border. We also want to give ourselves a last treat before Kigali with good accommodation here.

The road was quiet with good cycling conditions until about 15km before Mwanza. The scenery remains about the same, except at Mwanza with many rocky hills around town.

On our next cycling day we expect to reach 8000km’s. The last full 1000km’s and one of our last big milestones of the tour!

Thanks for following and for recent donations received for the Josiah Trust. Our goal is to raise R50000, we are now at R33980.

Willem & Eva

The scene just as we departed from Magu. The Marabou stork was scouring around for food.

Scene of the road. Closer to Mwanza we encountered many rocky hills.

A local cyclist passing us while taking a break in the shade. Eva the photographer πŸ‘πŸ˜

View from around Mwanza. The lake in the distance.

Day 150: Serengeti stop-over to Magu

Date: 13.03.17
Blog entry date: 13.03.17
Distance: 74km
Odometer: 7 859km
Avg speed: 23.6km/hr
Time on bike: 3h08min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying in a local guest house in town.

5 Months! Wow we cannot believe it. Sometimes it feels like yesterday since our departure, other times it feels like a lifetime ago.

We are encountering many local cyclists. Once we pass them some like to tag along behind us. This is all fine and normally we do not mind it. Today however we had a tail and were going relatively fast on the flat road. Suddenly in front of me was a cyclist who wanted to cross the road. I had to swerve right to avoid him. Eva behind me served left and applied her breaks. Our local tail could not stop fast enough and his front wheel hit Eva’s bicycle. Fortunately Eva kept cool and managed very well to stay on her bike. The local also did not fall, but at some point his foot went off the pedal and he stopped completely. We just continued, Eva was a little shaken, but very proud that she managed to stay on the bike.

Otherwise all went well, but at this lower altitude (around 1200m) it gets very hot after 12:00 and we try and be done by that time. We are still very close to the lake and can see it along route occassionally. Magu is however not on the lake. The environment is still very green and today we saw some rice fields.

Thanks for all the support!
Willem & Eva

Typical road today. The condition deteriorated a little after the Serengeti. We did not always have a shoulder.

Rice fields (I think?)

Refilling our water along route.

Day 149: Musoma to Serengeti stop-over camp

Date: 12.03.17
Blog entry date: 12.03.17
Distance: 91km
Odometer: 7 785km
Avg speed: 21.6km/hr
Time on bike: 4h13min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping at the Serengeti Stop-Over Lodge. It seems when you include the name Serengeti prices double, $20 for camping for the night. They wanted $26 but we objected and they lowered the price.

The road today continue to have little traffic which is great. It was green with a lot of agricultural land.

There were however many people along route and we continue to attract a lot of attention. If you ever wondered what being a celebrity must feel like, cycle through rural Africa, but be warned, it might overwhelm you 😁.

Our route today skirted past 10km of the western end of the Serengeti. We had some nice views onto a plain with wildebeest.

Thanks for all the support and messages! Especially thanks for recent donations received for the Josiah Trust / Klipheuwel fundraiser!

Willem & Eva

The route today.

Looking into the Serengeti. Somewhere were a few wildebeest. Not sure if you can see them on the picture.

Eva looking out for lion 😁

Days 147 & 148: Tarime to Musoma

Date: 10.03.17 to 11.03.17
Blog entry date: 10.03.17
Distance: 91km
Odometer: 7 693km
Avg speed: 22.1km/hr
Time on bike: 4h08min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying at Tembo Beach. They offer camping at $20 or a room for $30, including breakfast. No brainer, we took a room overlooking Lake Victoria.

An enjoyable day of cycling on quiet roads. The scenery was also beautiful. We cycled through green open plains with rocky hills in between. We are also seeing much less people in this part of Tanzania. The ones we meet are very friendly, but have no or limited english. This area is not inhabited by the Maasai, but the Kuria tribe. Our swahili vocabulary is small and basic but still very useful in this area.

Today we crossed the Mara river close to it’s mouth into Lake Victoria. Tha Mara flows through the Maasai Mara Reserve. It is famous for the wildebeest and zebra crossing during the great migration while hungry crocodiles lie in wait. No action where we crossed it 😁. Instead it was a stunning and peaceful scene we will always remember. The beauty of today was a welcome reminder why this tour is worth all the effort.

Musoma is a 15km detour to the lake, but it offers the best accommodation. It also offers us the opportunity to see Lake Victoria for the 1st time.

Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest by surface area (Tangyanika is larger by depth and volume). Compared with Lake Malawi, it is more windy and the waves are larger, sounding almost like the ocean. One therefore also sense it must be larger.

After 7 days of continuous cycling we will take a rest day tomorrow.

Thanks for all the messages and support and thanks for following.

Willem & Eva

Beautiful quiet roads most of the day.

Wide open spaces with some rocky outcrops.

The road through the hills.

Typical rock formations we saw.

View on top of one of the hills.

At the Mara river.

Lush green reeds line the Mara.

View of Lake Victoria where we stay.

Day 146: Migori to Tarime

Date: 09.03.17
Blog entry date: 09.03.17
Distance: 40km
Odometer: 7 602km
Avg speed: 16.6km/hr
Time on bike: 2h24min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km

Staying in a hotel in town.

Eva rightly noticed that whenever we do a border crossing, we tend to have marathon days. This time we did it different. 

We cycled 20km to the border and another 20 to Tarime, nice and relaxed. That said, Kenya’s farewell gift to us was one last long uphill with 300m climbing until the border. A fitting conclusion to all the tough days we had there. 

Tanzania’s welcome gift was a nice long downhill, so glad to be back in Tanzania😁.

The border crossing today was a big milestone for us as Kenya was our biggest challenge yet, physically and mentally. This was also our second last border of the tour, the next one will be into Rwanda!! 

Everything went smoothly at the border. We expected Eva might have to pay again for a visa, but they allowed her in on the previous one which is still valid (although single entry). 

At the border we met a group of Germans on safari and it was great to talk to them. We saw them again in Tarime and they were so kind to give us their lunch packs arranged by their tour operator.

Last word on Kenya. We leave Kenya with mixed feelings. Mt Kenya was the highlight of our tour and an incredible experience. In terms of cycling, the physical challenge of Kenya’s hills was tough, but managable. On the down-side, dealing with some of the people and the traffic was a different story and a big disappoinent. From a cycling perspective we will remember the tea fields and hills, but unfortunately also for hectic traffic and sometimes aggresive/arrogant/irritating behaviour of the men when in groups in towns. 

We are cautiously optimistic that Tanzania will continue to treat us as well as on our first visit. We also look forward to see Lake Victoria soon.

Thanks for following.

Willem & Eva

P.S. No pictures of the route today, but here are a few of Tarime.

Cape Town hair dresser. Maybe I should have paid them a visit πŸ˜‚

In Tarime, I stopped to talk to these guys. It was a friendly encounter and they were very laid back.

Day 145: Kisii to Migori

Date: 08.03.17
Blog entry date: 08.03.17
Distance: 72km
Odometer: 7 562km
Avg speed: 18.5km/hr
Time on bike: 3h52min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Campimg at the Migori Maranatha Mission.

Today was our last full day cycling in Kenya! We are 20km from the Tanzania border and plan to enter Tanzania tomorrow and follow Lake Victoria around the south into Rwanda.

We started after a nice breakfast at the hotel. The route was beautiful but remained hilly the whole day. We are however loosing altitude with Migori at around 1400m. We can feel it is becoming a bit warmer as we descend.

We saw some sugar cane plantations along the way and the scenery still looks very green.

Today we reached 7500km and less than 1000km remain until Kigali. These small milestones might not seem like much, but help us with motivation.

Thanks for all the support and prayers. We needed all of it in Kenya.

Willem & Eva

Sugar cane plantations along route.

Beautiful scenery.

Typical road today. Not in bad condition, but no shoulder for us.

I took this picture while cycling through one of the towns….. organised chaos πŸ˜‚

Motorbikes (boda-boda) are used throughout Kenya and transports anything from passengers to animals and corn.

Day 144: Kericho to Kisii

Date: 07.03.17
Blog entry date: 07.03.17
Distance: 105km
Odometer: 7 490km
Avg speed: 20km/hr
Time on bike: 5h13min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying at Ufanisi Resort.

On Kenya-hill # 5199 I’m just about to go into my own little cycling-bubble. That place between comfort and pain where the body continues while the mind is elsewhere, numbing the effort to keep going. Suddenly 1000 shouts crashes through my concious, “hey mzungu!, hey mzungu!”. Whistling and laughing normally follows and remind me of the reality. We’re on yet another Kenyan hill and there is no mental escape from the effort required or from the attention received. Very dramatic, but true πŸ˜†

Today we continued through the Kenyan highlands. We moved out of the large tea-fields and saw maize and other crops. Very much hill country with villages scattered all throughout. The scenery was beautiful and at least the traffic volumes lower. 

Arriving in Kisii we stopped to look at the map. Some students approached and started a conversation. We enquired about accommodation and they recommended Ufanisi. Later, asking directions in town a local quickly escorted us all the way on his motorbike (locally known as a boda-boda). Very kind of him!

We are very glad to have reached Kisii. I think this was the only day we managed more than 100km in Kenya. This puts us less than 100km from Tanzania’s border and hopefully flatter territory, less dense populated.

Thanks for following. 

Willem & Eva

Typical scene along route today.

Keroka, it felt to us like organised chaos 😁

While Eva was in the shop, I put my phone on “selfie” mode and snapped this picture of the kids staring at us. This was about 5mins after our arrival and the hype already subsided somewhat.

Day 143: Kedowa to Kericho

Date: 06.03.17
Blog entry date: 06.03.17
Distance: 40km
Odometer: 7 386km
Avg speed: 18km/hr
Time on bike: 2h13min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping at the Tea Hotel in town.

With a name like “Tea Hotel” it’s no surprise that we cycled past many kilometers of tea fields. Today was probably our most enjoyable cycling in Kenya. Besides the fact that it was a short distance, it was beautiful scenery, little traffic and a good road surface. 

With only 12km to go we stopped at a reataurant on a tea farm. Almost the equivalent of the stunning Cape winelands with its many venues. 

If cycling was like this everyday, it really would feel like a holiday πŸ˜‚.

This is still very much the Kenyan highlands with the farms between 2200m and 2300m asl.

Thanks for following and all your support!

Willem & Eva

Kenyan hill country at around 2200m asl.

Perfect cycling conditions πŸ‘

Tea-fields until the horizon.

Beautiful located restaurant. Here we had a mid-morning tea and food.

More tea fields.

Tea-leaf close-up.

In case you have not seen enough of this.

Reception area of the hotel where we are camping.

Beautiful gardens at the tea-hotel where we camped.