It took us eight days to drive from Mwanza to Songwe the most northern Malawi border (all tar road) probably because we took a convoluted route zigzagging across Tanzania via Dodoma and Morogoro. We never stayed anywhere for more than one night and camped every night apart from our stay in Dodoma. It didn’t feel like we were rushing particularly, we were just on the move and we were used to setting up and repacking the tent, cooking, washing up and telling Lily bedtime stories.
However reaching Dodoma in two days from Mwanza with one bush camp in Igunga was good. Although the road was good we were still traveling big distances and we were tired and having a hotel room at the New Dodoma Hotel with a decent pool, gym, playground, restaurant, satellite TV and wifi was really nice. It was a chance to get clean again and for me to cut Nic’s hair which had developed wings above his ears and was driving him mad!. I have never cut hair before, only fringes and they were usually mine, and more lately Lily’s. My mum always did ours when we were kids and I had a nice bowl on my head.
We had an electric razor so I attached the grade one part and switched it on. Hair fell everywhere and as I continued I was worried that his hair was going to look like someone had hacked it! The job was done and actually it wasn’t bad.
The next day we left very late and bush camp in a lovely spot about 30km West of Morogoro, just off the main road, amongst the trees and flat sandy ground. Nic hunted for wood for our fire once more as Lily played in the sand filling up the little ant holes completely unphased by the ants crawling up her legs.
We shopped for food in Morogoro and then headed towards the Mikimi Game Park only to find out it was 140USD to enter and stay in the park. Instead we found a good campsite called Tanz Swiss 5km south west of the park, with a playground and lots of animals for Lily only to be chased by a goose!
We didn’t leave until 3.30pm this next day as we had discovered wifi and could do some work and blogging. Lily had a great time on the swings and roundabout and playing in the games corner. The humidity was high and by leaving time Nic and I dived into the showers once again before heading off to River Valley campsite 170km away.
The River Valley was 13km NW of Iringa town. We arrived in the dark as we missed the left turn (Lonely Planet said it was called Riverside but the actual name on the road sign was River Valley) and 10km later we turned around and headed back the way we came and drove the 1.5km towards River Valley. We set up camp in the dark once more and Lily was very patient as she waited for her supper. She was tired and after her stories she was asleep just after eight. We woke the next morning and had a lazy start looking around the River Valley and discovered a great children’s playground with trampolines, slides, swings and a dented old defender for the kids to play on.
After visiting Ruaha National Park we headed 50km southeast towards Mbeya and camped at The Old Farm.
The next day we left and headed towards Mbeya, along a very scenic road with great views. After getting through the 30km of road works we stopped for a late lunch at 2pm and had pumpkin soup I made the night before.
We bush camped 46km from Mbeya in another lovely and quiet spot. The sun was setting and Nic got the fillet out he bought from Iringa and cooked it on the fire for all of us.
The next morning we headed for Songwe Malawi border.