Without ever having set foot into Africa, one might be tempted to generalize and regard Africa as one big continent—all the same. And even having some familiarity with Africa, one might be tempted to generalize certain regions, such as East Africa. However, nothing could be further from the truth (just as each country in Europe is very different).
Once we crossed the border from Rwanda into Tanzania, the landscape and scenery has changed almost instantly:
- No more rice fields, much less banana/plantain palm trees (though I believe they’ll still come up in other areas of the country).
- Road full of potholes; lots of dirt/gravel road sections; no well-maintained shoulder to cycle on (at least for the first 100km, though it would improve significantly towards the end of our riding day).
- Welcome back to sudden unmarked speed bumps in the middle of nowhere.
- No more colorful houses like in Rwanda.
- Instead of neatly planted yellow-blooming trees [don’t know the name] lining the roads, it’s mostly wild umbrella-shaped acacia trees that cover the landscape.
- Less populous/population more spread out (in Rwanda, it was challenging to find a pee spot; in Tanzania, there are lots of green and uninhabited stretches in between villages).
- On a positive note, even though we’ve been warned about the crazy traffic in Tanzania, it has still been rather civilized and quiet on the roads near the Rwandan border (though supposedly that will change again from tomorrow onwards).
Despite the significantly worse road conditions, I greatly enjoyed my cycling day today, more than any day in Rwanda. That’s probably just because it’s the first day that I’m feeling truly strong and fit again. I also enjoy that people speak Swahili again, and we’ve been blessed with rather cool weather (and some rain) today while cycling. Last but not least, my prior trip to Tanzania (Kilimanjaro) had such a tremendous impact on my life that I’m probably just excited to be back in the country that had received me so well last time round.
Stage 38: Nyakasanza – Biharamulo (Rwanda), 112km
Road & traffic condition:
Crazy potholes, speed bumps and dirt/gravel road sections; rolling hills; traffic still good and respectful.
Overcast with rain early afternoon (in a pleasant way).
Tuna, cheese, left-over sheperd’s pie and guacamole for lunch—feeling spoilt!
Mild chicken coconut curry and salad for dinner—yummy! After two weeks, I’m finally truly enjoying food again. It doesn’t take much to make me happy these days 🙂
It’s our second night camping in a school soccer field without access to showers/running water and non-flushing squatting toilets only. One more such night to come tomorrow. It doesn’t bother us much, though.
I’ve finally managed to get my data roaming to work again. It hadn’t worked since Uganda (had a local SIM there and relied on WiFi in Rwanda). I thought it was due to the countries, but after it didn’t work in Tanzania either, I got suspicious and called my home mobile network provider.
“Try to turn on flight modus for a few minutes”, they advised.
“I’ve restarted my phone multiple times, don’t think that would make any difference”, I complained, but gave it a shot anyway.
Who would have thought so—turning flight modus on and off actually worked!
Perhaps even more exciting than being connected again, I seem to finally have fully recovered from whatever bug I had caught early on in Uganda. Haven’t felt that good—both physically and mentally—for the past two weeks! It’s nice to feel human again 🙂