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2015-07-19  
2015-07-16  
Dar Es Salaam to Iringa - Tanzania, WW
mini location map2015-07-19
51 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Dar Es Salaam to Iringa - Tanzania, WW 
Dar Es Salaam to Iringa - Tanzania, WW
 
Scenic Drive avatar Jul 19 2015
CannondaleKid
Scenic Drive311.00 Miles 18,600 AEG
Scenic Drive311.00 Miles   10 Hrs   46 Mns   28.89 mph
18,600 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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trixiec
Surprisingly we had no jet-lag after arriving the previous afternoon and slept very well. But then the accommodations at the Slipway Hotel in Dar Es Salaam were better than we expected, the beds were comfortable and the requisite mosquito nets did their job, which was a good thing, as a LONG day of riding in the back of a minivan packed with 12 others was ahead of us.

We were up early enough to take a few photos just outside the hotel while our driver Mohammed loaded our luggage in the top of the Toyota HiAce, or "Highway Ace" as opposed to a TownAce "Town Ace" which is a light-duty minivan, or a LiteAce "Light Ace", which is a very small cab-over pickup. Ok, enough about the vehicles, which for a car/truck guy is a never-ended wonder in this country... tons of cool small vehicles not available in the US.

On with the road trip... being early on a Sunday morning in a predominantly Muslim part of the country (within 100 miles of the Indian Ocean coast) the traffic was minimal, a far cry from the chaos we will encounter in three weeks time returning late on a Friday afternoon.
](*,)
Along with Mohammed our driver and Edward our in-country team leader eleven of us Global Volunteers settled in to find what little comfort we could for the 10 plus hour ordeal. (The word 'plus' will take on a new meaning to us over the next 3 weeks. As Edward will tell us, we are now on African Time so if someone says 2 pm that may mean anywhere from 2:15 to 5 pm (or even the next day!). In the case of our road-trip 10 hours-plus will be 10 hours and 46 minutes.
:whistle:
Highway A7 is paved, but the very few good parts of it equate to the the worst of Bush Highway or the like. While most of it is wide enough for two trucks to pass, there are numerous narrow areas. Any time two vehicles approach a narrow spot an instant game of chicken begins... whoever reaches the narrow bridge first gets to continue across while IF the brakes of the other vehicle are good, he will stop. However, as in many case their brakes are simply not up to the task, they must drive off the road. (We will see evidence in this event many times)
](*,)
Another thing I noticed was that almost everyone drives on or over the center line, weaving slightly back to the left (traffic drives on the left) at the very last moment. I wasn't up front so I couldn't see that well, but I had to believe Mohammed would secure eye-contact with every approaching driver for the unspoken "I see you, you stay on your side of the road and I'll stay on mine and we can pass safely." Thankfully after seeing how calm and collected Mohammed continued to be after many close encounters, most of us were able to doze off or zone out with no concern for our safety... one way or another we knew were safe with Mohammed at-the-wheel.
:worthy:
Another thing about driving in Tanzania, not only are stop lights mere suggestions, so are the single and double-line no-passing zones. MANY times we would see a line of vehicles on the wrong side of the road while going around blind corners with no shoulders. If a vehicle happened to approach, the gaggle of vehicles made simply wedge themselves between trucks or buses with less than a foot of clearance between them. Oh yeah, and if the oncoming traffic happened to be a motorcycle? Well it sucks to be you because you are either going off the edge of the road or will be hit head on... after all, bigger OWNS the road and smaller fights over the scraps.
:gun:
On our first rest/lunch stop we receive our indoctrination to Tanzanian toilets. While they are ceramic, they are basically an elongated hole in the floor that you turn around and face the door, straddle the opening and squat to do your business. Tracey took more interest in these contraptions more than I and thus took a photo at some point. (Sorry not in this photoset, maybe later with another triplog.)
:o
About 6 hours into our road-trip, just as most of us where dozing in never-never land we got a nice wake-up call. First it was a single baboon sauntering along the road, but the moment we were in Mikumi National Park it was almost non-stop with wild animals on both sides as well as in the road. Elephants, impala and giraffe followed by herds of impala, a clan of baboons, more impala, giraffes again, now zebras mixed amongst the giraffe (they complement each other to warn of predators so this is quite common) But as quickly as the wild animal sightings began, we were soon out of Mikumi NP and we were in the dozing zone again.

But not for long as it is soon time for our second rest/meal stop. This trip will stress the bladders for may of us, although as we will be told later, if we REALLY needed to stop, as long as it wasn't in a wild animal area, all we had to do was ask Mohammed to check the tires. We will find this is a country-wide term for a bathroom break, taken just off the side of the road. (Hey, there's no such thing as modesty if you want to survive in Tanzania)
:roll:
The last 35 miles to Iringa are a constant steep and winding climb up very narrow mountain roads, which means all drivers must be at the top of their game. If you looked closely at the trucks as they passed by, well, you don't want to do that... most of the trucks are so old and in such bad shape, not only are the engines too weak to climb hills any faster than 2 mph, but their brakes leave even more to be desired. On steep downhills we will see areas with logs and;or rocks alongside the road where trucks will drive into them to slow down.
:o
(It was too dark to do much filming this trip, but on the return trip in 3 weeks I will shoot video in some of the dangerous sections.)

Finally we reach Iringa where we will stay overnight. We still have a 2-hour 35-mile drive to our finally destination, the town of Pomerini. Pomerini is the original Kiswahili name of the town, but since they pronounced it something like Pom-mern (in general conversation the last syllable of words tends to be dropped off) the white-folk call it Pommern. It's still Pomerini on Google and other maps. Oh yeah, in case you didn't catch it, the language is NOT Swahili, but Kiswahili. But again, we white-folk tend to push our ways onto others as we see fit.
Yup, there just may be a :SB: in there somewhere but that's for another time... and possibly a new thread under Politics maybe?
:oplz:
Which brings to mind... if anyone is interested in a discussion relating to Tanzania, the challenges the country has ahead of it, the massive influx of VERY trashy Chinese goods, the corrupt politics, etc., etc... let me know and I'll fire up a thread and we can have at it!
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CannondaleKid
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