28 – 29  December 2019

Evening report from Morgan….“on arrival in Sumbawanga in Tanzania, Glenn noticed that his battery was losing power and not charging. We had tried all day to locate the source the problem and now finally worked it out to the fly wheel magnet, hence we are snookered. DHL will take 7 days to get the parts to us.”

For the non techno followers out there, ‘the alternator on a motorcycle or ATV converts kinetic energy (power of motion) into electrical energy to charge the battery. An alternator is made up of two parts; the stator and the magnet rotor, also known as the flywheel. The rotor or flywheel contains permanent magnets and spins around the stator to produce energy.’ [Bikesamag]

“A few years back whilst I was on a mission riding bikes in Argentina a similar situation occurred, bike lost its charging capacity, so we bought a car battery and strapped it on the bike and away we went, not forgetting a  battery charger so that at night we could charge that battery. So this is what we plan to do tomorrow and I am sure we will be on the shores of Lake Tanganyika by nightfall.”

Of course what Glenn and Morgs did not know is that the very name of the town Sumbawanga, means ‘Tupa Uchawi’ in Kiswahili or (town of witchcraft), which in essence means the area is the land of witches! There are current calls to change the name to that of the whole region, Rukwa, to rid the town of its’ negative connotation.

Fortunately, no trouble to Morgan and Glenn, next morning saw them trolling the streets of Sumbawanga in search of an old car battery and sure enough, as promised, they were on their way. “Onward and upward” where Glenns’ words for the day.

The route took them north to Katavi National park in the west of Tanzania. The park is around 4,471 square kilometers which makes it the third largest National Park in Tanzania. For the average safari goer, a visit comes with an exhorbitant price tag due to its remoteness and as a result, it recieves very few visitors compared to its western neighbours. It has been described as the quintessential Tanzania safari park when it comes to its herds of game and serentiy.

On the afternoon of 29 December, a message from Morgan…”Ok, we are now on the outskirts of Katavi national park, camping in a flambuyount womens hotel/garden for the pricely summ of 5 dollars. It was a nice ride though through the park as well on a dirt road with many varying moods, dusty and smooth then wet and bumpy, but very cool. The battery we purchased wasn’t fully charged so Glenn’s bike died in the park. We then swopped batteries and jump started my bike due to having Glenns battery and made it to our overnight. All good”

Next morning it was north along Lake Tanganyika to Kigoma. This agreeable little town is the regional capital and only large Tanzanian port on the lake. The lake itself covers an area of about 32,900 square km and forms the boundary between Tanzania and the Congo. The lake also has many claims to fame. It’s the world’s longest lake (660km), deepest in Africa and second-deepest in the world (more than 1436m) and second-largest freshwater lake (by volume). It is also one of the oldest at somewhere between nine and 13 million years old being part of the Western Rift of the Great Rift Valley.

Afternoon report….”Our ride today was 250km of red mud. There has been a lot of rain in the area. It wasn’t as slippery as expected surprisingly so it was quite nice. It was enjoyable; we went through hard red pack, then slippery red pack, and then mushy red pack. The challenge is when a big bus comes in the opposite direction as we as motor bikes have to give way and we have to go down the off run of the gravel road panicking that the back wheel may slide out. But luckily all was good.

We got to Kigoma about 3pm and had a couple of Chibari’s, Kilimanjaro beers. Re the tracker I have no idea why it is not updating. Maybe it’s because we have so many trees either side but at least we know where we are so there is no need to stress.”

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Blog by Debra Bouwer


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