Four weeks and 3400km later we have reached the Indian Ocean. Kotilda and Suusi did well. Kotilda was fighting back a bit in the beginning, but we reached an agreement. She is now already parked at a friend’s yard inside a deserted shipping container near Dar-es-Salaam. Juka and Suusi are still travelling in southern Tanzania, but in a few weeks Suusi will join Kotilda to wait for next December to continue the journey to Ethiopia, Sudan and the Mediterranean coast in Egypt.
Entering Tanzania we find ourselves in another National Geographic scene. Rolling hills of tea fields and rows of ladies clipping away the harvest. What they don’t show on the NatGeo channel is when it rains.
We’re already behind time. I was hoping to make it to Dar by the 5th to find parking and fly out on the 7th. Now there is also the thundering sky that we have to race away from and many times unsuccessfully. Riding wet is very unpleasant, riding in the dark is even worse.
Suddenly there is an electric fence and a gate on the road. We’ve hit another game park. “We don’t let motorcycles in,” the guard is adamant. This 35km dirt road was the only connection to the lake, everything else is now 100+ km round trip. Luckily we’ve been in this situation already.
Through the dust of the road we can see a crowd of people gathered around the gates to a compound. We have arrived at M1 Centre Point. I have no idea what it is – a bar, a club, a venue – but certainly something exciting enough for lots of people hustling to get in. Every little while the gate is opened and a car is let in. Next time the gate opens we squeeze through with the car, waving to the security as if they should have expected us. The party had already started.
Zambian “industrial break” means that everyone goes off before Christmas and comes back middle of January. Luckily there is KTM Zambia and they agreed to come out on the 28th to help me fit the electric starter clutch (for the 3rd time) and see if there is anything we could do about the bomber exhaust. Kotilda is leaking exhaust where the pipe is connected to the engine. Not only does it scare the animals and villagers, it is so loud it is hardly hear my own thoughts when riding.
It is 27th of December and it was a productive day. In the morning I ordered a fresh Estonian passport and picked it up at 3pm. In the meantime I found a new rear tyre for Suusi – Michelin Anakee Wild was the overwhelming recommendation and at the same time the only option available.
The minute we enter the border zone, we’re surrounded by a couple of assistants. They were easy to shrug off on the Botswana side as we stamp out of the country in a civilised manner. A queue of trucks had started many miles back and led to the river front, where two platform-ships were ferrying the trucks across the Zambezi river one at a time. There is a lot of shouting and hustling to pack as many human-porters and the two bikes around one of the trucks. The whole atmosphere is getting tense fast as we set sail on our 3 minute journey across the river. I’m asked to pay the fee – which is quoted 70 pula (6 eur) per bike. This smells high, and there is no price list, so I hastily hand over the 70 pula that I have for two bikes and speed off the ramp as we’re already unloading.