Relaxed and ready to roll, once again we made our way out of the traffic of Arusha and headed south. Unfortunately Mount Kilimanjaro would not show its snowy peak through the high cloud cover this time around. We passed the days on easy roads winding our way beyond Dodoma, stopping at sights like the Ismalia Stone Age Ruins and the old Iringa Farmhouse and eventually into Mbeya. From here it was just a short ride to the ‘warm heart of Africa’ – Malawi.
The crossing itself was the usual mix of excitement and patience required to navigate the immigration and customs processes but we encountered no real difficulties and soon found ourselves riding towards the shores of Lake Malawi in anticipation of another well earned day off the bikes in Chitimba.
We all noted that the pedestrian traffic had increased dramatically within the first few kilometers of entering Malawi and you couldn’t help but notice that the average person was keen to say hello and wave as we rode past. The weather was perfect and the lake and surrounding hillsides made for a great backdrop.
Too soon it was time to head onwards, along the lake through the many small bays and villages and into the capitol, Lilongwe, where we would visit the Mozambique High Commission and request our visas for transit through their country. The riding days were accomplished and so the paperwork was submitted with the request of express service. Everyone was relieved when they heard the visas had been issued later that same day.We were free to travel on once more.
Having our visas in hand already simplified the crossing into Mozambique considerably with only slight delays due to local import paperwork and insurance being required to be purchased.
Our itinerary doesn’t allot us many days in Mozambique, and that’s sometimes the nature of journeys of this scale. There’s not a lot of development between the border crossing we visited and the capital of Tete, our destination for the one night we would spend in country so the distance was chewed up in a single afternoon.
We had heard from the locals that the Zambezi was flowing a lot of water from an unusual stretch of rainy weather that preceded our arrival. It is the fourth largest river in Africa, so even during the dry season it carries a respectable flow.
The following morning we crossed the bridge to see its swollen and murky waters riding well up it’s banks – a great sign that the magnificent Victoria Falls upriver would impress on our arrival, assuming we could navigate the challenging policing policies employed in Zimbabwe.