Matt & Nat's wheelie big adventure!

Riding the Rift Valley

The end of the dirt road, taken from outside our guest house.
The rainy season is here and the dirt road north of Kigoma is thick mud. While we were glad we didn’t have to attempt to cycle through the mud, our bus got stuck in a ditch for a while, and then the road was blocked by a lorry stuck in the mud for two hours, then another lorry for an hour. Today we were back on the bikes and the tarmac, [...]

Great Lakes region

We are a couple of kilometres from the site of the meeting on Lake Tanganyika in 1871 when Henry Stanley found Dr David Livingstone and said “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”. We’re also next to Gombe chimpanzee sanctuary, where Jane Goodall was based, but have decided not to visit as it sounds rather sad – the 100 remaining chimps are in a [...]

MV Liemba

We took the famous MV Liemba ship up Lake Tanganyika from Kasanga to Kigoma, as there is no passable road along the lake. It is the world’s oldest passenger ship on the world’s longest, second-deepest and second-largest freshwater lake. The Liemba was build in 1913 as a German armed troops carrier and has been taking passengers along the lake [...]

Shortcut 100

We are really enjoying riding in remote south-western Tanzania. It’s extremely hilly, but there is almost no traffic. The locals are lovely, giving us a thumbs-up and calling out “good morning” all day long. We’ve even been given free tea and mandazi’s (deep fried dough) in the villages. Lots of kids get scared and run away as fast as they ca [...]

Tunduma cycle club

We joined the busy main road between Dar es Salaam and Zambia for a day, which was pretty grim, with lots of trucks. However, we were happy to be joined on the road for 80km by Lucas, the chairman of a new local cycle club, and then a couple of other club riders. After 100km and a full (11 hour) days ride, I was exhausted and Lucas kindly swa [...]

One lump or two?

MASSIVE uphills for 2 days, it was really hard work.
We’re in Tanzania, at 2000m above sea level and have spent the past few days sweating (mostly) up and (occasionally) down mountains – me with a sore knee and Matt with stomach cramps. We’ve been buying delicious fresh mangoes, bananas and papaya from the locals living along the road, and dinner each night is ‘chipsi om [...]

Snake central

Walking up from our lunch stop
I went to step out of our room on the beach last night, when I saw a black mamba moving just under my foot. It wouldn’t go away, so we shouted for Dave, the night guard, who ran and carefully killed it with a spade. It was half the size of the huge 5-foot black mamba in the small garden of our hotel the night before, which the guard eventuall [...]

Rain and flies

After sheltering for half an hour , we decided to get soaked & ride on.
Millions of lake flies descended on Nkhata Bay so we decided it was time to move on. Today we rode 50km from sea level up to almost 1500m through the mountains in the pouring rain. It’s still good to be riding again though. My knee seems to be quite famous – yet another strange tourist approached us today and asked how my knee is [...]

The one where Matt has a malaria test

We’ve spent the past few days hanging out in Nkhata Bay, staying at the same backpackers where I spent two months back in 1999. It is now a town rather than a village on the lake, but still has a wonderfully relaxed vibe. We’ve been swimming and snorkelling in the clear lake and watching all the bright cichlid fish – Lake Malawi has mor [...]

Give me money

This was the view just to the right of the private beach
After a five week break, we’re back on the bikes, whoop! The riding here is fantastic (if you don’t mind kids shouting “give me money” every two minutes): empty flat roads along the lakeside, with friendly fishing villages, and many relaxed local cyclists. Food is easy to find – there are piles of mangoes and tomatoes for sa [...]

Lake of stars

We’re camping on a lovely white sand beach at Senga Bay, at the end of a peninsular that juts out into the huge lake. I’ve been for a couple of short rides around the village and my knee feels okay. Camping has been less than ideal though: It hurts a lot to bend my knee past 90 degrees, so sleeping, cooking, eating, washing up and [...]

The warm heart of Africa

When we arrived at Devil St, Lilongwe at 3am, the other passengers told us that it was safest to stay on the bus until morning, so we did and watched the adjacent fish market set up in the breaking dawn. We’re staying in a guest house on church grounds and spent Sunday resting in our room and listening to the singing from the church. De [...]