Roads of Horror


Thinking that we had the worst roads behind us, in the Serengeti NP, we leave Mwanza behind and drive direction the Rwandan border.
We are surprised as suddenly the tarmac disappears and a gravel road continues. According to the map, this should all be paved. «Well, that's Africa» we think and continue happily.

As people told us it's a long drive from Biharamulo to Kigoma, we get up early the next morning to take on the road. And again, like the day before: The first 30km perfect tarmac followed by gravel. The difference is, that this road is terribly corrugated.
We get another unwanted shaker experience! Should we slow down? Should we speed up? Opinions fall apart when it comes to corrugated roads.
However this question answeres itself automatically as massive potholes slowing us down to 15km/h. This road should have been paved a long time ago. But the construction work is far from where it should be.
As soon as we arrive in the camp in Kigoma, I have only one thing in mind: Get my phone out and research how the road further down will be! The result does not surprise us and we decide straight away that we're going to stay not just one day. We need a break from the shaker.

Prepared for the worst, hopping for the best, we take on the road to hell.
Fully enjoying the first 100km to Uvinza - a brand new paved road! There are moments in your life when you appreciate every single cm of tarmac.
After leaving the tarmac it doesn't take long and the first holes turning up. No, I can't call them potholes. Potholes are small but they here are pools! This road is nearly impassable in rainy season. Then road turns into a mud pool which, unfortunately, does not keep the lorries and coaches from driving on it. It's not uncommon that they get stuck and sometimes have to wait for the dry season to get out.
Accordingly the road is badly damaged with holes sometimes deeper than 50cm and longer than 2meters. Probably the most exhausting road I've ever driven.

Three days later we arrive in Sumbawanga in need of a welder. The spare wheel carrier at the back broke again, this time at the lower reinforcement. What Mongolian roads did twice, happened now again. bugger!
We find quite quickly a workshop but it seems that we have to tell them how to do it. Just welding wouldn't hold, so I force them to fit another piece of pipe inside for reinforcement. Checking every step they do and correct them all the time. I slowly get the feeling that I'm the mechanic not an IT specialist.

The following ride to Mbala and further Mpulungu is rather smoothly. It has it's few kilometres in it which are terrible too but as we can smell a few relaxing days at the Tanganyika lake, so we take it easy. To our surprise even the border crossing is done within a half an hour!
We can't believe it, we made it to Zambia!