Riding my awkwardly loaded mountain bike on the broken up yellow line, my mind is trying to decipher the messages sent by road users coming behind me. It’s a honking symphony. There are the motorcycles “boda boda”, motorised rickshaws “bajaj” and minibuses “dala dala” hooking in rhythmic sequences to attract passengers. Cars, Land Cruisers and Wanhoo threewheelers giving us a short boop as to say “don’t move I’m passing you”. Then, there are the Intercity buses, with cargo piled up high on the roof, heavy dump trucks hauling soil and rocks, and empty flatbed trucks from which comes a sustained horn. Surely this category of drivers have mastered one-hand driving and keep the palm of the free hand firmly pushing on the center of the steering wheel! The message here is clear “I’m big, I’m not slowing down and you all better get out of my way now!”

Leaving our refuge at Gallivanters Hostel, in the vibrant Masaki neighborhood, heading towards Dar es Saalam city center over the Tanzanite bridge, East Africa’s longest (1030m)! Dar es Saalam Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

Taking place with commuters on the Kigamboni ferry, linking Dar’s city center with the south shore. Hurry up! Dar es Saalam Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

After leaving Dar es Salaam’s city center on the Kigamboni Ferry we had followed the Kibada Road until it connected with Tanzania’s National Road T7. The important trunk road would become quieter further south but for now we were exiting the most populous city in Tanzania! Truth be told spending eight years mostly riding our bikes in what could be called remote Canadian forests did nothing to sharpened our reflexes around motor vehicules!

Step by step traffic lightened up, mango trees and corn fields became more abundant and the air easier to breathe. Entering Mkuranga at the end of a long sweaty day, a three-foot tall blond monkey crossed the road in front of my wheel, a sign that the urban sprawl was effectively behind us.

Some alternate routes had been thought of for our return to Africa but, ultimately, starting exactly where we had left the Road in 2016 became an evidence. The southern section of the Swahili Coast—a narrow strip of land, bordered by the Indian Ocean, that stretches from Somalia in the North to Mozambique in the South—with its long history of seafarers, traders from distant lands and Muslim majority would be rich and familiar. Since there is no better training for long distance bike travel than doing some long distance bike travel, National Road T7 was chosen as our training camp.

Refreshing treat on two wheels! Pwani Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

First time using our MSR Hubba Hubba bikepack tent, as a deluxe self standing mosquito net! Ikwiriri, Pwani Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

By the time we reached the Rufiji River Delta and its flat dusty plain littered with smoking charcoal mounds, ponds with water lilies, grey baobabs and freshly planted millet we had developed a daily routine of stopping for cold soda, papaya, banana or chapatis as often as needed, sometimes reaching shady areas with some urgency! Our two-men tent not being an attractive option in these sweltering lowlands we looked for rooms in basic “lodges”, of which Tanzania as a generous offer, where we could bring our bodies temperature down with a cold shower before passing out under a ceiling fan!

Off to the garden for the start of the dry season! El Niño has brought heavy rains on the costal region in April and May, cumulating with Hidaya cyclone on May 4th. Pwani Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

Part of a complex watershed and longest river in the country (600 kms), the Rufiji teems with life and its delta contains the largest mangrove forest in Eastern Africa. Mkapa bridge, Pwani Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

Caught in the delta with artisanal fish fences, catfish is then smoked in bush huts before being sold on road T7. Pwani Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

The nomadic tribes of Tanzania—hunter-gatherers and pastoralists—have their ancestral territories in the northern half of the country. Outside of this, young Maasai men are encountered all over Tanzania wearing their distinctive colorful body-wraps (shukas), arm bracelets and 10-inch daggers dangling from their waists in leather sheaths. Those warriors are hired as security guards in urban areas because they are seen as fierce and incorruptible, but the cows are left “at home”. What a surprise to encounter tribesmen doing the traditional cattle herding in the inhospitable Rufiji delta! Land loss due to climate change, development and population growth have forced a relocation for some Sukuma (photo), Maasai and Barabaig. Pwani Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

Head on in a seasonal South wind! Border between Pwani and Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

Beans, rice, spinach and fish at this roadside pit stop. Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

Coming to the hellish roundabout at Nangurukuru and its weight station for big trucks, a peaceful house and its garden. Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

The UNESCO protected site at Kilwa Kisiwani warranted a return journey to the southern tip of Kilwa Peninsula. We rode on the sandy track, by the ducks and geese enclosure, and to our tidy bungalow at Kilwa Dreams Beach Resort!

A beachfront banda at Kilwa Dreams Beach Resort as basecamp to visit the archeological sites on nearby Kilwa Kisiwani. Kilwa Masoko, Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

The entire island (easily reachable by dhow) at Kilwa Kisiwani has been designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Site. In medieval times the island-state was the most important trading centre on the East African coast. The ruins include a fourteeth-century palace, several mosques and cemeteries and the formidable Gereza Fortress started by the Portuguese and rebuilt by the Omanis. The ruins bear witness to the expansion of Swahili culture, the Islamisation of eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean maritime trading history. A fascinating journey! Kilwa Kisiwani, Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.


Second nightly feast at Kilwa Dreams Beach Resort. Our taste buds are high fiving each other! Giant prawns, beef sauté, curry sauce, swahili tomato salad and mashed potatoes for the best meal in Tanzania! Kilwa Masoko, Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

Makrina and Tausi warmly sending us back to the road at Kilwa Dreams Beach Resort while Bingo the puppy licks the sunblock off of my leg! Kilwa Masoko, Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

Fresh tuna delivery! Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

Baobabs survive dry climates by not growing leaves for most of the year, monochromatic giants! Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

The ubiquitous water hauling yellow jerrycans of Africa. Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

Descent towards the city of Lindi! Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

The Indian Ocean facing German Boma, former colonial headquarters in Lindi, Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

Exiting the Bay of Lindi we had seen the salt pans, and few kilometres later kilos of salt in cloth bags—Tanzania has banned all plastic carrier bags since 2019—for sale!

In Mingoyo, National Road T7 ends and T6 starts. Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

At Mr. Mgonga guest house (the last guests were present two months ago according to the registry) we finaly stretch the tent outside. We are looking forward to climb up to higher grounds and cooler climes. Madangwa, Lindi Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

Then Saturday we ended the ride late in Madangwa. I noticed, “Hey! I’m not overheating, I’m not sleepy, my legs don’t shake! It’s brutal but it works! I’m literally getting whipped into shape!”

Roadside rock quarry. Women and children hammering away in the shade. Mtwara Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

The humble fishing village at Minkindani hides its past trading history in ivory and slaves. Mtwara Region, United Republic of Tanzania.
The German Boma in Minkindani has been sensitively restored and converted into the luxurious Old Boma Hotel. Originally built in 1895 as the seat of the German colonial administration combining German, Arab and Swahili architectural elements. Mtwara Region, United Republic of Tanzania.

It’s a bit disoriented that we arrived in Mtwara. The city is built with large avenues on a square grid designed by the British in 1947, when Mtwara was destined to become the world’s peanut capital. Unfortunately the British never once considered if the ground was suitable for growing peanuts—it was not! Cashew nuts, cement and the port have been driving the economy, offshore gas reserves have been discovered.

In our comfortable room at Luwa Evergreen Hotel, from where we are writing this, we celebrate the road traveled and look forward to the change of scenery that’s ahead: the Makonde Plateau, the Southern Highlands and the Great Rift! Let’s go West!


The westward traverse! (Songea, Tanzania - KM 22,340)
The long way back to Africa! (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - KM 20,960)

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