Four Wheels Around - A Road Trip from the UK to South Africa

In February 2009 we are setting off on the trip of a lifetime from Brighton, E-Sussex, UK to South Africa. Furthermore, we are raising money for the British Red Cross along the way. This blog will cover our preparation until we leave and our adventures whilst we are on the road.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Tanzania and Malawi - a belated update

We are currently in Blantyre which is a large city in Southern Malawi. Today it rained. I don't mean african rain, the type when there are short and heavy burts of rain, tropical almost with violent and exciting thunderstorms. I mean English rain. The type where it drizzles for most part of the day. The sky is grey and as my mum would said it is generally very misog! Recently we have both been feeling a little homesick. We have been on the road for 6 months now and we are nearing the end of our trip. We are still loving it but sometimes I find myself less enthusiastic about our journey than I was a few months ago and getting more easily frustrated by Africa! When it rained today we suddenly felt very at home in this strange Malawian city. It has not rained like this for us since Istanbul which was back in March so it was quite a novelty.

Anyway, enough about the rain. You get that all the time in England....

Since i last wrote we have been on a whirlwind tour of North Western Tanzania which was interesting to say the least. Leaving Rwanda we entered Tanzania at a very remote and unvisited corner of the Country. That meant the guidebook was virtually useless and equally Tracks for Africa had no info regarding accomodation etc. We began a ritual of hammering out 200 + miles each day (which in our slow Landy meant we were on the road for hours at a time) and rolling up at a reasonably sized village each evening to search for a hotel with secure parking! We managed to find one each night and we even actually slept in a room one night which had a tv....(which crackled) and a shower (cold) and a clean toilet (squat!). Another night we slept literally under a mosque which called out 3 times, very loudly before 6 am! Our first night in Tanzania we slept in the Courtyard of a hotel, I think maybe Muzungus had not done that before and they were quite bemused by us. They neglected to tell us that the courtyard was infact the venue for the local disco. By 10pm it was full with 100 + locals who were completly battered and dancing and sitting around our car.

We only had a transit visa through Tanzania so we made haste. The roads were mostly good, except one terrible road from Dodorma to Iringa! Alas we did not have a fantastic impression of Tanzania. Perhaps because we were massivly off the tourist trail. We found people were not the most friendly, the service seemed pretty poor and at some points we felt uncomfortable and intimidated. That said it was an interesting few days!

After a few days relaxing close to Iringa at the Old farmhouse (maybe one of the best campsites in Africa!) we headed off to Malawi spending a night close to the border at a Christian mission.

We have had a fantastic time in Malawi. We have met a number of great people and spent a lot of time chilling out on long sandy beaches. That update will have to wait until next time. Hopefully I will be able to upload some pics of Malawi to go with it!

Tomorrow we head off to Mozambique, we think we have 2 Countries and about 2500 Miles to go until we reach Cape Town............


Blogger Allan and Monika said...

Hi guys,
We just missed each other in Blantyre as we are here now. Luckily for us it didnt rain, although we were also in Istanbul in March when it did!
After several months, from now on our paths separate, we are heading to Cape Town via the Zambia, Botswana, Namibia route.
We hope you have enough engine oil to make it!

21 August 2009 at 08:44  
Blogger Michael Arnst said...

I'm glad to hear you are enjoying Malawi. My roommate while studying in Botswana was from Malawi and he always had such great stories about growing up there. I'm missing Africa quite a bit now that I'm back in the States, but I've been busy spreading the "good news" coming out of southern Africa. South Africa will be a most amazing time for you guys. A huge dose of civilization after your trek from Cairo. Cannot wait to hear about your trip through Mozambique and SA!


27 August 2009 at 00:14  
Blogger HOWARD said...


4 September 2009 at 14:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Alex and Kate,

We are Bob and Jackie ( we are in Tanzania at present making our way down to Malawi, we can't wait to get there it sounds fabulous. We are also making our way to CapeTown.If it is any consolation to you we have also had problems with our landy but we hope all is well now. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

22 September 2009 at 14:13  

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