Ongee Sambili @ Kabuku, Tanzania

“Ongee Sambili” – “2 more please” (beer) in Swahili,

Oh man its 8pm at night and once again due to overstaying our welcome (which we loved) with brother Marcus there was no way we could reach our goal, Lushoto, and arrive at a reasonable time.  I used to doubt the navi but when it says you will cover 100km in 2 hours somehow it tends to be right and predicted that we would arrive at 10.p.m.  No.  I was not doing that as I was tired.  So same strategy as Mbeya, and that was to find a lodge (it’s a small hotel) and ask if we can park in their parking lot.  This we did in a tiny village called Kabuku, with the help of 3 of the lodges clients that were sitting at a table in the front of the “Open Heart Lodge”we were helped with translation to the owner on what we wanted to do.  We set up our tent at the front entrance just off the main road and sat down at the table with our new friends.  The owner gave us some food that was left over, rice, some tomato type sauce and chunks of meat which I think were goat.  We ate with relish and spoke to the new friends, one of which was a doctor, about their job and about Tanzania.  They retired to their rooms and we continued with “ongee sambili”.

Our parking/ camping spot in front of the hotel at

We were woken before 5am this morning by the morning prayer blaring over the loudspeakers from a local mosque.  We cannot win! if it is not the disco keeping us awake the whole night it’s the early  morning prayers.  We noticed that the amount of woman with headdress has increased dramatically and when speaking to locals they say that in certain areas, 90 % are Muslim.  We noticed more and more mosques too as we drove further north.

At 5 am we were up and on our way again stopping to make some coffee at 8am.  The advantage of this early morning drive is that you have no trucks for the first 3 hours , or at least very few, but then it’s back to the routine of many trucks and 1 car.

The relief changed from mountain side and almost jungle to a flat plateau and savanna in a matter of kilometers.  There were massive plantations of sisal and we passed areas where they were harvesting, areas where they were drying it and saw the trucks transporting it for further processing to make rope and dartboards etc.  The further North, the more the Baobab trees become a regular occurrence. ( I don’t think there is a link between this and the mosque topic…). They are massive and majestic.  The “upside down” tree.

Many of our photos are taken while moving through the villages and towns with some people smiling and not having a care about it and others shouting “camera!.  As we drive through Moshi, Kilimanjaro is on our right…according to the map.  We can’t unfortunately see it due to the low cloud base.  Here in Moshi as I type we have stopped for a lunch and a break before our last push through to Lake Manyara where we will be staying tonight.  It is really slow going and rarely do we get over 60km/h.

The boys we bought charcoal from

But back to yesterday for a second.  We had a slight problem.  Money and fuel.  Stefan had changed 100US$ to Tanzanian Shilling at the border and we thought that we could get away with using US$ and credit cards for fuel and accommodation. 2 months back the US$ would have been fine but the president, only a month ago, shut down all money changers within a week and now paying in US$ is not so easy because they cannot get the money converted back to Shilling again.  We tried petrol station after petrol station and with the reserve tank used and ¼ tank left and not much cash we were heading towards a problem.  When in doubt stop, eat and “Ongee Sambili”, have a sleep and the answer will be easier in the morning.  30 km away from where we overnight was a slightly larger town that had an ATM and we drew cash for fuel, topped up and had some change for passion fruit or brinjal’s along the way if we wanted.

Eventually an ATM

Yesterday we were stopped again though by our friends in white.  The police wear white.  He pulled me over and took out his mobile phone and showed a photo of my car, the speed it was travelling and in the back ground was a 50km sign board.  I had been doing 79.  I argued as we are being very diligent at keeping to the speed limit as we did not want issues and we’re not exactly in a hurry.  What they had done is take a photo 30 minutes earlier, and whats app it to another traffic officer further down the road.  They also take the photo as you are leaving the town and are accelerating up to 100km/h, the speed limit, and they have the 50 sign in the picture for the cars that are entering the town.  After some stern discussion and informing him that we had come from the Mission and had donated equipment he got a Siemens pen and we were big mates.

One of our special friends that now has a matching white Healthineers pen

Its now 3:30 pm and we should be arriving at lake Manyara in the next hour.  Watch out for our next post where we will update you on more of our progress.  Ongee sambili !


Sunset behind the clouds




4 Comments Add yours

  1. Stuart says:

    You have the patience of a saint and the tact of a lawyer to deal with the ice cream men. A real spin doctor

    Good luck and very intersting

  2. Dr. Duncan says:

    Thanks Mark and Stefan for your trip, yes we met at Kabuku village and we share many things more over you’re love to us, hope we will communicate latter as we discussed.

  3. Trevor Keip says:

    It all sounds fantastic!

  4. Sabine says:

    I just love following your travel news – it is very interesting and also very funny. I guess at the moment Mark has no time or need for excel spreadsheets 🙂

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