Good Friday 19 April 2019 | Distance travelled: 159 km (3562 km total)
We got up to bright sunshine and wet grass after a night in a chalet at the Kings Highway guesthouse in Kalungu. It had been a decent night's sleep in this cheap place, and there was only one other person staying, a Chinese-englishman called Ron.
After an hour of yet more potholes we got to Nakonde, the border town, and after one or two wrong turns managed to get the carnet stamped out and then proceeded to the Tanzanian immigratuion building. It was largely empty, and we were soon stamped out of Zambia and then waited for our Tanzanian visas to be prepared. This took a while, but we could see what was happening behing the desk, so it was just a result of the officer being slow.
I tried to get the carnet stamped in, but requiring my passport, had to wait until the visa was finished (by one officer) and then stamped by another. The carnet stamping prcedure was again straightforward, although this time the guy came and actually looked at the car (but didn't inspect it). I then needed to pay a 6000 shilling import tax, at the bank office, which was closed because it was a holiday.
A man in an england football shirt had been lurking since we got out of the car. Actually, as soon as we got to the border there were people trying to 'help' with insurance, money changing etc, and there were generally more people about, so it felt a bit more oppressive. However, I'd been working on this particular man to give me a good price to change my remaining kwatcha and he'd hung around long enough to be of help when the bank was shut.
He took us out of the building and into Tunduna, on the Tanzanian side, and to an agent to pay the fee to and get the reciept officially stamped. Waiting for his moment, we now got negotiating on a price for the kwatcha and eventually settled at 170 shillings per kwatch (a quick google told us it was 187), but I was happy to exchange at this price to speed things up. After he sorted us out he shook my hand and excitedly said 'now i'm going to get a drink!'...
Almost immediately as we entered Tanazania, there were more colours, more development, more agriculture and more people. The road was almost constantly lined with dwellings of one sort or another and there was an industrious to the shops that had been missing in Zambia. There were rolling fields of maize and more and more hills and mountains. We have entered the Southern Highlands and it definitely felt mountainous. It was a very pleasant drive, despite a couple of delays at road blocks where we had to wait for trucks. As soon as we got to Mbeya the heavens opened and we ran for cover to the Mbeya hotel, a faded colonial place, run by an Indian man. We got a few cheap rooms and ate our first meal of the day at about 3pm. (I had goat and ugali).
The rain abated, I went for a late afternoon stroll on my own along the roads up behind the hotel. There were lovely huge houses with manicured lawns and I think that I spotted a Wildlife Conservattion Society building up there too. I looped back via a couple of large churches, which were packed with Good Friday worshippers, before getting back to the hotel in time for a damp sundowner.