Knud Henrik's diary 11 June 2006: Kigoma and Mpanda

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Last updated 2007.11.21

We have had some very cosy days at Jakobsen's Beach and Guesthouse near Kigoma. We have enjoyed staying in a house and not a hotel. And we have enjoyed swimming in the lake, though we all got sunburned. We have also enjoyed having dinner at a viewpoint above the guesthouse. There is a platform with a marvellous view over Lake Tanganyika and the Congolese shore opposite. But most of all, I think, we have enjoyed the quietness, no noisy traffic nearby and no noisy television set running late hours in the lobby or hotel room next door as appears to be thought off as the most attractive asset to hotel customers these days.

Yesterday we really made an effort to get connected to the internet. We managed to check emails, send a few and make sure that the mailboxes were not running full. But we didn't succeed in uploading pictures and diaries to our website. It seemed like the FTP protocol was only allowed one-way.

It was our plan to visit Gombe Stream and Mahale National Parks to se and hopefully get close to some chimpanzees. However, it turned out that children under the age of twelve are not allowed to go trekking near the chimpanzees as these can get quite aggressive against children. It would be no fun for Lea and Aske to stay at the camp while the three of us went trekking among the chimpanzees. Therefore, we have decided not to visit these national parks at all as chimps are their main attraction. Furthermore, these parks are only accessible by boat and that would be rather costly and complicated. Instead we will pay a visit to Katavi National Park, reckoned to have the most unspoiled nature.

For the last few days we have had company at the guesthouse by a researcher from the Jane Goodall Institute, Mr. Lilian Pintea, from Moldavia but now living in the US. We have had some interesting discussions of all sorts of topics sitting in the courtyard and enjoying a good whiskey under the almost full moon.

The last evening in Kigoma we had a rather unusual experience. About 11:20 pm we heard a noise like monkeys chasing each other over the iron sheet roof, but immediately followed by a slight shivering or trembling of the ground, an earthquake. Kigoma is situated on the eastern side of the western branch of the Great Rift Valley. The rift is formed because the part of Africa east of the rift moves away from the rest and this process is still going on. Therefore, the rift area is still a geological active area with earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Today we went on in a south-eastern direction to the little town Mpanda. It has been some 250 km a fairly rough road, average speed just below 40 km/h. However, in a lot of places the road has been improved significantly. When Mai-Britt, Theis and I passed here twelve years ago we couldn't make more than about 28 km/h on average. Still some places we had to crawl over stones, rocks and into deep holes and up again with a speed well below walking speed. I'll still consider this road among the worst main roads in Tanzania.

We arrived here in Mpanda at 7 pm. We have bad experiences arriving after sunset as all hotels tend to be fully booked and it can be quite difficult to go around in an unknown town in the dark. Nevertheless, without much difficulties we have found a fair little hotel here in Mpanda, with the pretentious name Super City Hotel.