Road Trip To Tanzania -B.C by Njeri Mbogo

ROAD TRIP TO TANZANIA

Day One: Nairobi to Diani – 606kms
Day Two: Enjoying Diani
Day Three: Diani to Moshi – 533kms
Day Four: Moshi to Nairobi – 379kms

5 friends. 2 countries. 1518kms covered.

Bikes:
Benelli TRK 502
Hero Karizma ZMR, 223cc
Bajaj Pulsar NS 200
Suzuki Gixxer 155cc

Documentation Required for the trip and at the Border points:


1. Passport OR Temporary Pass (applied through e-citizen for KES 350)
2. Yellow Fever Certificate. The lifetime vaccine is available at Port Health at Wilson Airport for KES 2500
3. Valid driving license
4. Identification card
5. COMESA Insurance
6. Original logbook. This is to be surrendered at the border point however since we were crossing through two different points, we surrendered our original logbooks at Customs HQ and received authorization letters. We then received form C32 that was stamped at the border exit and entry points.

Day One

Day One:
Route: Nairobi – Voi – Mariakani – Kaloleni – Mtwapa – Mombasa – Diani

The morning was gloomy and it was raining but nobody and no weather was stopping reggae. We were to set off as 5 bikers, however, 2 couldn’t make it due to unavoidable circumstances. Riding on Mombasa road in the rain was terrible, to say the least. Even after the anti-fog tricks on the visor, visibility was poor mainly due to the splatter of dirty water from the car ahead so one had to keep positioning themselves better. It was finally dry after the Machakos junction and bright and shiny at Emali which was our first stop. We had a quick bite to eat and drink and set off to the next stop which was Voi town. We pushed off the road by oncoming vehicles more times than we could count, the shoulder on the way to Voi served as a good escape. There was no shoulder to escape to after Voi. The road was patchy and uneven as the tarmac appears to have chipped off. We encountered a near miss when we came across a saloon car that overtook a trailer at a bend and refused to move or slow down for us to pass. It was a close shave and we thank God.

Riding through Mombasa to the ferry was tiring. TIRING!! The road was being constructed in some parts and there were so many tuktuks and lots of disorganization. It was also the last leg and we were honestly tired and irritable. Crossing the ferry cost 50 shillings and they let motorbikes through to the front of the line. Riding out of the Likoni Ferry through Likoni was absolute chaos, suffice to say we will not use that route in the near future. We got to Diani at around 8 pm sweaty, tired but happy. We stayed at Upani in Diani.

Day Two
The two bikers left behind the previous day were able to set off on this day and we decided to stay in Diani enjoying the water (pool and beach) as we waited for them.

Day Three
Route: Diani – Lungalunga – Horohoro – Same – Moshi

We set off to Tanzania through exiting Kenya at the Lungalunga border and crossing over to another building and entering Tanzania through the Horohoro border. It took us about 3 hours which was a longer process than anticipated as there were network challenges at both border points. We were dripping sweat literally…sweat my fren’ albeit having fewer layers. At the border, we presented our documentation and received c32 forms which is a temporary exportation form for a motor vehicle/ cycle into a foreign territory.

To note, there’s an NMB bank ATM at the border point that accepts VISA. Outside the gate, there are locals with Kenya and Tanzanian shillings for exchange.

The road from Horohoro to Same town was super. Well tarmacked, well marked and complete with road signs (including zebra crossings for those with wheelchairs). We saw about 4 rainbows and the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro as the sunset. It was beautiful. The road was the total opposite from Same to Moshi. To make it worse, we rode at night which made it more challenging. We must applaud drivers in Tanzania as we were not pushed off the road at any point.

To put it politely, it was a challenging ride. We were tired before we got to Moshi and had to stop and take a break to snack on something na kuchochana; the encouragement session was much needed.

We finally got to our home for the night and that is just a story for another day

One of the many rainbows we got to see

Day Four
Route: Moshi – Arusha – Namanga – Nairobi
We were tired from the previous days ride so we had a late morning just chilling and talking. Had some delicious breakfast and set off to Nairobi. The ride from Moshi through Arusha to the Namanga Border was enjoyable. So enjoyable that we didn’t fuel because the route master told us Namanga ni hapa tu. The Gixxer and Pulsar ran out of fuel on the main tanks but we were able to ride with the reserve tank fuel to Longido town which was before the Namanga border.

The process at the Namanga border was seamless as it is a one-stop border point so all processes are under one roof. We made it back to Nairobi safe and sound having enjoyed the ride and learned some things about ourselves and each other.

Tony’s point of view
This trip was eye-opening for me in different ways. Tanzania is a beautiful country that is begging to be explored. Awesome views of mountains and lowlands. (Too bad we didn’t get enough time to take as many pictures as we could). The roads are just meant to be ridden and ridden and ridden some more.

This trip has taught me a lot considering it pushed each one of us to the last ounce of energy in our bodies. Such a journey needs friends who bring different traits to the group. You need a clown to lighten up the mood when you are tired and feeling you are about to give up. You need an organizer who will make sure you have your documents in order as well as speed up the group when you are being lazy. Most importantly, you need each other. You need to communicate with one another. You need to trust each other as well as be comfortable with your pack. In case of any emergency or obstacles encountered, you know your squad has got your back. You also need to tolerate each other when the going gets tough, you are tired and you are yet to reach your destination for the day.

This will be healed by a shower, food and good night’s rest. You also need to be open to the idea of sleeping anywhere when you get tired or the dark sets in before you get to your next stop. The crucial thing is to make sure you are in a safe and secure place for you and your motorcycle, a place that has a bed you can put your body to rest as well as have food to fuel your empty self. It is important to fill up your bike with fuel when it is running low so you can enjoy the trip knowing you are covered for the next 200 or more kilometers. Kindly set your expectations of people, places or hotels realistically as you may be disappointed when reality checks in. Vitu kwa ground huwa different, ask the ladies about their experience at Secret Garden in Moshi.

If possible, start your journey early so you can have as many stops as you want to take pictures as you explore new places and make memories. Invest in a GoPro or something of the sort to record your travels to cherish them in the future. It is never that serious, go out and ride as well as meet people with similar goals as yours and tour together while having.

React, Respond, Initiate

What will you do next??

The first almost always leads to bad outcomes.

When things are uncertain it’s easy to react.

Responding is smarter, it forces you to think about the action to take once you identify a hazard.

It’s also easy to get into a rhythm of responding, to others’ actions and movements.

How about the last? How do you Initiate? How do you get other road users to respond to your actions? How do you anticipate the hazards and resolve them even before they develop. How do you stay 3 steps ahead of the risks and hazards on the road?

Light wallet, Heavy Bike!

There is always something else that you just have to get. Something that you want but don’t really need.

New accessories for your bike, new riding gear, small things, big things. That will make either you or the bike or both of you look way cooler.

Expenses, planned or not, rational or not, are still a draw on your income. And all these easy money from mobile credit apps don’t help. Soon your wallet is all moth balls and old receipts. Just sad!

At what point do you invest in yourself, spend money on improving your riding skills sets. Identify a niche you may want to pursue and get professional training?

Or simply get better at your current riding routine. When does it ever become important to learn more and be better.

Like never, right? That’s why Trainings like Bladedoc track training days and Off-road East Africa training and Skid School have such low turn outs.

But guys and gals will still race on public roads, ride off the beaten track, go trail riding. With the same skills they had from when they did their basic rider training, if they were so lucky.

Coz y’all are experts now. Hospital visits and burials for those in crashes that could have been avoided if that knuckle head had put more hours in addition training , suck big time. Please Ask for help and assistance in addressing any riding challenges you have and make the effort to grow your riding skills.

Ride Safe

Ride Your Own Ride by Lucy Monyenye

Riding my own ride

I can’t stand vibrations, let alone vibrations in between my legs!! Hold up, get your head out of the gutter, you dirty little soul😈. We will get back to the vibrations shortly.

I have been riding for a while now, hit 3,000kms!!!🥳🥳 and I have had a top speed of 107kph (6 months later!!!😢). Some good advice I received when I started out was ‘ ride your own ride‘. This, I was told, should extend to all rides solo, group and couples😍.

As a newbie (uh huh, am still learning and did I invite you to a graduation? 💁🏾), you are learning (1) to look for harzards, (2) your bike, (3) to wave when you see the other biker pass by (I still struggle to release the handle and wave, at times I end up noding after he/she has passed🤦🏾‍♀).

With all the amount of learning taking place, you are bound to have information overload. It helps to know yourself, what works for you, and stick to it.

A. You are bound to meet so many other riders, trained by different people and using different styles. A buddy of mine, once told me (if you are alone on an empty road, like the southern bypass, achilia hiyo engine because the car coming behind you is speeding and will chota you. This advice makes sense, but it doesn’t apply to me, especially newbie me. See, when I speed, my heart races which means am about to panic. Once I panic, I will not remember how to use the controls and slow down/come to a stop if I need to.

Lesson one: if you are giving advice, package it in a way it will be helpful to the recipient; on the flip side, don’t take everything thrown at you.

B. Group rides are a great opportunity to meet new people, see other bikes and fall for the bikes🙈 and pretend to also like the owners. 🏃🏾‍♀🏃🏾‍♀ Remember how we talked about difference in training, this is the ground where it plays out. Some people will ride at the middle of the lane, others will be at the edge of the lane, others will keep racing up and down while pulling stunts.

Lesson two your fellow bikers can be hazards on the road too. You need to watch your side mirrors check their indicators, brake lights and movements. It is not just about the other road users, your mates on that ride are hazards too. You need to have enough reaction time and distance. At times this may mean falling back and letting the ‘fun’ ones take the lead and at other times it may mean pulling over/turning back. I will trust your judgement on the particular instances and not give further guidance. Provided you are clear on your abilities and your weaknesses (we all have them) you should be okay and make the right calls, when need be.

C. Still on group rides, there is an excitement that builds when we are in motion in large packs. This could, easily, lead to confusion and give false courage.

Lesson three Know your limits to the point that you will have fun in that larger group.

I find some of our pipes irritating and can’t ride around them😬. I am not a fast rider, I only speed up when I need to, all other times am enjoying the views at speeds of 60-70kph. Remember those vibrations I mentioned? When I rev at the wrong gear, the bike produces this very annoying vibration, it also produces them when am at high speeds, I think it is a problem with my rev matching…🤔 we shall figure it out.

So in most group rides you will find I have my own sweeper who will go at my speed and let me do my thing.😊

The last one was amazing☺, he’d speed, stop take water and relax. I would pass him. He’d give me a head start of about 5-10mins then he’d hop onto his bike and ride behind me and pass. We did this repeatedly for a distance of about 170kms. By the time we arrived to meet the large group, I wasn’t tired and I had enjoyed my own little quiet ride within the main group ride. 🙃 The return journey is where I hit 107kph, yea I had confidence, having used the road before. 😎

D. As a planning note it may be useful and more coordinated if you access ride rules and plan before hand. It may also be useful to organise people according to Nyumba Kumis that way teams are grouped before the D-day and show up ready.

Lesson four: communicating to a large crowd without a public address system is difficult, let alone informing them all the rules, stop over points and grouping.

Just as you ensured to get proper training and gear, devote some time to understand your self, how you react to different situations and be comfortable controlling that machine. Learn to ride your own ride and you will always have fun!

Now my child, go forth and….🏍🏍🏍🛵🛵🛵

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