Tanzania Part III – Lake Victoria

Another day, another borderjump. Customs and Immigration at the Rwanda side were smooth and easy. Tanzania, not so much, and for no apparent reason other than that someone wanted and incentive to be a little quicker. We dealt with immigration fairly quickly and were helped by the same official as when we went through here a few days ago. He remembered the children and were very friendly. The children and I went back to the car while Hugo went to sort out the car and trailer.

And we waited and waited. I finally decided to go have a look as he was second in the que when we left him. I saw him standing to the side of the que and he just shrugged his shoulders when he saw me from a distance. I went back, opened the trailer and made us all sandwiches, in full view of officials. Soon after, Hugo came back. After he submitted his documents he was told to wait. While waiting a truck driver arrived and they started chatting. The man told him that the official were probably waiting for a little something to help things along. Hugo then loudly stated that he will not pay anyone and that he was prepared to wait. As we are connected telepathically, I started making lunch, unknowingly enforcing the message. Hence, we were soon out of there as they realized we have more time than they have, a full six months if they cared to ask. Not that we planned to spend it on the border though! This incident marked the first time that someone tried to get a bribe out of us.

Once through the border, we were back on the nightmare road, the B8. We decided to not drive very far as the border proceedings took longer than we anticipated. I found a place to stay in my now trusted Bradt guide. (Tip: we have downloaded all our guides on our iPad, it saved us carrying around nine or more bulky books)

So on Tuesday 28 July we stayed at an old German Fort in Biharamulo, now called the Boma Guest House. The fort was built between in 1902 and 1905 and was downright spooky! I had goosebumps the whole time. I don’t think staying in the courtyard of the fort was the best idea ever…

Luckily we survived the night and went on to Mwanza Yacht Club on Lake Victoria. We stayed two days for some unknown reason, it really wasn’t that great. It came highly recommended by Rob and Gail but they were here with people they met on the road somewhere. I guess they stayed for the company. Anyway, at least we can say we were at Lake Victoria!

“Lake Victoria (Nam Lolwe in Luo; “Nalubaale” in Luganda; Nyanza in Kinyarwanda and some Bantu languages) is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named after Queen Victoria by the explorer John Hanning Speke, the first Briton to document it. Speke accomplished this in 1858, while on an expedition with Richard Francis Burton to locate the source of the Nile River.

With a surface area of 68,800 square kilometres (26,600 sq mi), Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, and is also the largest tropical lake in the world. Lake Victoria is the world’s second largest freshwater lake by surface area; only Lake Superior in North America is larger. In terms of its volume, Lake Victoria is the world’s ninth largest continental lake, and it contains about 2,750 cubic kilometers (2.2 billion acre-feet) of water.

Lake Victoria receives its water primarily from direct precipitation and thousands of small streams. The largest stream flowing into this lake is the Kagera River, the mouth of which lies on the lake’s western shore. Lake Victoria is drained solely by the Nile River near Jinja, Uganda, on the lake’s northern shore.

Lake Victoria occupies a shallow depression in Africa and has a maximum depth of 84 m (276 ft) and an average depth of 40 m (130 ft). Its catchment area covers 184,000 square kilometers (71,040 sq mi). The lake has a shoreline of 4,828 km (3,000 mi), with islands constituting 3.7% of this length, and is divided among three countries: Kenya (6% or 4,100 km2 or 1,600 sq mi), Uganda (45% or 31,000 km2 or 12,000 sq mi) and Tanzania (49% or 33,700 km2 or 13,000 sq mi).”

– Source: Wikipedia (sorry…..)

To get to Mwanza we had to take a ferry across the Mwanza Gulf. This time the ferry was big and could take several vehicles as well as a lot of people. There were quite a few ferries crossing the gulf and some were very big, with several decks.

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On Friday we were on our way again, we were desperate to get to Kenya and more specifically, Nairobi, to pick up my laptop at last. We drove an easy 229 km and arrived at Musoma, also on Lake Victoria. We were very impressed with Mativilla Beach and Camp and their fantastic view, but the accommodation were a bit expensive – we wanted to stay in something solid as it looked like rain and Gustav was feeling nauseous again.

We stayed at Tembo Beach Club, which apart from the view and hot showers, didn’t have much going for them. Despite the fact that it wasn’t such a great place, there were a big overlander truck with its passengers staying there. Plus, something went wrong in the lake and millions of dead snails were on the beach, stinking up the place.

We were relieved that Gustav was feeling better the following day and that we could move on to Kenya!

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