Day 34, 4 march 2010, Chitimba to Iringa
A long day, leaving Lake Malawi at 08:30 and arriving at the Old Farmhouse Lodge nearby Iringa in Tanzania, and including an uneventful but slow border crossing. The Northern stretch of Lake Malawi from Chitimba to Karonga is exquisite and deserves more time. in fact, it is easy to get stuck at the lake of stars and stay forever. Many have done just that!
Our best surprise en-route was a message that Didi (cat) was found at home, thin, unhappy, but back and alive. We are most grateful to Caron, Gloria and Dick Turpin, Louisa, Bev and all the other good people whose concern and attention resulted in her being found again. We hope that she now settles at home. She had some food and had taken up her spot on the stairs.
Southern Tanzania was another pleasant surprise. Cool, mountainous, this is tea and timber country. This is apparently the largest timber growing area in East Africa. Once again we drove into the night, and I vowed again not to do it. Speed gets down to 30-40km/hour avoiding people, very, very fast buses, animals and few (but dangerous) potholes. This time, we called ahead to book beds at the lodge recommended to s by the Dragoman overland truck driver. Dean observed that they always seemed to find nice places, so we thought to tag along.
The Old Farmhouse Lodge was a great surprise. Simple, comfortable rooms, lovely linen and mattress made for the best sleep. Food was served from the farm (most tender slow roast beef done in a 'tikka' clay oven with fresh veggies). Delicious, and served in a clay hut lit entirely by paraffin lanterns. Top that with hot shower and it was a real and completely unexpected treat. The farm also offers 2 luxury thatched cottages and camping, really catering for every budget without compromising anyone. The host, Mark, assisted us with the route ahead, recommending that we only consider the route to Arusha via Dar, and not any of the 'shorter' routes. He also suggested stopping over at Mikumi en-route to Dar.