Never trust Google Maps!
Our journey to Moshi was certainly an eventful one. Up at 4am for the first leg of our drive to Tanga on the Indian Ocean.
We were heading for an overnight stay in Moshi. We made good progress to just north of Shinyanga when we were directed off to our left for our cut across country.
In fact I had missed the turn initially. I would come to regret not continuing this path and instead turning around at my navigator’s behest. After all on the map it looked the most direct.
Our new road was off Tarmac so a slower path than hitherto, but we had a four wheel drive so we coped.
After an hour or so we realised that we must have missed another turn as we were up in the hills heading for the Serengeti. There are no road signs on these roads so it is a bit of guesswork.
Reversing we travelled back half an hour or more until we found an obscure turning to our left – we took it!
Initially the road was fine enough we arrived at a village had some breakfast and continued on seeking directions at a junction. The man was a little dubious ‘bad road’ he said – but we had a four wheel drive and the road did not look bad, we really did not want to back track for an hour plus bearing I mind our 12 hour journey was extending as we travelled. This was a big mistake.
Initially we made good progress but the road became more and more off road.
Our recently learned driving skills paid dividends and we made it through a number of mud pools until we didn’t!
Stuck in the Mud! Just the four of us!
No other vehicles within miles.
No other people.
In our previous experience we had both more and uktimately a Landrover to drag us out.
What were we going to do now? Here in the middle of nowhere and a long journey ahead.
We tried going forward, we tried going back to no avail. So it was for the second time in a fortnight it was time to get muddy.
We pushed and we pushed with limited success, we tried putting leaves under the wheels, and twigs and branches the car barely budged.
We offered up a few arrow prayers – this was getting sticky!
A man wandered along the ‘road’, Tomasi. He agreed to help.
More pushing, more leaves, no luck.
Anita (supreme Kiswahili speaker as she is) and Tomasi set off to the nearest settlement in search of help – we gathered more sticks, leaves and branches and waited.
A cow herder arrived, then two more, cows in tow! Young boys off 13 years. More stick and twigs.
Then Anita returned having secured the help of a farmer who was ploughing his field by hand with a yoke of four oxen. He just need to finish his job and he’d be there. In less than 10 minutes he was and the oxen were chained to the back of the car (we were reversing out).
Within a few minutes we were free. Reversing to a place we could turn and then heading back the way we’d come to what the farmer promised was a better road.
This involved crossing some fields avoiding the spikes acacia bushes as we were directed by the farmer and Tomasi who asked if we could give him a lift to Inguga our immediate destination.
Our route took us to a track which whilst drier was scarcely a road (though Google insisted it was).
After an hour we were finally back on Tarmac and resuming our journey. In 7 hours we’d travelled just 44 miles it’s gonna be a late arrival in Moshi but at least we saw some interesting rural landscapes and some fabulous bird life to boot.
Most importantly we met some kind and generous Tanzanians who got us out of a hole.