Rest Days - Arusha
We’ve a 3-day rest here in Arusha; it’s one of only two such stretches, the other being Livingstone / Victoria Falls coming up later in April. I’d much earlier thought about what I’d like to do during this rest period; I contemplated doing a 2- or even 3-day visit to the Ngorongoro Crater or the Serengeti region. But both would involve long days sitting in the back of a combi van hurtling down African roads driven by someone I don’t know, and both seemed rushed at best. In the end, I decided to just relax. I know the next section of riding will be hard, probably only exceeded by the rough gravel roads south of Windhoek in Namibia.
I needed to do a bit of bike maintenance of course; clean the drive train and especially check all the various bits and pieces which may have worked themselves loose in the past week or two. We’ve been almost all on tarmac recently, but the Kenya and Tanzania road engineers are overly fond of rumble strips at the entry/exit of all villages, curves and hills, it seems. So lots of sudden shocks and vibrations throughout the days. Plus I’ve switched my tires over to the fatter 47 mm set in preparation for the 4 days of dirt/mud coming up south of Arusha toward Malawi.
Given these fatter tires are brand new, we’ve reverted to running them tubeless. In principal it means I’ll get able to deflate to less than 40 psi (down to 30 psi ?) for the grungy bits and not have to worry about ‘pinch flats.’ Omar took the process over in terms of getting the sealant into tires, and setting the bead using only a floor pump. This was neither easy nor straightforward. Luckily, I came across a fellow with a compressor not far from camp; in the end, he had to use that to properly inflate. Well, we’ll see how it goes. It’s only the 4 days hence of real concern; once in Malawi, we’re back on tarmac until Windhoek. I’ll worry about the gravel in April-May.
I also found a tailor / sewing place in town to repair my broken ‘strap-on’ bottle cage adapter for the front fork; the Velcro strap had torn completely the other week on one of these. I don’t know that the repair will hold, but somehow, I need to be able to carry more water than the two normal 750-800 mm bottle cages allow.
Personally more rewardingly, I also found ‘Africafé’ a rather Gucci coffee shop in town; awesome chocolate milkshake and a double fudge chocolate cake. Certainly worth the average (double that?) monthly Tanzanian wage which it cost; and yes, I went back there daily for my sugar fix.
The Karama Lodge where I’m staying can’t be over-recommended. A sort of ‘out of Africa’ place; daily or nightly I see various geckos, chameleons, butterflies, moths, birds, hedgehogs. Really peaceful and a perfect spot to rest and recharge.
The next 7 days: