Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 2009, Tukuyu – Mbeya: Call to Prayer

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on May - 02 - 2016

Distance: 76.7 km
Ride time: 5:58:15
Average: 12.8 km/h
Max speed: 50.4 km/h
Total: 48536 km

It’s interesting how cultures change when you cross borders. In Malawi and further south people have been incredibly friendly but often with a hint of shyness too. In Tanzania that shyness is gone. Everybody who speak a bit of English will come over to talk. In the tiny village where I stayed last night I met John who immediately offered to help finding a guesthouse. Every time I left the guesthouse, John would be outside with a “Hello Mister Thomas!”. I don’t think I will run out of new friends in Tanzania…

The climb from Lake Malawi had started yesterday and continued today all the way up to 2200 meters – a new altitude record in Africa. I loved passing the mountain villages surrounded by the green tea and banana plantations. Life seems very relaxed up here – and the whole setting feels very exotic to me.

The kids are still getting excited when they see me. With the limited English their greetings are usually limited to “muzungu, muzungu!” (white man) perhaps followed by “good morning” which can be at all times of the day. I also had a “Good afternooning” greeting which I think is a fine word!


After a nice downhill I was rolling into Mbeya which at 200.000 inhabitants is one of the bigger cities in Tanzania. Yes, it is indeed a city with real houses (and not mud huts as I have mostly been seeing lately) but on the other hand I didn’t see any big supermarkets or non-local restaurants. Certainly not much of a metropolitan feeling. Not that I really needed any of that, I was content enough with my cheap hotel room run by a family of friendly muslims.

Being next to a mosque, it was also the first time in Africa that I woke up to the sound of prayers. I’m not religious, but the call to prayer filled me with a happy feeling inside. If you have spent the last five years watching news, that might not be the first feeling you would get. I have hardly watched any news, but instead I was reminded of my time cycling through the Middle East in 2011. Pure warm memories!

I think tomorrow will be the last day on tarmac. Then the Tanzanian dirt road adventure will begin…

Categories: Tanzania
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One Response so far.

  1. It’s amazing how crossing a border can result in changes – some minor, and others quite major! I’ve experienced that crossing USCanada, as well as European borders