Life on the African Road

Thiemo would choose a service station and we all queue up behind him and diesel up on the same tab. Often there were toilets there, sometimes we used them, sometimes we didn’t. Got used to the squat toilets and the bucket of water flush.
Trusty Thiemo has a supply of spares spread out in the back of the vehicles, this one was a steering box seal on the left but he only had a seal for the right so some modification was necessary. These mechanics were lucky as they had lawn to work on. It meant we got to spend another night in a hotel..we were not disappointed to have a real bed and ensuite for another night.
We all bought buckets with sealed lids for washing in. fill the bucket in the morning with washing and detergent, by the time we got to where we were going it was washed and we just had to rinse and dry!
Boabab trees all over the country were huge. One spot was called boabab valley, and just about every tree in it was a boab.
Another border crossing. This one the Kenya Tanzania border was at the right time for lunch. Luckily we bought it with us so we had a picnic in between countries.
Amazing what you see carried on the back of motorbikes and bicycles. in Malawi it was nearly all bicycles and walking, In Kenya and Tanzania a mix of both. Chickens, pigs, goats, people, bags of charcoal, straw or rocks, branches, big 15 litre water containers, fuel…you name it, it was carried.
Probably one third of the driving was on roads like this, dusty and rough. Even the tar was at times more dangerous with potholes and edges about 20cm deep, speed bumps like small hills and usually single lane but traffic going both ways.
Selling roasted corn on the roadside, usually when the vehicles had to slow for a hill, corner or road block.
Herders using the road as an animal causeway is very popular. Kenya, Tanzania and a little bit in Malawi and Zambia had the herders with the animals. Generally, the further east, the younger the herders. In this case a masai man, very wealthy as he has a lot of cows. We had lots of goats, which must be bit harder to control just cutting across in front of us making us brake hard.
Motorbikes on motorbikes, bicycles on bicycles
In Malawi and Zambia coal is sold on the road sides. Often the coal is the result of burning in national parks by the local villagers. It is not allowed, but is happening and a huge contributor to forest loss and the continual smoke haze.
Stopping to boil the stopping place ever with our own little hut to sit in.
Road workers on a new section of tar. They dump bags of cement on the road after they have levelled it and then open it with a shovel and spread the cement dust and water it in. This is followed by tar. If they need blue metal, we saw women on the sides of the road breaking rocks and leaving dumps in various sizes ready for bagging.
What happens if another car comes? We reverse down the hill until we find a wider spot. If you looked over the edge you could see the track we had just come up on and the road just zigzagged up the hill. People walked faster on the steeper tracks
Gorgeous freshly grown and very cheap produce. In the rural areas they forgot we were tourists and would give us local prices. If you stopped anywhere people would just appear out of the bush, and if you wanted anything, they would find someone who had it.
Overtaking chaos. Dust, potholes, trucks, taxis, animals, people..Keep your eyes peeled.

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