Proposed sail route
Team Tanganyika prepares to mobilize on June 24:
Mathew and I will be leaving Hermanus early morning of Friday 24 June. If work allows we will leave midday of 23, which is by far more preferable – we have to cover 3800km to collect Ian on Sunday morning (in Lilongwe). We will be driving my land cruiser (the Beast) – it has been checked over in detail and will have another service before we leave.
As 24 June is the start of RSA school holidays the Beitbridge border post will be more chaotic than usual so we will be routing through Bots (crossing at either Parr’s Halt (open 8am – 4pm) or Martin’s Drift (open 6am – 10pm)) to Francistown, Nata and crossing the Zambezi on the ferry at Kazungula and so into Zambia. Distance Hermanus to Kazungula is 2450km. This border is an expensive shambles and will take a few hours of hassling (open 6am to 6pm). We now leave the wide, open, well-maintained tarred roads behind and look ahead to not-so-good tarred roads with lots of big transporter truck traffic and loads of pedestrians and cyclists.
We head northeast to Livingstone, Lusaka and on the ‘great east road’ to the Malawian border just beyond Chipata (open 24 hours). Distance 1150km. Another tiresome border post where great patience is required and then another 180km to the Lilongwe airport where we collect Ian, Sunday morning.
We head for Robbie and Di at Hakuna Matata, a distance of 520km with the rugged Nyika plateau to climb over after the city of Mzuzu which we can expect to take us about 9 hours, so we won’t have time to dally in Lilongwe. Hakuna Matata is a rustic camping ground on the shore of Lake Malawi owned by a weathered Afrikaans chap named Willie and run by his Malawian companion Rose. R & D will be waiting with chilled wine and sizzling steaks.
View from Hakuna Matata Beach (photo: . Clemens R, TripAdvisor)
The next morning we have about 70 km to drive to Karonga where Flashdancer is parked under a tree in the local Carlsberg beer depot. The last I heard from Paul Kennedy (Carlsberg Beer) was that FD is OK and unmolested but needs a big cleanup – he advised to check for snakes when opening up. I will be in contact with Paul before we leave and maybe see him somewhere along the way to give him my thanks.
Karonga doesn’t have much to recommend. It was an Arab slaving base in the late nineteenth century until the Brits stopped it. And, during WWI, the Brits and Germans columns fought each other in the region. There are competent, friendly mechanics, fitters, welders etc.. but their workshops are inevitably under a tree, in the dust, beside a ditch. The electricity line has been reinstated since FD’s mast pulled it down last year.
Apart from opening FD up and giving her a thorough clean out our first priority is to service the trailer. Some or all the tyres will be flat. We need to inspect and re-grease the bearings, adjust the brakes, check the suspension and tow hitch etc…
After thorough check-up, we will now be towing FD, all up about five tonnes, and driving, over mountains, to Mpulungu, in Zambia, and on the southern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Distance 540km, driving time total estimate is at least 14 hours, so we need to start the day by 04:00 or have to overnight along the way and the only place that has any facilities that we call facilities is Mbala which is only 50km before Mpulungu.
All going well, we launch FD in Mpulungu. The lake ferry, M.V.Liemba, sails the lake every week or so with Mpulungu and Kigoma being the extremes of her voyage. Therefore there are sizable docking facilities in both places, though I doubt their standards are up to much.
As soon as we know she can float and the mast is up I will take the vehicle and trailer to Kipili and Lakeshore Lodge with Robbie and Di, leaving Ian and Mathew with FD to complete the rigging and stowing, do a shake-down sail and find a suitable place to anchor. The three of us will spend the night at Lakeshore and leave together the next morning for Mpulungu. The vehicle and trailer will be left at Lakeshore. By now it will be 1st, 2nd or 3rd July, depending on time saved or lost. Robbie and Di will start their drive back to Hermanus and us sailors will head north on the Lake.
The adventure begins!