Route advice: Mbeya to Ruvuma River at Moz border, plus Mafia Island





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  1. #1
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    Default Route advice: Mbeya to Ruvuma River at Moz border, plus Mafia Island

    Hello all,

    We are planning a trip up to Mpulungu (Zambia southern shore of Lake Tanganyika), and then over to the northern Moz border. The main motivation is to drive down the Northern Moz coast, but it would be great to take the road less travelled south of Selous as opposed to heading to Dar and then down the coast.

    Does anyone have any recommendations on the route from the south western side of Tanzania to the northern Mozambique border near the coast (thinking of the ferry, but might have to be the unity bridge). We don't really know if we are going to do Selous though it seems a pity to go straight past. I have heard its only hunting in the south though, no gate in the south for common tourists.....?

    We are also thinking of trying to get over to Mafia Island though I realise its a bit further north....anyone have any input? We would leave the car on the mainland

    Thanks
    Last edited by zoneout; 2017/06/25 at 01:56 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Route advice: Mbeya to Ruvuma River at Moz border, plus Mafia Island

    [
    Quote Originally Posted by zoneout View Post
    Hello all,
    Quote Originally Posted by zoneout View Post

    We are planning a trip up to Mpulungu (Zambia southern shore of Lake Tanganyika), and then over to the northern Moz border. The main motivation is to drive down the Northern Moz coast, but it would be great to take the road less travelled south of Selous as opposed to heading to Dar and then down the coast.

    Does anyone have any recommendations on the route from the south western side of Tanzania to the northern Mozambique border near the coast (thinking of the ferry, but might have to be the unity bridge). We don't really know if we are going to do Selous though it seems a pity to go straight past. I have heard its only hunting in the south though, no gate in the south for common tourists.....?

    We are also thinking of trying to get over to Mafia Island though I realise its a bit further north....anyone have any input? We would leave the car on the mainland

    Thanks


    I have replied to your post elsewhere on the forum about your route from Mpulungu ZAM to Mtwara TZ. However, I am not entirely sure what you are asking in this post...

    If you are intending on going from Mbeya to Mtwara, that is south and then east through what is known as the Southern Highlands (Mbeya - Njombe - Songea -Tunduru - Masasi - Mtwara). This is not likely to be that difficult although the roads will not be what you are used to in South Africa and will take a number of days. However, the Selous Game Reserve is some way north of Mtwara (so you are not "going past it").

    The Selous is the largest game reserve in Africa. The enormous area south of the Rufiji River is thick impenetrable bush and is, as you say, a hunting area. This area south of the Rufiji is not open to tourists and there are not any roads in (or out). The area north of the Rufiji River is the only area open to the public and there are a number of lovely - albeit very expensive and exclusive - lodges/camps. There is also a public campsite at Lake Tagalala. The Selous is wild and remote and the logistics involve some degree of planning. Please see another thread on this forum on this very subject. So, the long and short of it is you would have to drive due north of Mtwara, over the Rufiji river, and then turn west to the Mtemere gate into the Selous. We have driven from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam in 2014, and also driven from Morogoro into the Selous and out eastwards and then south to Kilwa Masoko in the past.

    Mafia island is another kettle of fish - although I have never been there. My understanding is that you would not be able to take your own vehicle on to the island, but would go over either by air or as a foot passenger on a ferry or a dhow. My advice would be to contact one of the very few diving or fishing centres on the island and ask the question as to how you could safely get to Mafia and where on the mainland you could safely leave a vehicle.

    The Bradt guide to Tanzania is very good and covers SE Tanzania very well. It is obvious that the compiler of this guide has actually been to this rarely visited corner of Tanzania. We know because we have been there.


    Happy planning.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Route advice: Mbeya to Ruvuma River at Moz border, plus Mafia Island

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    [

    I have replied to your post elsewhere on the forum about your route from Mpulungu ZAM to Mtwara TZ. However, I am not entirely sure what you are asking in this post...

    If you are intending on going from Mbeya to Mtwara, that is south and then east through what is known as the Southern Highlands (Mbeya - Njombe - Songea -Tunduru - Masasi - Mtwara). This is not likely to be that difficult although the roads will not be what you are used to in South Africa and will take a number of days. However, the Selous Game Reserve is some way north of Mtwara (so you are not "going past it").

    The Selous is the largest game reserve in Africa. The enormous area south of the Rufiji River is thick impenetrable bush and is, as you say, a hunting area. This area south of the Rufiji is not open to tourists and there are not any roads in (or out). The area north of the Rufiji River is the only area open to the public and there are a number of lovely - albeit very expensive and exclusive - lodges/camps. There is also a public campsite at Lake Tagalala. The Selous is wild and remote and the logistics involve some degree of planning. Please see another thread on this forum on this very subject. So, the long and short of it is you would have to drive due north of Mtwara, over the Rufiji river, and then turn west to the Mtemere gate into the Selous. We have driven from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam in 2014, and also driven from Morogoro into the Selous and out eastwards and then south to Kilwa Masoko in the past.

    Mafia island is another kettle of fish - although I have never been there. My understanding is that you would not be able to take your own vehicle on to the island, but would go over either by air or as a foot passenger on a ferry or a dhow. My advice would be to contact one of the very few diving or fishing centres on the island and ask the question as to how you could safely get to Mafia and where on the mainland you could safely leave a vehicle.

    The Bradt guide to Tanzania is very good and covers SE Tanzania very well. It is obvious that the compiler of this guide has actually been to this rarely visited corner of Tanzania. We know because we have been there.

    [/COLOR]
    Happy planning.
    Thanks. Appreciate your input...yes, I am pretty familiar with the roads in East and Central Africa in general...though mostly from 20 to 25 years ago, and I haven't ever done the Southern Highlands (but now I know thats what they are called!). OK, so you can confirm the southern Selous is not accessible. Pity. We will have to just drive past then. Too bad that we would have to commit to hunt in order to see it

    The reason for the post was to ask for any detailed information on the roads and routes south of Selous between Mbeya and the coast/Northern Mozambique border.

    Good advice on the Mafia island stuff, thanks.

    Anyone been to Mafia island recently-ish?
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    Default Re: Route advice: Mbeya to Ruvuma River at Moz border, plus Mafia Island

    The route through the Southern Highlands was in notoriously bad condition in the past, but I don't know what it is like now. There are tea estates, wattle estates, avocado plantations, and wheat farms in the Southern Highlands.

    Google Kitulo National Park ("The Garden of God") which is in the Southern Highlands and is set aside to preserve the flower-clad Kitulo Plateau.

    You could email Kisolanza Farm and ask them if they have driven to Songea, Njombe, etc recently. Or just go and have an adventure...

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    Default Re: Route advice: Mbeya to Ruvuma River at Moz border, plus Mafia Island

    I found this trip report from 2009. They drove from Mbeya to Njombe and Songea, and then crossed into Mozambique via the second bridge which is some way to the west, I think, of Unity Bridge. I don't know anything about this bridge as we crossed Unity Bridge. Perhaps have a look for it on Google Earth?

    http://www.overland.co.za/travel_rep...009_Part_2.pdf

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    Thumbs up Re: Route advice: Mbeya to Ruvuma River at Moz border, plus Mafia Island

    Thanks! Really appreciate your input, and for finding that trip report.
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    Default Re: Route advice: Mbeya to Ruvuma River at Moz border, plus Mafia Island

    Hamna shida!

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    Default Re: Route advice: Mbeya to Ruvuma River at Moz border, plus Mafia Island

    The following posted on the Land Cruiser Forum:

    Ruvuma River Ferry Crossing Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:49 am

    We crossed the border successfully yesterday by ferry from Mozambique (Namoto) to Tanzania (Mtwara). The Tanzanian ferry captain Abdullah can be reached on +255 787 724 928. The ferry has the capacity to carry a few cars and even a truck or two. It runs at high tide only.
    Make sure the trip is planned as no facilities exist on both sides of the river.
    Last edited by PierredW; 2017/10/09 at 08:01 AM.

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