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Pole to Pole

Day 101: Lake Manyara to Dodoma

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleWe've 250 miles ahead of us today, so up at 6.15 for an early start. Peer out over the balcony to see baboons swarming all over the place taking apart the ornamental gardens.

Leave an hour later, taking the right turn at the end of the hotel drive. The safari traffic turns left and I feel a quite poignant sense of regret at leaving the animals behind.

A rough track, uncomfortably negotiated, brings us out onto the main road from Dodoma to Arusha. This is a fine, recently constructed highway. It even has white-line markings. We sizzle along it for fifteen miles, as far as a large phosphate factory at Minjingu. I know it's called Minjingu because it's written several times on road-side hoardings: 'Have You Applied Minjingu Phosphate Fertilizer?', 'Have You Taken Your Sample?', and finally, 'Bon Voyage from Minjingu'. It's quite the opposite, as it turns out. Mal voyage from Minjingu to Dodoma, on a road surface once metalled but since left to break up into a cracked and pitted mess.

We're out of the dramatic scenery and bumping along between dry straw-coloured fields through which bare patches of an ash-grey rock can be glimpsed, with only the occasional 'sausage tree' to enliven the view with its long cylindrical fruit dangling from the branches.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 101
  • Country/sea: Tanzania
  • Place: Lake Manyara
  • Book page no: 225

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