19-Feb-2005 -- Upgrading a working week-end:
For Sunday 10 a.m. we had a project meeting scheduled, taking place in Matambwe at Selous Game Reserve. Normally to get there from Dar es Salaam, the routes to take would either be via Kibiti or Kisarawe, or via Morogoro and along the Uluguru Mountains. On Friday we decided to try out a new way that would make a shortcut to the Morogoro route and lead us along the Confluence 7S 38E.
The final departure was scheduled for Saturday 6 a.m., knowing that either way we would choose would take at least 6 to 8 hours and adding some time for a visit to our selected Confluence. We actually got out of Dar es Salaam at only 7 a.m. Taking the Morogoro Road, we turned left (south) on to a gravel road some 30 km after the junction of Chalinze. Here we started to get closer to our intended Confluence. Following the gravel road we were in a good mood having found, as it seemed, a good shortcut to Matambwe.
At about 10:30 a.m. and after some smaller breaks for taking pictures along the way, arranging the tanks on the roof rack, and once in a while asking villagers for the right way, we had come as close as 1.8 km to the Confluence. Unfortunately, we could not make out any minor track road that would allow us to get closer. But since the landscape seemed accessible, we decided to leave the main road straight towards 7S 38E guided by our GPS.
For more than 30 minutes we crossed a fascinating scenery full of green vegetation, high grass, bushy areas and green plateaus, accompanied by a bright blue sky. Having reached a distance of only half a km to our point, in the middle of nowhere we insisted to carry on and reach it by car even closer. Just some 40 m before the plateau opened into a wide green valley, our GPS indicated 7°00'00.0"S 38°00'00.0"E at an altitude of 177 m. Our celebrating ceremony included cold drinks from our cool box and a rich Herrenkuchen (cake speciality), with lots of pictures taken.
Since leaving the gravel road, we had changed drivers and Edward, sitting in the back, wondered about our expedition. But after having reached the spot, we explained our aim and were fully understood, though realising question marks in his face. As we still had a long way to go, we took a good rest at the Confluence before continuing our day trip.
Reaching back to the gravel road, we continued full of confidence our selected shortcut to Matambwe/Selous. But asking once again for direction we got to know from different answers that our shortcut would most probably end at the Ruvu River, the main source for the Dar es Salaam Water Supply. Insisting on that there was a way to carry on, as our map indicated a road, we continued and shortly found ourselves in front of the Ruvu River stream, giving us the only two options: Either we had to cross - without there being a bridge - or we would have to return and take the outer way via Morogoro. Our driver Edward was very confident and after a "No problem", we activated the 4-wheel drive and entered the stream... only finding our breath back after having reached the other side of the river safely and dry.
From there on the road led us to Mvuha, where we reached the known road from Morogoro. We managed to arrive at our site shortly before our colleagues, who always take the "outer" way over the Uluguru Mountains, for a pre-site visit and surprised them by telling about our new shortcut. With a last cold drink we ended our 'upgraded working Saturday' together.