|Lv 10:30 for border paying 7500 shillings($6.50 US) to go by bus all the way to the border! We had to transfer to a minibus, jammed - it was raining. Supposedly we paid to go all the way to Tanzanian immigration on the border, instead they had ripped us for the 1500 shilling fee to go the last 2 km (what we hoped to avoid)! Bon & Mari paid, I refused and walked(no longer raining). Easy checking out & into Malawi, just stamps, Malawi is free for a month. Paid the taxi 400 Qs(Malawi currency = $3.20 US) ea to get to Karonga, usually a taxi takes you to where you want to go but this fellow just dropped us off at the bus station and said we'd have to pay him more to go to a hotel or whatever. We were pissed already do hiked back to Zgambota Resthouse which we passed on the way into town...this town is really spread out. The ON cost was $5 US total for 2 rooms, very basic & shared bath. We hiked around looking for ATM(way out a road to the old town) and a restaurant - just down from the bus station(Royal Fortune Park Lodge - expensive for what you get).
We weren't very impressed w/ Tanzanians esp. in Dar & Mbeya. They are always taking advantage, lying, and trying to cheat you any way they can. Would not recom. staying in either town and recom. going by Express Bus all the way into Malawi. Don't believe any promises and only pay the very minimum...do not transfer from your original vehicle without a refund of part of what you paid even if they say 'no problem' that they have paid the new driver! Get the money and pay the new driver yourself!!!
Lvg. Mbeya we see extensive agriculture, field crops & surrounding clear cut mtns. It's red onion season, every stop vendors shove big bunches thru the windows, big piles & buckets of them all along the road. Also saw carrots, cabbage, either pears or quince, tomatoes, potatoes,corn, beans, peas - going up the pass beautiful checkerboard of garden plots green and dark brown soil. Cattle & goats grazing along the road. In villages sellers descend upon every minibus like ants to sugar. Once we reach high up in the mtns we enter clouds & rain...blooming hydrangea hedges, big poinsettia bushes & cream colored trumpet flower bushes. Going down the other side towards Malawi tons of bananas & tea plantations.