Driving from Lake Malawi at about 450 meters we crossed the border into Tanzania and the road took us up and up. We were soon in the Southern highlands at an altitude of 2000 meters and more. At one point the road was surrounded by tea plantations. Then as we drove a bit higher the crop changed from tea to potatoes. I do love potatoes, but I have to admit that tea plantations look nicer than potato fields.
Our first night in Tanzania was at Utengule Country Hotel. Not in a fancy room, but on the helicopter pad where they let people like us camp when its not in use.
Utengule is also a working coffee plantation, and from the Hotel you can hike down through the coffee bushes to the area where the beans are processed.
Late August was the end of the picking season and we could see all the selected coffee beans drying in the sun in airy trays.
After the beans are dried, peeled, and packed into bags, they are shipped off. They do keep some coffee for the Hotel, and Espen, a coffee addict, was really happy with the espresso he had for breakfast.
Beside tea and coffee there was a lot of advertisement for another kind of drink in the Southern Highlands, cola. It seemed like the two brands almost had an advertisement “war” going on. Almost a quarter of all the houses in populated areas were painted with Pepsi logos, and another quarter were painted with the Coca Cola logo. Here is a bridge both the companies were fighting over.
While Espen was lining up at the ATM in Mbeya I was watching the shoe sale on the other side of the street.
Tempting, but I think my sneakers have to do a bit a longer. With a fresh stack of cash we were ready to continue the drive north in Tanzania. More about driving in Tanzania in our next blog.