Dear friends,

I'm comfortably perched on the floor (because there is no furniture) of Issah's flat in Mwanza, Tanzania for a morning of figuring out logistics. I met a really gregarious and helpful manager of an Airtel (TZ mobile phone service) named Bernard while I was in Biharamulo, Tanzania setting up my phone. He told me to reach out if I need any help while in Tanzania. I've taken a northern route near lake Victoria so I can pass through Serengeti and Ngongoro national parks...why not, while I'm here, you know? And it turns out that cycling through the parks is forbidden, for obvious reasons. And the only way to get east from here is to hire a 4WD or a safari tour through the parks. So I sent Bernard a message and his best friend Issah just happens to live here in Mwanza. So I met him at his work, he's a sales rep for a tire company, and he started calling his local contacts to see if he could find an affordable way to get across the parks! Apparently it will be a two day drive (possible to do in one long day but still have to pay the $200 in entrance fees just to zip through and not stop, which seems like a shame) because the roads are quite rough and the driver would have to camp with me one night in Serengeti and get my bicycle and myself out via Ngongoro the next day. So I stayed with Issah last night and treated him to dinner at a local restaurant in thanks. What a cool thing. Hopefully he'll find someone to help. I'm reaching out to the local tour operators and they all want at least $1200 for the journey. Holy moly. East African countries are relatively poor but they have the safari tourist thing figured out.

Otherwise it's been a complex and epic adventure across western Tanzania. It's much less densely populated than other parts of east Africa which has its pros and cons. The roads are atrocious and I was basically mountain biking on a fully loaded touring bike alongside trucks and semis for a few days in the blazing heat. There was suffering.

Rwanda is just gorgeous and so friendly. Rolling green hills, volcanoes, and gorillas in the mist. I'll miss that country.

Missing you all as well and including a few smartphone pics I snapped crossing lake Victoria on the ferry and in the last couple of days. Fingers crossed for Issah to come up with local help getting across these beautiful parks and seeing some big cats from the safety of a 4WD...

Much love,