Mbeya by Air
The Masai Steppe and Malawi Gin sections of the Tour d’Afrique are 2 of the most beautiful to cycle but the fact that the ended and began in the Tanzanian mountain town of Mbeya may have convinced some riders to choose other, more convient sections. The reason? Previously the only way to get to Mbeya was to fly to Dar Es Salaam and then take the train (2 days week & notoriously slow – 28 hours at best) or the chicken bus (14hr ride & a mediocre safety record).
So this year, when I went to join the 2013 TDA from Mbeya to Vic Falls, I was very happy to learn that a Tanzanian Airline, Precision Air, had just recently begun daily flights from Dar to Mbeya. I am more than happy to report that the flight was great, free beers, reasonable price and took just over 1 1/2 hours – amazing. The airport in Mbeya is really just a runway in a field about 25kms outside town with a small arrivals/departure gate and no facilities but who cares! So go ahead and sign up for these 2 great cycling sections…and book your flight early.