The driver was nicely on time and he had a restaurant in mind. It was a large open place with covers for the rain/sun on the lakeshore. However at night there was no view of the lake. They had lively music and de food was good=standard. In my case a plate with goat meat, sheep and sliced vegetables. More or less the same as I have eaten up till now. The volume of sheep or rice is mostly large so there is not much chance of losing weight. Since it is Erik’s birthday I gave him the old iPhone 4 we were not using anymore. He was very happy and straight away tried to get it working. As a result there was not much conversation during the dinner. That was not really a problem because his English and my Swahili does not allow for much conversation.
The $9 room lived up to its expectation. Noisy street noise, toilet water which was leaking, a fan which had to be switched off because of its noise and a washing basin which is a bucket. So I am going up market next time. Needless to say that there was no breakfast for this price. A good thing with this place, there is an outside veranda overlooking the rooftops and it was cool due to the rains. I could nicely sit there to type the blog.
The start of the day was spent at the phone sale shop. Apparently the iPhone was still locked. They spend 1 ½ hr to get it completely unlocked. I hope it is ok now for Erik. It would be as shame if he cannot fully use it. Along the way I showed him Google street maps so he could see where he was going. An eye-opener.
Every time we leave a large town we try to fill up the petrol tank. This car is thirsty at 7 – 8 km/l. And the tank is only 75 l. We spent some time to find a petrol station which accepts Visa card. We could not find one in Mwanza. Solution: go to the ATM and take out the money and then go to the petrol station. In this way I pay the 3% commission and not the petrol station!
We finally got on our way at 11:00 hrs. First we had to backtrack a bit and drive to a ferry which crosses one of the arms of the lake. A long bridge over the several km wide water is under construction. It will still take several years to complete.
The road to Biharamulo is now fully tarmac. In contrast to what the map shows. The landscape is reasonably flat at 1200 m. The towns we passed are one street affair, except when we get to the gold town of Geita and the town closes to Buck Reef. Both these mines I visited with Prof. Velzeboer in 1977.
Geita was then a heap of large machines where the bearings have been removed. It was a very sad sight. It used to employ over 2000 people. The underground mine started production in 1936 and was closed down in 1965. It was reopened in 2000 as an open pit mine and is still in operation. Gold production dropped from 661,000 to 494,000 ounces per year (3,98 gr/t).
When we also visited Buckreef. Stamico was in the process of opening up an underground mine. There was one shaft and only one level. The project was however not very successful and it closed down in the mid 80’s. Currently it is being re-opened as an open pit mine with an expected recovery grade of 1,8 gr/t and expected to produce 150,000 oz of gold per year. The road climbed up out of the high plateau to 1500 m before reaching the old German administration centre of Biharamulo. It had rained most of the afternoon so the temperature had dropped.