An introduction to Tanzania’s cycling scene

Beating around the bush

A week before I went to Tanzania, I decided to not only bring my mountain bike but also my road bike. Some of my cycling friends wondered whether it was even possible to ride a road bike in Africa. The answer is yes, it is very possible. Not only is it possible, it is also very fun if you ride around at the right time (early mornings, or weekends). Regarding the tarmac, I have to admit also to my surprise, you are a lot less likely to get a puncture here than in, yep, Belgium. The asphalt on the main roads is very smooth, pothole free, and it takes you along beautiful scenery.
Namanga road Namanga road
As for paved itineraries, your choices are somewhat limited. Doing a round tour less than 100 km is impossible. So when it comes to training, what we (I will get to that) do most of…

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Tarangire: A self-drive safari walkthrough

Beating around the bush

ImageThere is probably nothing wrong with an organized safari, set up by a proper safari company. However, for those not having to see the big five as a main objective, or not having to be anywhere specific, it is entirely possible and worthwhile to go out exploring on your own. It will be a lot cheaper in any case! So, on a Sunday morning, we (a Dutch friend and I) drove out of Arusha, with low expectations, but good imani (=faith). By the way, when going on a safari with someone from Holland, don’t rely on them to bring any necessities. I asked for three things (binoculars, international driving license and some fresh vegetables), she brought none ;). Yes, I am Belgian, so I have to mention that. Anyway, here are some useful items to bring along:

  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Plenty of water
  • Cool box with some Kilimanjaro or Castle (we…

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The World in our house – one month of B&B experience

B&B The Wannes Suite

As expat I have traveled a lot.
But my current work and life have cut my wings :-).
So by starting a B&B we try to let the world come to us instead.

After one month of activity, 23 reservations and 5 stars both on Airbnb and Tripadvisor we have taken a good start.
So far our visitors came from Holland, Germany, France, Portugal, Bulgaria, Tunesia, Qatar, India, Canada and the US.
It were ladies on a girls weekend, guys to enjoy a beer in Leuven, a desperate expat couple arriving with their belongings before moving to a next place, festival lovers, people following seminars, a youngster taking his parents through Europe, tourists exploring Leuven and others just making a next stop on their long distance journey.
All of them were in a good mood and it was a pleasure to host them and listen to their stories from all…

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Field trip part I: Moshi & Simanjiro

Beating around the bush

In my second week, VECO East Africa’s regional representative (our boss) proposed that it would be best for me to explore the different programme areas. So, on a Tuesday morning, I joined two colleagues on their way to Moshi. Traffic here is quite dangerous, especially for the ‘weaker’ road users. Luckily, there is one rule that is quite clear: the biggest car has right of way over the others. And ours was pretty big :). It reminded me of Serbia a few years ago, where we drove around in a 9 seat minivan, not a bad idea! After a few introductions, Simon (an intern from the University of Wageningen) took me out to Northern Moshi on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in an even bigger Land Cruiser. Immediately, I liked the place. It is a lot more tranquil than Arusha, very lush and green. We stopped at a passion fruit…

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First impressions in and around A-town

My son has left for 2 years to work as a Young Professional in Arusha Tanzania.
Here you will find his first blog post.
I am proud and eager to read more.
Keep up the good work Bram 🙂

Beating around the bush

Leaving Belgium on an early Monday morning felt a bit unreal, as for so many times I had tried to imagine what it would be like, living and working in a very unfamiliar environment. As a young professional business analyst for the NGO VECO East-Africa, that is. So when that KLM plane finally took off, it felt a bit like living somebody else’s life. After a short stop in Amsterdam, the direct plane to Kilimanjaro airport set sail. After a short nap, I glanced out of the window. A highway, a forest, a canal, a very big city and a smaller one… Wait is that? Yep. Brussels, Leuven, I could even see the elderly house, the E40 highway, de Zoete Waters, Meerdael… See you when I see you! And that is as far as it goes for the emotional nitty gritty.

Unpacking the airplane seemed to cause a lot of…

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I Charleston Warsaw

For those who still think Warsaw is grey and dull.
Next try 🙂

Leuven’s touristic season has started!

Leuven starts the new season in great shape.

After years of refurbishment the art nouveau railway station has been restored and has turned into a fantastic entrance to the city.

Also the restoration works in the Saint Peter church have almost been finished.
So the treasury room with the world famous painting ‘The Last Supper’ by Dirk Bouts is again open for the public.

Exactly 100 years ago the University Library got destroyed by the German occupier.

This and other cruelties of war get shown in the exposition ‘Ravage’ in the museum M.

There you can admire until september for the first (and probably the last) time a unique piece of art: the Flemish tapestry which was made and given by the people of Leuven to the U.S. president Herbert Hoover for his efforts to restore the library.
In Brussels another interesting exposition 14-18 about World War I can be visited until the end of the year.

But Leuven is also the city of fun and festivals:

  • TW Classics (June 28th) figures a.o. the Rolling Stones, the Simple Minds, Triggerfinger, Arno etc.
  • Rock Werchter (July 3rd-6th) wit a.o. Metallica, Kings of Leon, Pearl Jam, Arctic Monkey, Stromae and many others
  • Beleuvenissen: on fridays July 18th and 25th and August 8th the entire city will be full of dance and music with a.o. the Flemish top act Clouseau
  • Marktrock August 9th-10th;

If you want to know more about Leuven and its surroundings, you will find more in earlier posts:

If you want to stay in Leuven, you can do so in our brand new B&B the Wannes Suite:

Looking forward to meet you in Leuven;