Mikumi Park, Tanzania

  • Date
  • 6 August 2000
  • Lodging
  • Vuma Hill Camp
  • Distance
  • 593 KM
  • Total
  • 95813 KM

Driving long periods during the day means bathroom stops happen along the highway since few gas stations exist and no fast food restaurants line the route. In Malawi it’s safe to walk behind a bush or tree for privacy, but in some African countries we’ve visited (Mozambique, Angola, Congo, Western Sahara, Mauritania) I can’t wander from the road since land mines remain still haunting, killing and dismembering people.

Since Malawi is highly populated with eight to 10 million in a land mass smaller than England, finding a private bush or tree without a person walking, standing or living close by can sometimes be near impossible. I’ve managed though. I don’t even want to know the number of times I’ve had to commune outside with nature.

But most times nature is golden compared to a ‘proper toilet’. Many toilets in Africa, and other parts of the world, don’t flush. Sometimes there’s a cup by a bucket filled with water and this is the flushing system. And the smell is often stomach-turning. Waste sits inside the non-flushable or broken toilet. But even toilets that flush can be disgusting – never cleaned inside or outside the bowl. Outhouses with holes in the ground exist, but honestly these are often cleaner and smell less vile than some of the toilets I find. And I always carry a tissue with me, but never put this in the bowl, since at most places even if the water works, the paper will clog a pipe or never go anywhere.

I never assume tissue will be provided or that a lock will be on the toilet/outhouse door or that a sink will be nearby to wash my hands afterwards. Relying on nature for a bathroom stop sounds better and better.