Showing posts from January, 2011

Travelling from South Africa to Zambia by Bus

Zambia is best reached overland from south as roads and buses are considerably better in South Africa than in Tanzania or Malawi. The trip is easily done in two parts. The first leg from South Africa to Botswana is monopolized by Intercape Mainliner. They have daily departures arriving 9 pm to the capital of Botswana, Gaborone. If you have over 20 kg of luggage, prepare to pay a rather ridiculous fee for the overweight. From Gaborone you can take a bus to Zambian side, either in Livingstone or Lusaka.

A Dead-End Called Dar es Salaam

Travelling to Dar is pretty straightforward but getting away is challenging unless you want to spend a lot of money on flights or ride the potholed roads on crappy buses. Our first option was to take the Tazara train from Dar es Salaam to Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia. For that we bought a Zambian visa from the Zambian Consulate and paid 75.000 TSH (40€) each for a single-entry, three-month visa. The Consulate had no lights nor air-con on when we applied for the stamp but the next day when we returned to pick our passports, there was electricity. Did our visas pay their due bill?

Nose-picking in Tanzania

According to a popular travel guide, there is not much to see in Dar Es Salaam except the outlying island of Zanzibar. This means less hassle and rip-offs in the city itself, which is not necessarily bad, especially if one is coming from Kenya.We took a swing to Tanzania’s capital, Dar Es Salaam, to apply for a six-month visa to India but learned that they only grant three-month visas in the Tanzania embassy. We were kindly advised to apply the visa from Finland. That cryogenic treatment is not really tempting. Was this the famous Indian hospitality or bureaucracy?

Kenya: Surprisingly Expensive For Mzungu

We are leaving Kenya despite our wishes to stay around a bit longer. Renting a flat didn’t work out the way we expected—instead, we got a mzungu treatment. Mzungu means a white person in Swahili and it is often derogatory. We started our trip from Nairobi and stayed there a week. The city was OK. We didn’t feel unsafe despite the city’s reputation of "nice robbery", Nairobbery. The only downside was the temperature. On daytime, it was a bit above 20°C and during the night 14-15°C. Heading to the coast was more pleasant because the temperature rose on the better side of 30°C.