Monday, November 07, 2005

Blueprint for Independent Africa Travel

Info for independent travelers.
How I went from Cape Town to Dar Es Salaam by land.
(Feel free to change the channel on this one if you are a regular Marie-blog reader.)

1) Intercape Mainliner from Cape Town to Maseru Bridge (Lesotho border). Used VIP Backpackers card for 15 percent off fare. ISIC card does same.
2) Walked across border, caught minibus to Malealea bus. (Just a few rand)
3) Malealea bus directly to Malealea Lodge. Less than 2-hours, but took a few hours for bus to fill. Overnight and pony trek at Malealea Lodge.
4) 6:30 a.m. bus from Malealea Lodge to Maseru. Shared taxi to border. Crossed border on foot. (Got new 90-day S.A. visa!)
5) Minibus from Maseru Bridge to Bloemfontein.(a few hours, 50 rand)
6) Overnight sleeper train from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg. (Shower on train! 175 rand plus 25 rand for bedding, First Class, secure.)
7) A/C buses to Gaborone are operated by Intercape and a few smaller companies but only at 7:30 a.m. (missed it because train was late) and 2/2:30 p.m. Walked behind Park Station to minibus taxi rank. Took minibus to Gaborone. (NOTE: Trans-Lux/City-to-City runs a direct Johannesburg to Lusaka comfy a/c bus, which I avoided because of the high US-passport visa fee for Zimbabwe.)
8) From minibus station in Gaborone, walked short distance to train station. Overnight train from Gaborone to Francistown. Air-conditioned second-class (but not full)-107 pula. (No showers on this train but showers of questionable quality are available in Shoprite plaza by the Gabs train station. Standard Chartered ATM accepting VISA also present. Minibuses go from next to train to Riverwalk Mall, Tlokweng Rd. if you have time to waste.)
9) In Francistown, caught private taxi from train station to bus terminal. Sprinter—a half-bus or combi—to Kasane/Kazangula. 6-7 hours, directly to Kazangula border post. (Leaves when full, get there early like the locals do to avoid waiting.)
10) Crossed border on foot, walked to ferry (about 1 km).
11) Took ferry from Botswana to Zambia.
12) Minibuses wait on the Zambia side. 80 km over new road to Livingstone. Fawlty Towers directly to right at first Livingstone crossroads. I was lucky enough to score a door-to-door lift for this section. Ask around at the ferry. (Book in advance with your lodging to score the Zambia visa waiver.)
13) Caught 0500 CR Holdings bus to Lusaka. Arrived around noon. 0700 seems to be the most popular bus—go early. Other buses run this route as well.
14) Took 1600 Scandinavia Express a/c bus to Dar Es Salaam. 325,000 Kwachaa, 27-29 hours depending on the time spent at border. Overnight Econolodge.

Several companies operate buses from Dar to Nairobi, Arusha, Mombasa, and most East African destinations. Scandinavia Express has a bus that goes all the way to Kampala via Arusha and Nairobi. From Nairobi, many other companies (such as Busscar and Akamba) also go to Kampala. Or do the trip in minibus legs, useful if you are going to Jinja.

The Cape Town to Dar route can also be accomplished via Namibia by combining Intercape bus, CR Holdings, minibus, and TAZARA train. The other option is via Mozambique/Malawi, but I haven’t done that one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was a very useful and practical report. Sometimes that's exactly what I want/need: Just to know if it is possible - and how - to get from Point A to Point B in less traveled places. A perfect report for my purposes. Thanks.