Overland travel along the South East coast or Africa
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Nov 8, 2012 2:57 PM Last Post By: eskimo_hut
Nov 8, 2012 11:35 AM
Overland travel along the South East coast or AfricaI recently returned from 3 months volunteering in Mozambique, and had an amazing time! I really want to go back next summer and see more of South east Africa, countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania Kenya and Mozambique. I was thinking about traveling overground from South Africa to Kenya, however after speaking with a travel agent I'm a little unsure. He pretty much said it was impossible to do independant, due to the transport systems being so basic, but whilst in Mozambique I used Chappas regularly and became comfortable with them, so if the surrounding countries are similar, I feel confident its possible. Any advice would be great.
Also as there will be a group of us, would buying a car and driving through these countries be a good idea? I don't know how things like insurance and tax would work in these countries (if they apply at all!), so if anyone has info on that idea, that would be appreciated too!
Nov 8, 2012 11:52 AM
1Well, I am not an expert on your question, but wouldn't it be common sense that a travel agent, who gets paid on commission by selling you a tour or transportation, would tell you it wouldn't work to do it independantly?
I have traveled throughout SA, Kenya and Tan and can tell you it's certainly possible in those countries to travel on your own.
Nov 8, 2012 12:02 PM
Nov 8, 2012 12:05 PM
3If you have just spent 3m in Moz then you know far more about Africa than the vast majority of travel agents so I don't see why you give his/her advice any credence whatsoever. As you now know it's perfectly feasible to travel around east and southern Africa by yourself using public transport.
To buy your own car and travel around is also feasible, easier within the customs union that South Africa and Mozambique are part of - I'm not sure how far it extends but may include all SADCC counties ie all your mentioned ones except Kenya. 3rd party insurance is included in the price of petrol in South Africa and Botswana (and maybe others too) - there have been some other posts on here re. doing what you want to do and the practicalities of insurance etc so do a search.
Nov 8, 2012 1:17 PM
4I don't think driving all the way up with your own car is a good idea. You would have to return the car to South Africa at some point - unless you'd manage to get an export permit and decided to import and sell the car in Kenya. It's a lot of hassle. I believe you would need a carnet to go beyond Zamiba (maybe another poster could confirm that). You'll have to pay a variety of charges as you enter countries (including insurance and levies).
There is public transport all the way up and the journey is easy. Mozambique is a bit more difficult up north but no impossible by public transport.
There are key parts of the journey that are easy. eg. South Africa to Zim is easy because of the number of buses that link the 2 countries. From Bulawayo you can take the train to Vic Falls. After crossing into Zambia at Vic Falls there are many buses from Livingstone to Lusaka. You could then catch a bus to Chipata and enter Malawi. In the north of Malawi (which has lots of buses on its main route) you can cross to Tanzania near Mbeya and then get the Tazara train to Dar Es Salaam. From Dar to Nairobi, you first go to Arusha, from where there are minibuses to the border at Namanga and then shared 7-seaters to Nairobi.
All-in-all it's very easy. These countries don't have great public transport but people need to get around. There are relatively few private cars so there is always a means of getting from A to B on the main roads. If you plan well and ask around on the ground, you'll have no difficulty.
I go up and down the continent quite a lot and travel overland between Joburg and Nairobi in 6 or 7 days (when I'm pressed for time). Trust me. It's easy and your travel agent is talking shite.
Nov 8, 2012 2:57 PM
5I did South Africa/Zimbabwe last year which was easy enough. Only advice is checking the times the bus arrives at the destination cause you don't want to do what I did and arrive in Bulawayo in middle of the night, dropped off on a dark, unlit street, no payphones, no taxi's etc
So depending on your accommodation, you are prob best arranging the hostels to pick you up and once you're at the hostels you can arrange your next move from there. You can't do things on a whim so much. I'm now looking into Tanzania to South Africa next year, so I'm in a similar situation.
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