East Africa Itinerary, June, July, August
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Apr 27, 2013 3:59 AM Last Post By: regitse
Apr 15, 2013 8:01 AM
East Africa Itinerary, June, July, AugustHi folks,
I've been a backseat user of Thorntree for a while (and got some great info before a Cuba trip last year!) but decided to post to get some advice about the trip I am planning from June to (end) August of this year.
My basic outline is currently: fly into Lilongwe Malawi (~2wks), spend some time on the lake, cross over to Zambia (~10 days), spend some time around South Luangwa NP, take the MV Liemba ferry up Lake Tanganyika to Kigoma in Tanzania (~10days). Then basically continuing through Burundi (1 week) and Rwanda (1 week) into Uganda (~4wks).
I have about 3000USD for the trip and would like to end up in Uganda from about mid-late July to meet a friend who will be there. Other than that, my itinerary can be changed in any way.
Specific questions: Generally - do this seem do-able?! Are there major changes anyone would recommend? And any general recommendations for anywhere on the list? Would it be overly ambitious to try and fit more in? I had considered starting by visiting family in Jo'burg, travelling through Moz and then into Malawi.
Is it feasible (time/budget wise) after arriving in Tanzania to cross East and visit Zanzibar?
I am planning on the ferry as I have heard crossing by land over the Western border of Tanzania into Burundi is difficult. Are there any other parts of my route that seem unfeasible?
Finally, I will be a single female traveller - I have experience travelling and working in South Africa, and travelling alone in many other countries (no other African countries) so that's not a real worry for me, but are these places easy enough to meet other travellers? And I don't drive - is it practical to be without a car (for game parks etc?)
Thanks so much to everyone in advance for any advice!
Apr 16, 2013 2:10 AM
1That definitely seems do-able in the timeframe you have allowed yourself. In fact you are probably alloting too much time in a lot of places, but that is a good thing when travelling in Africa because you are bound to lose days for a variety of reasons.
The one part I would be unsure of is after SLNP in Zambia, where do you plan to go? The roads and public transport in Northern Zambia are pretty awful. I don't know (in fact I doubt) if it is possible to go North to the TZ border from South Luangwa. I think you may end up doing quite a bit of back tracking this way. Maybe consider flying into Lusaka, even take in Vic Falls, then go east to Malawi and north into Tanzania.
The roads in west Tanzania are terrible. It took me 4 days of up before dawn, all day dusty buses to reach Kigoma from Mbeya (the opposite direction to which you will be travelling). The ferry would be a much nicer option, but the schedule is far from reliable. You will have to check the situation out on the ground, but you will have to be prepared to either wait a few days (maybe more) or decide to bus it, unless you get very, very lucky. Kigoma is an ok town, but there are some beautiful beaches on Lake Taganyika, not far outside. Crossing the border into Burundi shouldn't be a problem, but beware that you only get a 3 day visa for $40 at the border for Burundi. There is a consulate in Kigoma I think, where you could probably get a month long one. Depending on your nationality, you may have to register for a Rwandan visa or else pay nothing at all.
4 weeks in Uganda sounds great, I would definitely make sure you have this time here. Regarding getting to Zanzibar, you have the option of flying (not cheap) or bussing, which if done through Kenya, might not be too bad, but would require another visa. Your other option would be to go from Mbeya to Dar Es Salaam, after Malawi and Zambia, then after Zanzibar, go to Uganda via Kenya and if you have time Rwanda and Burundi.
Your budget is a little tight, but that all depends what you are interested in doing and it will differ from country to country. In Malawi, you won't spend much sitting by the lake for a few days. But doing a safari will eat into your budget very quickly. SLNP would be the best budget option in my opinion. Also, Rwanda is quite expensive, especially Kigali. In fact, with your budget in mind, Zanzibar might have to be left for another time.
Regarding other travellers, you will meet lots at the various places on Lake Malawi, then very few in Western TZ, Burundi. Rwanda is strange, because you will see a lot of western people, but almost none of them will be 'travellers'. In Uganda, it won't be hard to meet other travellers. Don't worry about not being able to drive.
Apr 21, 2013 9:30 AM
2Thanks Jonzy, really appreciate the advice!
I think I'll drop Zanzibar and am considering flying into Lusaka and taking the route you recommended; east to Malawi, north to Tanzania.
Good to hear the timeframe is ok - I figured it was a little generous, but I'm sure things will crop up to slow me down, and I like the flexibility it affords me.
Apr 27, 2013 3:59 AM
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