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Mbeya

Travel Guide Africa Tanzania Mbeya

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Introduction

Mbeya is an unavoidable stop on the way between Tanzania and Malawi. Its elevation provides some relief from the heat of the plains, and the surrounding hills contain trekking opportunities.

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Getting There

By Bus

There are several buses per day from Dar es Salaam. Most go from the Ubungo bus terminal, which is far from the centre of Dar es Salaam. You are probably better served taking the Scandinavian bus from the Scandinavian terminal which is much closer to the centre - the higher bus fare will be more than offset by the lower taxi fare. Abood is another company that does this route. The journey takes about 13 hours and costs TSh30,000 (July 2009).
Getting out of Mbeya into Malawi requires some patience. Despite what you may be told, there are NO services of any description that actually go into Malawi - you need to take a minibus to the border town of Kasumulu, then a shared taxi from there to Karonga in Malawi, from where you can pick up buses to Mzuzu or beyond. Be prepared to unleash your entire haggling arsenal in order to obtain the local fare from Mbeya to Kasumulu (TSh3,000 in July 2009) - in all likelihood you will have to pay the fare for the journey to Kyela instead (which is at the end of the route). The journey takes about 2 hours but this does not include random market stops - you may even need to change minibus at some point (though the conductor will tell you this). The border crossing itself can be accomplished on foot and you will no doubt be approached by a shared taxi driver whilst you are at Malawi immigration.

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Sleep

Budget

  • New Millenium Inn, 025 2500599, right next to the bus station - This is by far the most convenient accommodation for the bus station. The rooms are well-equipped though small. An ensuite room costs TSh14,000 (July 2009).

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Keep Connected

Internet

Major tourist areas and cities have internet cafes and many hotels offer (free) wifi nowadays. Connections can be slower at more remote places.
Also safari oriented places offer some sort of internet connections as well, by computers or wifi.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The International Dialling Code for Tanzania is +255, followed by area codes (e.g. (0)22 for Dar es Salaam, or (0)27 for Arusha). Calling from Tanzania, you dial 00 plus the relevant country code (44 for the UK, 1 for the USA).

There are four cell providers in Tanzania: Zain (the major one), Zantel, Vodacom and Tigo, who all offer roaming facilities. Connections are good in Tanzania, even in places such as Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, and some parts of the Serengeti (the western and northern region of the Serengeti not). You can buy the prepaid cards in amounts ranging from $5 to $50. You can even buy a cell phone while in Tanzania. The price for a simple cell phone ranges between $55 and $80.

Avoid roaming charges with you home cellphone and turn it off. Instead, use a local SIM card or just wifi.

Post

Tanzania Posts Corporation is the national postal services of Tanzania. There are post officies in most major cities and towns throughout the country, which are generally open Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm and Saturday from 9:00am to noon. Services are generally quite reliable though not very fast. Prices for international airmal services start at around 500-600 TSHS to other countries in East Africa and 700-900 TSHS to Europe and North America for postcards and letters up to 20 grams. Small packages start at around 2,000-3,000 TSHS, but it's generally better to do business with international parcel services like TNT, UPS, DHL or FedEx.

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This is version 4. Last edited at 10:05 on Sep 12, 14 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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