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South and East African transportation enquiries

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East South and East African transportation enquiries

1. Posted by stewie82 (Budding Member 6 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Greetings and salutations everyone,

I am planning a trip to Africa in January and am a little concerned about getting around such a big continent. I hope to start in Capetown and head north to Kenya, doing lots in between, then returning to Capetown at the last leg of my journey where i will fly home, all within a period of 3-4 months. First of all, is that route in that short amount of time even do able, all the while getting a good feel for Africa? if so, what would the best way to get around? buses? and what are the buses like price and reliablitly wise?

If anyone has some ideas i would love to hear from you.

thanks a bunch

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5642 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

The best way to get around without having your own car (expensive anyway) is certainly the bus, and some minibuses probably. The only trainride which is a possibility on your route would be the train from Lusaka (actually a town a bit to the north of Lusaka) to Dar es Salaam, which takes 2 days and can be a welcome change if you don't want to visit places in between like South Luangwa NP, Malawi, Selous Game Reserve etc.
You didn't mention if you return to Cape Town by plane or buses again? In the last case, 4 months will be the minimum, preferably more. In case of flying back, 4 months certainly is a good amount of time, withouth rushing it too much..although you can't visit everything of course.

Did you have a certain route in mind? I can really recommend Namibia, but compared to other parts it is probably worst regarding transport. There are buses and some trains, but you still need wheels of your own to get to most places, or join more expensive multiple day trips from the main cities.

I am thinking of two possible routes, one via Namibia to Botswana or directly to Botswana and then up to the Victoria Falls, into Zambia and to Malawi. Or one more east first to Mozambiqe and head north to Malawi. From there up north to Tanzania and Kenya (either route).

I don't know about exact prices, but it won't be expensive (although probably more expensive compared to let's say Asia). Some buses (especially minibuses) leave when full, but reliability wise I wouldn't worry too much, you won't get stuck long somewhere. Roads are probably a slight concern, especially in Zambia at some parts.

Just some first thought..
Have fun!

3. Posted by stewie82 (Budding Member 6 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the advice Michael,

I was thinking about going through Namibia and Botswana then sliding Northeast towards Kenya, like you had mentioned. Originally i had thought that i was going to bus it up then bus back down maybe taking a different route to see more things, but i think i am underestimating the distance and time it will take to complete the full circle. flying back to Cape Town makes a little more sense in the long run. is there a rough estimate on the cost of a four month journey like this?

4. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5642 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

A rough estimate about travelling costs would be around 40 euros a day. Africa is not that cheap and especially visiting some national parks in Namibia and Botswana only adds up. Buses, cheap accommodation and cheap food will probably set you back only around 15-20 euros or so a day, but sometimes you just need to splurge a bit more. Maybe 30 is possible and even a bit less if you camp, only stay in hostels and don't move around every day or do too many organised tours.
So around 3000-4000 euro for 3-4 months would be a rough guess, but I also refer to what I probably would spend, don't know about each person's exact spending and behaviour.

5. Posted by mihon (Budding Member 6 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

It could be easier for you to start from Nairobi from where you head south via Tazania to Zambia. From Zambia you could venture to the west Botswana and Namibia, return via Zimbabwe to the East Mozambique and to S.Africa.
Do you need an itinerary?

6. Posted by spaceone (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi Stew

The best possible way of getting from CapeTown to Kenya is on a Safari, so go ahead and check out the safari companies. They start in Cape Town and end in Rawanda and leave on different dates, plus drop off and pick up at different countries onroute.

The cost includes travel, all meals,(breakfast, lunch and dinner) park accommodations with tents,(you can pay for upgrades to rooms which we did as we are older) you need your own sleeping bag and cushion. The campsites usually have a bar and you can buy snacks when the bus stop in towns to shop for food.

You need money for extra activities you would do if you were travelling on your own anyway.

You will have to set up your own tents, and there is some light duties, but it takes only a few minutes of your time.

We went with Africa travel and they had a cook, not all tours have cooks. Pay the few bucks more for the cook. The other travellers were all very nice and independent also, so you make friends easily. (Brits, Aussie, Germans, Canadians)

Trust me, you would not want to be driving in Africa, distances are far. We did a lot of research for this trip and really happy with what we choose. Buses leaves at 4am, very inconvenient to get to the bus stop and you have no clue where you are going, plus there are no public transport to the game parks. It takes 2 days to drive accross Etoshia park in Nambia.

Why are you flying in and out of Capetown, you can fly back from your ending destination allowing a few days after you arrive there. Plus when you are flying from NorthAmerica you are allowed a stopover in Europe going or coming. You may want to check out the Baz bus route in South Africa so you can include the garden route on your trip.

Happy travels

7. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member 385 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

well, overland safaris are always good options. you can pick one up in nairobi and take it down to vic falls, cape town, joburg. you do get a big bang for your buck and they aren't too expensive when you consider everything is included. i've done a couple and really enjoyed them. you could always get off in vic falls and then wing it from there. namibia would be a little tough without planned transportation, however, if you might be able to hook up with some other travelers for this part. or you could pick up another overland from vic falls through bots, namibia to cape town and then bas bus it through ZA. their are several price options with different sleeping options as well. public transportation in much of south/east africa will certainly be on "african time", but is definitely possible. regardless of your transportation choices, you will definitely get a good feel for africa...and probably want more!

8. Posted by makka (Respected Member 248 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

What kind of length are we looking @ for these cross country safari tours, i read about 1 on 1 website offering a 42 day safari taking in about 4 or 5 countries ... is that a tour on the shorter or longer scale of things?

9. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member 385 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

most tours are typically under one month, however there are some that run for several months and pick up and drop off clients along the way.

10. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

We did a tour of South Africa and Mozambique last November with GAP Adventures. It was a fantastic experience. There were a few fellow travellers who'd tagged on extra tours to extend their stay and explore further north. I believe they were travelling for about 2 months or so in total. I'm sure if you browse their website or call you can put together a series of tours that brings you to all the places you'd like to see. Good luck--and enjoy!