To Durban by Bus…and an Airbus.

Leg 1- Nairobi to Dar es Salaam

Over the last four years of my career in advertising and marketing, I have been thinking and planning to attend the Loeries in Durban South Africa. The Loeries is the premier advertising conference in East, Central, West and Southern Africa. Held in south Africa every August they showcase and reward different communication campaigns that run in Africa over the previous year. Over and above the campaigns they also have discussions on the sidelines of different topics of interest that are part of the direction advertising is moving towards.

This year I was like I should finally do it, go for the Loeries, I mean how hard could it be to get down to Durban? The Mrs. and I decided to give it a shot after all we are more of the travelling couple how hard could this be?

So Kenyan nationals need a visa to go to South Africa. You log into the VFS global website locally and download the requirements that you would need to apply for the visa. Once you have all the documentation you go to the VISA Centre at Parkfield Place, Westlands and make the application.

They begin by doing verification of your documents after which you make payment and submit the documentation. You get your Visa in six working days sometimes possibly earlier. Part of our submission was our itinerary which the VFS global team told us wasn’t the strangest they had seen as it was by both Bus & Airbus. This done we set out on our epic journey to Durban.

The journey was as follows:-

 

  • Bus from Nairobi to Dar-es-Salaam
  • Airbus -Air Tanzania From Dar-es-Salaam to Johannesburg
  • Bus from Johannesburg to Durban and back
  • Bus from Johannesburg to Lilongwe
  • Bus from Lilongwe to Dar es Salaam
  • Bus from Dar-es-Salaam back to Nairobi

You can do the trip from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam by bus, and it takes 14 hours and around Kshs 3,500/=. Quite a number of bus companies do the trip they include: –

 

  1. Dar Express
  2. Dar Lux
  3. Sai Baba Express
  4. Shabiby
  5. Modern Coast
  6. Tahmeed

 

For some of the buses you can book online others you have to go down to River Road to get your ticket. The bus leaves at 5.30am every morning, down Mombasa road, past Athi River through Kitengela heading for Namanga border post. Past Kajiado right around Bissil, a guy boarded the bus to help us change currency into Tshs. He was exchanging currency at the rate of 21Tshs for every Kshs, as the conductor also comes checking and confirming everyone passport and passes are in order and everyone has a yellow fever booklet. Tanzania requires anyone who is passing into their country to have had a yellow fever vaccination.

Arriving at the border, we all disembarked from the bus with all our luggage for the required full check with sniffer dogs and the scanner. Then we presented our yellow fever booklets and got stamped out of Kenya and right into Tanzania. The Namanga border post is now a one stop border post which means that the Kenyan and Tanzanian border personnel sit side by side making the process very seamless. The bus with 40 something passengers was done in less than an hour and we were off.

The route we were using was taking us from Namanga to Arusha, then Moshi, Korongwe and the Dar Es Salaam. After a stop to pick passengers in Arusha and Moshi we were on our way. Our choice of bus for this route was Dar Express, https://www.dar-express.co.tz/  who have been operating on this route for the longest time. The last time I took this journey 11 years ago it was Dar Express and the now defunct Scandinavian Express plying this route. The bus was a Scania double axle unit with the body from Marcopolo which made it super comfortable. Inside the chairs were comfortable and could recline with individual reading lights, screen entertainment and USB charging ports. They also serve refreshments along the way with a choice of water or soda.

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We stopped in Moshi for lunch and settled in for the long journey. Carry a good book or videos that you can watch on the way. Cellphone service is intermittent along the way and Safaricom will charge you an arm and a leg for roaming so possibly if you can buy a sim card at the border. Also, Safaricom stopped allowing you to top up with a Vodacom scratch card, not sure why, so to top up you can only do it via mpesa. We finally arrived in Dar -es -Salaam at 10pm and are dropped off at the Dar Express bus office where you can take a taxi, Uber or tuk-Tuk to your destination.

We spend a day taking the sights in Dar and as we were being hosted by a friend she took some time out to show us around Dar. Here are 3 of our highlights:-

3 places to try in Dar es Salaam

  1. Mediterrano hotel – Right by the beach is a good place to chill watch the tide come in and have sundowners. They have amazing lounge seats and a good beachfront view which can calm you after a long day at work. https://www.mediterraneotanzania.com/
  2. Hotel Slipway – The area around Hotel Slipway has been built up into a seaside promenade of sorts where you can sit and chill. Around the promenade are different restaurants, shops, jewelry stores, and an ice-cream parlor. https://www.hotelslipway.com/
  3. Cape Town Fish Market – Unlike the name, this is not an actual fish market more like an upscale sushi and hip pub set outside on gardens facing the ocean. Lovely spot to have drinks and whirl the night away. https://ctfm.co.tz/

 

 

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