Embarking on a journey from Nairobi, Kenya to the iconic Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe via road and rail is an adventurous and memorable experience. This journey spans multiple countries and diverse landscapes, offering travelers the opportunity to explore various cultures, sceneries, and modes of transportation. In this detailed guide, we'll break down each leg of the journey, including important information, tips, and insights.
Before setting out on this multi-day journey, it's crucial to ensure you have all the necessary travel essentials. These include:
Travel Documents and Essentials
- Passport: Ensure your passport is valid for the duration of your journey.
- Yellow Fever Card: Many countries in the region require proof of yellow fever vaccination.
- Accommodation Reservations: Plan ahead by booking hostels or arranging Couchsurfing stays.
- Train Tickets: Secure tickets for the SGR Madaraka Express train and TAZARA train.
- Travel Backpack: Pack light but include essential clothing and survival items.
- Navigation and Reading Materials: Carry guide maps, a travel novel, and writing materials.
Nairobi to Mombasa
Start your journey by taking the SGR Madaraka Express train from Nairobi to Mombasa. This modern train offers comfort and scenic views, reducing travel time significantly. Remember the following key details:
- Departure: The train leaves Nairobi at 09:00 am.
- Arrival: The train arrives at Miritini Station in Mombasa around 2:00 pm.
- Tip: Arrive at the station at least 2 hours before departure.
- Train Fare: As of now, the second class seat costs Kshs 1000.
- Booking: Secure your train tickets 3-4 days in advance.
Mombasa to Dar es Salaam
From Mombasa, take a bus to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Consider the Modern Coast bus for a comfortable journey. Key points to note:
- Departure: Buses leave from Mwembe Tayari station between 06:00 am and 10:00 am.
- Border Crossing: Prepare for immigration clearance at the Lunga Lunga border post.
- Currency Exchange: Exchange Kenyan currency to Tanzanian shillings at the border.
- Duration: The journey takes about 10 hours.
- Bus Fare: Approximately Kshs 1600 for a Normal seat.
- Accommodation in Dar es Salaam: Consider Couchsurfing for a budget-friendly stay.
Dar es Salaam to New Kapiri Mposhi
Board the TAZARA Kilimanjaro Ordinary Train from Dar es Salaam to New Kapiri Mposhi, Zambia. Here are key details:
- Departure: The train leaves Dar es Salaam at 2:00 pm.
- Stops: The train stops at various stations to pick up and drop off passengers.
- Delays: Be prepared for possible delays; the train stopped for over 12 hours at Mbeya due to derailment.
- Facilities: The train has compartments, a restaurant car, and a bar.
- Border Crossing: Expect immigration checks at Tunduma (Tanzania) and Nakonde (Zambia).
- Train Fare: Approximately Kshs 3,500.
New Kapiri Mposhi to Lusaka
From New Kapiri Mposhi, take a Coaster bus to Lusaka, Zambia's capital. Here's what to know:
- Bus Journey: The bus ride takes about 4 hours.
- Inter-City Bus Station: This bustling station offers connections to various Southern African cities.
- Accommodation: Consider staying at Wanderers Backpackers and Campsite.
Lusaka to Livingstone
Travel from Lusaka to Livingstone to reach Victoria Falls. Here's how:
- Bus Choice: Opt for Shalom bus service for a comfortable journey.
- Duration: The trip takes about 7 hours with stops at various towns.
- Accommodation in Livingstone: Zinga Backpackers is a budget-friendly option.
Livingstone to Victoria Falls
The final leg takes you to the majestic Victoria Falls. Here's how to get there:
- Transport: Use shared taxis or buses to access the falls.
- Border Points: Access the falls from either Livingstone (Zambia) or Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe).
- Currency: Have Zambian Kwacha and US Dollars (for Zimbabwe) on hand.
For the return journey, consider these routes:
- Livingstone to Dar es Salaam: Utilize the Great North Road, hitchhiking from Livingstone to Lusaka, and then taking the Mukuba Express Train to Dar es Salaam.
- Dar es Salaam to Nairobi: Use the Modern Coast bus for a comfortable journey, including a border crossing at Namanga.
Embarking on the Nairobi to Victoria Falls journey by road and rail offers a rich and unforgettable experience. From the modern comforts of the SGR Madaraka Express to the diverse landscapes encountered on the TAZARA train, this journey is a blend of adventure, cultural exploration, and stunning vistas. Keep these insights and tips in mind to make the most of your trip, and relish in the memories of your extraordinary adventure.