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Travelling by bus (Dar es Salaam/Mikumi National Park)

Birmingham, United...
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Travelling by bus (Dar es Salaam/Mikumi National Park)

Hello,

I am flying to dar es salaam next onto staying there for the night near ubungo bus terminal and then planning on getting a bus from there to mikumi national park. I am just looking for some information and tips basically on the safety of doing this, the price of the bus journey, where to get Tanzanian currency from, what bus operator to use etc.

it is just myself and another young English female travelling. I have heard it's best to buy a ticket the day before? And that scandanavia express buses are best, we don't mind paying a bit more for a comfortable journey as I've heard it's around 5 hours?

Any advice would be appreciated!

Not long until we go now and we're getting nervous, thanks!

Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Travelling by bus (Dar es Salaam/Mikumi National Park)

Don't be nervous, there are definitely risks with travelling anywhere in the world, but as long as you're sensible and follow local advice/your guidebook you're as safe as anyone else. Going for a luxury bus is a good call both safety and comfort wise. My very first adventures in Africa were travelling alone in Dar. People looked horrified when I told them I got dalla-dallas everywhere, but the worst thing that happened to me was I had a bag stolen. I can't tell you the number of occasions when people on dalla-dallas and public buses went out of their way to help me, warn me I'd left my bag open or made sure I got off when I wasn't sure where my stop was. One lady once made me swap seats with her because I was sitting by an open window at night in a vaguely dodgy area and she thought I was more likely to get my bag stolen than she was. Most people are incredibly helpful and kind. It's been a while since I backpacked in Dar, so you'll get more useful and up to date info from someone else (also try Lonely Planet Thorntree forum), but I hope this makes you a bit less nervous.

Have a great trip!

Alexandra Matts- Travel Director- Exraordinary Africa

Edited: 25 June 2014, 12:12
Stockholm, Sweden
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2. Re: Travelling by bus (Dar es Salaam/Mikumi National Park)

The buses on the Iringa and Mbeya route stop at Mikumi but I don't think that Scandinavian is operating that route anymore (if they exist at all) but there are other ones. It is a good thing to buy the ticket a day in advance. Ask for a luxury coach. Buy from the stand and not from people walking around offering their services. We used JM Luxury Coach but I've heard that Sumry and Greenstar are okay as well. They had safety belts and only two seats on each side of the aisle (sometimes they have three) and the ticket included a soft drink and some ginger snaps. They don't take many toilet stops so use the facilities when offered even if they are not up to your usual standard. Otherwise, don't drink much! You can buy snacks and drinks from the window at the bus stops. I don't remember the price of the tickets and we went all the way between Iringa and Dar, but it was not very expensive. I think around 10-15 Euros and you are only going half of the way. You can withdraw Shillings from an ATM in Dar and I think there is one at the airport. The safety was no issue (expect for the traffic, which is horrible).

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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3. Re: Travelling by bus (Dar es Salaam/Mikumi National Park)

Get your money exchanged at one of the banks or bureau d' change shops at the airport, then use T Shillings while you are in Tanzania, that will be the cheapest way to be there.

Scandinavian Bus has not been operating for several years now. If there's a Shabybi bus going that way that is the one I always use if I can, otherwise use the ones mentioned above. The cost will be about $10 for the bus fare. I would suggest that you stay at the Rombo Green View Hotel, very close to the Ubumgo bus terminal, you could walk there but if you have luggage I would not suggest doing that, get a taxi, it will cost about 5,000 Tsh (at 1,600 Tsh = $1). Perhaps you could walk over the day before if you have time or have the taxi taking you to the hotel stop at the bus terminal and get a ticket, it will only guarantee that you have a seat on the bus and that you can sat together with your friend.

You will make a stop at Morogoro for about 15 minutes before moving on to Mikumi village. Ask the driver to drop you off at Mikumi village. If you are staying at the Genesis Motel it is right beside the snake park just as you enter Mikumi Village. If you are staying at VETA then you should probably get a taxi when you get off the bus. Again, taxis are very inexpensive if you negotiate the fare before getting into the taxi, and since there will be two of you sharing the cost it will be inexpensive.

Don't be nervous, you will be fine and you will soon know how to do this. Many people in Tanzania travel by bus there and it is the common way to get places in Tz. And like it was said before, if you don't know what to do ask someone, many there will speak English and Tanzanians are the most hospitable people that I've ever met.

Birmingham, United...
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4. Re: Travelling by bus (Dar es Salaam/Mikumi National Park)

Thanks for the advice everyone! I am currently booked to stay at wistas inn near ubungo bus terminal in dar es salaam though there are not many reviews here plus they seem to be charging a lot for transfers ($45 from the airport and $5 to ubungo). And then I am staying at tan Swiss lodge just outside mikumi national park and can apparently ask to get dropped outside?

So I will go to ubungo on the 18th and get my tickets for myself and my friend from a desk and ask for a luxury coach. Will I be able to do this in English? My Swahili is poor! Then do I need to get there early on the 19th (before the time on my ticket) to get on the bus?

Thanks again,

Courtney.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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5. Re: Travelling by bus (Dar es Salaam/Mikumi National Park)

You will probably be able to do things less expensive if you get away from dollars and use the local currency T Shillings. That $45 transfer is actually 72,000 Tsh, which you can rent a vehicle for all day there. Get a taxi outside the airport and take it, after negotiating for a fare, and they sometimes have a fare schedule posted near to the taxi stand at the airport. You can probably get to your hotel for 20,000 - 25,000 Tsh. Just ask the front desk to get you a taxi to Ubungo Bus Terminal. I don't know what you are paying for Wistas Inn but the Rombo Green View Hotel is $30 (or if you pay in Tshillings sometimes they will allow you to stay there for 30,000 Tsh which is their rack rate). The Tan Swiss lodge can make arrangements for you to visit the Mikumi Park, and the bus will let you out near to them, if you tell the driver to do that.

There are people at Ubungo which speak English.

6. Re: Travelling by bus (Dar es Salaam/Mikumi National Park)

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