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Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 56: Route Planning

Monday 25 October. Route Planning. Almost seems like work. But not anymore... (for the insiders: ;-) )
My plan was to be a bit adventurous and go to the west and experience some great landscapes and unique ways of traveling. But the time schedule will be a bit too tight. And some things too uncertain to make it happen. I'll share my plans anyways.

The plan:
- Dar -> Mbeya: Take the Scandinavian Express bus from Dar to Mbeya. That's in the south and a jumping point to Malawi. 12 hour bus ride.
- Mbeya -> Sumbawanga: Take the Sumry bus to Sumbawanga. That's 7 hours and closer to Lake Tanganyika.
- Sumbawanga -> Kasanga: Take a bus. Apparently it goes several times a week. So very tricky. Can take up to 6 hours. Kasanga is the southern most city in Tanzania along the Lake Tanganyika coast.
- Kasanga -> Kigoma: Take the MV Liemba. This boat is the attraction, across complete Lake Tanganyika, which forms the western border of Tanzania. Takes from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. Ferry goes only once a week and you should have gotten your ticket way (many days) in advance, so there's another tricky part. Can I get a ticket from Dar? And will I make it on time?
- Spend a day in Kigoma. No plans of going to the nearby Gombe Stream National Park. Seen chimps already.
- Kigoma -> Dodoma: Take the train from Kigoma to Dodoma via Tabora. Train is dodgy. Should take 24 hours, but can easily become 40. Train goes 4 evenings a week. Don't know yet which nights. And tickets should be reserved well in advance. Time wise interesting part. And good place to keep a very close look at your belongings.
- Dodoma: Spend a day there, plan it as a backup for delays. Dodoma is the capital and very central in the country.
- Dodoma -> Kondoa: Bus north to Kondoa (route Dodoma -> Arusha). Should take about 4 hours.
- Kondoa-Kolo Rock Art: Ancient rock art sites, worth a visit. Age between 200 and few 1000 years old. Have to organize local transport.
- Kondoa -> Babati: Bus should take half a day. Just an overnight stop, since the bus to Arusha would take too long and you don't want to arrive around midnight in Arusha.
- Babati -> Arusha: Bus should take half a day or so. From Arusha I will fly back to The Netherlands.

If you count the days, there should be some margin. However things were too uncertain, tight and could not get proper info in the weekend. Besides that, you would be traveling most of the time. Without much rest. Almost 3000 km trip round Tanzania is too much. But fun to explore ;-)

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