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Is it about the journey or the destination? Amy Fallon travels thousands of miles from Uganda to Zambia and back by plane, train, motorbike, bus and tuk-tuk to find out…

Decisions, decisions...

“In East Africa, buses don’t move until all the seats are full and we had to wait for people to load all sorts of luggage,” my friend Anna, who’d made the two-day journey (a £25 fare) from Uganda to Tanzania via bus, warned when I told her I was considering doing this.

“When the bus was loaded, somebody turned up with several giant planks of timber and placed it in the aisle, making it difficult to move around. Some of the passengers had feathers. And, when we reached the border in the middle of the night, the bus broke down and we had to unload it – including the wood – wait for several hours for a new one to come, then load everything on again.” Hmm, I decided to fork out the £150 for the two hour Air Uganda plane ride.

TIP: Safari Inn is a budget hotel in Dar es Salaam popular with backpackers. The city has some great markets like Kariakoo, where you can haggle for a bargain, and the fish market, where you can watch an auction.

On my bike:

In Uganda, I’m a boda-boda babe. There’s said to be at least 100,000 motorbike taxi drivers in the capital Kampala. Although often described as a “deathtrap on wheels”, they’re inarguably the quickest way of snaking through the city’s notorious gridlock. Dar appears to have less, even though the traffic seems worse. For the trip across town to the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) station, my suitcase is strapped down to the bike’s back. I’m running late for the Friday 13.50 Mukuba (meaning copper in Zambia’s Bemba language) Ordinary (read: slowest) service to Kapiri Mposhi, a small town in Zambia’s Central Province. When I arrive to check into my first-class sleeper cabin (£40 one way) I’m told the train is running 10 hours late. I kill time buying supplies – then eating them and buying more – at Shoppers supermarket and the Kahawa Café in Masaki (check out the mini chocolate mousse, plus there’s free wifi). Dar is also home to many colourful tuk-tuks, but I’m a motorbike girl so am easily seduced by the Bajaj bikes. But they drive even more recklessly than bodas and it’s a nail-biting ride back to the Tazara station.

TIP: Book your Tazara tickets in advance if you can. Sykes Travel is highly recommended for this.


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Planes, trains and tuk-tuks: Uganda to Zambia and back
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