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> Central Line Train, Dar es Salaam to Mwanzw, Basically does this still exist in November 2010
ricduncombe
post Nov 6 2010, 09:13 AM
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Greetings from Zanzibar

I need to get across Tanzania and into Uganda and I would like to do this by crossing Lake Victoria from Mwanza to the border.

Does anyone have any current information on the Central Line train from Dar to Mwanza. This was not running for large parts of the year, has no contactable email, does not answer its phones and there seems to be a 50/50 split with locals in Dar as to its current existence.

Has anyone travelled on this train in the last month or so to confirm it is working and also what days/times it leaves Dar?

My other option is a bus, can anyone recommend a reliable, safe and (by african standards) comfortable option if i decide i have to take this route

My wildcard is a flight from Zanzibar to Mombasa and then go via Nairobi to Kampala but as i wish to fly out of Nairobi to Cairo this will mean paying for two entry visas for kenya

options options!

Any advice much appreciated. if anyone wants to share a cabin on the train if it exists we could use two people to fill the bunks!

Richard
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kili-kelly
post Nov 10 2010, 03:55 PM
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I have not heard a definitive report on the current state of the Central Line Train either. I have heard from many people that the train is one of the most likely places for a mzungu to be robbed. My information is that if you take a bus, you would be crossing into Kenya anyway. The buses run from Dar through Moshi & Arusha, Nairobi then back down into Mwanza. I am not aware of them running any other route to Mwanza. Akambe or Kampala bus companies seem to be the best bet for reliable, safe and comfortable for this route. Let us know if you learn of other information. Perhaps you can send an update after you make the journey so future travelers can benefit. Safari njema.
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ricduncombe
post Nov 11 2010, 03:04 AM
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Despite looking in travel agents, online and asking locals I still have absolutely no idea if this service is still running. Even for African standards this is really frustrating as you would think that someone, somewhere would know something. I am currently on Zanzibar and have been told that the train is not running by some and that it is by others. I do not really want to go back to Dar es Salaam without a plan so I have decided to fly. You are absolutely right, all the buses go via Nairobi so if I am having to go to Kenya regardless then for me it is far easier to fly to Mombasa which costs $70 with Fly540. From there I can stay a few nights before making my way to Nairobi and then Kampala.

I really dont think at this time it is worth anyone planning a trip from east to west Tanzania as it just seems a logistical nightmare, I appreciate that all the tourists usually stick to the game parks so this is not really a big concern for the country right now. This is a real shame as I wanted to take the MV Victoria across Lake Victoria to the boarder but i feel few people can warrant taking the bus which means getting a multi entry visa for Tanzania and then a Kenyan Visa as well
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kili-kelly
post Nov 11 2010, 03:45 AM
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One of the issues involved is that to travel by road and stay in Tanzania, a better road must be built going through the Serengeti (which is another issue since a park fee must be purchased to even cross it by bus) which would interfere with wildlife or a road would have to be built going around the park to the south. As for the railway...well there is no good answer how a business can operate without people knowing if it exists or not. I hope that you have a safe and rewarding journey.
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ricduncombe
post Nov 11 2010, 08:41 AM
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The flight didnt include a lot of hidden costs which over doubled the price. My only option now seems to be to take the bus. Do you know of any routes between Dar es Salaam and Mombasa? Do the companies you mentioned have offices in Dar or is it the usual case of turning up an hour before departure time to face the impending chaos at the bus station?

Any advice appreciated! Stressed!!!
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kili-kelly
post Nov 11 2010, 10:32 AM
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I only know about their Moshi and Arusha offices. I have a friend that I can ask tomorrow that may know about their Dar es Salaam locations.
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rnveditor
post Jun 22 2011, 10:27 PM
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Fast reply didn't work, so have a slow one.

Presumably ricduncombe is now unstressed, and the journey is over. Could you post what you did do?

I have just travelled through Tanzania (my second visit) acting on very fragmentary evidence. Web resources were too scattered, and too hard to find. As with the whole of the 5 weeks, I had to bluff and gamble; I ended up on a lot of bus links.

MV Victoria is still running quite reliably on its standard overnnight schedule, with three return crossings per week.

Buses connect everywhere, but can be slow and rough. There is no need to travel via Kenya at all. A Kenya visa allows multiple entry, but a Tanzania one doesn't.

Fri.27.5.11: Bus Kampala (Uganda) - Bukoba. MV 'Victoria' overnight to Mwanza.
Sat.28: Bus to Tabora. Train overnight to Mpanda.
Sun.29: Train overnight to Tabora.
Mon.30: Tabora.
Tues.31: Bus to Dar es Salaam.
Wed.1.6: Apply for Mocambique visa, visit station.
Thurs.2: Collect visa. Fast ferry to Zanzibar. Slow ferry overnight to Dar es Salaam.
Fri.3: Dar es Salaam.
Sat.4: Bus & taxi to Kasumulu emigration border to Malawi.

I bought the ticket from Tabora the night before, when there were only 5 seats left.
I bought the ticket from Dar 2 days in advance.

The other way of linking Mombasa and Dar is via a coastal fast ferry. AFAIK it runs daily.

In Bukoba, there was a 6.00 bus to Dar.

In Mwanza, there was a 6.00 bus to Dar.

In Tabora, there was a 6.00 bus to Dar.

From Dodomo there are several buses per day to Dar.

Dar bus terminal is well out of the city centre, and is large and confusing; trust a tout: rapid navigation onto the best available service.

Likewise, Mwanza bus terminal is well out of the city centre. You can get there by minibus.

The Dar - Kigoma train runs twice per week, with only third class (the first-class carriage attached is for staff).
It connects with a Tabora - Mpanda train (only third class).
Tabora - Mwanza has lost its passenger train (from 2009?), as buses are available.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
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