Going over the world's longest Lake

Trip Start May 03, 2011
Trip End Jan 31, 2013

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Where I stayed
MV Liemba

Flag of Tanzania  , Kigoma,
Friday, July 27, 2012

Lake Tanganyika, the world longest (670 km long) and second deepest (more than 1400 m deep) fresh water lake in the world. For an optimal trip on the lake take the MV Liemba, a German ship built in 1907 and used during the First- and Second World War. The Germans sank the ship 2 times but eventually started using it for trips over the lake and until today it is still used.

First it should start off from Mpulungu Friday around 14 hrs, then I heard it would be the next day, and eventually it turned out to be 19 hrs on this Friday. Looking around on the ship it turned out that I was the only one of the Mzungu race and because you are a foreigner you pay twice as much as the Africans and in USD. The first hour on the ship was a bit of a hassle because there were so many people running around and shouting and if you are a first time traveler to Africa this will be a bit of a chock! Once on the water things started to ease down and I could enjoy the trip.100 USD is not cheap but for that you get 2 or 3 nights accommodation, transport to Kigoma and a 2 day boat trip on this fantastic lake. If you look at it like this it's not too bad.

In one of the cabins there were some people from Tanzanian immigration and in 10 min you have arranged your Tanzanian visa. I believe it is quite unique and funny to have an immigration office on a ship. For the rest everything feels like the Tanzanian 'Bongo flavour’ on the ship. Talking Swahili, Tanzanian beers, chipsi majai, mandazi, chapatti, ugali etc…

Halfway the trip 2 German men and 2 Australian ladies came on board so I was no longer the only white man. Along the way the Liemba stopped at several small towns and little wooden boats came peddling to us and exchanged people and bags full of fish. The Australians and Germans also came on board like this. Especially the Australian ladies were nice people and we even played some guitar on the back of the boat in a beautiful Tanzanian sunset. In short, I had a very good time and would recommend this to everyone.

Practical stuff

-                  The MV Liemba leaves ONCE IN 2 WEEKS on Friday from Mpulungu to Kigoma in Tanzania. Plan your travel and for information contact captain Titus on: +255-752504177

-                  Tickets can only be bought in USD on the ship and cost: 1st class $100, 2nd $90, 3rd $70.

-                  Visa for Tanzania can be arranged on the ship.

-                  There is nice food on the ship and availability of Tanzanian beers!
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