The thought of traveling through Tanzania by bus can be daunting for anyone trying to plan their first Africa trip without a tour operator. It can be especially hard for people visiting from the west. We are so used to googling information on every little detail before even setting foot in a foreign country, and not being able to do so can be a bit scary. But in this post we will give you all the information you need to successfully travel cheaply through Tanzania by bus.
Buy your ticket from a reliable bus company
Going to a local bus stand can be quite scary and confusing because Tanzanian bus stations are usually just big dusty sand fields filled with shops, vendors, noises, smells and hundreds of people hurrying in different directions. And no signs!! The most intimidating part is that there are countless touts trying to sell you snacks, hats, bus tickets and what ever else which can make you disoriented. But don’t let that be a reason to get pressured into buying a seat on a crappy bus. Even though the hectic environment will prompt you to want to buy a ticket quickly and get the hell out of there. If you do buy a ticket in the main bus station of the city you are in, ask the ticket seller if you can see the actual bus before paying anything. Be sure to speak to the driver or conductor to avoid buying fake tickets from scammers
Book you ticket in advance
Always make sure to book your bus ticket in advance as the bus companies can run out of tickets. This is especially true for the nice bus lines during weekends and big holidays when a lot of people travel. Many bus companies allow you to book tickets up to a week in advance and require payment at least one or two days before departure. Payment often takes place via mobile money or in the ticketing office of the bus company. You have to pick up the ticket itself at the office.
When traveling by bus it is best to travel with the “luxury” bus lines to get the most safe and comfortable journey. Of course the word luxury is relative but in the context of Tanzanian buses it means your ticket ensures that you will actually have a seat on the bus and no one will stand in the isle. You will have a seatbelt, there is going to be air conditioning (sometimes), there are (some) functioning USB ports to charge your phone on board, you will be given a small bottle of water and soda as well as a muffin. It may sounds basic, but this is a lot compared to what most bus companies offer in this country. Below is a list of companies which offer quite comfortable bus rides with vehicles similar to what you can find in America or Europe. Find their contacts/social media and some of their destinations listed as well.