The journey from Dar to Lusaka was always going to be long, but it was supposed to at least be smooth! For $50, a bus would take us from Point A to Point B. Unfortunately, this is not how it worked out.
Here’s what happened instead:
- Nathan explained to the bus company agent, Emmanuel, that we would not have enough money to eat until we got to Zambia if we paid any more than $47 for each of our tickets—which was a more than reasonable price anyway. And Nathan was not lying since we were basically out of local cash!
- Emmanuel replied oh so kindly that $47 would do, and that he’d help us even more by putting us on the luxury bus with only 4 seats per row and food included!
- From the start, it became clear that Emmanuel lied about literally everything—there is not a single thing he didn’t lie about! The bus had 5 seats in each row so we were crammed in, did not include food, and as we would discover and above all else—did not go to Lusaka!
- The bus stopped at the Tanzania-Zambia border at 02:00. Instead of crossing and continuing like every other bus I’ve taken to a border, the bus turned off, and we were told by a company representative (or Satan’s mistress, take your pick), Hassan, that the bus would not continue. Since we had no money for accommodations, I had to argue with him to let us sleep on the cockroach-infested bus. Mercifully, he agreed.
- I had been feeling pretty sick all day with symptoms that could indicate malaria, so while Nathan was bedding down with the bugs, I was stabbing myself with a needle to try and get enough blood to perform a malaria test! Fortunately, it was negative. That was a gross experience to say the least…
- At 08:00, I argued with a Tanzanian police officer who became quite upset with I politely refused his offer to take Nathan and I to his station, ostensibly for our protection (LOL).
- 08:30: We learned that the bus was not going to Lusaka in the morning—indeed, it was not going to Lusaka at all! Fortunately, Hassan showed up to guide us to the bus that would take us onward to our final destination. Unfortunately, we didn’t know that he owed this bus some money before they would actually take us with them…and that he hadn’t paid up. More on that later.
- 09:00: I got into an argument with Tanzania immigration—to be honest, I’m not even sure why we were arguing. It could very well have been my fault; I’d been even-keeled the whole 48 hours previously, but I was a bit cranky by then.
- 11:45: And here’s the kicker…15 minutes before our new bus to leave for Lusaka, the driver tells me that Hassan did not paid for them to take us on, and after sending us across the border without any money at all, left us stranded. The new bus operator was actually a decent guy and let us continue after I gave him my word, through gritted teeth, that I’d pay up once we got to Lusaka.
- Since we didn’t have any money after buying the tickets on Day 0, for these two whole days, I ate nothing besides 2 bananas and 2 donuts. The day before leaving, I ate only a few chapatis and 3 samosas. I’m a big guy—I need more food than that! SO HUNGRY.
We did eventually make it to Lusaka. After 56 hours of non-stop transit, we slept at the bus station there and hopped a 06:00 bus to our next destination, Livingstone and Victoria Falls in southern Zambia.