Travel to Mwanza/Serengeti





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  1. #1
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    Default Travel to Mwanza/Serengeti

    Hi All

    Sorry but I am not sure how to operate on the forum.

    I have just joined the forum and urgently need advice regarding travelling from Pretoria to Mwanza west of the Serengeti.

    I plan to leave on Monday 22 April 2019

    If someone can help regarding where to stay (camp or lodges) and road conditions, it will be much appreciated.
    Advice regarding crossing the borders or any other important issues what so ever will also appreciated.

    Regards

    Pieter Oosthuizen
    0832261711

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Travel to Mwanza/Serengeti

    Welcome to the forum. There is a lot of advice here on this forum.

    First of all, the Serengeti is not a good place to be in April as it is the long rains, but perhaps you are going to Mwanza town itself and are not planning on going to the Serengeti National Park.

    I can tell you the places to stop after a good day’s drive through Zambia to Mwanza, but I can’t give advice on your route from Pretoria.

    Livingstone, Zambia: Maramba River Lodge
    Moorings Farm, Monze, Zambia
    Eureka Lodge, Lusaka, Zambia
    Fringilla Farm, north of Lusaka
    (Although it might be possible in a long day to get from Livingstone to Lusaka).
    Forest Inn, near Mkushi
    Kapishya Hot Springs, near Mpika
    King’s Highway, Kalungu, northern Zambia
    Utengele Coffee Lodge, near Mbeya, southern Tanzania
    Old Farmhouse Kisolanza, near Iringa, Tanzania
    New Dodoma Hotel, Dodoma (no camping in Dodoma - hotels only)

    Then is the question from Dodoma to Mwanza. This might not be possible in a day and others have camped at a hotel in Singida.
    Mwanza: Mwanza Yacht Club

    Safari njema!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Travel to Mwanza/Serengeti

    Piet, the abovementioned campsites are all good as mentioned by WW.
    However for info whilst on the road download http://ioverlander.com/ onto your mobile phone. It has all the campsites which are easy to search from the website on a location basis.
    It is easy to get mobile phone simcards and air time on the road, cheaper than in SA.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Travel to Mwanza/Serengeti

    I APPRECIATE THE FEEDBACK THANK YOU VERY MUCH

    Feedback I received from someone else mention that the Dodoma border post a very busy border post is and that we can consider going through Malawi and cross the border at Songwe. Is that a sensible option?

    This is actually an official trip of approximately 10 days to the Geita Gold mine and then all the way back to Pretoria.
    While we are in the area, I plan to visit the Serengeti either with the way up or the way back.
    If we visit the Serengeti on the way back we will enter the park probably from the Western side.

    Do you have to book in advance to enter the park?

    Can you do self drive trips in the park.

    Any input is appreciated.
    Regards

    Piet O

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Travel to Mwanza/Serengeti

    Quote Originally Posted by pietoos View Post
    I APPRECIATE THE FEEDBACK THANK YOU VERY MUCH

    Feedback I received from someone else mention that the Dodoma border post a very busy border post is and that we can consider going through Malawi and cross the border at Songwe. Is that a sensible option?

    This is actually an official trip of approximately 10 days to the Geita Gold mine and then all the way back to Pretoria.
    While we are in the area, I plan to visit the Serengeti either with the way up or the way back.
    If we visit the Serengeti on the way back we will enter the park probably from the Western side.

    Do you have to book in advance to enter the park?

    Can you do self drive trips in the park.

    Any input is appreciated.
    Regards

    Piet O
    The border post between Zambia and Tanzania is at Tunduma. Yes, it is a bit chaotic, but perfectly do-able. We did it twice last year - both times in 2 hours. I haven’t crossed from Malawi into Tanzania, but I would hazard a guess that driving up through Zambia and crossing at Tunduma will be quicker and easier. Although the Great North Road in Zambia has some rough sections, it sounds like it is better than the Malawian roads heading north.

    If you are going to Geita Gold Mine and are interested in its history, then I recommend a book called “Speak Swahili, Dammit!” by James Penhaligon. He spent his childhood at Geita in the 1950s and early 1960s.

    I would advise you to take a “rain check” before venturing into the Serengeti in April. It will be very wet and the black cotton soil is fearsome.

    No, you don’t have to book to enter the Serengeti and, of course, you can self drive. It is a vast piece of Africa and, in April, you might not see anyone else. Hence, if you get stuck, you may be there in the remoter areas for some considerable time.

    There are many threads about the Serengeti on this forum.

    Safari njema!
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2019/04/16 at 11:48 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Travel to Mwanza/Serengeti

    Here is what we wrote about our return north through Tunduma and Tanzania in July 2018. We had camped the previous night at King’s Highway, Kalungu in northern Zambia.

    Also, you will be turning off towards Mwanza at Dodoma, so the section from Dodoma to Arusha is not relevant for you, but might be helpful with regard to the distances that are possible in one day. We meet far too many people who overestimate the daily mileages.

    Returning back through Tanzania
    15 – 19 July 2018


    The next morning, we pulled on to the Great North Road again and an hour or so of bumping and crashing took us to the border at Nakonde/Tunduma. It was as chaotic as on our way south. Matters were not helped by a bus load of Congolese heading into Tanzania and there being only one harassed Tanzanian on duty at Immigration. We had seen a Dar-es-Salaam-Zambia-Lubumbashi (DRC) bus before and had commented on what a journey that must be. How lucky we are ...


    In the end, we were through the border in two hours - visa, immigration, customs - and an hour or so later we pulled into Utengule Coffee Lodge near Mbeya. We were disconcerted to be told by the gate guards that the lodge was closed for a private function, but after a phone call we were allowed to camp once again on the helipad. My dream of a burger and chips was not to be so the good old campers hash was doled out once again. Later, two South African vehicles pulled in and, just before dark, an enormous overland truck type vehicle containing a Dutch family.


    The following morning we headed further north on the TANZAM highway and five hours later (but only 300kms) we pulled into the lovely Kisolanza Farm near Iringa. We were firmly retracing our stops back to Kenya.


    At Kisolanza farm, we indulged ourselves with dinner in the candle and paraffin lamp-lit old farmhouse. Here in the Southern Highlands, it was very cold once the sun set and, once again, we were very glad to have our duvets, extra rugs and a hot water bottle. The following morning, we dragged ourselves out into the cold, but indulged ourselves with a full English breakfast at the old farmhouse. We were rather alarmed when starting the Land Rover that the clutch felt floppy, but on we went heading towards Iringa. As we went up the steep escarpment into this pleasant town, the clutch felt better. However, we stopped at a very pleasant crafts centre and cafe run by disabled Tanzanians and there Hugh checked the clutch fluid level. It was a bit low and he topped it up. Thereafter it was another four hours drive to Dodoma with all systems “go”. We did, however, get stopped a number of times by the myriads of traffic police at every tiny village. Hugh was driving very carefully within the speed limits and did successfully hold his ground twice with the cops. The first time he was “forgiven” and the second time he was “excused”. We are of the opinion that the photos taken on an iPhone at one place and then sent on to the cop at another place is suspect technology. It was all dealt with friendliness and jollity.


    We booked ourselves once again into the New Dodoma Hotel and were delighted that the receptionist remembered us from eight weeks ago. It is a haven in this supposed capital city, but, in reality, a dusty outpost. We did manage, eventually, to have a hot shower before bed and after a rather good Chinese meal cooked by some Chinese crone in a separate kitchen to the hotel’s kitchen.


    The following day was a seven hour drive from Dodoma to near Arusha. The difference in the intervening nine weeks was stark - very much drier. But the landscape was ever changing winding up various hills, through forest reserves, and shambas. We stopped for lunch some 5 kms off the road at a delightful campsite near Kondoa run by the Rock Art Conservation Society. Kondoa has some of the most extensive rock art sites in Africa up in the hills overlooking the Masai Steppe. This fortified us for the next stage down from those hills with great views of the 10,000 ft Mt Hanang. Once past Babati - a former colonial era farming area - we could see the western wall of the Rift Valley, the Mbulu highlands and Lake Manyara (which had been shrouded in low cloud, mist and rain on our way south in mid May). Onwards we went through Masai lands until we could see the massive bulk of Mt Meru ahead - and a small glimpse of the mighty Kilimanjaro.


    It had only been about 400 kms on an excellent new road, but the average speed was very low. We got pulled over for ostensibly speeding once again, but in the end Hugh was forgiven when the receipt book could not be found... The policeman did apologise for inconveniencing us. But there were also many other stops at the myriad of police checkpoints even if just to ask where we were coming from and where we were going to.


    Eventually, we turned in once again to the extraordinary Meserani Snake Park campsite just outside Arusha. Oh what a shock... There were five huge overland trucks there and at least fifty tents. The real worry was that there were only four ladies loos and six showers for this mass of unwashed. But we snuck in under a tree using the Land Rover as a privacy barrier. We had a dirty protest as queuing for a cold shower did not appeal. But as we say, every day is different ...


    This was our last night on this nine week adventure from Kenya to Angola and back. In the bar at Meserani, we increased the average age by at least three decades, but the beer and burgers were acceptable. We overheard that one of the huge overland trucks was leaving for the Kenyan border at 0700. After a reasonably peaceful night, we were up before dawn and on the road at first light and before the overland truck.


    An hour or so later, we arrived at the Kenyan border at Namanga. What a good call as we were through the “one stop border post” in less than an hour. As we drove out, there were huge queues at Tanzanian immigration from various buses and the overland truck.


    A few hours later, we arrived safely back in Nairobi. What an adventure!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Travel to Mwanza/Serengeti

    Take the warning about cotton mud seriously, especially in the Western Corridor, which has fearsome mud in the rains. I know of several vehicles that had to be abandoned there after bogging down, and had to wait for the dry season to get out again. That stuff sticks better than superglue.
    Tony Weaver

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    Previously Land Rover 1968 SII, 1969 SIIA, 1973 SIII, 1983 Toyota HiLux 2litre, 2006 Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE.

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  9. #8
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    Default Re: Travel to Mwanza/Serengeti

    Kwa Nokeng at Groblersbrug takes Rands and have a good campsite. Look at Woodlands 10km north of Francistown. Kasane have plenty good campsites. Camp and stock up on good quality frech meat at Frangilla 50km north of Lusaka. Consider Kasanka NP, we loved it.Tunduma is a 40min breeze - no sunglasses, no shorts, no hats. Greet "habida" and you will be OK

    Leave Rands at home and take USD's and Visa cards. Cash for fuel and local food.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Travel to Mwanza/Serengeti

    Quote Originally Posted by Ons Broodblik View Post
    Greet "habida" and you will be OK.
    Sorry to be pedantic, but the Swahili is ”habari” (how are you?).

    The Swahili greetings go as follows:

    • Jambo (or more precisely in Tanzanian Kiswahili - “Hamjambo”) - “Hello”. There are many more complex variations in proper Kiswahili depending on the age and status of the person you are addressing, but best to go for the simple version.
    • Habari? (or ”habari yako?” - ”how are you?”). It is considered very impolite to not ask how the other person is - and then to have a lengthy discussion on, for example, the health of their families, the rain or lack of rain etc before launching into the business in question.
    • “Mzuri” - “good” in response to ”habari”. Do not go into a lengthy discussion if you are not well... Again, there are variations on this standard “I am fine/all is good”, but simple is best.


    All officials will be delighted that you have at least tried to speak Swahili, and the ability to make people laugh at your probably deplorable Swahili will make friends.

    As has been said, Tanzanians respect formality and dressing appropriately for a border crossing is essential. Shorts and flip flops are for the beach only.

    Safari njema (travel well)!
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2019/04/16 at 11:50 PM.

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