The content of this blog is the creator's own thoughts and does not represent the views or opinions of the Peace Corps or the United States Government. I would also like to apologize for all my spelling and grammatical errors... there will be a lot.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Traveling in Zambia

Transportation in Zambia one word… adventure! Now adventure is defined as…


An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

I think that covers it.

There are a few main ways of travel in Peace Corps. As volunteers your money is not infinite. You tend to swap comfort for a cheap ride. So here I will present my travel guide.

Big Buses:

These babies are Zambia’s version of the greyhound system. They are made more for the bwana (rich) and tourists. They run on large pre-set routes across the country, and are pretty fast, plus you get awesome Nigerian movies to watch! A nice aspect is that they leave semi-on time and just go straight to your destination. Unfortunately this is pretty expensive on a PC budget.

Mini Buses:

You have not traveled in Africa until you’ve been on a mini bus. You see them everywhere, painted blue, with fun names on the front and back like “God is good” “Jesus is hot” or “Life Beyond” (I honestly have no idea who comes up with the names). Riding in one is an experience not for the claustrophobic, they are a bit like clown cars I have yet to see a mini bus deny a person. Be prepared to have at least a chicken or a baby on your lap, possibly a full grown person. You also might need to barter a good price; sometimes the conductor might just change it on you. Mini buses are not recommended for major trips, they stop constantly to pick up more people. I have taken one 30km and it has taken hours. They also will not leave until totally full so you can end up waiting hours to go. They are however cheap and great for traveling in Lusaka.


Taxi’s supposed to be selected cars with coloring and such but often turn out to just be some dude with a car. They are really good for getting to somewhere specific at a specific time. Unlike most transport in Africa they leave as soon as you ask them, and will take you where ever. Unfortunately you often have no idea what is a fair price until you have been ripped off once or twice. So just get ready to spend your money, especially if your driver wants to set a “booking fee” which is a “off road fee”.


They number 1 way to travel. Hitch hiking in Africa is a pretty set system, very few people have cars so they ones that do like to make some extra cash picking people up. It’s a pretty straight forward process, stand on the side of the road in the direction you want to go, wave your arm when you see a car coming, and if they stop set a price before hand chowpwa. Hitching is pure luck, sometimes you get a ride right away sometimes your stranded for days, it’s all part of the adventure. The reason it’s so preferred is that it’s the cheapest way to move about; you also get to go as soon as you get a ride instead of waiting for hours to move. You just have got to have an open mind and be prepared for a little surprise along the way. Sometimes your drivers are awesome I have met some of the coolest people on hitches, and sometimes they are creepers… fake husbands are super useful in that scenario. You also never know what kind of ride you are going to get, my most memorable so far have been… and ox cart, a shake-shake truck, in a pick-up with couches, and on top of a pile of maize. Welcome to Africa.

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