During my time in Zimbabwe, I experienced a range of transport. I thought I would share some of my relatively humorous stories both to hopefully entertain you and to help anyone considering a trip to Sub-Saharan Africa (which I encourage by the way).
Now I would imagine that this word is brand new to most of you. Basically a kombi is a very old Toyota minibus. If it has a door you hit the jackpot. If you have a spare seat next to you then you should count your blessings.
Kombis have routes all over Harare and the rest of Zimbabwe and so are your first port of call for getting places quickly and cheaply (usually around 20 cents).
Sometimes the unexpected happens on a kombi. My fondest memory would have to be when we were waiting for the kombi to fill up (they park up until they reach a certain number of passengers) when suddenly a young man hopped on and begged me to marry him. Of course, this provided much entertainment for everyone else on board but at the time I wasn’t too impressed!
So taxis are probably more relatable for most of you. And in fact Zimbabwean taxis are pretty much the same. However, I advise that you pay much closer attention to whether drivers have a license. Ours didn’t. He spent most of the journey texting.
However, the journey wasn’t all bad! We spent most of it singing together which is a memory I’m sure I’ll never lose.
It may be a good idea to ask your travel agency or check out online info before heading off to Africa just to get the numbers of reliable taxi services or to know what to be looking out for. For example this article from Hip Africa on Nigeria is very useful.
The Big Bus
After staying at an orphanage for a few days in the Eastern Highlands, we had to return to Harare by bus. Now this was an experience.
The bus was rammed. Only costing $4 however for a four hour journey, we didn’t object. The first 10 minutes before departure consisted of people trying to sell me fruit through the window. The next 2 hours I had a woman’s head asleep on my shoulder.
Here’s the journey we took on the bus:
Although I may have made all of that sound quite unappealing, I actually wouldn’t turn down doing it all again for anything! I can’t stress enough how exciting embracing culture feels when it is so contrasted to your own.
However of course I do advise that you take necessary precautions. For example, don’t get on a kombi on your own if there aren’t many people on board. And don’t ever let drivers put luggage on the roof of the bus or kombi.
Thankfully, you don’t have to rely on my opinion. Here is an interview with my friend Marina who came with me sharing her thoughts…
Want more generic advice for getting around in Africa? Check these guys out (click the photo to take you to my Storify):
My favourite places
It would be wrong of me to tell you how to get around without showing you some of my number one stops though, right?
Also here is a Twitter Moment I created so you can see a few photos and tips from other people that have visited Zimbabwe.
And as a leaving note… maybe I wouldn’t advise getting from A to B quite like this…
ps. Got a few tips for transport in Africa, or in fact anywhere else? Please let me know in the comments or tweet me @na0ms_