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Alexandria to Cape Town by train and bus

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Revision as of 17:15, 9 February 2013 by Travelgeek (Talk | contribs)

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Alexandria to Cape Town by train and bus is in Africa.


This itinerary covers the overland route from Alexandria, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa. It is one of the only land routes from northern to southern Africa that is available to foreigners. Trains are available for the majority of the route, but there are also many buses. This itinerary passes through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.



  • Egypt: On arrival at an Egyptian airport, U.S. citizens can buy a 30-day visa for $15.
  • Sudan: To get a Sudanese visa, U.S. citizens must apply for one in advance by getting a hotel or travel agency to "sponsor" them. The processing fee is $150.
  • Ethiopia: U.S. citizens must apply for a two-year, multiple-entry visa before entering Ethiopia. The cost is $70.
  • Kenya: A one-entry tourist visa for U.S. citizens costs $50, and must be obtained before arrival in Kenya.
  • Tanzania: A one-month multiple-entry tourist visa costs $100.
  • Zambia: A single-entry tourist visa can be bought for $50 when you enter Zambia.
  • Zimbabwe: On arrival in Zimbabwe, a 30-day single-entry visa can be purchased for $30.
  • South Africa: Tourists in South Africa do not need a visa as long as the stay is under 90 days.



Get in

There are currently no ferries from Europe to Alexandria. There used to be a Venice-Alexandria route, but it is currently cancelled until further notice. However, there is a ferry from Aqaba, Jordan to Nuweiba, and trains linking Nuweiba with the rest of Egypt. Buses from Libya also run to Alexandria, as well as a JETT-operated bus from Amman to Cairo. Be warned, the Amman-Cairo bus travels through Israel and will deny you entrance to Sudan, as well as many other countries. Many airlines in Europe and the United States also offer direct flights to Alexandria or Cairo.


Day 1

Downtown Alexandria
  • Arrive in Alexandria.
  • Spend the night in Alexandria.

Day 2

  • Spend the night in Alexandria.

Day 3

  • Spend the night in Alexandria.

Day 4

Mosques in Islamic Cairo
  • Take the 10:00 express train to Cairo--$5 for second class.
  • Arrive in Cairo at 12:55.

Day 5

  • Spend the night in Cairo.

Day 6

  • Spend the night in Cairo.

Day 7

  • Spend the night in Cairo.

Day 8

  • Spend the night in Cairo.

Day 9

The Giza Pyramids
  • Take the 12:00 train to Giza--$4 for second class.
  • Arrive in Giza at 12:20.
  • Spend the night in Giza.

Day 10

  • Take the 12:20 train to Luxor--$8 for second class.
  • Arrive in Luxor at 22:20.
  • Spend the night in Luxor.

Day 11

  • Spend the night in Luxor.

Day 12

Sunset over Aswan
  • Take the 09:35 train to Aswan--$5 for second class.
  • Arrive in Aswan at 13:15.
  • Spend the night in Aswan.

Day 13

  • Spend the night in Aswan.

Day 14

  • Every Monday and every second Friday, there is a ferry from Aswan to Wadi Halfa, Sudan. Base your trip on this so that you arrive in Aswan approximately two days before the ferry leaves. It costs $75 for a first-class ticket, and you get a bunk bed. (Second class costs $50, but you only get a padded bench). The ferry leaves at about 12:00 and arrives at about 07:00 the next day.
  • Spend the night in Wadi Halfa.

Day 15

Khartoum at dusk.
  • Take the 05:00 bus (the only one) to Khartoum---$20.
  • Arrive in Khartoum at 16:00.
  • Spend the night in Khartoum.

Day 16

  • Spend the night in Khartoum.

Day 17

  • Spend the night in Khartoum.

Day 18

  • Take the 06:00 bus to Gedaref---$10.
  • Arrive in Gedaref at 14:00.
  • Spend the night in Gedaref.

Day 19

  • Take a minibus to Gallabat; they generally leave at 10:00---$10.
  • Arrive in Gallabat at 17:00.
  • Cross the border to Metema, Ethiopia.
  • Spend the night in Metema.

Day 20

Gondar's royal castle
  • Take the 09:00 bus to Gondar.
  • Arrive in Gondar at 12:00.
  • Spend the night in Gondar.

Day 21

  • Spend the night in Gondar.

Day 22

  • Take a minbus to Bahir Dar---$3.
  • Spend the night in Bahir Dar.
A stone church in Lalibela

Day 23

  • Take the 06:00 bus to Gashena---$5.
  • Arrive in Gashena at 12:00.
  • Take the 15:00 bus to Lalibela.
  • Arrive in Lalibela at 18:00.
  • Spend the night in Lalibela.

Day 24

  • Spend the night in Lalibela.

Day 25

  • Take a minibus that departs at 07:00 for a two-day drive to Addis Ababa---$25.
  • Arrive in Kombolcha at 16:00.
  • Spend the night in Kombolcha.

Day 26

  • Depart Kombolcha in the same minibus at 06:00.
Downtown Addis Ababa
  • Arrive in Addis Ababa at 14:00.
  • Spend the night in Addis Ababa.

Day 27

  • Spend the night in Addis Ababa.

Day 28

  • Spend the night in Addis Ababa.

Day 29

  • Take the two-day bus from Addis Ababa to Moyale, the Kenya-Ethiopia border town. Depart at 07:00---$25-$30.
  • Spend the night in Dilla.

Day 30

  • Continue on to Moyale; leave at 08:00.
  • Arrive in Moyale at 15:00.
  • Spend the night in Ethiopian Moyale.

Day 31

The Maasai people outside of Nairobi
  • Cross the Ethiopia-Kenya border.
  • Take the 10:00 bus to Nairobi---$30.

Day 32

  • Arrive in Nairobi at 12:00.
  • Spend the night in Nairobi.

Day 33

  • Spend the night in Nairobi.

Day 34

  • Spend the night in Nairobi.

Day 35

  • The train from Nairobi to Mombasa departs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 19:00---$45 for second-class sleeper.

Day 36

Mombasa's waterfront
* Arrive in Mombasa at 10:00.
  • Spend the night in Mombasa.

Day 37

  • Spend the night in Mombasa.

Day 38

  • Take the 08:00 bus to Dar es Salaam---$20.
  • Arrive in Dar es Salaam at 18:00.
Dar es Salaam's skyline
  • Spend the night in Dar es Salaam.

Day 39

  • Spend the night in Dar es Salaam.

Day 40

  • Spend the night in Dar es Salaam.

Day 41

  • Spend the night in Dar es Salaam.
The Kapiri Mposhi train station

Day 42

  • On Tuesdays, a train departs Dar es Salaam for Kapiri Mposhi at 15:50. On Fridays, it departs at 13:50---$35 for second-class sleeper. The trip takes two days.

Day 43

  • On the train to Kapiri Mposhi.

Day 44

  • Arrive in Kapiri Mposhi between 13:00 and 14:00.
  • Spend the night in Kapiri Mposhi.

Day 45

  • On Mondays and Fridays, there is a train from Kapiri Mposhi to Lusaka---$3. It departs at 16:42.
  • Arrive in Lusaka at 23:30.
  • Spend the night in Lusaka.

Day 46

  • Spend the night in Lusaka.

Day 47

The Livingstone Musuem
  • Spend the night in Lusaka.

Day 48

  • Take the daily 09:30 bus to Livingstone---$22.
  • Arrive in Livingstone at 17:30.
  • Spend the night in Livingstone.

Day 49

  • Spend the night in Livingstone.

Day 50

  • Take a taxi to the Zambia-Zimbabwe border.
The Zambezi Bridge above Victoria Falls
  • Cross the border over the Zambezi Bridge.
  • Walk to the Zimbabwean town of Victoria Falls.
  • Spend the night in Victoria Falls.

Day 51

  • Spend the night in Victoria Falls.

Day 52

  • Take the daily 19:00 train to Bulawayo---$19 for first class; $12 for second class.

Day 53

  • Arrive in Bulawayo at 10:00.
  • Spend the night in Bulawayo.

Day 54

  • Spend the night in Bulawayo.

Day 55

  • Take the Monday, Thursday, and Saturday train to Harare. It departs at 20:00---$15 for a sleeper.

Day 56

  • Arrive in Harare at 08:00.
File:Harare night.jpg
Harare at dusk
* Spend the night in Harare.

Day 57

  • Spend the night in Harare.

Day 58

  • Spend the night in Harare.

Day 59

* Take the Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday train to Bulawayo. It departs at 21:00---$15 for a sleeper.

Day 60

  • Arrive in Bulawayo at 08:00.
  • Spend the night in Bulawayo.

Day 61

The Beitbridge borderpost
  • Take the Sunday and Thursday train to Beitbridge, on the Zimbabwe-South Africa border. It departs at 18:00---$15 for a sleeper.

Day 62

  • Arrive in Beitbridge at 10:00.
  • Spend the night in Beitbridge.

Day 63

  • Cross the Zimbabwe-South Africa border.
  • Take a taxi to the town of Musina.
  • Spend the night in Musina.

Day 64

  • Spend the night in Musina.

Day 65

  • Take the Sunday & Thursday train to Pretoria (economy seats only!). It departs at 15:25---$10.
Strijdom Square, Pretoria

Day 66

  • Arrive in Pretoria at 04:16.
  • Spend the night in Pretoria.

Day 67

  • Spend the night in Pretoria.

Day 68

  • Spend the night in Pretoria.

Day 69

  • Take the 09:00 Gautrain to Johannesburg. They depart every 20 minutes---$8.
  • Arrive in Johannesburg at 09:40.
  • Spend the night in Johannesburg.
Johannesburg City Hall

Day 70

  • Spend the night in Johannesburg.

Day 71

  • Spend the night in Johannesburg.

Day 72

  • Spend the night in Johannesburg.

Day 73

A Durban street
  • Take the Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday train to Durban. It departs at 18:30---$15 for economy class, $33 for a sleeper.

Day 74

  • Arrive in Durban at 07:10.
  • Spend the night in Durban.

Day 75

Johannesburg's business district
  • Spend the night in Durban.

Day 76

  • Take the Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday train to Johannesburg. It departs at 19:15---$15 for economy class, $33 for a sleeper.

Day 77

  • Arrive in Johannesburg at 07:44.
  • Spend the night in Johannesburg.

Day 78

  • Take the Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday train to Kimberley. It departs at 12:30---$15 for economy class.
Kimberley's Big Hole
* Arrive in Kimberley at 21:20
  • Spend the night in Kimberley.

Day 79

  • Spend the night in Kimberley

Day 80

  • Take the Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday train to Cape Town. It departs at 21:20---$43 for a sleeper, $27 for economy class.

Day 81

  • Arrive in Cape Town at 15:30.
Central Cape Town
  • Spend the night in Cape Town.

Day 82

  • Spend the night in Cape Town.

Day 83

  • Spend the night in Cape Town.

Day 84

  • Leave Cape Town.

Stay safe


  • Crime is rarely violent in Alexandria.
  • Don't flash valuables or expensive items.
  • Women should dress modestly and cover their heads when entering mosques.
  • Tourists may be harassed. Ignore the offender and keep walking.
  • Dial 123 in an emergency.


  • Cairo is a fairly safe city. Feel free to walk around.
  • Women may be subject to catcalling.
  • Beware of "helpful" people at touristy locations.
  • The locals are friendly.
  • Most police officers speak English.
  • Cross the street when the locals do; drivers drive recklessly.
  • Taxis may go faster than you wish. Tell the driver to slow down.
  • Though things have mostly quieted down after the Arab Spring, avoid protests or demonstrations.
  • Dial 122 in an emergency.
  • Us-flag.png United States Embassy, 5 Tawfik Diab St, Garden City, +20-2 2797 (fax: +20-2 2797 3200), [1].


  • Giza attracts millions of tourists each year to the Giza Pyramids, as well as a lot of pickpockets and con artists.
  • Offers of unsolicited help may be in expectation of a tip.
  • Wear headphones, they make strangers easier to ignore.
  • Avoid eye contact and keep walking when someone tries to harass you.
  • Don't climb the pyramids! It's illegal and dangerous.
  • Bring bottled water.
  • Choose a camel or donkey ride carefully.


  • Luxor is known as the hassle capital of Egypt.
  • Tour guides inside temples will demand a tip for guiding you.
  • Scarf sellers will try to pickpocket you.
  • Ask a local for directions or info, not a taxi driver or tour guide.
  • Women traveling alone should exercise extreme caution.
  • Luxor merchants are infamously manipulative and aggressive.
  • Pretend to speak an obscure language such as Azerbaijani or Cyrillic when being hassled. If you do speak an uncommon language, use it! If not, fake it.


  • Aswan is much safer than Cairo and Luxor.
  • However, blatant attempts at pickpocketing will occur in the souf.
  • Women should be careful traveling alone.
  • Horse drivers will generally not commit on the price you agree on.

Wadi Halfa

  • Wadi Halfa is a pretty small town with low crime. Just avoid pickpockets, and remember that alcohol is illegal.


  • Khartoum is a safe city.
  • Us-flag.png United States Embassy, US Embassy Road, Kilo 10, Soba (off Wad Madani Road, near Highway Traffic Police Division Headquarters), +249 187-022000; 0187-022000 (inside Sudan), [2]. ===Gedaref===


  • Metema is a small border town with a few shops and hotels. Locals will perceive foreigners as very wealthy, and there are lots of pickpockets.


  • A very common scam in Gondar is where young Ethiopian men will invite you for a night of "authentic" Ethiopian music. However, they will take you to an obscure bar where you are the only patron. You will be prodded into buying drinks for all the locals and tipping the musicians.

Bahir Dar

  • Like most of Ethiopia, Bahir Dar is mostly safe and generally free of violent crime.
  • Malaria does exist here but is uncommon.
  • Beware of hustlers who will offer to get you a "cheap" boat on Lake Tana. They will overcharge you.


  • Local children in Lalibela will ask you to buy schoolbooks for them. It might be for actual schoolbooks, or a scam to buy other items.

Addis Ababa

  • Addis Ababa is safer than most cities in Africa.
  • Gang violence and violent crimes are unusual.
  • However, there are a lot of pickpockets and con artists around areas frequented by tourists.
  • Most pickpockets are aggressive young boys. Tell them firmly to go away.
  • Keep your belongings close on crowded public transport.
  • Major streets are usually safe at night.
  • Call 991 in an emergency.
  • Addis Ababa police never ask foreigners or tourists to show their passport or other identification.


  • Moyale is a border town between Ethiopia and Kenya. Security is excellent and it is very safe.


  • Nairobi has a reputation for thievery, con artists, and scams.
  • Scams are very elaborate, with up to 10 people working together.
  • It is normal for young children to excitedly approach foreigners, but be wary of children over 9 or 10 getting close to you.
  • Stay in the city centre, know where you are going, and don't talk to strangers.
  • There are not a lot of beggars in Nairobi. Kenyans are a proud people.
  • Slums and the Eastleigh neighborhood should be avoided by tourists.
  • Nairobi dies out after dusk. Do not walk alone at night.
  • Us-flag.png United States Embassy, UN Avenue, +254 20 363-6000 (fax: +254 20 363-3410), [3].


  • The city centre is unsafe at night.
  • Carjacking is widespread.
  • Robberies have been known to occur on the beaches after dusk.

Dar es Salaam

  • Tanzania is one of the least policed countries in the world. Rapes and murders often go unreported and little data exists to suggest how common these crimes are. Domestic violence and sexual harassment, which often goes well beyond verbal cat-calling, are extremely common. Foreign female students have documented multiple accounts of sexual assualt and/or rape. These cases often go unreported/under-reported by universities with study abroad programs in Tanzania, and of course by the Tanzanian authorities themselves. Walking alone at night outside the most exclusive areas (think Oyster Bay, the Slipway, Sea Cliff, etc.) is extremely inadvisable for foreigners. Men stand a high chance of being mugged, women of being mugged and/or sexually assaulted. Dar is often very poorly lit. The city experiences a great many power outages. This makes lone women particularly vulnerable.
  • Most travelers who are in Dar on a short stay will, fortunately, not face these challenges. Similarly, most expatriates who live in Dar are sequestered well enough (with cars, security guards, in upscale neighborhoods, etc.) not to have to worry about this sort of thing.

By far the most common crimes, and the biggest risk for most travelers, will be muggings and petty thefts. Muggings occur very frequently, including sometimes on the street in broad daylight. Sometimes, but not always, the victim gets roughed up. Foreign students at the University of Dar es Salaam have been mugged at machete point. Never carry your wallet anywhere easily accessible (a back pocket, an outside flap of a backpack or purse, etc.).

  • Particularly to avoid:
  - walking on the beach (like Cocoa Beach) while carrying valuables, as many of these places are invisible from the road. Dar can be a friendly place, and you can certainly have a comfortable time there, but avoid carrying valuables as you may get unlucky. You can walk in the city in the evening but as it gets darker and you see fewer people on the street, exercise real caution. It might be better to take a taxi. If you are noticeably foreign, remember that many people will assume you are rich and an easy target.
  - Parking on dark sectors in the beach (coco beach) as thieves and junkies crouch in the dark waiting for the unaware foreigner to park, turn-off the engine and leave the car (to have a nice view of the Dar night from the beach) only to come in groups of 4-5 to steal as much as they can (in the case of a male foreigner). In the case of a female foreigner this is an absolute Not To Do.
  • Parking in a place without a guard runs you the serious risk of having lights or other car parts extracted. It is not uncommon for people to try to steal things through open windows, while you are waiting for lights to change, or to open unlocked doors and either get in or swipe something! Some people have had passersby attempt to snatch purses off their laps while they've been sitting in the back of a taxi at an intersection.
  • There is a major police station at Selendar Bridge on Ocean Road and other police posts in various other places. During the past one year, So if you don't follow the driving rules (or sometimes even if you do) you will spend time and money, either discussing with them their price or more formally in the police station. Police here ask for lifts regularly to get places but you are not obliged to take them if you feel uncomfortable. There is a great deal of corruption in Tanzania. Skin color, bribes, and connections to known elites in town still, unfortunately, hold a lot of sway.
  • A number of visitors have reported been pickpocketed in crowds at the Posta daladala stand recently (2009). If you're walking past this it's best to cross the road to avoid the crowd. If you're getting a daladala be aware of your possessions, be particularly aware of people stopping suddenly in front of you - this is sometimes done to block you in while someone behind you goes through your bags. Other well known pickpocket sites are the ferry to Kigamboni (nb. not the Zanzibar ferry), the Mnazi Mmoja dala stand, the trinket stalls on Samora Av and Karriakoo market. There's no reason to avoid these areas just be aware of your possessions when you are there, particularly bags. Using razor blades to cut into bags to remove items is quite common - and really annoying.
  • If you are robbed, you have a few options. None of them are good. You can yell, "mwizi!" This means 'thief' in Swahili. If you do this in a crowded place, you will very likely incite a mob to form. The mob might corner the thief and detain him until the police arrive. They might also beat up the thief very badly, possibly to the point of death. Theft carries huge risks in a culture where people possess very few material goods. The social punishments for stealing can be brutal beatings or, in some cases, death. Weigh the worth of your $40 cell phone or purse against the potential results of fomenting a stir. If you are in a crowded place (like the downtown Posta daladala stand, for example), you will, at the very least, create a gigantic scene, probably cause someone to be beaten, and have to spend a day dealing with the Dar es Salaam police department in sweltering, inefficient conditions. Much more practical just to exercise extreme care with how you carry your belongings, and to avoid carrying valuables (i.e. anything you can't afford to lose) altogether.
  • Be careful when taking taxis at night, particularly if you are alone, where possible use a driver you know or ask someone to call a taxi for you. If staying in Dar for an extended period of time, try to get the phone numbers of the first fair, seemingly trustworthy cabbies you encounter. Keep using them. If you are living in Dar without a car, this will greatly increase your safety. Taking buses at night and walking in poorly lit areas alone or in small groups (particularly of women, noticeable foreigners, or other people who might look like 'easy targets') is a great way to increase the risk of something bad happening (mugging, rape, etc.). Split taxis when possible. Some travellers have narrowly escaped potentially violent muggings and/or rape and others were not so fortunate.
  • Remember that, generally speaking, the more you stand out, the higher your risk factor will be. It is possible to have a wonderful time in Dar, if you make yourself aware of these risks and adapt accordingly. Guide books neglect a great deal of information when it comes to Tanzania.
  • Us-flag.png United States Embassy, 686 Old Bagamoyo Rd, +255 22-266-8001 (fax: +255 22-266-8238), [4]. ===Kapiri Mposhi===
  • Kapiri Mposhi is a pretty small town in Zambia with little to no crime. Just keep track of your belongings.


  • Lusaka has a bad criminal reputation, but Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg are much worse.
  • Walking around at night is a bad idea.
  • Remember that unemployment is 80% and many Lusakans live in poverty.
  • When Zambians pickpocket, they do not try to hurt you unless you threaten them. They are after your money, not you.
  • HIV/AIDS is prevalent in Lusaka.
  • Us-flag.png United States Embassy, [5].


Victoria Falls



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