I researched a lot about the best budget way to get from Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania and our entry point, to the northern cities of Moshi or Arusha, where our safari was starting. Tanzanian buses are notoriously dangerous and have a reputation for being overcrowded, dilapidated, and unreliable. It’s nearly 600 kilometers from Dar to Moshi and we were just starting out in Africa, so I wanted to make sure we found the most professional company, even if it cost a few more dollars.
We found three companies that seemed legit: Dar Express, Royal Coach, and Kilimanjaro Express. After searching some forums online we figured out they all leave from Ubungo bus terminal early in the morning, with multiple departures per day. We needed to buy our ticket a day ahead of time to make sure we got a seat. This was not ideal for us since our hotel was far away from the station and we wanted to avoid an expensive cab ride or long daladala haul just to purchase the ticket. We decided to ask the staff at Econo Lodge, our Dar hotel, their thoughts on our best option.
Well, it turns our you CAN’T find all they information online and as we’ve said before, asking a local is always the best option. After talking to Econo Lodge we found out there was a ticket office for both Dar Express and Kilimanjaro Express just down the street from the hotel. We took a walk to both offices to get pricing and purchase our tickets. Dar Express still left from Ubungo which would have meant a 5 AM cab ride to the insane bus station, but Kilimangaro Express offered the option of leaving from their downtown office. This saved us cab fare, avoided having to fight through the crowds at Ubungo, and gave us 30 minutes extra shut eye. Win, win, win.
Our experience on Kilimanjaro Express was better than expected. The bus left on time (we’ve sat on buses in Africa for four hours after their scheduled departure so this is priceless), the staff was friendly, and the bus was in good condition. It was similar to any coach you’d find in the USA or Europe, which is not usually the case in Africa. Just beware, the ticket office will tell you the ride is seven or eight hours. It took us twelve. I guess Tanzania is cracking down on bus safety and the buses are subject to more weight ins, check points, and speed limits. All a good thing, considering the drivers are a little terrifying, just get ready for a long ride.
To wrap up, here are a few pointers for those looking to do Dar to Moshi/Arusha or Moshi/Arusha to Dar by bus.
You CAN buy your ticket on both Dar Express and Kilimanjaro Express at their downtown Dar es Salaam offices. Their offices are both next to the posta (post office) on Libya and Morogoro streets. Kilimanjaro even leaves from that downtown location making it much easier if you’re staying close by. We booked the day before and paid 33,000 TZS per person. The ticket agent tried to charge us another 10,000 for our luggage but we pushed back. There is a posted sign saying you’re allowed 20 kilos before you’re charged a baggage fee, so don’t fall for it! Even if you’re bag is over 20 kilos wait until they are putting it on the bus to pay the extra fee. No one once bothered us about our backpacks and I’m pretty sure the ticket agent would have just pocketed the extra cash.
Both the Moshi and Arusha offices for Kilimanjaro Express are close, but not in, the main bus station. Just ask any local and they’ll point you in the right direction. We booked from Arusha and were able to buy our ticket six days in advance. Again, it was 33,000 shillings back to Dar. On the way back to Dar they do NOT drop off downtown, but from their location close to Ubungo. Again, not in the station, but a little down the road, closer to the city. We were able to negotiate a cab back downtown for 17,000 shillings, or about $8 USD. Just beware of the taxi touts greeting you as you get off the bus. Go straight to an actual driver and negotiate with him and only pay once you get to your destination. The touts will take a commission, charging you more money or potentially charging you twice.
Kilimanjaro Express left on time so make sure you report 15 minutes prior from departure to get your bag under the bus and find your seat.
Seats are assigned and you can pick when you book. The earlier you book, the more options you have. We sat in the very last row on the way to Moshi and the very front row on the way to Dar. Both were totally fine. Depending on the craziness level of your driver, the front can be terrifying. Sometimes it’s just better not to know how close to dying you are.
They provided a cupcake snack, a soda, and a bottle of water throughout the journey.
There are one or two bathrooms stops on the 12 hour journey so drink accordingly. One stop was insanely clean and well supplied. The other was the exact opposite.
It’s not easy to put into words what it feels like when one of your childhood dreams actually become reality. Being able to experience the Serengeti National Park in all of its incredible raw and awe inspiring beauty was one of those experiences for me. I am not sure if all Hungarian kids in the 80’s grew up with David Attenborough’s African documentaries, or if it was just another on of my grandpa’s legacy to me. In addition to camping trips in the woods and mushroom foraging.
Nevertheless, Serengeti, Kalahari, and the Namib have always been magical words to me. Words that filled my imagination with exotic animals and far-off landscapes I thought I would only see on the pixelated screen of our Soviet made black and white TV. In my young mind, you only got to see those places if you were a full time explorer or documentary film maker wearing a khaki outfit, funny hat (perhaps a moniker and a pipe), and had a perfect BBC accent. So when we first started researching the Africa portion of our trip and realized the long forgotten magic land of Serengeti could actually be on our Tanzania itinerary I was ecstatic. There were no longer any need for discussions on where we should do our Safari. Due to time and budget constraints, visitors usually have to pick between the Southern or Northern circuit of Tanzania for safaris. We, needless to say, had the Northern circuit locked-in.
After many hours of researching, Michelle found a local company, Peter Tours, that offered a five day/four night camping safari that covered two days in Serengeti, two days in Ngorongoro Crater, and one day at Lake Manyara. The tour was to be shared with another couple for roughly half the price of other (foreign) companies with similar itineraries and group size. We were stoked about the price and about being able to support a local business. About our experience with Peter Tours and on general tips on how to find a reputable yet affordable Safari company look for a later post from Mich. For now, here’s a recap of our five day safari.
Day 0 – We arrived to the town of Moshi a day early to get our bearings and meet up with Peter to go over our plans, logistics and itinerary. Moshi is neat little town, full of Mzungus and is more of a hub for Kilimanjaro hikes rather than safaris, as most safaris leave from the town of Arusha about an hour drive further up north. If in Moshi, however do not miss the Pamoja Bar and Cafe, probably the best local meal we had in entire Tanzania, and Union Cafe for western style coffee shop and surprisingly reliable wifi (to be purchased by the 1/2 hour at the internet cafe next door).
Day 1 – Peter picked us up at 6AM at our hotel (New Siesta Inn) and drove us to Arusha to meet our guide Frankie, camp hand and cook who was referred to as “Chef”, and our travel companions. We were lucky to got paired up with Martin and Ilse, a super nice and well traveled Dutch couple on a three week holiday through Tanzania.
Side note – as we learned, some companies that promote themselves as “tour operators” are simply booking agents or brokers that use other companies to handle logistics for their bookings. This did no seem to be an issue for us but worth mentioning our actual operator was World Tour Safaris who we had a good experience with…minus a constantly overheating truck of course.
After all the supplies and bags were loaded onto our 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser we hit the road and drove about 8 hours to Serengeti National Park. The drive took us through cute little towns and actually passed by both Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater. Our trip was planned visiting the furthest location on our itinerary first and work our way back towards the other sites before getting back to Arusha. The long drive was surprisingly pleasant, although a bit bumpy and dusty once you leave paved road.
I found a special delight in driving throughout Maasai country. Seeing some of the last remaining semi-nomadic people on Earth with their amazing braids, wrapped up in their signature colorful blanket, carrying a stick and spear was a special treat. Seeing the painted faces of young men awaiting initiation, out of the window of our fast moving car made it clear that we were entering a very special place. On the other hand it was hard not to think about how the livelihood and traditional way of these amazing people are being threatened by outside influences (read travelers like US) and a constantly shrinking territory. We were told, and saw first hand, how Maasai now are often forced to give up their traditional way of herding animals and move to cities to scrape a living together. People who have managed to live off the land for thousands of years in sync with their natural environment are now struggling to survive in our “civilized” society. You’re further reminded of this at every stop, as seemingly out of nowhere, Maasai appear asking for money, food, or your empty plastic bottles. Sobering. It was one of those experiences that stuck with me and made me feel helpless, knowing that if anything, me witnessing is probably only contributing to the problem rather than solving it.
Once, however you enter Serengeti National Park you leave any and all human civilization behind as no one (including Maasai) is allowed to live within the boundaries of the park. We reached deep inside the park right before sunset and immediately were rewarded with sites of zebras, giraffes, impalas, and hippos. After an hour or so of giddy excitement and a close encounter with a small but angry heard of elephants, we found our campsite, set up our tent and had some much appreciated dinner before passing out under the incredibly starry Serengeti sky.
Day 2 and 3 – Serengeti. Both these days were all about game driving and were ones that we’ll not any time soon forget. After a wee bit of restless sleep (I actually snoozed great, but Mich was a little disturbed by sounds of water buffaloes and elephants passing through our un-gated camp) we had some early breakfast of eggs and chapati (my new favorite dish) and set off for long drives to explore a wide area of the park. We only returned for lunch and managed to see dozens of species, most of which we were completely unfamiliar with.
Our guide Frankie was awesome. He was not only super knowledgable about ALL the animals and their behavior but could also spot them (who knows how) from miles away. He’s been guiding for a long time and it showed. He actually took us off the beaten path and away from the crowds. Safari trucks pass info to each other (by radio and drive-bys) on where the animals can be found and thus often hang out in the same area. For this reason, its not uncommon to see a line of 20-30 trucks cueing up to gape at the same sleepy-eyed lion. Not our idea of a great African safari. Frankie did a great job finding animals without having to get in line. Even when we ended up around other trucks, he seemed to be able to find a way to navigate our car closest to the animals. That is how we managed to see lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes and even a cheetah from only a few feet away. Also the same day, though from a distance, we saw three cheetahs take down an impala. Hard to believe that we got to witness something like this.
On our first full day in the park we had an incredible sunset drive and the following morning we had a very early rise and was treated to a sunrise over Serengeti. I’ve said it before that sunrises and sunsets in Africa are in a league of their own. Witnessing them with giraffes and elephants galloping across the horizon is something out of a high-def Natural Geographic movie. The intensity of the lights, the vividness of colors, and the size of the sun are somethings I can’t adequately put into words. Its surreal, magical, and something I wish every one could experience. The vastness of this unforgiving landscape is mesmerizing. It reaches deep into your core and touches your humanity. Like staring into the flames of a big fire. Without trying to be too weird or transcendental, I just have to say that its an experience that charged me with intense energy while calming me down at the same time. I surely will be carrying this memory with me for the rest of my life.
Day 3 and 4 – In the afternoon of our 3rd day (and last game drive in Serengeti) we packed up and drove a few hours to Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. It is striking how different the temperatures were between the scorching heat of the savanna and the high elevation on the rim of the crater. After days of constantly lubing ourselves up with sunscreen, now we had to dig deep into our backpacks for long pants and base layers. After setting up camp on the rim we walked around a bit until sunset, had an early dinner and settled in for a good night of sleep without wild animals chumping away a few feet away from our heads.
Next day we rose early again for a drive into the bottom of the carter. And what a drive it was! Again, saying that sunrise over the crater was stunning is an understatement and hope the pictures we took manage to do somewhat of a justice to the views we were lucky enough to catch. The crater was lovely but seemed pale in comparison to Serengeti. I should have prefaced that statement by saying anything after Serengeti would have probably felt like a bit of a letdown. Also, I have to add that us visiting in the dry season could also be a factor in our experience. The crater and the rim this time of the year are both dry and brown and the wildlife is much the same (just less of it) as in Serengeti. Also, the crater covering a lot smaller area, it seems quite a bit busier with a lot more trucks compared to the vast Serengeti. The highlight of this day was the stunning sunrise, seeing a pride of about 30 lions (cubs playing and tumbling around included) at a watering hole, and a lovely lunch by a hippo pool. Btw, the hippo pool was our first and only encounter with National Geographic style animal copulation during our safari.
Day 4 and 5 – After leaving the crater early afternoon we headed down to the town of Mto wa Mbu and the lovely Twiga Campsite just outside of Lake Manyara National Park. Here we had to say bye to our friends Martin and Ilse as they had a ride waiting to take them back to Arusha as they had to a flight to catch to Zanzibar the next morning. At the campsite we took advantage the much needed and appreciated hot showers, went for a run with a flock of kids in school uniform in tow, and took a stroll into town before hitting the sack.
At dinner Frankie came by to inform us that he’s been drinking Konyagi, the local liqueur with the tagline “Spirit of the Nation”, that afternoon and to ask if his two daughters could come join us for our drive into Lake Manyara National Park the next day. Of course we were delighted to have them along and were excited to see them the next day all shy and dressed in their Sunday best.
Our day at Lake Manyara went by rather quickly by trying to find the flamingos that the lake is famous for. Again, this being dry season there was a little less to see then usual. One really neat thing about this park is the actual visitor center experience. As you pull up with your truck, you are immediately greeted by a tourism student doing their practical training at the park. Once you sign the guestbook they give you the historic background on the park and the resident animals, including the famous tree climbing lions. They show you around the old facilities that were destroyed in a devastating flood in the early 2000’s. Both Mich and I were both impressed, not just by our supper friendly guide, but also about the idea of this professional development program helping young people, particularly women who are often ignored as safari guides, transition into Tanzania’s tourism industry.
After dropping Frankie’s girls off, it was time to conclude our awesome safari and head back to Arusha. As we were settling in for a 3-4 hour drive Frankie kept giving the Land Cruiser’s thermometer some worried looks. We did not think much about it, as it’s been giving us trouble since day one of the trip, overheating at the slightest incline. This resulted in a rather annoying set of short delays, which we took as the small trade off for our half-priced Safari. The issue was usually fixed by the tried method of letting the vehicle cool off for a few minutes and poring some cold water into the radiator. Except that the usual fix did not work this time. After popping the hood, we quickly realized that the hose connecting the cooler to the radiator completely busted and there was no moving the car until the hose was replaced. As Frankie was making plans to hitch a ride to town for the spare part a friendly guide/truck pulled over to help us out. As it happened this truck had extra space and would be our ride back to Arusha. It was only carrying a young German couple back from a private safari.
As we were dropped off at our hotel, Richard the owner of World Tours Safari greeted us with huge apologies and a bottle of red wine (17 per cent alcohol I may add) for our inconvenience. A nice and unexpected touch we thought. We were not too concerned with the car breaking down on us, just were a little bummed that we did not get to say our proper byes to our awesome guide.
We unfortunately only had 8 days in Malawi. We new we wanted to head to the lake and decided on Nkhata Bay for it’s reputation of clean (bilharzia free) water and friendly town. And because of Mayoka Village. We had a friend recommend the place and I hadn’t been able to get it out of my head. We reserved a campsite, overlooking Lake Malawi, for $10 a night and got up early to catch the 7 AM bus to Mzuzu where we’d hop on a local mini bus to Nkhata Bay.
We arrived around 6:15 am to make sure we could get a ticket on the AXA bus, which Mabuya Camp, recommended we take. The AXA bus pulled up and looked like it had already been through a few near death accidents. Busted windows, broken luggage compartments, and black smoke had us second guessing the recommendation. In the meantime, Gabs had found another bus heading to Mzuzu that looked brand new and was 500 kwacha cheaper. Clean seats, all windows in tack, and what appeared to be functioning mechanics. So we said screw AXA and hoped on the shiny new bus. And there we sat, at the bus station, for FOUR hours. Anyone who knows my impatience and Gab’s restlessness, this was difficult. We’re great on long rides, but only if we are moving. Sitting still, not knowing when the bus will fill up so you can leave, is maddening. Finally, around 11 AM, the bus was sufficiently stuffed full and we settled in for our six hour ride to Mzuzu…with a very stinky armpit in Gabs face (he’s a gentlemen and always takes the isle seat to save me from such experiences). Our seats were uncomfortable, but at least we had them. The isle was full of passengers who stood for the entire ride.
It was around 5:30 PM when we pulled in Mzuzu and on the verge of darkness. We pushed through all the taxi touts and made our way to the minibuses. We found a relatively full one going to Nkhata Bay and squeezed in. Mini buses also do not leave until every crevice of the bus is filled with either a human, a chicken, or a bag of rice, so we sat there for about 30 minutes. When we finally headed down the mountain to Nhkata Bay the uncomfortable seats, waiting around, and lack of personal space was testing our patience. But we signed up for this when we decided to bus across Africa. We’d lucked out in Tanzania with timely and comfortable (although somewhat terrifying) buses and it was about time we pushed ourselves a little bit.
The ride to Nkhata Bay seemed like it took forever. We stopped every few kilometers and we got poked, prodded, and pushed. But we also met some nice locals, excited to welcome us to Malawi. When we arrived in Nkhata Bay, Mayoka Village had a car waiting to take us up the hill. We had no idea our $10 campsite came with curb side pickup and it was so exciting after the 14 hours of travel we’d just endured.
Luckily, our next few days in Nkhata Bay made us forget about the uncomfortable journey. However, from here on out we will follow the local’s advice no matter what the bus looks like.
Ok, so this wasn’t really our bus. But it was a bus departing from the station carrying people. Terrifying.
Our shiny new bus stuffed with people. This was actually after four hours when about one third of the standing passengers had de-boarded.
We stayed with a great Airbnb host, Benj, in Stone Town, Zanzibar. An Australian expat, he is basing himself out of Zanzibar while he works around East Africa. He is a documentary film artist and the ideal host. He took us under his wing, showing us the local lunch spot, inviting us to dinner with his friends, and taking us to the market. It was like staying with an old friend.
Benj has been filming and interviewing Ayda, a local women who runs a women’s craft co-op and teaches yoga. After hearing about her, we asked Benj if she might let us drop in on one of her classes. He gave her a call and she was more than happy to have us join the sunrise beach yoga class the next morning.
It was fantastic and one of my favorite memories of Zanzibar. It was such a unique and memorable experience to do yoga with locals, most of the women dressed in the abaya and headscarf. There is something great about the universal language of yoga that allows total strangers to share a cross cultural experience.
On top of the that, doing yoga in the sand was a new challenge for us and resulted in a few laughs as we toppled about and got sand EVERYWHERE.
It’s been exactly a year ago, since we gathered all our friends and family together in Loveland, Colorado to celebrate our marriage. Its been a year since I had the hardest time getting my wedding vows out, battling tears at every word. Its been a year, since we took shotskis on the barn-turned-dance-floor and danced our hearts out with the most important people in our lives. All this under the gorgeous colorado sky and the Twin Peaks of the Rockies as a backdrop. All these memories came rushing to me just a few days ago on our eight hour African bus ride to Victoria Falls. It’s been a year today, since I married you and I couldn’t be happier.
I couldn’t be happier with the certainty of knowing that I have found my lifelong partner in crime. If our first year of marriage is any indicator, I know that you’ll always be crazy enough to allow me to be my crazy self. I am aware of the fact that it is anything but ordinary to have found someone who will always build me up while grounding me at the same time. Someone that will support my biggest dreams, balance my crazy energy and help my outlandish ideas became reality. Like the one of quitting our jobs and becoming nomads for the sake of traveling the world. Someone that gets my unquenchable thirst for the new and my absolute need for physical exercise. You get me and I get you.
We are one team and I could not be the same without your caring, your determination, and your loving kindness.
I cannot imagine anyone else by my side for this trip around the world and for my journey of life. Here is to you, my love, and to many more anniversaries together. As the lyrics of our first dance says, lets “dance like nobody’s watching“….throughout the world and through our life together. And #letsbeadventurers!
While in Vienna, Gabs and I decided to check out their CityBike system. CityBike works like bike sharing programs in lots of other cities. There are kiosks around the city and with a “membership” you can rent a bike and return it to any other kiosk in the city. After you pay your membership fee, the bikes are typically free for the first 30-60 minutes. After that you are charged per hour you keep the bike out. This encourages returning to a kiosk quickly, which keeps the circulation of bikes moving throughout the city.
We’ve used these when visiting other cities and have typically paid about $7-$10 for a daily membership. In magical Vienna it is only 1 euro. And they credited that 1 euro to your first paid ride, if/when you accumulate it, so you can essentially ride for free. It blew our minds we could ride bikes around Vienna all day for FREE and we took full advantage.
Vienna is a bikers paradise. Clearly marked bike routes, barriers to separate you from traffic, big shade trees, and so much to see. The biggest danger is running into one of the big shade trees when admire the beautiful architecture that lies around every turn. I just wish we could have had more time to explore on two wheels.
One note – sometimes the bike racks are empty which is a big pain. If you have phone service you can check their app/website for terminal inventory. Otherwise make sure you have a location map on you so you can walk to the next rack.
River cruises down the Danube are huge business in Budapest. You can’t walk down the street without seeing 10 stands advertising such thing. The most popular are the dinner cruises. For about 50 euro you can get a soggy buffet dinner, one welcome drink, and an hour trip up and down the Danube at sunset. Or for 35 euro you and skip the buffet and just take the welcome drink and boat ride.
Now we really wanted to take a boat ride down the Danube at sunset. The views of the city are unbelievable from the water and who doesn’t like a cocktail on a lazy boat? However, I was not about to shell out our entire daily budget for the float down the river and had no interest in the soggy dinner buffet. Luckily, I found a DIY option.
Budapest recently launched a river ferry as part of their public transportation network. For 700 forint, about $2.50, you can take the ferry from one end of downtown to the other. The EXACT route the dinner cruises take. Hungarians also love themselves an open container and you don’t even get a sideways glance for drinking on the streets, in the parks, or as it may be, on a public boat.
So instead of handing half your paycheck to the street side umbrella man to join the elderly tourists on the dinner cruise, pack yourself a bottle of wine, some plastic cups, and jump on the public transport. Make sure you get to the upper, front deck and grab a chair right on the railing if you can. Our boat was empty when we hopped on at Boráros Tér, but soon filled up with a Portuguese women’s college rugby team and the front seats were a hot commodity. One warning – our captain was a curmudgeon and quite the aggressive docker. One moment I was admiring the setting sun and the next I was cursing the red wine I poured down the front of my white shirt. Either watch your glass or drink white.
DIY Danube Boat Cruise
BKV Boat: 11 (schedule here).
Recommended Starting Point: Boráros Tér (Translates to Boráros Square. if you’re standing at the square, walk across the street to the river. Look for a round sign with a D and waves on it. The bridge/doc is obvious from there.)
Recommended Ending Point: Margit Hid (Translates to Margret Bridge, which is the yellow bridge. At this point, you can jump on the 4/6 tram and get anywhere in town.)
Price: 700 ft per person. You can purchase your tickets on the boat, but make sure you have exact change or close to it.
Getting offline and disconnected from the rest of the world is definitely one of the draws of trips like this, however having access to a working cell phone has huge benefits as well. For us, getting things done in Tanzania required a cell phone. We were dealing with a few operators who had hacked emails, slow internet, no website, etc. And we were moving around so much that finding phones everywhere wasn’t a real option. Email, google voice and whatsapp are definitely great options but as any traveler can attest to it, fast and reliable internet is not easy to come by and these tools are worthless if the other end doesn’t also have them.
With this in mind, we decided to have at least one unlocked phone on us and get local SIM cards whenever necessary. Initially we wanted to “jailbreak” our iPhones but did not deal with it in the US as we assumed that getting this done in Hungary would be cheaper and easier. We were wrong. You can only get your provider do this but for European iPhones with European service. Even with all our local connections we could not find a place in Hungary that could get our American (AT&T) phones unlocked. So we just ended up getting a old, cheap, already unlocked, non smartphone (is dumb phone even a word?) from a friend for free.
So how do you get service set up in Tanzania once you have an unlocked phone? This was pretty easy, as most (if not all) cell phone plans here are prepaid. There are a few providers to choose from, such as Waka, Vodacom, and Airtel. We went with Airtel simply because they had an office right next to our hotel in Dar.
Before you can get your prepaid phone credit, you need to buy a simcard that has to be registered with the service provider using a valid ID (eg. passport or drivers license). It is a pretty straight forward process that takes about 10 minutes, is done by an Airtel employee and costs 1,000TSH ($0.50 USD). Once your SIM is set up, your phone is ready to receive calls, but can’t place outbound calls until you buy credit or bundle as they refer to it locally. You have the options of daily, weekly or monthly service. The longer the service the more minutes/data you have access to. Just keep in mind that no matter how much you use the plan, your credit will expire after the allotted time. In other words, if you purchase a weekly plan and do not place a single outbound call, you’ll loose your credit a week after activation. The good news is that you still will be able to receive incoming calls as long as you have a valid SIM card.
We choose the weekly plan that came in the form of a little scratch card called Airtel Money with an activation code on it. These cards can be purchased at most roadside stalls (they really are everywhere) and usually have a sign for the providers they sell cards for. Activation instructions on the card are printed in both Swahili and English, but I just let the nice Airtel lady set it up for me. A week cost us 5,000 TSH ($2.50 USD). It took less than two minutes before I was ready to text/call our newest local friend Bradon and finally track down our safari host.
Also, reloading the phone with more Airtel money is as easy as visiting one of the million of roadsides stalls selling credit. If ever in doubt about how much credit you have left on your card, you can get your balance texted to you any time by dialing * 102 # from you phone.
We’re yet to find out if our Tanzanian SIM will work on the rest of the countries we’re visiting (Malawi, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa) but in case not, we expect the set-up process to be similarly easy and cheap.