El mantenimiento de esta línea ha sido un gran problema desde que inició este ferrocarril , los motores fabricados en China y los vagones se rompían continuamente, y se quedaban en los talleres en lugar de ser reparados y enviados de vuelta a la línea . Las locomotoras diesel que se enviaron por primera vez de China no se adaptaban a la tarea de transportar cargas pesadas con las pendientes escarpadas que hay entre Mlimba y Makambako.
En realidad, los trenes no están en general en buenas condiciónes , se pueden ver los vagones abandonados en algunas estaciones, la pintura desconchad y oxidada, los cuartos de baño no están presentables ... , Y también la línea férrea está en malas condiciónes, durante el viaje se pueden ver restos de vagones, rieles ..., todos abandonados alborde de la línea férrea
Hemos visto los restos de dos trenes que chocaron frontalmente una semana antes de nuestro viaje
Tazara debe tomar decisiones drásticas con el fin de superar esta situación para un futuro próx
The maintenance of this line has been always a big problem since the beginning as The Chinese-built engines and wagons were continually breaking down, and they languished in workshops rather than being repaired and sent back out on the track. The diesel hydraulic locomotives first sent by China were ill-suited to the task of hauling heavy loads up the steep escarpment between Mlimba and Makambako.
Actually the trains are not in the best conditon , you may see abandoned wagons in some stations , paint is chipped away or rusting , bathrooms are not in the best shape ... , and also rail track is not in its best condition , during the travel you may see rest of wagons , rails ... all abandoned besides the track.
We saw the bits and pieces of two trains that had a frontal crash accident that ocurred one week before
Tazara must take drastic decisions in order to overcome this situation for a next future
En ningún momentto sentimos sensación de miedo o falta de seguridad , a pesar de que hay momentos de mucho "barullo " y de mucha gente , sobre todo cuando nos acercamos a las estaciones que están junto a la frontera y el tren se llena de gente que intenta cambiar dinero
Nosotros recomndaríamos que aparte de las normas de seguridad que se tomarían en cualquier parte del mundo se tuviera en cuenta :
- Durante las paradas en las estaciones no tener abiertas al mismo tiempo la ventana y la puerta del compartimento
- Durante la noche bloquear la cerradura de la puerta del compartimento
- Si vas a salir del compartimento a parte de recomendarle tus maletas a las personas que hacen la limpieza del vagón es muy útil llevar una pequeña cadena con un candado para dejar el equipaje bloqueado
Insistimos que a pesar de estas recomendaciones no tuvimos ninguna sensación de inseguridad en todo el viaje
At no time we felt fear or lack of security, although there are times when there are a lot of "commotion" and many people, especially when we reached the stations that are close to the border and the train is full of people trying to change your money
We should recomend apart from the safety standards that would be taken anywhere in the world that you teke into account:
- During stops at stations have not opened at the same time window and the compartment door
- During the night lock the locker of your compartment door
- If you come out of the compartment besides recommend to the people who do the cleaning to keep an eye on it is very helpful to keep a small chain with a padlock to leave their luggage locked to the seat
We emphasize that despite these recommendations wev did not have any sense of insecurity throughout the trip
The bus driver from Lusaka to Lilongwe in Malawi was a skillful, but reckless driver. He drove the big bus at top speed on the narrow Great East Road. Passing slower cars all the time. This was normal for all the buses, according to frequent passengers. No accident happened, but I had my thought about his driving.
Take a look at the pictures (4 pictures of one scene). The bus was driving in 120 km/h and a truck came in the other direction. The distance between the vehicles is incredible small.
While most people see the falls from the safe side- for the view across- some people want to see it straight down. They want to walk in the pools at the edge. I don't know how many fall off in a given year, probably not many, but it's a real possibility, and 100 meters to the rocks below doesn't sound fun.
You always hear about the grandeur of Victoria Falls, but you rarely hear about the monkeys. There are lots of them, and they wander and get in the way. They're wild, but of course tourists like to feed the animals, so they can get a bit nasty if you have food and they want it. Be careful around them, and don't be afraid to kick. Mostly they'll just watch you, disinterested and stationary, but it's a problem in the area, and they can attack. Careful driving!
I have heard many people reporting on problems when exiting Zambia. The customs officials have been requesting up to 350 UD dollars for exiting the country. In some cases the visa has been intentionally issued few days too short on arrival.
So, check the dates on you visa when you get it. It's best to ask to meet the supervisor/manager if you end up in problems.
Zambia has got one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world, with estimation that one in three black Zambians have the virus today. Hence use prevention; else you probably play Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.
Too bad I didn't bring $50 or $100 bills. All I had was $20's and $10's. Some bureau of exchange places give you nearly 400 kwacha less per dollar if you use $5, $10, or $20 notes to exchange. I only found one place that gave 200 kwacha less for smaller bills. I am sure it is the same for Euro and Pounds.
For Zambia you need pills to prevent malaria and some vaccinations. Ask some months before your trip your GP or a hospital, preferably with a department for tropical diseases, what you need and when you should take these.
Please remember: malaria is a real killer.
Read about malaria on http://www.malaria.org. There are clickable links on the last page of the travelogues to websites about malaria and vaccinations.
We were instructed not to bathe on the river banks, only in shallow water by sandbanks in the river, due to the danger of beeing attacked by crockodiles. And somebody always had to watch when somebody else were bathing. We saw a couple of crocs while we were canoeing, but not when we were allowed to take pictures :-(
People tend to be afraid of lions, tigers, sharks, crocodiles and snakes, but nobody talks about hippos. The fact is that hippos are the kind of animal that kill most people. When they get disturbed, they seek deeper water, we were thus instructed to always row between the hippos and the river bank.
You may not want to arrive Zambia without having proper proof of yellow fever vaccination. It is required for all travellers and you may be held up on the border by not having proof. And do you want to do the vaccination on the spot? Trust the needles at the border crossing? HIV infection rate in Zambia is at 20%.
Smaller denominations kwacha, especially the 500 and 1000 notes are sometimes so worn that it may be impossible to read the actual numbers/denomination or see the motifs. You can only detect the denomination by the color of the notes, which in bad light conditions can be difficult, too..
Watch for this situation when you hand over a big bank note and get a stack of funny notes as change.
The information on the Zambian government internet pages on access clearly states that there is no visa on arrival in Lusaka airport or land borders for the visa-needy categories. An exemption may be business travellers covered by local businesses who will organise access from Lusaka.
Other info and anecdotal rumors says that you will get visa on arrival, but that you may be dumped from intercontinental flight trtansits if you do not have a visa in your passport. Sounds like you should not risk travelling without a visa!
A fellow passenger without visa in my lane from Gabon was charged USD 200 (or was faced with turning back).
I have heard that the, border officials at the Zambia/ Zimbabwe border sometimes mark your Zambia visa as void when you cross the border into Zimbabwe. Then when you try to cross back again they demand another visa payment.
More Regions in Zambia