Twinkie & Pretzel Bus Ride: Zambia

It was 2pm when I arrived at the bus station in the capital of Lusaka after I started my journey at 11pm the night before.  My flight with Ethiopia airlines left Nairobi at 3.30am and I arrived in Lusaka, Zambia at around 11am where I would have to catch the bus.  The bus that people told me to buy a ticket for the day before.

Buying something online in Africa is like dropping the soap in the shower in prison, you just don’t do it

I was told to ride with the Mazhunga family bus service because it’s the only bus that leaves on time.  Not only was I given a ticket for the next day, I was expecting a lavish leather seat where I could lay down and sleep.  Thanks Argentina for raising my expectations for bus rides.   I can pull an all nighter when  I have to but I like to have my wits about me when I’m traveling to a foreign country in Africa.

Bus Interior in Zambia, bus travel in africa, bus travel in zambia

The interior of the bus.. its going to get cozy!

I found the man I was going to follow and I was happy to find out there was another bus coming to pick us up an hour and a half later than what the original bus time was (Africa time is so much worse than Latin time).  I wasn’t too upset because this is Africa, an hour and a half African time only means 3 hours late, shouldn’t be too bad.  The concrete benches at the bus station were extremely comfortable, thank goodness I have extra padding back there.

The bus finally arrived and I was happy to find out I was sitting in the row of 2 seats instead of 3 seats.  I really would have felt like a Twinkie sitting in the middle of the row of three seats, can you blame the only white guy on the bus?

Do they make chocolate Twinkies with vanilla in the middle? 

I must investigate this immediately.  I still felt like a Twinkie in the window seat but that’s beside the point.  I was the first person to board the bus and trying to fit my small duffle bag under the seat was a mission in itself.  I only had around 10 bottles of liquid in the bag and there was no possible way they could burst all over my clothes so I just shoved it in.

Bus Station in Lusaka, bus stations in africa

The Bus Station in Lusaka

I’m a smart guy but trying to figure how I am going to get my legs around the duffle bag on the floor and sit in the seat that was meant for a poodle was beyond me.  I finally pretzeled my feet around the bag and placed my 40 pound (22 kilos) backpack on my lap, I insist on carrying around 40 lbs of technology in my book back, sue me.

The bus would take over 6 hours to arrive at my final destination

Just imagine the position I was in, my entire body wrapped around two bags and a 6 foot (300 lbs) awesome Zambian sitting next to me.  This is paradise isn’t it?  Add on another 70-80 Zambians on the bus with me and we have a rolling party!  I was able to sleep on the bus but only in hour increments since the 40 lbs bag was pressing against my bladder.  I did mention I ate 3 hamburgers and drank 3 cream sodas while I waited for the bus didn’t I?

I wasn’t about to try and fanagle my way through the aisles that were meant for 10 year olds to try and find a bathroom on the bus.  I was extremely happy to arrive at my final destination and be greeted by the taxi mafia that wanted to give me “a really good price” on anything I would give them money for.

I hope the buses in Madagascar aren’t the same.


  1. I loved this entry, it makes me remind the bus transportation in Colombia (It sucks most of the time) and the contrast to the transportation in Chile (which I guess is as good as in Argentina). Thanks for sharing your trips, Marcello! the way you narrate them is so damn funny!

  2. We are greatful for you busness.Hope you enjoyed your ride to Livingstone and next time load your baggage in the undercarriage,that way you sit more comfy.And we no longer have the 3×2 sitter buses those have been phased out.Thank you

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