Has Anybody Taken Intercape's Bus Service From Johannesburg to Lusaka?
  • Hi, some friends and I will be visiting Africa in November, and since it is much cheaper to fly into South Africa, we plan to bus it from there to Lusaka. This trip will last for 31 hours.

    We
    are already prepared to bring earplugs to block out Intercape's loudly
    played Christian programming, but I am curious about some other aspects
    of this long bus journey, if anybody knows the answers (I wrote to
    Intercape, but got no reply).

    1) When crossing from Zimbabwe into Zambia, does Intercape use the Victoria Falls border post or the Chirundu Bridge post?

    2)
    The Intercape website states that each passenger is permitted to carry
    two pieces of luggage not exceeding 20 kg (44 lbs) combined. Does hand
    (carry-on) luggage count toward the two item limit? Has anyone
    previously traveling with Intercape been charged a fee for overweight
    baggage?

    3) I was told that there are no stops to buy
    refreshments over the course of the 31 hour journey. I imagine there may
    be opportunities to buy a cold drink at border crossings, but does
    anybody have other info/tips for surviving this trip hydrated? Unless I
    hear a better idea, my plan is to freeze bottles of water and then pack
    them in a small cooler full of crushed ice (assuming that bagged ice is
    sold in SA).

    Thanks so much for any information you can share about this bus journey!

    Macky

  • I see you have asked this question on several other sites, I do hope they all give you the same answer which is, avoid this trip like the plague. Find a cheap flight they are available.

    Intercape do cross at Chirundu Bridge and there can be delays of several hours. Do not expect to see much of Vic Falls.

    A carry on a bag with essentials is not part of your  luggage. 

    There are stops along the way and they usually sell drinks on the bus, but they are pricey.

    There have been outbreaks of sickness and diarrhoea on Intercape buses, the most recent case was in February 2014 http://www.qfmzambia.com/blog_details.php?idx=17507

    Good luck you will need it.
  • Having ridden via Intercape from Durban to Cape Town, I would also counsel avoiding this option! It is worth the extra expense to find a flight from Joburg to Lusaka. This site is good for comparing prices of local SA carriers: http://www.travelstart.co.za/
  • Thank you so much for your replies! I do agree that the bus trip is a bad idea, so I will keep an eye on flight prices. At the moment, the cost to fly on our date of travel is $180 dollars more than taking the bus. This is a significant price difference for a party of four! I'll watch for the rates to drop, but I'm not optimistic about ticket prices falling low enough.

    Thanks for the tip about not eating or drinking anything provided by Intercape. Definitely better to bring our own refreshments. I also carry a SteriPEN water purifier that zaps the bacteria out of liquids, just to be doubly safe.

    Thanks again for your help!
    Macky
  • Have you thought about going by train? Look at the website The Man in Seat 61 this is a fantastic website providing advice on world wide train travel. I checked the interactive map on the site and you can definitely travel to Lusaka, check it out.
  • The train is a very good idea! I love riding trains, and I love the Seat 61 website. We will be taking a train from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo, but unfortunately the timetable does not work for us to use the train system to get to Lusaka.

    We also will not be using the Intercape Bus. Our itinerary called for us to re-enter Zimbabwe three times during our trip, which would require us to purchase multi-entry visas. I was told by the Zim embassy that they do not issue these visas in advance, and we must purchase them at a border post. I was told by both Intercape and Greyhound that we must have our visas prior to travel, so bussing it to Lusaka with them is a bust.

    Fortunately, I have found a much better way. A luxury bus company called Flight Direct runs a service straight from JNB airport to Gaborone, Botswana. We can stay overnight there, then take another bus through to Lusaka the next evening. No visa required for Botswana, and no hassles at Bietbridge or Chirundu Bridge border posts!

    Thanks so much for your advice :-)
  • Your welcome Frotu33 and I hope you have a great holiday.

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