Bus from Nairobi to Lilongwe

Ever thought of using Bus from the city in the sun of Nairobi to the garden city of Lilongwe. Its a must have adventure in your lifetime especially for an overlander. The whole trip you will be travelling across the great African rift valley with a view of Mount Kilimanjalo in Tanzania. For the sake of individual travellers be it for business or leisure this article will base on using bus. The total distance of the journey is 2446 kilometres and takes about 36 to 48 hours without facing any delays. The full journey involves two buses with an interchange in Dar es salaam, Tanzania.

Nairobi to Dar es salaam.

In Nairobi, kenya you board Dar Express. The booking office is located in River road behind Marble arc Hotel their contact numbers are +254 710553346/+254 728808114. Make sure that you book your ticket at least a day before the departure date. The bus gets full so i would not advise you go on the day. Bus departure time is early morning at 5:30am (GMT +3). It cost US$40 and the distance is about 896 kilometres which takes about 12 to 15 hours.

Dar express coach

The bus uses Namanga border post for exiting Kenya and entering into Tanzania. Immigration formalities for all passengers should take at least an hour and half or less. At the border please make use of washrooms.

The journey passes through Arusha, Same, Makanua, Korogwe, Mkata, etc. In Arusha the bus stops at Dar express bus terminal to pick and drop passengers. Arrival time in Dar es salaam at Ubungo bus station should be around 20:00. You can sleep in the bus overnight or go to the nearby hotels or guest houses which will cost you about USD20.

Dar express booking office Arusha, Tanzania

Dar es salaam to Lilongwe

At Ubungo bus station your next bus is Taqwa which departs the following morning at 06:00am (GMT+3) for Lilongwe. The Dar es salaam contact number for Taqwa bus is +255 653855556. The ticket costs around USD60 and make sure you arrive early for check-in.

Lilongwe bound Taqwa bus at Ubungo bus terminal in Dar es salaam, Tanzania.

The distance is 1550 kilometres which takes between 20 to 24 hours. You should arrive at the Songwe border around 18:00 hours in the event you face any delays and you arrive at the border late when its closed you will spend the night in the bus parked and continue the journey the following day when it opens.

From Dar es salaam the bus passes through Morogoro, iringa, Mbeya, etc. Before crossing the Songwe border post. After crossing into Malawi the bus stops and drops off passengers in Karonga and Mzuzu. You should be aware that the bus stops for two to three hours on the Songwe border Malawi side. All bags are off loaded from the bus for Malawi customs to inspect. Once done with all border formalities you will be heading to your final destination Devil Street bus terminal, Lilongwe. Arrival time should be about 06:00am (GMT+2).

Important notes.

  • Book tickets in advance as buses depart early morning.
  • Depending on your passport check visa requirements for kenya, Tanzania and Malawi.
  • Avoid using money changers at the borders some can easily scam you.
  • Carry enough bottled water and food.
  • Both buses have 2×2 seat configuration and reclining seats with no on board lavatory.
  • Timezones Kenya and Tanzania (GMT+3), Malawi (GMT+2)


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