Travelling to Tanzania by bus from Nairobi is quite common among Kenyans and foreigners. Dar Express and Dar Lux are one of the common buses available in this route.
For budget travelers who cannot afford the expensive flights (anything above $200), there are a few buses in this route to choose from. One can also choose to ride the bus for the ‘road trip’ experience.
The travel time from Nairobi ranges around 13 hours one way with both buses departing from Nairobi at 5 am and from Dar es Salaam at 6 am.
I recently took a trip to Dar and had the opportunity to ride on both buses and here’s my honest review. Please remember this review is based on the two buses I used. I don’t frequent the Nairobi- Dar es Salaam route therefore cannot give opinions on other buses.
Both buses have their booking offices in Nairobi’s River road and the Dar office is on Morogoro Road.
Dar Express has offices in Manzese road and several others throughout Dar City.
Both buses depart on time. Dar Express gave us a wakeup call to remind us that the bus departs on time.
Comfort & Spacious
The Dar Lux bus we rode on was too squeezed, too squeezed that my short legs couldn’t sit straight. The overhead compartments were too small even for my handbag, therefore, had to check in our bags.
Dar Express bus from Nairobi was older but well spacious. Just enough leg space for a bus and overhead compartments were spacious enough to fit a medium-sized travel bag. Here we didn’t have to check in any bags.
Phone Charging System
Both Dar Express and Dar Lux had a good USB charging system.
Dar Express AC was out of service but reading lights worked.
Dar Lux AC worked perfectly. Reading lights functioned as well.
Dar Lux served us with three candies, a packet of biscuits, a 500 ml soft drink and water.
Dar Express only served a soft drink and water.
Both buses had the shared entertainment screens, one in the front and one in the middle of the bus.
The movie selection was not bad in both. It was great watching ‘Terminator 3’ again in Dar Express bus after such a long time.
Both buses were supposed to have Wi-Fi on board.
Dar Express did not have Wi-Fi services despite having mentioned they offer Wi-Fi onboard.
For Dar Lux Wi-Fi was available throughout the journey, although slow speed.
Onboard Customer Service
Both buses had a hostess on board.
Dar Lux’s female hostess was quite good, and helpful. She made announcements when necessary.
For Dar Express, I didn’t realize there was a Host (a man) until at the border.
Stops Along The Way
Not sure if it was just our bus but Dar Lux made way too many stops picking passengers.
Dar Express made only minimal necessary stops.
Dar Express was :-
- Spacious and comfortable
- No Wi-Fi
- Good USB charging port
- Reading light worked; AC never did
Dar Lux bus was :-
- Less timely
- Good customer service
- Extra refreshments
- Wi-Fi was available and good
- Good USB charging port
- Reading Light and AC worked well
Hope the above write up helps when choosing a bus for your next trip to Dar es Salaam, in addition to recommendations from friends.
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