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Old 12 May 2010
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Motorbikes on the Lake Tanganyika ferry, Kigoma to Mpulungu?

Hi all,
Am presently in Nairobi contemplating my onward route south.

Does anyone know for sure whether this ferry carries motorbikes?
Or, does anyone have recent 2-wheel experience of the Kasulu-Mpanda-Mbala road to the east of the lake?

Many thanks
TTR250 - London to Cape Town
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Old 11 Dec 2012
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Hi Ken,
did you ever do this trip? Was it possible to take the motorbike on the ferry? Would be nice to hear your experience because we are currently thinking to take this ferry.
Cheers Kai and Meike
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Old 11 Dec 2012
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Originally Posted by KB One View Post
Hi Ken,
did you ever do this trip? Was it possible to take the motorbike on the ferry? Would be nice to hear your experience because we are currently thinking to take this ferry.
Cheers Kai and Meike
That was a while ago now, 2010. So here's what I found out back then.
On the way to Kigoma (actually still in SW Uganda) I learned from various travellers that the ferry takes motorbikes and if conditions are right, cars as well.
But the ferry stop-offs going south to the southern end of the lake aren't all at normal harbours. In some places the ferry stops at anchor a way off the coast and little boats take passengers to and fro. I couldn't find out if vehicles could be carried in the 'little boats' although it seemed that small unloaded motorbikes could probably be manhandled ok.
Although an account I read somewhere described getting personal luggage on and off the little boats was "quite a chore."

The destination I was interested in was Mpulungu, and there's no harbour there. The ferry anchors off of the coast.

There's a proper harbour at Kasanga but I was told there's no road (dirt or otherwise) out of it.

So I abandoned the idea and just went to Kigoma for a visit (dirt road from Nyakanazi which was OK). And I found that Kigoma was a very nice place to visit, and Ujiji as well (Livingstone memorial). I stayed there almost a week I think. Very friendly like the rest of Tanzania. Easy to find a place to stay right on the lake.

Then I returned to Nyakanazi and the road east towards Dodoma.

I met someone who took a 4X4 northwards along the Kasulu-Mpanda-Mbala road that runs parallel with the eastern shore of the lake and about 70km from it. For a few months of the year buses run along it. But there are a few long stretches with no supply places along the way from what I could find out. So being on my own I passed on that possibility.

Hope that's useful.
TTR250 - London to Cape Town
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Old 15 Feb 2013
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At least some years ago there was a proper harbour in Mpulungu and I doubt that this has changed as it is the main harbour where all the dried fish is unloaded.
Carrying the motorbike was easy, it is just moved on board by hand. You will find plenty of workers being eager to help you (and expect a lot of bargaining).
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