Luxury Buses: Can’t Afford Them, But Can’t Live Without Them

During the festive break, I decided to take a trip to my hometown of Bulawayo, which is 6 hours away from Harare. I woke up at the crack of butt to get to the bus that leaves at 7:30am. Obviously, I had not made a booking. Why book a bus in advance and risk missing it right?

Wrong.

As I sat in the lobby abusing the free WiFi waiting for the bus people to arrive, I was very excited to be travelling back home. I had just bought my nephew feeding bottles that I was dying to give to him. When the staff finally arrived, I overheard them telling the crowd of people who I was sitting with that the bus was in fact full.

I was so hyped up on excitement, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

But I was clever, I stayed behind when they all left to find other modes of transport. I was gonna wait for a no-show and take their seat on the bus. People always miss the bus, right?

Wrong again!

So here I am, an hour later and I still haven’t a ride to Bulawayo. In comes this girl with a backpack and trainers. She too had not booked her bus. She takes the news like a G and heads out to seek alternative modes of transport. Following her was my only chance.

I ran after her and quickly told her that I am in the same predicament as her and that I needed to be in Bulawayo at all costs.

She took me to the Harare show grounds.

I was never ready!

We hopped into the first bus that we saw, but it was fine though, cause it read ‘LUXURY’ on the side.

I walked in and we sat next to a very handsome man. It was going to be an awesome 6 hours.

If I had a $1 for everytime I was wrong…
This bus allowed hawkers. It was a hawkers convention. They came in with their wares in boxes dripping of something or another. They ALL brushed against me in the aisle seat almost knocking my guardian angel over. But it was okay, we were leaving. The hawkers then all disembarked as the bus took off. To Bulawayo we went. Full steam ahead (literally.)

The entertainment came on, it was music I was not used to. I can’t describe it without coming across as tribalist (that’s what it all comes down to in Zimbabwe.) They played it on loop and the speakers were all fully functional. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse than that music, it did. The music went dead and before I could rejoice, a man stood up and started giving his sales pitch about Greenworld and everything else he was selling.

Lord let the bus roll over now and may there be no survivors.

We arrived in Kwekwe where most people dropped off. What a relief!

More people got on to replace them plus standing passengers.

And now I am sitting next to an old woman who is carrying a live white chicken. I was fighting the urge to give her the side eye but her chicken had no manners at all. It stared at me the whole bus ride like I was the Christmas dinner. I glanced over and caught the old woman staring at me. I wanted to confront her but I held my peace.

Why?

Well because she was old, wearing a traditional metal wrist band and carrying an all white chicken. What’s to stop her from using her monochromatic chicken to curse me instead. Don’t tell me you weren’t thinking it too. Why carry a live chicken across Zimbabwe certainly not to get to the other side.

We picked up more passengers along the way until there was a barricade of bums between me and the chicken lady. I couldn’t decide what was worse. The bums or the chicken. And everytime the bus stopped abruptly I risked kissing as on a literal.

I decided to not focus on the issues from the aisle side and to concentrate on the handsome man we were sitting with. He was finally awake and his phone was dead. He was all mine! I asked him to open the window as an icebreaker and quickly followed through with a joke. He chuckled. I was in there!

He then started a conversation with my new travel buddy. Wait! What? She has a man. That’s why she is actually travelling to Bulawayo. I was gutted and trapped between a rock and a hard place with “Go back to sender” playing in the background.

It was then I realised a few of life’s lessons
• All that says luxury is not luxury
• You must book a bus beforehand to avoid disappointment
• There’s a reason why luxury buses cost a little more (You get what you pay for.)
• Don’t travel with a girl hotter than you
• Don’t sit by the aisle seat

What are some of your outrageous travel horror stories?

12 Responses
  • Loraine Shawarira
    January 26, 2017

    kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk this is hillarious but I can totally relate….I would say my experiences, yes (experiences) are somewhat more horrific that yours as I almost got beaten up by some female conductor at one time, mainly because i was frustrated and agitated the whole journey

    • Thembi Terry Zulu
      January 26, 2017

      I’d love to hear all about them!
      Now I book my ticket in advance and avoid disappointment.

  • Anesu
    January 26, 2017

    Lol….you just reminded me of the days when transport was scarce APA uchida kuenda kuchikoro in ’08 more often than not I would end up on a friend’s lap while the friend was sitting paKadoma lol…I miss all the craziness in Zim

    • Thembi Terry Zulu
      January 27, 2017

      You don’t miss the craziness trust and believe.
      I am barely keeping it together as is

  • ThaQwinDrey
    January 26, 2017

    LOL Thembie, you did not!

  • Anonymous
    January 26, 2017

    We was never made for these streets honey….mina ngasala egweru had to hike the rest of the journey. I’m so done with chicken buses. Book in advance period…kkkkkkk. great read

    • Thembi Terry Zulu
      January 27, 2017

      Got this one friend that ALWAYS misses the bus. But now I pre-book no two ways about it!

  • Gwinzthecoolkid
    January 27, 2017

    Hilarious….enough even for me engage. Me and my boys once took a trip to Byo on public transport in 08 which if am not mistaken was my last trip ever of the sort. Same experience as you, after Gweru had the bus full with standing passengers et al. We voiced our displeasure at being packed like sardines and dint take kindly to the responses from the culprits. One dude who boarded in Gweru had it in for us. We fired back and dude in movie style got into a mini trance. I kid u not, the next thing he pulled out an axe from the overhead luggage and was ready to go Freddy Kruger on us. Panic and mayhem ensued with the women on the bus going crazy screaming for dear life. Driver stopped the bus and confiscated the axe and we left dude at the first roadblock. He managed to curse us out after being chucked out and he murmured something that should have been a hex on us. Am sure it worked coz the night out we had in Byo is another story all together for the next blog entry.

    • Thembi Terry Zulu
      January 27, 2017

      I just died laughing reading about your ordeal.
      Thank you for sharing.
      Call me paranoid but I don’t trust nobody out there coulda been a hex for real!

  • Onai
    January 27, 2017

    Hahahahaha.. I can relate sooo much to this experience. I had to go to Skys for school and boy oh boy! As soon as I could afford it, I never went back to Show grounds…

  • Zibusiso Masuku
    January 29, 2017

    Oddly, the same thing happened to me this last festive. I missed Bravo, thought I could help myself on Intercape, which I also missed. I had to call Eagleliner which had a seat and I quickly reserved. Luckily they had two buses on the day. Last time, I had too buses at Show grounds. It was a gruesomely 8.5 hour long journey and an awfully long 1 hour stop at Gweru. ? it wasn’t nice at all. So it’s quite a lesson, either book advance and make it. Or pick a more convenient time ?

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