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TRANSPOR T

220 GETTING AROUND •• Hitching

© Lonely Planet Publications

If travelling in remote areas or in winter, your vehicle should contain adequate tools and spares, emergency rations and (ideally) communication equipment. For more secu- rity tips for the road, see p73 .

Hire

It’s not possible to hire cars without driv- ers in Afghanistan. In Kabul there are a number of private companies that hire out reliable vehicles with drivers such as Af- ghan Logistics & Tours (see p104 ). Outside Kabul, the best bet is to ask at your hotel or the transport park, and get trustworthy recommendations if possible. Hiring a 4WD with driver (typically a

Toyota Landcruiser or Surf) typically costs around US$150 per day, including fuel.

Taxi

There are two main ways of travelling by car in Afghanistan if you don’t have your own vehicle: ordinary taxi or shared taxi.

ORDINARY TAXI

In this case you’d hire an entire taxi for a special route, ideal for reaching off-the- beaten-track places, or where minibus con- nections are hit-and-miss. A private taxi allows you to stop at will and will hope- fully give you some control over the manic tendencies latent in many Afghan drivers – don’t be afraid to suggest a preference for the brake over the accelerator pedal. Se- lect your driver with care, and always look over his vehicle. If you’re travelling solo, it’s often recommended to visibly note the car’s registration number and phone it through to a friend with your itinerary. You’ll have to negotiate a price before

setting off. Along routes where there are also shared taxis this is simple arithmetic, adding up the total number of individual fares. Make sure everyone is clear which route you’ll be taking, how long you want the driver to wait for you at the destination and whether or not fuel is included. You may have to haggle hard, as many drivers will see the opportunity to add ‘foreigner inflation’ to the price.

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SHARED TAXI

Aside from minibuses, shared taxi is the main form of road transport around Af- ghanistan, and operates on the same princi- ple, whereby a yellow taxi or private car does a regular run between two destinations and charges a set fare for each of the seats in the car. These cars can almost always be found in the same transport depots as minibuses. Fares are more expensive than a minibus, but you reach your destination faster. Most shared taxis are yellow Toyota Co- rollas, and typically take two passengers in the front seat and three in the back seat. The front middle seat can be quite uncom- fortable on bad roads, leaving you getting friendly with either the driver or the gear stick. Drivers will often sell the front seat to just one passenger at a slight premium. It’s always possible to buy an extra seat for com- fort or just to get the car to depart faster.

HITCHING

Hitching is never entirely safe in any coun- try in the world, and we certainly don’t rec- ommend it in Afghanistan. Travellers who decide to hitch should understand that they are taking a small, but potentially very seri- ous risk. Never try flagging down a lift in areas where security is known to be poor. In Afghanistan there is little meaning- ful distinction between hitching and tak- ing a taxis. Anyone with a car will stop if you flag them down. Drivers usually expect some money for picking you up, so it’s best to offer a little; it may be refused, but it’s more likely not to be. Keep public trans- port fares in mind so that, should you strike someone trying to extort silly amounts from you, you’ll have some idea of how much is fair to offer. Many Afghans will be baffled by the sight of a foreigner without a vehicle and pick you up out of curiosity. In some parts of Afghanistan, hitching a ride on trucks can sometimes be the only way of getting around – for example on the central route in winter. The big Kamaz trucks normally get through, but can be painfully slow. Most NGOs are banned from picking up passengers on the road. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123
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