If you type in “Dar Es Salaam” in Google and wait for the autocomplete to load suggestions, the first suggested search term is Dar Es Salaam Hash House Harriers, which was my planned second stop on the day of my arrival, the first being my purchasing a bike to get around town in. Unfortunately, the bike needed to be more than configured, causing such a delay that I never made it to the hash. In fact, this new bike was such a load of crap that it already completely broke down on the second day, after which I got a more sturdy second hand bike which actually ended up costing me more than the new one.
Traffic is rather horrendous during rush hour, which indeed points to the fact that Dar sees slightly more activity than Lusaka does, on all levels. That said, I think I will give the Tina Turner lookalike party, which is scheduled for next week, a miss.
Though the city is undoubtedly more alive than Lusaka, with a downtown area which is walkable and has several reasonably priced restaurants and cafes, finding an affordable place to stay is not easy at all. Housing catering to the expat market typically goes for several thousands of dollars per month, in a country where the GDP per capita is a mere 1300 USD per month(!). Obviously, this lopsidedness is utterly laughable. However, it also means that it’s hard to find a reasonable place to rent in the sub-1000 USD market, as I do enjoy both electricity and running water in reasonable amounts. I started staying at the Jambo Inn, the same place Niamh and I were at a few weeks back.
Incidentally, 80% of the Tanzanian workforce is employed in the agricultural sector, tilling only 4% of the land and responsible for half the nation’s GDP.
Politically, Tanzania is quite the mashup. Only existing since 1964, when Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania) merged with the Zanzibar archipelago, it’s also one of the few countries which artificially moved its capital. Here, in 1996, from the now commercial capital Dar Es Salaam to Dodoma, a hole in the middle of nowhere.
Also, Tanganyika used to be part of German East Africa, until, as a result of the first world war, the German colonial territories were redistributed amongst the victors of the Great War, Tanganyika was put under British control.
The littlest you can top up your pre paid phone cards with, here, is 500 Tanzanian Shilling. That’s about 25 euro cents. Zain offers what they claim is 3G but doesn’t excite my modem to turn on its blue led, staying green, indicating 2.5G. Nevertheless, the speed isn’t bad and with prices starting at 32.50 shilling per MB is about 8 times cheaper than Zain is in Zambia.
At Julius Nyerere airport, coming in, medical staff were asking for proof of yellow fever vaccination. I do have that but was unable to find the booklet listing my vaccinations. I stealthily sneaked through the controls, leaving the airport, only to find the booklet when opening my bag at the hotel.
Taxi fairs from the airport to town are listed, at the airport, at 35000 shilling. That’s about 18 euros. When Niamh and I were dropped off at the airport, coming from town, we paid 15000, or about 8 euros. Though I was told repeatedly that the 35000 was fixed and that discounts were not available, it wasn’t very hard to talk them down to 20000. Still too much, yes, but I also wanted to get out of there quickly in case the medical team came after me.