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Tag Archives: Dar Es Salaam
Here in Tanzania there is no such thing as a Garden Centre but instead you find, strung out along the road, in certain parts of town, small nurseries and pot makers etc. This is true in Mwanza where we live and where we are this weekend and many other towns and cities across the land.
This morning on a wander into the village of Mjimwema, we came across a such places …..
We needed a Tanzanian Driving License. No longer available as a conversion in Mwanza we’d either need to get a provisional license and then ‘take lessons’ and ‘pass a test’ (in quotes because the right payment will circumvent both) or else pay a hefty ‘fee’ to a willing policeman for the license (again in quotes) . We were not prepared to do either.
It all started smoothly enough and with encouraging efficiency – this post was going to be so different!
We left Mwanza on the 8am flight. Destination Dar! The hour long flight was straight forward enough and we landed in Dar Es Salaam at 9:30am. Then the journey into the centre through free flowing traffic.
The TRA building in Dar is within a crumbling office lock but once inside the room is spacious and queues relatively short. We go to and fro from the supervisor submitting our application, biometrics, police station all in less than 90 minutes.
They say any task is governed by the speed of it’s slowest process. The slowest process was yet to come!
You’d think that paying for the license would be straightforward enough. We had the Shillings (40,000 TzS for each license). We were directed to one of two banks and drove to the first. ‘…the systems down and we can’t take payment’ the first cashier said ‘it’s been down all week and the TRA aren’t fixing it’ -a similar story from the next bank. Back to the TRA – here they can’t help ‘it’s the system’.
So we have done all we can do and cannot pay for the license. Such a shambolic end to the process.
We ask to speak to the boss – a phone call to the manager who gives us the number of the Mwanza boss – we are instructed to bring the receipts to Mwanza on Monday to pay there ‘ it will be fine’ they say – I am very skeptical. We’ve tried to do things honestly and feel no shame in that but the ‘system’ here is in severe need of an overhaul – yet again there is no flexibility to deal with the unexpected. 😡
Maps of the world give a distorted view of things. The countries nearer the poles are enlarged relative to those nearer the equator and so if you look at a map of the earth Tanzania looks much smaller than it is in reality and the UK and USA look much larger than they really are.
There is an interesting website that attempts to rectify this error and I have used it in this blog to show how big Africa and in particular Tanzania are. The website called
superimposes a scale sized map of one country onto another.
The maps below were created using this site.
Here is a map of the UK for reference
Having spent 14 hours on the road yesterday traveling from Kigoma to Mwanza it is worth looking at how far it would mean in Britain – the map has been rotated to fit the journey.
On this scale a journey from Mwanza to Kigoma is like traveling from Lincoln to St Austell (in Cornwall) via Brighton.
A trip from Mwanza to Dar Es Salam is equivalent to a journey from from John O’ Groats in the North of Scotland to Thanet in Kent.
Luckily we can fly to Dar at a reasonable cost.
Our travels from Mwanza to Mbale and Jinja via Bukoba and Kampala at Easter (including Murchison Falls in the North) were all taken by bus.
This would be the equivalent of a journey from London to Middlesborough via Bristol, Liverpoool and Manchester with a hop across to Northern Ireland.
Notice that Lake Victoria fills most of Southern and Central England.
A trip to Moshi where we will meet the Mums at Christmas is like a journey from Edinburgh to Southend via Ayr and Blackpool.
We will fly this December but we went the opposite way by bus in the summer.
For our epic journey of Eastern and Southern Africa – a map of Britain won’t do so instead a map of the USA
This was the equivalent of a journey from the North of Ohio via Washingston DC to Southern Alabama and on into Texas.
If you want to see how big your country is compared to any other part of the world check out the site for yourself
FastJet is the name of one the carriers who fly out of Mwanza Airport to Dar Es Salaam.
We are currently here in the airport at Dar. Our flight has inexplicably been delayed with no prior warning and our flight number changed. A flight with our old number is departing but there is no space – our tickets are invalid for this flight. People might say – ah well it’s Tanzania – I think it’s just incompetence and bad service.
Here is an open letter to FastJet executive Dennis Chongolo. This has also been emailed directly.