Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa, and an important business travel player, due to the diversity of its offering and attractive location on the east coast of the African continent.
Population: 50 million
Time zone: GMT+3
Plugs: Three-prong square
Dialling code: +255
Currency: Tanzanian shilling – $1=1740TZS
Language: English, Swahili, Kiswahili
The economy is mostly based on agriculture, which accounts for more than half of GDP. Industry is mainly limited to processing agricultural products and light consumer goods. Tanzania has vast amounts of natural resources and is the third-largest producer of gold in Africa after South Africa and Ghana.
It also has an inviting tourism offering, with dozens of beautiful national parks and wildlife areas, such as the renowned Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which generate income for a large tourism sector that plays a vital role in the economy.
BUSINESS TRAVEL ACTIVITY
Plenty happened in the skies above Tanzania in 2014, with low-cost carrier fastjet dominating the scene.
Following its 2012 launch, fastjet continued progressing this past year, launching new routes to Lusaka (Zambia), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Entebbe (Uganda), from its base in Dar es Salaam.
Off the back of the Zambia route launch, fastjet also announced a codeshare agreement with Lusaka-based regional airline Proflight Zambia.
Not content with only international expansion, fastjet also expanded its domestic operation in 2014, adding extra flights from Dar es Salaam to Mbeya Airport.
Fastjet also tinkered a fair amount with its onboard product offering in 2014. The airline introduced a pre-paid seating option on all flights. Passengers can now pay $5 per seat one-way for premium seats in the ‘quick-exit’ rows 1 and 2 at the front of the aircraft, and for the ‘extended legroom’ seats situated in row 11.
Further to that, fastjet began offering passengers a premium fare, or ‘SmartClass’, on all its flights from 1 September. SmartClass offers passengers advance premium seat allocation, increased baggage allowance of up to 32 kilograms, and the ability to change flight dates as many times as required at no additional cost. In addition, fastjet’s international passengers can now carry up to 80 kilograms of hold luggage by purchasing the ‘freighty’ upgrade package at a cost of $80.
Also on the low-cost scene, FlyDubai announced the addition of three Tanzanian cities to its flight schedule.
In other airline news, Precision Air announced that it was returning to Kigoma, flying out of Mwanza, with three flights per week, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The airline also increased flights between Mwanza and Nairobi (Kenya) to double daily.
Elsewhere, Auric Air, a private Tanzanian airline, began flying four times a day from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar’s main island of Unguja, and twice daily to Tanga. Auric offers scheduled and charter flights from its three hubs in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Mwanza.
There was also no surprise to see one of the Middle East’s big hitters, Emirates, confirming the start of a second service to Dar es Salaam, operating on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
On the hotel scene, Best Western International opened the Best Western Plus Peninsula Hotel, in Dar es Salaam. The hotel is a new build 4-star property, featuring 45 rooms and located 30 minutes from Julius Nyerere International Airport, and seven kilometres from the city centre and the ferry terminal to Zanzibar.
Another big brand adding to its presence was Hilton, with the opening of the DoubleTree by Hilton Zanzibar – Stone Town, located 64 kilometres off the coast of mainland Tanzania.
On the car rental scene, First Car Rental expanded its African operations by opening three new business units in Dar es Salaam, as well as an additional operational presence in Arusha, Mwanza and Zanzibar.
The official capital of Tanzania is Dodoma, where parliament and some government offices are located. Today, though, Dar es Salaam remains the principal commercial city of Tanzania and the de-facto seat of most government institutions. It is the major seaport for the country and its landlocked neighbours.
The other main players, in terms of cities, are Mwanza and Arusha. Mwanza is a mid-sized port city on the southern shores of Lake Victoria, in the north-west of the country. Arusha is also located in the north, on the eastern edge of the eastern branch of the Great Rift Valley. It is a major diplomatic hub, as the de facto capital of the East African community, yet it is also in close proximity to many of Tanzania’s amazing tourism offerings.
AIRLINES & AIRPORT
Julius Nyerere International Airport is the principal airport serving Dar es Salaam. It is about 12 kilometres south-west of the city. Depending on the traffic, transfer to the city centre can take anything from 20 minutes to an hour.
The airport is relatively small, processing only 1.2 million passengers each year on flights to and from destinations in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Despite its small size, the facility squeezes in a lot of chaos, including long and disorganised queues and a frustrating lack of signage. Passengers should also be prepared for an uncomfortable lack of air-conditioning. A new Terminal 3 is currently under construction, and much is expected of it, with a projected opening date of end-2015.
The airport has a bank, bureau de change, post office, bars, restaurants, VIP Lounge, duty-free shop, news agent, chemist and tourist help desk. Car hire is available in the arrivals area, but many hotels provide shuttle services for guests.
Julius Nyerere International Airport’s VIP lounge is the Tanzanite Lounge located airside. Its operating hours are 06h00-22h30 daily, but hours may vary according to flight schedules. Conditions: maximum three-hour stay; non-smoking. Lounge facilities include air-conditioning; disabled access; newspapers/magazines; television; alcohol; flight info monitor; refreshments; fax; phone and Wi-Fi.
There are plenty of big brands in Dar es Salaam, in the form of Best Western, Hilton, Golden Tulip, Holiday Inn, Hyatt Regency, Protea, Serena and Tsogo Sun.
Tsogo’s Southern Sun Dar es Salaam hotel is situated in the city centre and is very popular with business travellers. It proudly boasts beautiful botanical gardens as its backdrop, and is also situated close to the commercial centre and the city’s diplomatic offices. The elegant and cosmopolitan Dar es Salaam Serena (formerly the Moevenpick) enjoys an exceptionally high-profile clientele and regularly plays host to both regional and international events.
Protea has two properties, in the form of the Protea Courtyard Dar es Salaam and the Protea Oyster Bay, which is three kilometres from Dar. Also in Oyster Bay is a DoubleTree by Hilton property.
Best Western has three properties – the Best Western Coral Beach Hotel, the Best Western Plus Colosseum Hotel and the Best Western Plus Peninsula Hotel.
Other options include the 5-star Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam, The Kilimanjaro, which has a good Chinese restaurant and is situated near the waterfront. The luxurious Oyster Bay Hotel also enjoys a great reputation and location, within walking distance of the shopping district.
Outside of the big brands, the Sea Cliff is worth considering, thanks to its excellent location and value for money. It’s away from the city centre, but some would argue that it’s worth the extra drive. It also has a great restaurant and bar overlooking the ocean, and the rooms have been revamped.
If you’re looking for something in the city centre, the Holiday Inn is well-positioned, whilst another seaside option is the Kunduchi Beach Resort Hotel.
Credit cards can only be used in large hotels, resorts, and with certain travel agents. In short, Tanzania is still a cash society.
ATMs are mostly located in the city centre and if travellers have a PIN code for their credit card, almost all Tanzanian banks with ATMs will allow cash advances on credit cards like Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Nationals of the following African countries do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days: Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Visa holders are subject to normal immigration control at the port of entry. They should therefore carry with them for possible presentation to immigration officers, the documents submitted with their applications. Should travellers choose to obtain a visa on arrival, the wait can be quite long.
The major mobile service providers operate all over the country, even in some of the most remote areas, although service interruptions are common.
If travellers have an ‘unlocked’ GSM 900/1800mhz frequency mobile phone (the same frequency as used in the rest of the world, apart from USA and Canada), they can purchase a local sim card from a series of Tanzanian service providers. The most popular are Vodacom, Airtel and Tigo.
Internet cafés are more and more common throughout Tanzania. They are easy to find in major urban areas, like Dar es Salaam and Arusha.
A yellow fever certificate is compulsory for all travellers arriving from infected areas.
Vaccinations should include: hepatitis A, typhoid, polio. Malaria, cholera and sleeping sickness are also common in Tanzania.
Medical facilities are reasonable in Dar-es-Salaam and other towns. However, medical supplies are limited. Full medical insurance including repatriation is recommended. Only bottled water should be consumed.
As in many African countries, caution should always be exercised, particularly in tourist areas and cities like Dar es Salaam, where walking alone at night is not encouraged.
The same can be said for driving, when it comes to Dar. The city centre is extremely congested from 09h00 to 18h00, Monday to Friday. There are few traffic lights, and the streets are very narrow.
From a dining point of view, try the BBQ Village restaurant, which is a bit out of the Dar es Salaam CBD in the Msasani area, but is a great casual outdoor restaurant, particularly if you need to take a group for dinner.
Chief Commercial Officer
I travel to Tanzania fairly frequently, and one of the best things I’ve ever done was get a multi-entry visa. This way I don’t have to battle through the visa application process before every trip.
Julius Nyerere International Airport is pretty much what you would expect from an African airport – hot and busy with things happening rather haphazardly.
I like to stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Dar es Salaam. The location offers fantastic views of Oyster Bay, as well as being convenient for doing business in the city centre. The service is very customer focused and the restaurants on the Slipway are good.
To get around the city, I prefer to hire a car and driver. This allows me to be productive while someone else negotiates the horrendous traffic. Dar has some of the worst traffic congestion I’ve ever experienced, and because of this it’s important to allow ample time to travel to meetings. Booking a hotel in the same area as your meetings is recommended.
The cellular and data coverage in the city are both good, regardless of whether you’re on international roaming or using a local sim card. Data is expensive, so I usually opt to go with a local service provider to reduce costs. Most hotels offer Wi-Fi as part of their room rates, although you can upgrade to a faster connection for a fee. Personally, I’ve never felt this to be necessary, as the standard offering is sufficient for my needs.
There is a vibrant nightlife and energy in the city. It’s not easily apparent, though – you’ll need to root it out.
Don’t judge Tanzania by Dar alone. It is a beautiful country, particularly to the north. I highly recommend tacking on an extra couple of days at the end of a business trip to get out of the city. Zanzibar is particularly worth a visit.
HOTELS – Dar es Salaam
Atlantis – atlantishotel.co.tz
Best Western Coral Beach – bestwestern.com
Best Western Plus Colosseum – bestwestern.com
Best Western Plus Peninsula – bestwestern.com
Colossseum – colosseumtz.com
Dar es Salaam Serena – serenahotels.com
DoubleTree by Hilton Dar es Salaam – hilton.com
Golden Tulip Dar es Salaam – goldentulip.com
Harbour View Suites – harbourviewsuites.com
Heritage Motel – heritagemotel.co.tz
Holiday Inn Dar es Salaam – ihg.com
Hotel Sapphire – hotelsapphiretz.com
Hyatt Regency – daressalaam.kilimanjaro.hyatt.com
Kunduchi Beach – kunduchi.com
Ledger Plaza Bahari Beach – laicohotels.com
Mediterraneo – mediterraneotanzania.com
New Africa – newafricahotel.com
Nikko Towers – hotelnikkotowers-tz.com
Peacock Hotel – peacock-hotel.com
Protea Courtyard – proteahotels.com
Protea Oyster Bay – proteahotels.com
Rainbow Hotel – rainbow-hoteltz.com
Safari Inn – safariinn.co.tz
Sea Cliff – hotelseacliff.com
Southern Sun Dar es Salaam – tsogosunhotels.com
Swiss Garden – swissgardenhotel.net
Tanzanite Executive Suites – tanzaniteexecutivesuites.com
The Oyster Bay Hotel – theoysterbayhotel.com
Tiffany Diamond – tiffanydiamondhotel.com
Urban Rose – rosehotel.co.tz
White Sands – hotelwhitesands.com
Air Uganda – air-uganda.com
Auric – auricair.com
Comores – comoresaviation.com
Condor – condor.com
Edelweiss – edelweissair.ch
EgyptAir – egyptair.com
Emirates – emirates.com
Ethiopian – ethiopianairlines.com
Fastjet – fastjet.com
Fly540 – fly540.com
Flydubai – flydubai.com
Kenya Airways – kenya-airways.com
KLM – klm.com
LAM – lam.co.mz
Mango – flymango.com
Precision – precisionairtz.com
Qatar – qatar.com
RwandAir – rwandair.com
SAA – flysaa.com
Swiss – swiss.com
Tanganyika Flying – flyconline.com
Turkish – turkishairlines.com
TUIfly – tuifly.com
Yemenia – yemenia.com
Access-to-Africa – access-to-africa.com
America Express – americaexpresstravel.co.za
BCD – bcdtravel.com
CWT – carlsonwagonlit.com
FCm – fcm.travel
HRG – hrgworldwide.com
TWF – travelwithflair.co.za
Uniglobe – uniglobetravel.mu