Time zone: GMT+3
Plugs: Three-prong square
Dialling code: +255
Currency: Tanzanian shilling – $1=2159TZS
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. But Tanzania also has vast amounts of natural resources and is among the top five producers of gold in Africa, whilst the relatively recent discovery of additional gas reserves has reinforced its status as an attractive investment destination.
“Tanzania has the gas in Mtwara and they will be building a liquefied natural gas plant in Lindi,” says Wayne Troughton, CEO: Hospitality & Real Estate Consulting at HTI Consulting. “So, Lindi, Kilwa and Mtwara, which are very small towns on the seaside, are going to start developing at a rapid pace in the next 10-15 years. The gas is going to be the game changer, and Tanzania also has the potential for oil.”
Tanzania also has an inviting tourism offering, with dozens of beautiful national parks and wildlife areas, such as Mount Kilimanjaro, the renowned Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which generate income for a large tourism sector that plays a vital role in the economy.
“There are great opportunities for tourism development on the mainland and Zanzibar,” says Trevor Ward, MD of W Hospitality Group. “Dar es Salaam is a growing business and MICE destination, and the new bridge will open up the south of the city to new business and tourism development. The country also has an excellent safari product.”
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.
The political union between the island of Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania has weathered more than four decades of change. Zanzibar, another extremely attractive tourist destination, has its own parliament and president, and is emerging as a MICE destination of choice.
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 30 minutes to three hours.
The airport is relatively small, processing only 2.5 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.
The airport does have 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.
At the time of going to press in December, a new Terminal 3 at Julius Nyerere International was still under construction, with August 2016 the latest projected completion date for the first phase. When complete, JNIA will be able to handle six million passengers annually. The new terminal will be approximately five times bigger than the current terminal 2 and there will be 40 counters, compared with the 17 it currently has. There will also be 15 more air bridges and it will be able to accommodate the Airbus A380.
In terms of international airlines, Tanzania is connected to the Middle East via Emirates, flydubai, Qatar Airways and more recently Etihad, which announced in December the launch of a new service between Dar es Salaam and Abu Dhabi.
European connections are provided by the likes of British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, SWISS, and Condor, whilst Tanzania is also well connected to other major centres in Africa, thanks to the continent’s big players – SAA, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian – all flying in to Dar es Salaam.
Similarly, low-cost carrier fastjet has turned Tanzanian domestic and international air travel on its head over the past couple of years, and now flies from Dar es Salaam to South Africa, Malawi, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia, along with offering domestic flights to Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, Mwanza and Mbeya.
There are plenty of internationally-branded hotels in Dar es Salaam, with that representation in the form of Best Western, DoubleTree by Hilton, Golden Tulip, Holiday Inn, Hyatt, 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 Hotel (formerly the Moevenpick) enjoys a good reputation and regularly plays host to both regional and international events.
Protea – a brand of Marriott International since that 2014 acquisition – 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 – in Dar es Salaam, and the group was planning to open a new Best Western Plus property in Zanzibar in early-2016.
Other options in Dar 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.
The newest player on the Dar es Salaam scene is the Wyndham Hotel Group, which opened its first hotel in East Africa – the 139-room Ramada Resort Dar es Salaam – in June 2015 and now has two properties in Dar, with the addition of a Ramada Encore in the CBD.
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.
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.
According to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, Tanzania ranks 139th globally (of 189 countries) and 15th in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Tanzania has many good aspects, but one of the issues is the bureaucracy,” says Tanzanian entrepreneur and billionaire Mohammed Dewji, who is CEO of METL – the country’s largest employer. According to Dewji, another challenge is the country’s lack of skilled labour. He has also urged the newly-elected president John Magufuli to industrialise Tanzania and tackle the energy shortage to attract foreign investment and boost the country’s GDP.
Tanzania – which borders eight countries and whose largest exports are gold, raw tobacco and precious metal ore – plans to become East Africa’s regional trading hub and logistics gateway with the completion of a $10-billion port in Bagamoyo by 2025, just 75 kilometres north of Dar es Salaam.
The Tanzania International Forum for Investments – to be held in March 2016 – is expected to attract foreign investment to the country’s key sectors: infrastructure, manufacturing, mining, agriculture and tourism.
Julius Nyerere International Airport currently has two terminals, and it’s essential to take a taxi for the five-minute drive between the international and domestic terminal. The international terminal has check-in and airline counters on the ground floor, with boarding gates, curio and jewellery stores, as well as the duty free store located on the second floor. Enjoy free, unlimited internet while you wait.
For greater comfort, the air-conditioned Tanzanite Airport Lounge is open 24 hours a day, but access is only granted three hours before your flight. The cost ($28) includes a hot buffet, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as free internet, magazines and newspapers.
The landside stores sell curios and electronics, where you can buy a British three-pin adaptor and local SIM card – Vodacom, Tigo and Airtel are the most popular of the eight mobile networks.
Leave well ahead of your flight, as the 14 kilometre trip along Julius Nyerere Road from the central business district to the airport takes one and a half hours and up to three during the rainy season (March-May). Airport transfers start from $30.
To avoid further traffic congestion, ‘tuk-tuks’ are banned from the CBD during office hours and peak traffic. Although they are more expensive, the best way to get around is by an air-conditioned, metered taxi recommended by your hotel. Independent taxi drivers often agree to a fare in Tanzanian shillings and later demand the amount in US dollars. Carry a notebook to write down the agreed amount and currency to avoid miscommunication.
The most reputed hotels include the Hyatt Regency, the DoubleTree by Hilton, the Oyster Bay Hotel, the Ramada Encore, the Serena and the Southern Sun, which I can highly recommend. Both the Serena and Southern Sun are located in the CBD, offer conferencing, meeting and business centre facilities, complimentary internet and a bureau de change. The Serena borders a golf course, while the Southern Sun looks out onto the national botanical gardens.
The hotels’ on-site restaurants are famed for their menus. Should you wish to get out, the best restaurants are found in Oyster Bay, along Chole and Haile Selassie roads, a 10-15 minute drive ($5-$10) away, and at Slipway Shopping Centre.
All reputable hotels accept foreign currency (US dollars, euros, British pounds, South African rands) and credit cards, such as Visa and MasterCard.
Air France – airfrance.com
Air Seychelles – airseychelles.com
Auric – auricair.com
BA – britishairways.com
Condor – condor.com
Emirates – emirates.com
Ethiopian – ethiopianairlines.com
Etihad – etihad.com
Fastjet – fastjet.com
Fly540 – fly540.com
Flydubai – flydubai.com
Kenya – kenya-airways.com
KLM – klm.com
LAM – lam.co.mz
Lufthansa – Lufthansa.com
Malawian – malawian-airlines.com
Mango – flymango.com
Precision – precisionairtz.com
Qatar – qatarairways.com
RwandAir – rwandair.com
SAA – flysaa.com
Swiss – swiss.com
Tanganyika – flytfconline.com
Turkish – turkishairlines.com
TUIfly – tuifly.com
Dar es Salaam Hotels
Best Western Coral Beach – bestwestern.com
Best Western Plus Colosseum – bestwestern.com
Best Western Plus Peninsula – bestwestern.com
Colossseum – colosseumtz.com
DoubleTree – doubletree3.hilton.com
Golden Tulip – goldentulip.com
Harbour View – harbourview-suites.com
Heritage – heritagemotel.co.tz
Holiday Inn – ihg.com
Hyatt Regency – hyatt.com
Kunduchi Beach – kunduchi.com
Ledger Plaza Bahari Beach – laicohotels.com
Mediterraneo – mediterraneotanzania.com
New Africa – newafricahotel.com
Nikko Towers – hotelnikkotowers-tz.com
Oyster Bay Hotel – theoysterbayhotel.com
Peacock Hotel – peacock-hotel.com
Protea Courtyard – proteahotels.com
Protea Oyster Bay – proteahotels.com
Rainbow Hotel – rainbow-hoteltz.com
Ramada Encore – ramada.com
Ramada Resort – ramada.com
Sea Cliff – hotelseacliff.com
Serena – serenahotels.com
Southern Sun – tsogosunhotels.com
Tanzanite – tanzaniteexecutivesuites.com