Tanzania offers a captivating contrast of natural landscapes, from the ancient volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and still erupting Ol Donyo Lengai volcano, to the pristine beach paradise and spice isles ofZanzibaralong the country’s Indian Ocean coastline.
Then there are, of course, the serene surrounds of Lake Victoria, the largest of Africa’s freshwater lakes, and the snowy peaks ofMount Kilimanjaro, the highest on the continent at over 5000m. And let’s not forget that theSerengeti Plain, used as a seasonal migratory corridor by large, thriving populations of wild game and birdlife, offers an African safari experience like no other. All this serves as the backdrop of a truly fascinating history and culture of people settled in the north-east African country known as the United Republic of Tanzania. As much as it is a leisure destination, the country’s stable macroeconomic policy, rich mineral resources, infrastructure and government’s investment incentives has opened opportunities for business travel. But undoubtedly, be it business or pleasure, there is a quality selection of accommodation venues from which to choose.
Prioritising the business traveller
Dar es Salaamis a busy seaport city indicative of Arab, German and British influences, and an unofficial capital, the site of government, embassy and commercial activities. And for the convenience of the business traveller, here are some popular four- to five-star hotel choices within the city centre: Kilimanjaro Kempinski Hotel is a German-owned hotel and classy, eight-level building, popular with business travellers because of its central positioning to the Julius Nyerere International Airport ( just a 15 minute drive), ferry access to Zanzibar, and the local railway station. There exists a fully functional business centre offering computer rentals, Internet access, copier, printing and fax facilities.
There are eight conference and meeting rooms catering for up to 400 delegates. These facilities are also equipped with audio visual equipment. De luxe and executive rooms are spacious and comfortable offering high-speed Internet access and WiFi connectivity. A writing desk and chair is provided, and a large enough room safe to hold a laptop. Cable TV is available along with a direct dial international telephone, comprehensive concierge services, car rental and dry-cleaning services.
The business traveller will appreciate the free daily newspaper and the executive lounge on the 6th floor which houses the executive suite spaces. To de-stress from the rigours of business meetings there is a hotel gym and health spa, and a nearby golf course. The on-site Oriental Restaurant (one of seven options) offers South-east Asian cuisine and a great dinner venue to conclude business deals and contracts. Alternatively, meet clients at the smart Summit Cocktail Bar. kempinski-daressalaam.com
Mövenpick Royal Palm Hotel Dar es Salaam is about 25 minutes from the airport and lies in the heart of the business district of the city. The plush hotel is eight storeys high and also in the immediate vicinity of a golf course. Business oriented services include in- room high speed and wireless Internet access, and business centre, secretarial service. There is an executive suites floor offering an exclusive lounge serving continental breakfast/snacks, separate check-in, butler service and eight-seater boardroom. There is also the added advantage of a convenient Internet café.
There is about 492m² of meeting space equating to seven meeting rooms. Conferencing capacity is around 500 people. The rooms offer a safe, writing desk with a lamp, a minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, satellite TV, a free newspaper, as well a phone with voicemail. Simple, inviting African decor permeates throughout the hotel which has a currency exchange service, car rental outlet, mobile rentals, laundry service and a deli in the lobby serving espressos. The gym has a sauna and there is also an outdoor swimming pool for relaxation. Mövenpick Royal Palm Hotel Dar es Salaam is a Swiss-run hospitality operation. Enjoy a themed buffet every night at the in-house Serengeti Restaurant. L Oliveto has fine Italian dining cuisine on offer, or enjoy a bit of TV sports viewing and light lunches at the Kibo Bar. moevenpick-daressalaam.com
If you prefer views of the warmIndian Oceanand want reprieve from the dusty city limits, then the Golden Tulip Dar es Salaam is ideal. Located about 4 km out of the city centre and 18 km from the airport, the Golden Tulip is a taste of the Swahili coast’s Arab-inspired styling and decor. Up to 500 guests can be catered for when it comes to business conferences at the Ngorongoro Hall. Four other modern and technically equipped conference facilities exist. The business centre offers fax, Internet, high volume printing, photocopying and scanning. Enjoy outdoor meetings at the ocean front venues like the Oysterbay Marquee or Indian Ocean Marquee. Corporate lunches, dinners or cocktail parties are easily hosted at these facilities. Rooms have sea view balconies, a large writing desk, a safe, temperature control, satellite TV, direct dial international telephone, and tea and coffee making facilities. The lobby is WiFi enabled. The Golden Tulip Hospitality Group has more than 630 hotels in 49 countries. goldentulipdaressalaam.com
New Africa Hotel is punted as being within walking distance of government, financial and commercial sites. It is about 11 km from the airport, and a kilometre each from the railway and ferry services. TheCrystalRoomcan hold from 60 people to 300 people for conferencing purposes. There is also a small boardroom and meeting room space. The Crew Lounge allows for the set-up of offices during seminars and conferences. The business room, ideal for an intimate meeting of 6 or 8, is conveniently situated next to the business centre. Its smart interior boasts African sculptures and paintings complemented by wicker furniture. It is an efficient base for the businessman, with available concierge, car rental and currency exchange services, as well as complimentary coffee. Internet access is provided in the rooms and common area. Wireless Internet connectivity is a listed feature. An airport shuttle service can also be expected. Sawasdee Restaurant serves good, Thai food, or try the Bandari Grill for Indian meals and Tanzanian seafood dishes. The hotel casino is an entertaining stop for guests.
Options within the city centre area also includeMilleniumTowers, White Sands, Hotel SeaCliff, Southern Sun Dar es Salaam, and Kunduchi Beach Hotel and Resort.
Tanzania’s numerous dedicated game reserve and national parks serve to protect the country’s exceptional store of natural heritage. And these major eco-tourist attractions offer luxury four- to five-star category safari lodge establishments with associated amenities, fining dining and unique nature experiences. For example,SerenaHotelsoperates a few of these: The Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge is set on theSerengeti Plainwhere each room unit is housed in customary African village huts. The property is an excellent vantage point from which to view the mesmerising wildebeest migration across the Serengeti.
Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is a skilful, stone-constructed venue seamlessly blending into its ancient volcanic surrounds. It lies on the edge of a dormant Ngorongoro crater, considered the eighth wonder of the natural world. Room terraces offer exquisite views of wildlife wandering on the crater’s expanse, all part of a conservation area where the Masai tribe make their home. Activities include exciting safari tours, a visit to a traditional Masai village and a trip to the Olduvai Gorge,Tanzania’s ‘Cradle of mankind’. There are ample jogging and hiking paths.LakeManyaraNational Parkalso hosts a Serena Safari Lodge offering great game viewing and a tranquil, soda lake scene, home to a large flamingo population.
TheSerengetiNational Park’s Kirawira Camp is a luxurious, tented accommodation of colonial styling complete with Internet accessibility. A private veranda accompanies each tented room overlooking the savannah terrain. Enjoy the outdoor pool, safari tours, hot-air ballooning, appetising menus – or prepared meals of your own recipe – savoured with a choice of outstanding wines. This is also an ideal business executive getaway.
ZanzibarSerenaInninStoneTown,Zanzibar, is a peaceful island stay in opulent, nineteenth century architecture and traditional Arab styling. The rooms are comfortably lavish. The hotel has a tour desk, porter services, Internet and secretarial services, numerous eateries, a coffee shop as well as massage services. The inn is an ideal base from which to exploreZanzibar, dedicated to the harvesting of aromatic cloves. There is shopping, boating, scuba diving, unspoilt beaches, discovering the archipelago’s wildlife, and unique views of dhows passing along theZanzibarchannel. Expect delicious spicy seafoods served with local fruits and vegetables at an open-air terrace restaurant.
Ras Kutani is considered a trendy leisure stay along a secluded 35 km stretch of beach inDar es Salaam. Dense tropical foliage forms the backdrop to the airy and spacious seaside cottages with hammocks and daybed veranda spaces. It is an African safari-themed decor on the coast, offering a host of water sport activities from surfing and snorkelling to lagoon kayaking. Try your hand at deep-sea fishing, explore local rock pools, or partake in horse-back rides, nature trails and cultural tours. Expect to see indigenous monkeys, birds, bush pigs, turtles and dolphins in this natural habitat. Seafood and African-flavour foods are served at the guest-only restaurant. selous.com
Karafuu Hotel Beach Resort organises Zanzibarian guided tours covering the spice plantations and charmingStoneTown’s Sultan’s palace, the local market and old landmark buildings. Also take the dolphin trip along the south-west coast ofZanzibarwhere one will be able to swim and play with these sea creatures. The Safari Blue tour is a relaxing boat journey to a local island. It includes a delicious seafood lunch on the beach, time spent swimming, a tour of mangrove swamps abundant in indigenous birdlife. Guests stay in island-styled thatched suites that access top sea views. The fully equipped suites include a marble bathroom. There is fine dining at the Grand Bleu à la Carte Restaurant, as well as a main and pool bar. Guests can also make use of the tennis court facilities and game room.
Other Zanzibarhotels worth a mention are Africa House Hotel, Zamani Zanzibar Kempinski and Mapenzi Beach Club Zanzibar.