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Lessons learned in Dar

We are currently in Arusha on our first holiday since we arrived in Tanzania so this will be the last post for a couple of weeks. We chose Arusha because we were told it’s more western than Dodoma – being the gateway to the Serengeti, it gets a lot of tourists, plus it has a large expat community from both other parts of Africa and beyond. For us, that means things like playgrounds for Elliot and western-style cafes and takeaway for his mum and dad!

Even though it’s a holiday, when you’re living cross-culturally, there’s no way to switch off from learning, so we expect we’ll have new reflections after seeing this very different part of Tanzania. Last month we were in Dar es Salaam for some work meetings and Elliot’s latest round of immunisations and even though it’s the third time we’ve been there since we came to live in Tanzania, we learned lots of new things. Here are a few of them:

  • When you step out of an air-conditioned car, the humidity will make your glasses fog up.
  • Air-conditioning in the 35 degrees and 100% humidity is great, but what you really need is for the air to move, so having a fan is important.
  • Tanzanians do have a use for strollers/prams, but it’s not transporting children outside as we use them in Australia. Our friends who have one still carry their daughter when they’re outside because the roads are not good enough to use the stroller. Instead, they use it as a kind of combo highchair/bouncer/port-a-cot in their apartment.
  • Dar es Salaam has a KFC, with another being built. To work there, you have to have a good level of English which means you’re highly educated, having at least finished Secondary School. They manage to reproduce the KFC experience (not just food, but look, style, service, stuff for kids, etc) by importing a manager from somewhere KFC is already established, in this case India. However, there were a few things we were unfamiliar with, like the KFC employee who meets you at your car with an umbrella to escort you inside when it’s raining!
  • You can’t get a refund at the supermarket! I was overcharged TZS70,000 (about AU40) and was offered either a store credit or to go and get something else to that value from the store.
  • When shopping, you are required to leave all your packages from other stores at the store entrance and pick them up on the way out.
  • The wet season in Dar is actually wet. Unlike in Dodoma, where we have rain twice a week if we’re lucky, it rained almost every day in Dar and it was torrential. The roads flooded.
  • It is much easier to walk or take a bajaj (see below) than to drive and/or park in the city.


Categories: Tanzania Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

2 replies

  1. being a Dar es Salaam native of sorts and a new blogger( yay me!), I must say that it’s good seeing people from other countries having positive and true comments on the country I so dearly love. I hope you have a good stay at Tanzania.

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