This post further documents my business trips and shows people places visited from a business-travel perspective.
This time I describe my short visit to Dodoma the old/new capital city of Tanzania. Why old? Because in 1974 the Tanzanian government decided that Dodoma is going to be the new capital of Tanzania. Why new? Because only in October 2019 they finally moved all the state institutions to Dodoma.
When people hear about Tanzania they think about Serengeti, Zanzibar or Dar es Salaam. They will probably never think of Dodoma. Dodoma is not a touristic city and I think 80% of the people living there work or have someone in the family working in some state institution. Think about Brasil or Washington D.C. when you want to have an image of the main “occupation” in Dodoma.
How to get there:
Going to Tanzania is quite easy because the country is a touristic destination. There is a 2-hour direct flight from Cluj-Napoca to Istanbul, then an 8-hour flight from Istanbul to Dar es Salaam.
Going to Dodoma is not so easy. There is no international flight landing on the small Dodoma airport. When I said small, I was comparing it to the Cluj-Napoca airport not to any other capital city airport from Europe. I mean it is a “two-rooms” airport.
The only possibilities are a 6-to-8-hour drive from Dar es Salaam or an early morning Air Tanzania flight from Dar es Salaam. Lucky for me, Air Tanzania was just re-birthed some 3 years ago and has a new fleet of nice airplanes. Until the end of 2016 the only realistic way to go to Dodoma was by car.
Because this is a new capital it has all the problems of a city that suddenly became important. Infrastructure is still a problem even if you see that the whole city is a big construction site.
There are few hotels (3 or 4 maybe) and from those hotels only 2 appear on Booking.com or were found by my company travel agent. To add more problems to the lodging availability, of course, I had to travel there right in the middle of the parliamentary session. Every hotel room and guest houses were booked by local politicians and officials with government and parliament business. Through a local connection, we were finally able to book something in a small hotel “Royal Village Hotel”.
The hotel is in fact a village with several small buildings and cottages where the guests are accommodated. I was accommodated in room 2 of the biggest building, a 6-rooms building.
The complex has also a restaurant/breakfast hall in the middle of the complex. That building seems to host also a cinema ?!?
Not the greatest. The choice of restaurants is very limited in Dodoma and the hotel food was most of the times eatable. Mind that I have a high tolerance to food selection. I eat anything. That includes: crocodile, snake, deep fried locusts, fried worms, unidentifiable animal barbecued meat :), weird looking vegetable broth. Not all people are as tolerant, some of my companions were not so lucky.
City is safe due to the high percentage of politicians and government officials. The fact that population is bellow 400.000 is also a benefit.
According to statistics, malaria infection has a higher rate than in the touristic parts of Tanzania but it was OK. February is not the season for malaria. I was able to skip stressing my liver with Malarone. That gave me the opportunity to try the local beers.
The city is a construction site. There are many buildings and roads that are in the construction stage.
Traffic is OK compared to the horrible traffic from the big African cities. Basically everything is in a 15-min range.
Taxis are basically Uber, Bolt or the African equivalent local services. No official taxi car visible on the streets. There is a big population of small India style moto-taxis, some of them “tuned” to the extreme.
After a short work week with a hotel-office-hotel daily routine, the extra day in Dar es Salaam at the end of the week felt like a holiday.
Dar es Salaam still feels more like a real capital city than Dodoma. Just look at the view from the hotel over the port.
Not to forget my favorite place to have lunch in Dar es Salaam, the small restaurant on the terrace of Hyatt hotel.
And finally happy to leave Tanzania on my way home, from the new terminal from Dar es Salaam.
Happy travel to all!