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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:49 pm

Karibuni Tanzania: Scenic Flight DAR-MWZ

Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:42 pm

Mambo vipi? Habari zenu?

Dear readers,
after reading dozens of trip reports as part of my daily breakfast routine (You can't beat three maandazi, plenty of time and a good RTW-Report, can you?  ), it's now time to contribute as well. Being a volunteer in Tanzania, the possibilities to fly are rather limited, apart from the outward journey itself.

But heeey, I didn't come here to veg out in the office for the whole year and having a Tanzanian residence permit, flying becomes affordable again.

Since my arrival, I was planning to do a roundtrip around the Lake Victoria. After talking to some fellow volunteers and checking out various options, my plan took shape as follows:

Dar Es Salaam -> Mwanza by plane
Mwanza -> Kampala by boat
Kampala -> Kigali by bus
Kigali -> Kigoma by bus
Kigoma -> Dar Es Salaam by train & bus

In the following, I will focus on the flight, but if you're interested, I can write about the other trips as well.

As I wrote before, a residence permit halves the price for most of domestic flights in Tanzania. Coastal Aviation offers daily flights from Dar Es Salaam to Mwanza using 19-seated Cessna Caravans. The flight stops at almost every airfield in the way, including such great places like Zanzibar, Arusha or the Serengeti. In short: A sweet dream for every aviation enthusiast!

A fellow volunteer, being a glider pilot, decided to join me and I eventually booked the flight for May, 21th. The booking was done online without any problems. However, I was asked by the customer service to verify my credit card at the airport. As I appreciate every possibility to visit the airport, this was also a breeze.

Enough of prelude, it's time to shine:

We left home at 6:00am in the morning, trying to avoid the infamous traffic jams in DSM. The flight was due to the depart a 9:00, so there was plenty of time left, but in Tanzania, you never know...  http://ek725.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tz-tripreport01.jpg
Maintenance area with two ATRs bathing in the sun

Coastal Aviation is (among other charter & commuter airlines) using the old Terminal 1 at Julius Nyerere Airport. After passing the security checkpoint, we entered the combined check-in & waiting area. The dispatch office of Coastal was located right beside the waiting benches, offering some interesting views into daily operations. A chart on the wall gave indications about the runway conditions at several airstrips (ranging from 'well-maintained' to 'unuseable'), as well as the maintenance schedule. The whole terminal had somehow an informal, relaxed atmosphere.

View on the apron

Shortly before 9 o'clock, a ramp agent called passengers heading to Zanzibar, Tanga and Arusha - our first three destinations. On this day, three Cessnas were departing for Zanzibar at the same time, delivering a mix of tourists, Tanzanians and Expats to the island.

Karibu ndani..

Type: Cessna 208 Caravan
Reg: 5H-HOT
Depature Time: 9 o'clock
Arrival Time: some minutes after lunch - time doesn't matter down here  

My friend took the front seat for the first three legs up to Arusha, there we swapped seats and I took over.
After a short welcome and security briefing, the captian started the engine and we joined the Caravan-Caravan (hihi!) to Runway 23. Interestingly, the whole leg to Zanzibar was done without communicating with ATC. Procedure as usual, I guess?   Eventually, our prop lined up, waited for some minutes until the precessor cleared the extended centerline until TOGA was applied and after some meters, our lady was airborne.

Take-Off at HTDA


After takeoff, we made a sharp right turn, passing overhead Ubungo and my home Africa Sana until we left the coast Mbezi Beach. The flight itself took about 15min, until we touched down on the semi-autonoumous island of Zanzibar.

http://ek725.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tz-tripreport03.jpg Can you spot my home?

http://ek725.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tz-tripreport05.jpg Sometimes, even widebodies show up here

Landing at HTZA

After a quick turnaround (only two pax left the plane), we departed (without any comm again) towards Tanga.

http://ek725.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tz-tripreport06.gif Aviation museum?

http://ek725.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tz-tripreport071.jpg Stone Town seen from above
This time, we spend almost 45min in the air. As we descended into HTTG, some red spots appeared on the weather radar. Therefore, we circled around a few clouds, decended rapidly and touched down in one rush. Regarding to the deteriorating weather situation, our commander suggested: "The leg to Arusha takes an hour, so if you need to see the toilet, do it now - and FAST!", pointing at some sinister cloud formations. Not even three minutes later, we're jolting down the runway and heading towards Arusha.

Whereas for the legs to Zanzibar & Arusha, we climbed to 3000ft respectively 7000ft, we cruised at 11500ft. The views were astonishing, only some minor clouds turned up and blocked the view.


http://ek725.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tz-tripreport08.jpg Runway in sight!

Around 12 o'clock, we arrived in Arusha, gateway to the northern part of Tanzania with all its attractions: The Serengeti, Ngorogoro, Mount Kilimanjaro/Meru or Loliondo .



http://ek725.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tz-tripreport11.jpg Each sip, a pleasure trip!  

We decided to take our cue from the Caravan and also refueled ourselfs with (however with Soda  ) and a horrible expensive burger. After a short break, we stopped by at the Coastal-Office, talked to some guys and eventually met our pilot for the journey to Mwanza. At around 13:00, we boarded the plane again, together with an Indian Family and two other guys heading for the Seregenti.

http://ek725.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tz-tripreport12.jpg Great place to work!

http://ek725.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tz-tripreport13.jpg On our way to Seronera Airstrip

http://ek725.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tz-tripreport15.jpg The 'Terminal'

This time, I occupied the front seat. I was fascinated like a little child, watching the pilot doing his work. On every occasions, moments like these clear up all my doubts concerning my career asprirations - I want so spend my working life in an 'office' like this and nowhere else!   (Better turn off the sound)

After about 45min, we landed right in the middle of nowhere on a rough gravel strip, which belongs to some luxus-campsites in the Nationalpark. To our luck, everyone apart from us left the plane - Now, the plane was ours! Soon after take-off, the captain offered to fly some circuits over the park, enabling us to see the famous deer migration from above. The view was breathtaking, thousands of animals were tracking their way like column of ants. Truly unique! Unfortunately, my digital camera didn't manage to capture the moment precisely - sorry for that!

Landing at Seronera/Serengeti


After half an hour, we climbed to our cruising altitude (13500ft) and contiued to Mwanza. About one hour prior landing, we chatted a bit the captain until he suddendly asked me with a wink: 'I need to do some paperwork, can you hold for a little while?' - What a question!? You made my day! I really overjoyed to take my first, inofficial flight lesson (before starting my ATPL in September, hopefully)  http://ek725.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tz-tripreport16.jpg Me being a human autopilot  

All too soon, we reached the coastline of the mighty Lake Victoria and started our descent into Mwanza. As heavy traffic was behind us, the captain accelerated our approach a bit and turned in a sporting, nevertheless smooth, landing.

http://ek725.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tz-tripreport17.jpg Few seconds to touchdown!

We taxied along the UN-Apron and finally crimped ourselfs between a Precision Air ATR and another Caravan. We thanked our captain for this truly great flight, picked our bags and went towards the exit. Two fellow volunteers from Mwanza picked us up for a short drink, as the ship to Kampala was already being prepared for depature...


Feel free to comment!

Yours Truly,
Posts: 6530
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: Karibuni Tanzania: Scenic Flight DAR-MWZ

Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:51 pm

Hi Lennard,

first of all, welcome to a.net! You introduced yourself with a truly exotic report full of nice pictures! I hope to see more posts from you, reports about trips in Africa are quite rare here. And don't hesitate to add non-aviation pictures to your posts.

Quoting LennyHamburg (Thread starter):
after reading dozens of trip reports as part of my daily breakfast routine (You can't beat three maandazi, plenty of time and a good RTW-Report, can you? ), it's now time to contribute as well.

Good decision!

Quoting LennyHamburg (Thread starter):
About one hour prior landing, we chatted a bit the captain until he suddendly asked me with a wink: 'I need to do some paperwork, can you hold for a little while?' - What a question!? You made my day! I really overjoyed to take my first, inofficial flight lesson (before starting my ATPL in September, hopefully)


Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
Posts: 1315
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:26 pm

RE: Karibuni Tanzania: Scenic Flight DAR-MWZ

Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:19 am

Hi Captain Lenny,
We may call you that seeing you flew the plane at least part way.

Welcome to A.net and what a great first report.

Quoting LennyHamburg (Thread starter):
you spot my home?

You left the light on! No, only kidding  
Quoting LennyHamburg (Thread starter):
'I need to do some paperwork, can you hold for a little while?'

What a fantastic offer and a great opportunity. Some how I don't see that happening on LH, SQ or....

Thanks for bringing us a very unusual and interesting report.

User avatar
Posts: 1016
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:19 pm

RE: Karibuni Tanzania: Scenic Flight DAR-MWZ

Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:02 pm

Jambo and welcome to you Lennard!

I envy you so much being in Tanzania, as the country is huge, flying is the best option to travel even during a long stay. From Kigali how do you easily reach Kigoma, via Mwanza or down to Burundi?

Quoting LennyHamburg (Thread starter):
Coastal Aviation offers daily flights from Dar Es Salaam to Mwanza using 19-seated Cessna Caravans

Clearly a bush aircraft offering fanstatic view for its passenger! For you information, they were recently offering continuing flight to Kigali (from Mwanza) for an insane fare of... $500

Quoting LennyHamburg (Thread starter):
The Serengeti, Ngorogoro, Mount Kilimanjaro/Meru or Loliondo .

Very nice!

Quoting LennyHamburg (Thread starter):
We thanked our captain for this truly great flight,

Can i say exactly the same for your premiere here? the pictures are excellent

looking forward to read the next adventure

Asante sana rafiki  
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:24 pm

RE: Karibuni Tanzania: Scenic Flight DAR-MWZ

Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:39 am

Great report - very nice read, and wonderful pictures!

I had a very similar experience a couple of years back!   This brought back some amazing memories.

Tanzania And Zanzibar With Condor/Coastal Aviation (by AFKL Mar 22 2009 in Trip Reports)

ALLARD. First flight: KLM DC-10, LLW - AMS.

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