On the 9th of December, Tanzania and the Islands of Zanzibar celebrates Independence Day gained from Great Britain. For the mainland part, 2011 wears the unique event of the golden jubilee of the birthday leading a year later to the foundation of the United Republic.
Obviously, this report pays tribute to Tanzanian people and others heroes who built up its rich and long history.
A century before, its history linked the territory to a couple of tiny kingdoms in the high jungle mountains on the western border, of German East Africa. Discovered by British explorers though, it was subsequently named Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
Natural History Museum – Kigali: where this trip began
The common future of Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania embraces unity through the East African Community project, comprising of five nations. It aims to form a Federation in a long term sharing a single market, a single tourist visa, an international standard passport for its citizens and a single currency (EA shilling?) just to name only few.
Anyway returning to aviation issues, welcome to the last installment covering an East African nation (until the South Sudan joins the community), this one almost exclusively Tanzania:
.Initial itinerary prior departing:
- Kigali – Bujumbura: Ethiopian, economy
- Kigoma – Mwanza: Precision Air, economy
- Mwanza – Dar : Precision Air, business
- Dar Es Salaam – Zanzibar : Ferry
- Zanzibar – Arusha : Regional Air, economy
- Kilimanjaro – Ams: KLM, economy
Part of the final itinerary:
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper -
copyright © Karl L. Swartz.
.Flight 1: Kigali – Bujumbura
To conclude the serie, the ideal trip which has been booked, offered one of the shortest 5th freedom right route in Africa (The shortest probably being Brazzaville – Kinshasa: 20 min flight )
An Ethiopian metal supposed to be rostered on this day. Following a first change a month prior, lastminute.com suggested to contact ET office for (pity) alternative choices as flight was cancelled. As synopsis if i had booked straight KQ it would have been a better deal.
Some hope left: ticket after ET's first change.
A new classy lounge, called Pearl Lounge has recently opened at Kigali airport, facilities, lay out and decoration have been improved so much compared to its ancestor the CIP.
I did not visit here for this flight, minimizing the time spent at the airport by passing the second security check five minutes before boarding started.
To be honest, this thirty minutes leg was event free with nothing offered. Although the seat belt is constantly switch on passengers can move. Kenya Airways has entered into a advertising deal with United Bank for Africa (UBA), the partnership can be particularly seen on the aircraft seat covers (but so far i've seen only inside few Embraer).
Heading off to the south
. – BURUNDI –.
Knowing that the next minibus would probably leave around midday, a gap allowing me to swallow a light bit and taking more pictures of "Buja" arose after securing a seat and dropping off the bag at the back of the minibus. Crossing Burundi along the lake did not take that long three hour or so, after a horrendous matatu ride inside an overcrowded vehicle up to Nyanza-Lac (stunning view on the tanzania's foothills).
Mausoleum of Prince Louis Rwagasore: Unity, Work, Progress
The Greek Orthodox church
Outdated or hopefulness
The stone monument engraving: Livingstone – Stanley, 25th of November 1871
The day after followed, again, a shared taxi ride ( to reach the Tanzania border) on a bumpy potholed and untarred sinuous road, with deserted UNHCR's camps along the way.
When you head off to Tanzania, first you must "virtually" exit the country in the Mabanda's town immigration post before being allowed to get the thirty minutes ride in the countryside until the last village (Mugina) out marked by a mere wood shed in the middle of a wild forest representing the official border.
National "road" to Tanzania
Signs of "modernity" appeared straight forward at TZ border as the trail suddenly became tarmac road and travel conditions decent. Forgot the 1989 dodgy Toyota Corolla with cracked windshield. Comfort is back with this Nissan Serena minivan fitted with cd player and electrical windows, but still a load of 10 pax on 8 allowed.
Karibu sana. Unataka Kununua nini bi/bwana?
€1 = 2300 tzs
£1 = 2650 tzs
(FYI, not at the border )
– KIGOMA –
An attractively faded resort town situated about 45 miles south of Manyovu border, is the most important tourist centre and largest port on the tanzanian shore of lake Tanganyika. Although that Kigoma's main picture links to dust, refugees, and UNHCR cars, it has always fascinated me somehow, probably for his historical and mystical remoteness. In spite having a great expat community there you are miles away from the real world. The town's atmosphere is pretty laid back and sleepy, and rather unpretentious.
Kitenges for sale
Picture 2: Train station still opened
Picture 3: at Ujiji
Time for lunch
Nothing beats a mishkaki ya nyama ya mbuzi
Due to a misuse of the camera, pictures of the Livingstone Museum have been disastrously deleted thus those pictures are not the latest but are still great to get an idea:
Kigoma par pholst76, sur Flickr
Kigoma par pholst76, sur Flickr
Photo taken by Helman on TravelPod
.Flight 2: Kigoma – Mwanza
The departure morning, while looking for a substantial feeding downtown, an unbelievable matatu just arrived at the bus stand. The bus stance was full and lively due to the train from/to Dar. When the matatu fully braked everybody rushed inside, before two police officers came and stopped the movement to inspect the vehicle. Apparently paperworks, messed up, forced the driver and conductor to drive away with only the policemen inside for a flat 20 min, before reappearing whatsoever. Patience cost me, along with a multiple stops ride, 400 tzs only; doubtless a fantastic deal compared to the taxi worthing 6000 tzs.
Arrived rather early according to the schedule, (by precaution with this type of transport) we were basically in the middle of nowhere, a kind of football pitch more useful for villager feeding their cattle, and further back the airfield.
1H45 prior to the departure a convoy of seven vehicles approached loudly with horn sounds, the parking became buzzing and full very quickly due to a family......A new birth celebration happened apparently, they shared and showed off their cute destiny to everyone who was around, how cool was it.
Landside terminal tempts any visitor in need of a basic souvenir, or a mum looking for nappies at the unique grocery and two bars if you want to quench you thirst.
As clear as crystal!
Congo Zaire? Omg...
The King of the day: "toddler"
Picture 2: Yes, she is...
Picture 4: "Jailed", from the waiting lounge
I've promptly cleared the security door leading to the C/I desk where the process was a breeze too the ground team tagged the luggage up to DAR, whilst the boarding pass concerned only TKQ – MWZ leg.
Lounge was comfortable enough with those home style couch and armchairs, the only shop provided drinks, snacks, powder milk (Nido) and packed dagaa rather popular among local travellers though, as only two bags left prior the boarding.
Nido, Daaga (packed dry fish), and artificial fruits
Picture 2: name on the ticket: 5
Picture 4: toddler's fan club
Boarding called late at 12H15, stressed some of the westerner travellers,
Precision Air fact sheet:
Fleet: 11 aircrafts, 9 ATRs, 2 Boeing 737-300
Destination: Tanzania mainly and Kenya, South Africa and Comores
Hub: Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Dar es Salaam
FFP: Flying Blue (AF/KLM) on a KQ ticket, PAA Royal
Freight compartment at the front door, obliged passengers to step up from the back.
Dedicated to Thomas (Fasty) who flew onboard PWE in August 2011
Before the personal experience, let's have a look at few recent news:
By PIUS RUGONZIBWA, 5th July 2011
THE Precision Air will soon start flying from Dar es Salaam to the Comoros and resume its flights to Kigoma.
Mr Kioko said the airline will be flying to Kigoma, Bukoba, Kilimanjaro, Shinyanga, Musoma and Nairobi with more frequencies using the Boeing and ATR planes with in-flight entertainment.
For the Kigoma route he said his company has resumed services for the first time since 2009 due to the improvement of the runaway at the Kigoma Airport which was in bad shape.
“We have been satisfied with the state of the runway following thorough inspections by the concerned authorities and we are set to serve the entire Lake Zone which is now becoming a potential business hub”
And later on, the national flag carrier bounced back:
Oct 30, 2011
The Tanzanian national airline that was grounded for months is due to return to the skies over Tanzania on Tuesday this week. After a massive bailout from government – money which should have been spent to buy shares in Precision Air, according to a well placed source in Dar es Salaam – which helped to clear long overdue maintenance bills for the Bombardier Q 300 plane, the airline eventually managed to get their AOC restored and will resume flights tomorrow,
Tabora and Kigoma will be the first destinations. ATCL (Air Tanzania Corporation Limited) will service from Dar es Salaam and their loads will be keenly monitored by aviation analysts, their competitors and this correspondent to determine if at all the company can make a success out of it or not. That all said, Happy Landings nevertheless to ATCL, its single plane and their crews and passengers from here onwards.
Has anyone tried those seats?
At the door stood a nice stewardess who warmly welcomed all passengers. Instinctively everybody filled the front of the bird first. The cabin seemed brand new and inviting. The colour tones match perfectly. On the right side there was two seats facing backward, which did not appeal me, one revealed being reserved for the flight attendant. The load reached 100%
F/A performing the safety demo
Runway 16 was active and rotation occured at 12h40
Take off video Kigoma – Mwanza: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X72IAeuJRNc
Up in the air, the pilot apologized to the passengers whom flight was cancelled two days ago because of a dreadful stormy weather at Mwanza. This detail may explained the perfect load.
Legroom typical to regional props
Kigoma and its airfield
Once the seat belt sign off, the drop down screens featured a commercial for the Tanzania National Parks, and then a "Just For Laugh" video, IIRC, while ago KLM used to entertain us with those shows too. Anyway, on a domestic network and on board a turboprop it was a such great fantasy
My seatmate more interesting, started asking questions when his saw me taking many pictures, actually he reacted surprisingly good. He was working in the planning division of the Minister of tourism, and visited Kigoma on a business trip here following the intention of renovating the Livingstone Museum in the near future.
Then the service, a choice of little chicken wrap (tasty) or cake and a local beer for me.
Most of the way clouds prevented from seeing the ground apart around the other lake Victoria, apart when approaching our destination.
Industrial area at Mwanza
Picture 2: what is "Balimi"?
Time was flying litteraly, while linking the Great Lakes indeed touchdown occured at 13H35, one hour or so in the air, then the cockpit team parked up the bird next to a fleet of Precision Air metal.
Landing video at Mwanza: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceDvMwG3m1c&feature=related
Air Tanzania Boeing 737-200, 5H-MVH
While operating flight TC100, it "crashed" last year:
The link below provides excellent pictures and info about the incident:
Air Tanzania's Boeing 737-200 Crashes (by jambo Mar 1 2010 in Civil Aviation)
Sistership _PWG and the B733 _PAZ
Disembarking was quiet unsual, actually they've never switched off the seat belt sign, they called people in connection to leave the aircraft. A priority was given to those heading off to Kilimanjaro. ....... Connections are rather tight as planes supposedly depart to JRO at 13H45 and DAR at 14h.
I was called the first and the ground agent handed over MWZ – JRO pass and directed me to the bus before explaining him that i would definitely refused going to Kilimanjaro.