Karibu Tanzania!

Hello all! I have just returned from a memorable trip to Tanzania. The reason for my long radio silence is that the Internet connection in the country was next to none and when I did get a boost of WiFi, I used it mostly to send quick messages to family and friends in Finland.

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The reason for travelling to Tanzania was a study trip with 18 other students from Finland. We spent almost two weeks there.

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Travelling to Tanzania from Finland isn’t easy. Our first flight was Helsinki-Stockholm. Some of my fellow students had started travelling hours earlier, as they live further away from the Helsinki region and had to make their way to the Helsinki-Vantaa airport first.

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After Stockholm, we had a layover in Addis Ababa where we had hours to kill. Then, it was time for our final flight to Dar es Salaam.

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After arriving in Dar, getting our bags and through customs, our group started making our way to Iringa by bus.

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As you can see below, the suitcases were stacked in a very interesting way inside the bus. Every time the bus went over a bump, the bags would slide forward. Thankfully none toppled over onto our heads and we survived the trip!

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If you are going to get your visa in Tanzania, make sure you have some snacks and drinks with you, as it make take time. Luckily we had applied for student visas in advance, so customs went fairly smoothly. With so many layovers, it’s a good idea to have some extra clothes in your hand baggage, as often bags are left behind and may take days to be found and delivered to you.

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The bus trip both ways was quite exhausting as the trip was close to 500 km and you can imagine that the traffic wasn’t always very easy going.

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As everyone had already been travelling for almost a day, it had been decided that the first leg of the bus trip would have an overnight stop in Morogoro. We arrived there late and had our dinner, only to wake up again at 3 am to finish the journey to Iringa.

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The minute I got in my room, the heavy drapes fell on my lap. I proceeded to put them back as there was no way I would sleep in a room without curtains. But being a short person it was quite a struggle and I ended up falling on the floor and bruised my legs!

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Then, I noticed that there was no towel in my room. After almost two days of travel, I was very much in need of a shower. But alas! I was told that the lady who is in charge of towels was out of town!!! I kept going back to ask for the towel and in the end I did get one from a drawer at the reception. It was probably there all the time. Some people had problems with their showers and had to wash their hair under a tap but I guess you make do.

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Travelling by bus in Tanzania may not be very comfortable (imagine blaring African music throughout the journey accompanied by colorful music videos) but there sure is a lot to see. On the morning we left Morogoro, it was interesting to realize that people were up and about the minute the sun was up. In Finland the streets are very empty at such hours.

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Then, in the evenings as darkness fell, people were back inside and there were no lights to be seen. In fact, I read that under 20% of Tanzanians have electricity.

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There were many stops on the way, as the police had check-points now and then. As you can imagine, the police often found some “fault” in our bus and fines were issued.

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On both ways, we passed through the Udzungwa Mountains National Park.

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Even though we did not get the whole National Park experience, we spotted antelopes, giraffes, zebras, monkeys and wild boar. Quite good for just a measly drive in the region but of course photos were difficult to get, as the bus did not stop for our sightings.

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Do you know what the colorful cars below are called? You may know them as tuk-tuks but in Tanzania it’s called a bajaji.

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People seemed to spend a lot of time outdoors rather than in.

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Life in general seemed less hectic than it is for us in Nordics.

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Roadside stalls were everywhere.

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May I entice you with some onions perhaps?

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Or are you in need of a bed?

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People are very hardworking – we saw adults and children alike carrying wood and water.

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I love how the ladies tie their babies to their backs.

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We saw a lot of cattle, and Masai herding it.

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Pepsi has made it’s way everywhere.

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When coming back, we had to take a detour as a bridge had collapsed after heavy rainfall. The detour was difficult too as the road was so muddy that a truck had got stuck and had fallen over on the road. Traffic was at a standstill for hours. I was afraid our bus would get stuck in the mud too, as our luggage was so heavy but the bus driver knew what he was doing.

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Asante sana (thank you in Swahili) for reading through this photobomb of a post! Have you been to Tanzania? Do share your experiences in the comments below, I’d love to hear them.

xx

30 thoughts on “Karibu Tanzania!

  1. Great post! Would love to read/see even more if you have material and time (I know you don’t have time as you are studying!). Was this your first time in Tanzania? Probably not? I’ve never been but have only heard very positive things from people who’ve visited and spent time there. I’m such a nervous nelly as hubby calls me, I always worry about getting an upset stomach abroad (though I usually don’t! Don’t know why I’m so obsessed with it) that I would be quite scared of that if I visited such a – to me – exotic place. I do envy people who casually globetrott without worrying about such things. But I would LOVE to see the wildlife someday! Lucky you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi dear, great to hear from you! This was my first time in Tanzania actually ❤️ I too worry about getting an upset stomach and some from our group did get sick on the trip and others had to go to the doc at home. I had taken some precautions but because the bacteria there is so different than here, it wasn’t 100% but my situation stayed under control 😅 After the trip my hormones were haywire, so I wasn’t entirely fine afterwards either. But I guess you just have to be prepared for these things to happen. I must say we also failed with the mosquito repellent bc every evening the mozzies bit our legs as no-one remembered to bring the repellent to the restaurant!!! So if I went again, I’d be more careful with that.. I am usually not such a carefree traveler but I think being in a big group had its effect and I didn’t want to be the one whining all the time 😉 For example we ate in restaurants which didn’t even have running water and normally I would definitely not do that on my travels!! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been to Tanzania, but your trip looks a lot more interesting in many ways. We were mainly there for a safari and a trek, so other than Arusha, we were pretty much away from cities. I loved every single one of your photos – never too many for me! Glad your trip was so stimulating and fascinating for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words! In Iringa we had local guides to take us out and show us the cool places, so we definitely saw more than we would’ve on a touristy vacay! 😍

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Suvi, what an unmissable adventure for you. I loved reading about your lengthy journey and couldn’t help giggling when I read about the curtains falling down. I’m sure I would have fallen over too and bruised my legs. Hope you were OK x

    Liked by 1 person

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