Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania Report of what it's like to live there - 12/13/15

Personal Experiences from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania 12/13/15

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, I had lived in Hanoi, Vietnam previously

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

There are daily flights on KLM to Amsterdam and with Swiss Air to Zurich. KLM has a daily service and Swiss Air flies everyday except Thursday depending on the season. From Europe you can transit to the U.S. Also, South African Air has a flight to Jo'burg every day, but it is not fly america. I mostly took this flight for vacation in S.A.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2013-2014

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

worked with the U.S. Embassy

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Everyone lived on the Peninsula and since we go against traffic in the morning, the commute was about 10-15 minutes depending where you lived on the Peninsula. Sometimes shorter.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

you can get the majority of things that you would find in the U.S. Things are pricey and I used amazon a lot to purchase household items.

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3. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Marybrown has good chicken, hello Tanzania is a online delivery service but I never used it, and DOTS cupcakery is run by an American girl named Kelsey and her cakes and cupcakes are to die for! Zuane has great Italian; there are 2 Thai restaurants, AKEMI is a rotating restaurant that has great views and wine tastings once a month in conjunction with MMI.

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4. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

lots of ants everywhere in the housing and I had a perpetual roach problem in my house.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO was about 2 week turn around time.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

I paid about US$100 a month for part -ime help and she was wonderful. There are tons of domestic workers looking for work at all times of year.

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3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

not widely accepted yet. Most of the restaurants take cards, but you can cash a check at the Embassy. There are 2 ATMs on the peninsula one at shoppers plaza and the other at the Diplomatic Sales store. I never had my card compromised there and I felt safe. The ATM at shoppers plaza had a guard on duty 24/7.

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4. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

In Dar es Salaam you can use English and not have any problems. People speak Wwahili but it is easy to function in Dar without it.

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5. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes, there are no sidewalks and most buildings are not ADA friendly.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

I had a taxi guy named Freddy who was awesome, but its not recommended to hail one off the street as it is not safe. They are affordable, Freddy charged me the equivalent of US$3 a ride. It is not recommended to take the daladalas (buses)

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

you need 4 wheel drive and an SUV. Rainy season will flood the roads out. I recommend buying locally or shipping a car from Japan that is right hand drive.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, I used smile and it was US$120 per month or whenever you finish your 20Gs

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

It's super easy to get a sim card from Airtel, TIGO, Vodacom, or Zantel. I recommend either Airtel or Vodacom. Its like 14 bucks for a decent plan.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

I wore suits sometimes, but mostly sleeveless dresses since it was so hot.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

high crime post so you have to be vigilant at all times, RSO discourages walking along the side of the road or carrying big bags.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Malaria and dengue fever, there is a health unit that provides support and AMI is the hospital we are allowed to use locally. Anything that is super serious they will probably medevac you out of the country to Kenya or South Africa.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

moderate, there is a great sea breeze to clean the air out, but most of the pollution is from car exhaust.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

You will be in heaven cause I had no issues and I have really bad seasonal allergies.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot and humid; during the summer there is a nice breeze. March-May is the rainy season so bring wellies!

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Great! Dar is a medium sized post.

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2. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Despite prior reports I had a fabulous time in this city as a single. Dating was not terrible at all and most of the expats hang out at several places (George and Dragon, House, High Life Bar, Oasis, Noire, Triniti, New Maisha, Q bar...etc) so it was cool to see your friends all in one place at the end of a long week. I had a ton of local friends and we would go hang out at Mbudya Island almost every weekend and we would bring our own music, champagne, and eat lobster on the beach. We had epic house parties, boozy brunches, wine tastings at MMI, and dinner parties. Every couple of weeks different entertainment groups do day parties like afternoon delite and Groove Theory. Also Grown and Sexy does a NYE party and Easter Party. Mediterraneo, the restaurant, does a party every second or third Saturday of the month which is epic and the goal of the party is to watch the sunrise. Everyone was super welcoming and really warm. We went out almost every weekend, sometimes until 5am. There are tons of young people in the community and I met my best friends in TZ and would go back in a heartbeat. If you are a quiet person and introverted, Dar might be too much for you.

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3. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

It's okay, its easier to be an expat and LGBTI than a local but it is definitely not widely accepted in society.

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4. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

I never felt so welcomed and everyone calls you sister.

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5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

I loved going to the beach every weekend with my group of friends, safaris, going to Zanzibar several times a year was a plus.

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6. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Zanzibar Chest!

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7. Can you save money?

Yes

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

How much fun it was.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely YES !

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter clothes

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4. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen, beach umbrella, rainboots, and swimming suit

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5. Do you have any other comments?

Tanzania has a special place in my heart and I miss it every day. It is a country that consumes you and your senses. I would not have it any other way.

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