How do people get around?
Traveling in Tanzania can be both stressful and fun. There are many ways to get around depending on where you live.
If you live in a small village the roads near your house might not be great. Some roads may be made of dirt or have huge holes. The holes make trips in cars really slow and bumpy! Because of the bad roads Tanzanians in these areas are likely to walk. Some might walk a few miles to go to school or get water.
Roads near cities in Tanzania are usually better. The nice roads in Dar es Salaam make traveling by car or bus really easy. In the city I usually travel by buses called dalla dallas. These buses are cheap and to ride costs 300 Tanzanian Schillings. This is about twenty cents in the United States.
Dalla Dallas travel all over the country. Tanzanians will take them if they are traveling far because they are much cheaper than cars and planes. During a trip I will take soon I will have to take a bus for over thirty hours! Can you imagine being on a school bus for that long?
Bajaj is also a popular way to travel in Dar es Salaam. A bajaj looks kind of look like a tricycle with a motor. It is interesting to ride a bajaj because you have to bargain for the price. Bargaining starts when the driver asks me to pay a high price. I respond by asking for a really low price. At the end we meet at a middle price. This can be fun or challenging depending on the driver you have.
Finally, lots of people ride piki pikis or motorcycles and also bicycles. It can be dangerous to ride bikes in the city where there are lots of cars and buses. In Dar es Salaam drivers do not always follow traffic rules and often go where they want on the road. This is especially true for motorbikes which often go in between cars and even into the other lane!
I learned quickly that I am very lucky to get somewhere on time in Tanzania. The bad roads make travel really slow. Slow travel doesn’t keep me from leaving Dar Es Salaam though. Getting outside of the city can be a great way to see the beautiful Tanzanian country side!
How did I feel when I tried this way of getting around?
Recectly I traveled by dalla dalla outside of Dar es Salaam. I was nervous because I had to buy a bus ticket at the local bus stand. Bus stands in Dar es Salaams are always really busy with hundreds of people, many buses, and street vendors. It is hard to find your way around because there are not many signs and it is loud and crowded. This time I was lucky a Tanzanian friend showed me where I could buy my ticket.
Once I was on the bus I was excited to begin my journey. While traveling in Tanzania I love that if you get hungry it is no problem! There are always many people walking around bus stops and stations selling food and drinks. I bought peanuts and popcorn right through the window. It was almost like a drive-thru!
On my trip it was great to see what Tanzania looked like outside of Dar es Salaam. We passed many small villages. It was amazing to see the flat land go on for a long time. It is also common for buses to have huge funny stickers all over them. My friend and I laughed a lot when we saw some that we really liked.
Is this way of getting around connected to the culture and environment? How?
Riding on a bus can be a great way to experience some Tanzanian culture. Tanzanians love to greet each other, even on buses. They also do not mind getting close to one another in order to fit more people on a bus. It is likely a stranger may sit very close and start to talk to you in Swahili!
Almost all buses play music. A lot of music is American but some African pop music is played too. The music is usually loud. This is fun but not if you’re trying to sleep!
Tanzanians often use their local environment to help them decide how to travel. For example, someone who lives in a flat area with few roads may choose to use a bike. When I hiked a mountain recently I saw many Tanzanians walking because it would be hard to get a car to travel up the mountain to their home. Finally, in the city of Dar es Salaam where the roads are good people take cars and buses.
Dalla image- This is a city dalla dalla that we would ride in Dar es Salaam
Bajaj image- A photo of a bajaj
Sticker image- All the dalla dallas have funny stickers like this one on them