Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania 05/09/20

Background:

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

This is my third overseas experience.

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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?

Home base is Washington DC. We usually go via Amsterdam on KLM or via Zurich on Swiss. Usually takes about 24 hours from wheels up to wheels down. The layovers are only 3-5 hours, some folks take a few days in Amsterdam to break up the trip and enjoy the city..

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3. How long have you lived here?

One year.

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

Diplomat with State Department.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Almost all the houses are on "The Peninsula" This comprises Oyster Bay & Masaki areas and is home to 85% of expats in dar. there are also some folks in Mbezi beach.

Oyster bay - this is the old Expat center and has about half of the American diplomats in 2-3 large compounds and a few stand-alones. I live here and find it quieter with leafy tree line streets. if you squint, you'll think you're in an American suburb. Has a decent supermarket (Simply Fresh) and a handful of restaurants

Masaki - 30 years ago this was all farm land - it's been rapidly developed and poorly zoned. many folks will deal with noise pollution from nightlife . This is closer to Slipways, Sea Cliff, Dar Yacht Club, and dozens of restaurants & nightlife options.

Currently, everyone is in a house, half are in compounds and half are stand-alone. Most of the houses are decent sized. As land has become more valuable on the Peninsula, landlords have become greedy and squeezed 6 houses on a plot that should only have 3-4, this results in very small yards and your neighbors being very close. Seems like everyone wants/expects a stand-alone with a pool and a large yard for their 4 dogs - these folks usually seem disappointed.

The Peninsula is actually quite small - I can drive from one side to the other in 10 minutes. Commute times to the Embassy are 5 to 15 minutes. Many of the other missions are a bit more downtown and their commutes are 20-30 minutes. That'll be further reduced once the silly bridge is finished.

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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 find most things locally plus we have Amazon thru DPO. The challenges is having to go to 3-4 stores to do all your shopping. Sometimes things will just appear - the day we found sour cream at Shoppers was magically, I think folks from the US Embassy bought up the entire stock within hours, may be months before we see it again. South African brands are common. Imported American staples - think ricotta cheese or A-1 steak sauce - are quite expensive.

The main supermarkets are Village, Shoppers, and Simply Fresh (formerly Food Lovers). There's also a South African Butcher shop where I buy all my meats. SA imported steaks are tsh 50,000 per kilo ($10 per pound).
Simply Fresh has the best Fruit & Veg - prices for local in-season items like mangos or pineapples or avocados are quite cheap. things like strawberries are outrageously expensive. Many folks hire a chef named Mama Lu (she's $20 for a 4 hour shift and she's incredible) she can get you produce and other staples for local prices.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

I was surprised how available & cheap wine & spirits are here - the only things you cant find is bourbon. South African wine is decent and widely available. Craft beer doesn't exist here. Many folks miss cheese, it's so expensive here.

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

There's a food delivery service called Piki that just launched. However, it seems either the delivery drivers either refuse to turn on their data or they can't use GPS.

Two O Six - it's a nice Mediterranean & Wine spot - it's the fanciest place on the peninsula. This is where you'd take your spouse on V-day

Zuane - great Italian & pizza spot. Has a huge play are for kids. it's quite the spot on Friday nights.

Seoul garden - great Japanese place in Oyster Bay, maybe only sushi option on the Peninsula

Chengdu - Chinese restaurant that has hot pot, great for a big group.

Salt - English themed place right off of Coco beach. I recommend their Sunday Brunch

Epi'dor - Cool outdoor restaurant and an amazing bakery. They make great pastries.

Sea Cliff Hotel - Karambezi Cafe - amazing views on the tip of Masaki. Food is nothing to write home about though.

Slipways - There's several food options all are right on the water.

Veranda - wine & tapas bar

Slow Leopard - cool laid back bar popular with expats. They have live music on Thursdays and it's packed with expats.

Hamu - swanky cocktail bar with decent food. it's one of the only places to eat late.

Rhapsody - new rooftop place that overlooks Coco beach. Views are the best in Dar

Shooters Grill - rooftop grill themed place,

Grill House - great steakhouse, check it out on Burger night Mondays.

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

Ha - yes, Mosquitos are always around and become a problem during the rainy season (April thru May). Malaria & Dengue Fever are no joke. Finding giant red centipedes or tiny geckos in your house is not unheard of. There's also termites and there's snakes.

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Daily Life:

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

Thru DPO - from the time I order on Amazon, It's usually in my hot little hands in 7-10 days. Don't think they even have a local post office, the other option is DHL.

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

Widely available & cheap. Housekeepers are US$2 an hour or less. I have a part time housekeeper and a part time gardener and I pay less than US$200 per month. Be warned - around Christmas, it seems they will ask you for a huge loan and pay it off thru reduced pay. My gardener requested a five year repayment timeframe.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There's an okay gym at the Embassy and nice one at Coliseum & Sea Cliff, but it's expensive - I think $100 a month.

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

Any nice restaurant or expat focused store will accept, but, they'll also add 4%. Cash is preferred. The largest bank note is 10,000 shillings which is about $4 - it's normal to cash checks for millions of shillings. Everyone seems to use the cashier at the embassy and lives off cash. There's an ATM at SeaCliff.

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

I only know the Swahili greetings and I get by fine. The embassy offers one-on-one weekly Swahili classes at no charge. They also offered this Swahili immersion program for a week in the Fall.I wish I spoke more Swahili - I feel like half the time the waiters are smiling and nodding and not understanding anything I'm saying.

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

Yes.

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Transportation:

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

The Embassy allows us to take Ubers - like Piki - they dont know how to use GPS and they are always lost. The cars are usually gross in my opinion and don't have seat belts and the drivers don't seem to speak English.
There's Bajajs (tuk tuk) these will take you anywhere on the peninsula for $2, though using public transportation is not recommended. The best option is Freddie - he's a private driver with a nice van that you can schedule ahead of time. He charges 5000 shillings to go anywhere on the peninsula, but, I usually give him 10,000. He's come in clutch a number of times.

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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?

SUV with decent clearance - pot holes are everywhere and they are no joke. I'd buy something from an outgoing diplomat or buy used from Japan Auto Imports. They drive on the British side of the road there.

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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?

Everyone uses Zuku and they're pretty good - costs 100,000 tsh a month.

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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?

I use Google Fi and kept my American number and an Embassy-issued IPhone 8. There's this whole thing now with getting biometrics scanned and having a Tanzanian ID card in order to get a local sim card. I don't think they thought about non-residents like diplomats when they rolled out the program - so - it's complicated. Touch base with IRM prior to arrival.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Yes, there are several good vets on the Peninsula and no issue with quarantine. There's Every Living Thing which is a rescue shelter that offers boarding services. Be in touch with GSO Shipping prior to arrival so they can confirm you're good to go.

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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?

Usually Business casual at work for most folks - short sleeve polos or even Hawaiian shirts (on Fridays) aren't uncommon. Political Officers going downtown are in full suits.

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Health & Safety:

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

Yes, this Post is Critical for Crime & High for Terrorism. Your house or compound will have 9 foot walls with barbed wire & a 24-hour guard on-site. Muggings & Car Break-ins are common after dark. You'll get in the habit of lock your car doors the moment you get in each day. Most restaurants & shops have security watching your car though, tip them $1 when you leave. You're strongly advised to never walk anywhere after dark. Just use Freddie or Uber and be smart.

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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 & Dengue Fever are for real - do your research & take your Malarone. Aga Khan hospital is decent enough, our MedEvac point in Pretoria

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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?

No issues.

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

Hot & extremely hot with some rain in between. June thru October is the nicest time of year. evening will get into the low 70s with a nice breeze. Mid-March thru end-of-May it's pouring rain and mosquitos are everywhere.
November thru Feb it is just too hot.

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Schools & Children:

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

Most go to IST. The IST lower school is off the peninsula, if your kids are in the lower grades, I'd request to live in Oyster Bay.

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Expat Life:

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

I'd day it's mid-sized but it's shrinking. I understand the current government has not been renewing work permits for expats. Besides the American Embassy group, there's a decent NGO/UN community and a sizable group of British, South African, and Italians that have residency.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Most of the socializing happens via the Dar Yacht Club. My biggest regret was not buying a boat as soon as I arrived. Dar's biggest gift is the ocean & boat culture, take advantage water sports & the beach as often as you can.
There's also folks that love hitting up the Sea Cliff Casino

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

The majority of folks are families, single people and couples without kids stick together. It can take awhile to get into the groove of things. The NGO community has more single folks.
Families enjoy the compound living, the cheap nannies, the good school, and the Yacht Club. After the initial excitement of being in Tanzania wears off, you'll be going to same 5-10 restaurants & bars with the same group of people. some people don't mind that - some hate it. Life's a beach.

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

It seems to be vehemently anti-gay here. You won't face any issues within the expat community though.

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

Tanzania is a special place: between the boating in Dar, the beach trips to Zanzibar, diving with Whale Sharks in Mafia island, and all the safari options - I'm not sure there's a better post in the world for travel options.

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

Many folks get into Kitenga clothing, buying lots of cloth and having dozens of dresses made. There are furniture makers that can make very cool coffee tables & book cases. Zanzibar Chests!

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7. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

It's an easy living, laid back Post. The Tanzania people are warm & friendly.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

How unbelievably hot it can get in the summer. Do not bring any winter clothes unless you're planning a ski trip to Europe for R&R.

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

Yes! Dar is Africa-lite, you can live a very comfortable expat life here.

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

Your watch - nothing happens on-time.

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4. But don't forget your:

Sense of Adventure.

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Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania 06/03/17

Background:

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

No, Scandinavia, South Asia, and the Middle East.

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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?

US. KLM via AMS or Swiss via Zurich. The trip is anywhere from 25-30 hours depending on connections.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Two years.

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

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Houses are large. A mix of stand-alone housing and multi-house compounds. The compounds can be noisy/chaotic, but you have built in support. Commutes most of the year are not bad (10-20 mins). However, as with most things in Tanzania, quality work and/or maintenance are not high priorities. Thus, during and for weeks after the rainy season (MAR-MAY) the roads wash out and it becomes an absolute mess, causing significant delays/frustration.

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

Expensive and inconsistently available. That said, if you hit the routine 5 spots most expats shop, you can tend to find most stuff. Combined with a solid consumables shipment and DPO, it is manageable.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

As usual, bring ethnic food speciality spices/items as the selection is limited. The exception would be for Chinese food items, which seem to be available due to the large Chinese population.

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

There are a few dozen restaurants in the expat rotation. Delivery is theoretically possible, though there is no comprehensible address or street sign system in Tanzania, so explaining where one is located can routinely be a challenge which prevents delivery.

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

Hahahahaha. YES! Again, its a malarial swamp in tropical Africa. Bugs are everywhere, all the time. hat said, one can find manageable ways to deal with them.

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Daily Life:

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

DPO. Surprisingly quick considering its Africa. (7-10 days for most Amazon packages.)

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

Ubiquitous and affordable. Though don't expect great English skills for most.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The US embassy gym is available and has recently been upgraded. The employee association at the embassy has an awesome pool. There is a gym at the Coliseum Hotel which is open to the public, but I don't know the costs.

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4. 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, not always safe to try. However, the ATM's at the large expat shopping centers don't routinely have issues any longer.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Numerous Christian (Protestant and Catholic) services. Mosques are readily available. No Jewish services of which I am aware.

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

None. Local language training is available.

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

Yes. People without disabilities have issues making it around this country!

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Transportation:

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

Very little in Tanzania is "safe" by Western standards. However, tuk-tuks are cheap and readily available.

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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?

Small SUV at minimum, 4x4 or AWD highly recommended.

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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. Smile, 4G coverage. Unlimited-ish high speed available for less than 100 USD per month.

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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?

Easy to get, cheap to maintain.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Not sure. Lots of folks have dogs, but getting them in and out seems to be an issue due to the airlines, not the TZ government.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

The expat job market appears to be undergoing significant negative changes due to the current TZ administrations policies. Getting formal work visas as an expat spouse can be a significant challenge. Work at the embassy appears available.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Unsure, but given the ridiculous state of things in TZ, and the massive amount of poverty/health issues, I am sure options abound.

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

Casual.

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Health & Safety:

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

High crime rate. Travel on foot, particularly at night, is not advisable. Most of the crime to date has been property based (robbery, smash and grab, etc).

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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?

The city is located on a flood plain in a malarial region...so, yes. Its a CAT-5 malaria post. Dengue fever can be a problem. That said, both issues typically impact the local populace much more so than expats due to the sleeping conditions of most locals.

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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?

I haven't noticed any significant health impact.

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

I don't know, but if I had them, I would have whatever I needed with me throughout the day. You cannot count on the cooks to wash their hands properly, much less avoid touching nuts.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Does frustration with the "pole, pole" (slowly, slowly) culture count?



No? Okay, well then as far as the seasonal stuff goes, there are 2.5 seasons here. Ridiculously hot and humid for about 7 months, rain for about 2, and a glorious 3 months of relatively mild temperatures and amazing sunny days.

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

There are 2.5 seasons here. Ridiculously hot and humid for about 7 months, rain for about 2, and a glorious 3 months of relatively mild temperatures and amazing sunny days.

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Schools & Children:

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

There are two international schools (IST and DIA) and a French school. There seems to be an ongoing issue with getting visas renewed for the foreign teachers due to the current TZ administration, so I have no idea how that will play out and what the subsequent impact on quality will be. The only consistent complaint I have heard from parents here is that the elementary school bus comes ridiculously early (0600) due to traffic getting to the elementary school. The secondary and French schools are located near the housing areas and thus doesn't have the same issue.

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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?

Yes, there are about a half-dozen at varying price points which cater to the expat population. This is a nanny post, so "after school care" is not really a thing.

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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?

Large, as TZ is one of the largest foreign aid recipients in the world. Therefore, most of the countries which are large aid donors have missions here and all the aid implementing organizations are also represented here. Morale is seemingly entirely tied to your previous experiences/expectations (as usual). For Africa, Dar is a fairly nice place, with lots to do and much available. However, that "for Africa" caveat is nothing to take lightly. The infrastructure is not up to Western standards. This isn't simply a smaller version of Nairobi and is nothing like South Africa. Morale within the development workers is good. Families with small kids appreciate the affordability of help. However, the daily frustrations of living in Tanzania and dealing with the local system tend to wear on people.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Beach, house parties, bars, etc. The social scene here is really active. Affordable child care means the mid-30's crowd gets to act like they are in their 20's again! The yacht club is popular if one plans to here long enough to make the cost worthwhile.

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

The single folks I know here have found it a challenging place. Couples without kids have really enjoyed it. Families with kids make up the majority of the population.

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

No. While being an LGBT expat is much easier than being an LGBT local, the government has begun a systematic crackdown on LGBT persons, including arrests, public shaming, etc. Expats are not entirely protected and multiple diplomats have been "asked to leave" with the threat of PNG if they refuse.

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

For expats, no. Otherwise, while TZ doesn't have massive issues around tribal identity like much of Africa, there are brewing social tensions between the large muslim population and the government. There is a problem with killings of albino people. Women are still mostly forced into traditional roles and denied real opportunity. Outside of Dar and Arusha, this country is ridiculously poor, with limited infrastructure, massive corruption issues, a sub-standard educational system. TZ is struggling to feed itself: malnutrition remains a significant impediment to nearly every attempt to advance/change things.

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

There are some incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities here. Nearly everything people come to Africa to do/see is available in Tanzania. However, getting to those things is not easy or cheap.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

The Indian Ocean is five minutes from my front door.

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

Zanzibar is known for its wood working.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Domestic help is cheap, though the skill set is not on par with one gets in Asia. Beach access. Short commute. As most folks who have served in AF say, the embassy community was great. We made many friends here and most folks are incredibly welcoming. The USEMB population in Dar is big, so most folks can find their niche.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

The "gem of Africa" saying that people throw around is misleading. If you are an AF hand, it may be true. However, if your expectations for life overseas have been shaped off-continent, even in many parts of the developing world, Africa can be uniquely challenging.

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

It would depend on my other options. If the other options were in Africa, then yes, this is better than most. If you have the option to be off the continent, then I would likely take it (with obvious exceptions...looking at you Bangladesh!). We made some great friends and saw a few things once can only see in Africa, but I don't see us coming back to AF.

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

Winter clothing, sense of timeliness, and logic.

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4. But don't forget your:

Bug spray, sunscreen, sense of adventure, and patience.

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

In comparison to many other parts of Africa, there is not a ton of good books on modern Tanzania. Most Tanzania-focused western literature is about wildlife.

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6. Do you have any other comments?

For work: Tanzania is only really important as it relates to the aid/development/public health. From a POL/ECON/SEC perspective, it doesn't merit significant time/attention from Washington. (Nor should it, I suppose). Don't underestimate the lingering distrust from the Cold War (US and TZ were on opposite sides); Tanzania's unwillingness to be seen as giving into Western demands (wether they are good ideas or not doesn't really matter); the resentment from the foreign aid dependency cycle; and the numerous issues associated with the general relationship dynamic we have established wherein the aid money continues to flow in almost entirely decoupled from our policy goals and despite significant regression on priority issues by the Tanzanian government.



Also, the government continues to talk about moving the capitol to Dodoma. (They have been talking the same non-sense for decades, so who knows if it will ever actually happen). However, if the Embassy does ever move to Dodoma, I would not accept an assignment there. It is a fine, small African town...in the middle of nowhere, literally hours from anything to do, and with all of three restaurants at which to eat. It may improve over time, but it will be decades before it offers anything like the amenities of life in Dar. (And you can't move the ocean...so, that will be an issue).

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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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Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania 07/31/15

Background:

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

No. We've also lived in Central America and South Asia.

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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?

DC. 9 hour flight to Amsterdam; 9 hour flight to Dar es Salaam, sometimes with a 1 hour on-plane stop at Kiliminjaro. KLM/Delta code share.

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3. How long have you lived here?

> 2 years

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

Government

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Most people are provided with stand-alone houses. More and more compounds are coming into the housing pool as housing costs go up. Almost everyone (99%) live on the peninsula which is "expat land." Houses usually have 1 bathroom per bedroom; a decent-sized kitchen; some yard-space; sometimes a staff quarters. Some are large; others smaller. In general, housing is good, though some residences have odd characteristics, and of course, there are many issues with electricity, water, etc. It's Africa.

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

Most things are available (except for that exact brand you want, of course), but it will cost you. Butter US$5/pound; milk US$7/gallon (UHT); ground beef US$9/pound; chicken a bit less, and fish is cheaper than U.S. Vegetables are relatively inexpensive, and there is a new grocery store that has a GOOD selection and supply of fresh fruits & vegetables. Regulated items (bread, rice, sugar) are cheap. Imported items (processed & packaged foods, cheeses, etc.) are DC prices times 2. That said, we order anything lighter and non-perishable from Amazon and anything heavier through consumables. A smart person would mail themselves a box of stuff before coming to post so that when they get here, they have a few comfort foods and place a consumable order within the first 6 months (especially for families). We even order our TP and laundry detergent tabs through Amazon. (We load up our suitcases on R&R with frozen turkeys & hams & deli meat & cheese because they're not readily available)

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Gas grill (it has made dinner so much nicer; need to rig up the gas but it's fine). Kayak if you're going to want to kayak and are able to do it (can't put it in HHE). Our nice cooking appliances, like KitchenAid, food processor, etc. and several step-down transformers (the heavy-duty, expensive kind). An extra UPS (one died and we needed additional, and this is one thing that DPO is difficult about shipping because of the battery). Bicycles (we brought ours and have been happy that we did). Things like trampoline for kids, scooters, etc. that can't be ordered via DPO. Memory foam (always necessary).

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

Fast food: Bongo Flava, a new Tanzanian restaurant that is decent; 2 KFC's; 2 Subways (though not as good as American); several local pizza places. There are many restaurants on the peninsula and beyond. Most are OK; none are fabulous. All are about DC prices or maybe a little less. I have not gotten sick anywhere, though people do have issues every now and then. There's a lot of Indian food due to the large Indian population; seafood is particularly good and less expensive. Best restaurants, I think, are: CapeTown FishMarket (South African chain; good food; beautiful sunset), 305 (tucked away in a local neighborhood), Alexander's (in a B&B), Shooter's (South African; up high; nice view), Nawabi Khana (Indian), restaurant on dock at Slipway has great tuna, Epidor has decent middle eastern, Zuane's has decent Italian/pizza. Restaurants seem to come and go so there's always something new to try. Tanzanians love their chips (french fries); onion ring safe also often good.

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

Mosquitoes that carry malaria & dengue fever. Dar is a high risk malaria post. Ants and large cockroaches in houses, of course. Ticks in the yard and also on the furniture that is sold on the side of the street (don't buy it).

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Daily Life:

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

DPO. Great service. Orders from Amazon arrive in about 2 weeks. Some retailers will not ship to DPO so you'll need to use pouch (think dry dog food) which takes a bit longer, 3-4 weeks.

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

Widely available. Cost for a full-time housekeeper is about US$150-200/month; plus annual one-month bonus; plus severance pay at end. Full-time gardener earns US$100/month. Nannies and cooks earn about same or a little more than housekeepers. Guards are paid by Embassy, but some families provide one meal per shift, though RSO discouraged this when the contract changed.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes. The Embassy has a nice pool and OK tennis court (US$120 for a family to join for the year) and also a gym (no membership). Private gyms are also available; I'd guess about US$100/month, though I'm not sure.

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

We do not use them and have not had a problem. This is a cash economy, and the cash goes quickly.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Not sure. There is one Christian-type church which many ex-pats attend- it is held down by the beach or at IST.

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

Not much. We spend most of our time in expat land where everyone speaks English. Swahili is very useful when dealing with gardeners, who don't usually speak much English, and when going into the city. It also makes Tanzanians very happy when you learn some Kiswahili.

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

Living the expat life that we lead, a person with physical disabilities would have more challenges than a person without physical disabilities, but they could manage. Most of our lives are spent at home (which would be the biggest challenge since most residences are multi-level with stairs), at work (there is an elevator at the Chancery & maybe AID), and at a few restaurants & stores or Yacht Club (most of these places could accommodate if necessary). Roads would be a challenge, though even some of the roads on the peninsula would be safe.

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Transportation:

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

Safe- no. Affordable- yes. We do use bhajaj's (auto rickshaws) all the time, though RSO recommends you not use them. On the peninsula, they're relatively safe, but you certainly have to be aware.

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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?

Japanese models are more easily serviced. Four wheel drive is very useful; high-clearance also (pot holes can be 6-12 inches and speed bumps are not uniform so they also can be high). Though you can get by with a regular car. I would advise against bringing U.S.-side drive because if you ever want to go on the highways (to Mikumi or elsewhere), passing is very difficult and very dangerous (there are often bus accidents that kill 20+ people, and it's always when passing). Best bet is to buy from an outgoing Mission member or other diplomat (not necessarily just any expat, but a diplomat)

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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, but it is costly. There are a variety of services; ask people when you arrive to find out which is currently preferred.

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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?

Cell phone service is relatively cheap. You can get a flip-phone type for US$20. For nicer phones, order them on the internet unlocked or there's a guy at Slipway who can unlock them for you. Embassy provides officers with a Blackberry or iPhone (AID) upon arrival. Spouses and kids should probably wait until they're here to make a decision about what phone they need.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No quarantine. Quality pet care is available, and many people have pets. Most people use Dr. Joe of Pet Care House (FB page). Vet Sinare is also OK; a bit local, but knows his stuff. There is boarding available (ask on FB group Team Tanzania), though I haven't used it myself. If importing pets, work with shipping and customs well ahead of time to make sure the correct paperwork is completed. There is a new (February 2015) animal shelter- TAWESO (see their FB page)- run by mostly volunteers and funded mostly by donations. They shelter dogs & cats.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

No. Tanzania currently has no bi-lateral work agreement. Spouses who work either work at the Embassy, teach or sub at IST, arrive with international jobs lined up, or volunteer.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Not sure. Though you'd think there would be a lot, I've also heard it's difficult to find volunteer opportunities. I know some people who volunteer, but they really work to make it happen.

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

At work, business though a bit casual (need to have a jacket/heels on-hand, though not necessary every day). In public, really anything is fine, though local Tanzanians don't often show their legs (men nor women).

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Health & Safety:

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

Yes. Dar is a big crime threat post. RSO requires all visitors staying over 2 weeks to attend the weekly security briefing. All residences have 24-7 guards, high walls, razor wire, barred windows, and alarms. Even with this, crime happens. Every few months an attempted home break-in occurs (though they're usually not successful). RSO issues a quarterly security report detailing security incidences related to the Embassy. There is a FB group called something like "I've been a victim of crime in Dar" so that all expats can know about possible threats. You have to be constantly aware of your surroundings and take precautions. Crime, however, is not usually violent (meaning that anyone is seriously injured or killed), though I have known several people who have been jumped and beaten up a bit. Walking and running on the peninsula is fine; and going out at night is OK if you're careful.

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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?

Yes. Malaria and dengue are issues. Water is not safe to drink. There is only one hospital (Aga Khan) available that is anywhere near acceptable, and even then not for many procedures we would consider routine in the U.S. The IST Health Clinic, located next to IST Upper School, very good, but operates on a subscription basis. Whatever medical needs you can cover at home, do so. Decent dental cleaning & procedures are available but just as expensive as in the U.S. Braces are available but also near U.S. prices & perhaps not as good quality. Diagnostic & preventive testing is better done elsewhere.

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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. Only when doing a long walk on the local roads (not peninsula) is there much dust.

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

Hot and hotter. And some rain. October-April are hotter, with December/January being hottest. May-September are only hot. High humidity most days. There are "rainy" seasons, but it seems they may be changing due to global warming, and to me they really were not THAT rainy. The bad effect of the rains is that they create lakes in some streets due to no drainage and huge potholes in the roads which really affects driving on a daily basis within Dar. (The roads are not laid with a proper foundation so when it rains heavily, the soil beneath becomes water-logged and the heavy vehicles going over top cracks the road, and as more and more cars pass over, the cracks become pot holes; eventually, within the year the potholes seem to get repaired, but it tales several months)

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Schools & Children:

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

My children all attended IST Upper School. Most children attend International School of Tanganyika; two campuses- one for lower (KG-5) and one for upper (6-12). A few attend Dar International Academy, especially for the lower school since the commute is much shorter. The Embassy bus service picks up little ones quite early to get to IST Lower School- 6:30 or so; DIA is on the peninsula so the commute is smuch shorter. Upper School kids get picked up at 7:00am or after. IST upper school is a perfectly acceptable school. Of course, some people have more complaints than others academically. Socially, it is quite small, and I don't think most kids who go to the Upper School, especially grades 9-12, would say they loved it. Some hated it; some tolerated it; some liked it. Haven't really met any who "loved" it. See my school review in the school review section for more detailed info.

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

For a child with special physical needs, I think the school would accommodate them well (there was a senior last year who used a wheelchair). IST does not make many accommodations for learning differences, at least not in the Upper School that I can see. They are an IB-driven school. Once kids are in grades 9-12, it's all about the IB Diploma. Even trying to convince them to allow a student to only complete the IB Certificate (as opposed to the full Diploma), takes a bit of convincing. Though I haven't had to deal with special-needs, I don't think they are trained or equipped to provide services to a child with special developmental needs.

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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?

Yes. I know people who send their little ones to both preschools and have full-time nannies. Most seem satisfied, though I haven't asked extensively.

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

IST offers sports, but they're limited. Check out the IST website for more info; soccer, basketball, volleyball, swimming, once-a-week running, they started tennis this year & also a small track program. There is a private swim club, Taliss, that kids can join after trying out; they need certain times. Taliss offers swim practice 6 days a week, 3 at Upper School, 3 at Lower School, and quarterly meets. Others have found some gymnastics, ballet, dance, etc., but you really have to search for them. There is a FB group "Expat Parents in Dar" that is a good source of info.

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Expat Life:

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

TONS of expats in Dar, specifically on the peninsula. Morale within expat community is high. Morale within the Embassy is not as high.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

CLO-sponsored events, Dar es Salaam Yacht Club events & sports (sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, etc.), dinners & parties with friends at restaurants or homes, movie theater 10 minutes away, seasonal "balls"

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

It's OK for everyone. I think it's better for families with young children because there are beaches and pools and playgroups and yards. It's more difficult for the older kids because there's really just not much to do here besides water sports and school. For singles, it's also pretty boring, I think, though of course there are many trips to be taken if you have disposable income (CapeTown, safaris, Zanzibar, climb Kiliminjaro, neighboring countries). For couples, I would think same as for singles. The Embassy community is not overly close-knit since there are so many other trips to go on and the Embassy work location are a bit spread out (CDC & Peace Corps are downtown) and traffic is bad so sometimes makes getting together difficult.

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

I don't think so. Homosexuality is not widely understood or accepted in Tanzania.

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

Not really that I have experienced.

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

Going on safari up north (Lake Manara, Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti). Going to Zanizbar (2 hour ferry ride). Just seeing how average Tanzanians live.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

AfriRoots bicycle tour when your first arrive (a 4-hour bike tour of the city; they also offer bhajaj- auto rickshaw/tuk yuk tours); Village Museum (bring a flashlight); drive from Pangani to Dar or vice-versa, through the game park (you see how real Tanzanians live); Sauti za Busara music festival in Zanzibar in February; Tarangire and the Crater; Mbudya Island; bike ride to South Beach (for age 15+ only) and then stay at Kipepeo; the Badminton Institute; buying fabric; Indian Bingo night; the new animal shelter Taweso; serving food on Saturdays with the Korean NGO

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

Have a nice piece of furniture made- a kitchen island, a bar, a coffee table; can be made out of dhow wood. Have clothing/table clothes/shower curtains made of fabrics purchased from downtown. Zanzibar chests. Metal items made by Wonder Works.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

LOTS of opportunities for: going to the beach, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, safaris

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10. Can you save money?

Yes, if you're careful.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

I wish I had known how difficult Dar is for teenagers. On paper, the school looks great and, for those who have lived in difficult places, Dar looks fine. But it's a very difficult place for teenagers. The school is relatively small; many of the kids have been in Dar for several years so there is a bit of exclusivity (not as much as in Latin America); if your kid does a sport other than those offered, no dice; there's not much for them to do socially- some drink and smoke pot, I've heard, but if your kid is not one of those then … they're pretty bored. Academically, the school is OK but not stellar, and the teachers are very nice but not hugely inspiring. Not a great way to end their high school career.

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

Not sure.

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Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania 03/02/14

Background:

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

No we also lived in Asia.

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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?

California. We use the KLM flight to Amsterdam and then direct from Amsterdam to LA.

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3. How long have you lived here?

3 years.

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

Government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Most are stand alone houses; some in compounds and some not. Most are a nice size. Some have large yards, but some do not. We happen to live in one of the smaller houses and that was okay with us. We also have a small yard, but thankful we have some grass and plants. Please do not come to post thinking you will be receiving a palatial house. Yes, some people do receive a large house and yard, and yes, there are some with pools, but that isn't everyone! Some lucky people have Indian Ocean views, but most people do not. Everyone from the embassy lives on the peninsula and commute time is usually about 15 minutes (without traffic). Easy commute, but watch for dala dalas, Bajaj drivers, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians.

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

Groceries in Dar cost a fortune but you can find most everything you want/need if you go to a couple of stores. Canned items are really quite expensive. Do a consumables order if you use a lot of canned items. There is a great butcher shop with wonderful cuts of meat but you will pay for it. Chicken breasts run about US$15 a kilo. Minced beef is about US$10 a kilo. There is also a great deli that imports meat from Germany. They get great sandwich ham and turkey and cheeses but that will cost you about US$30 a kilo. The fresh produce in town is reasonably priced. Locally produced yogurt is inexpensive and pretty good.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

More insect repellant.

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

KFC is now in Dar, but it's very expensive and there are great restaurants that are not too expensive. To go out to a nice dinner with drinks will probably cost around US$50 for 2 people.

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

Mosquitoes that carry malaria and dengue! I know snakes are not insects, but Dar also has green and black mamba snakes. Very dangerous! I have only seen one in my neighbor's yard about 1 year ago, but still very scary!

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Daily Life:

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

Through the embassy - DPO.

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

Lots of availability, but I have no idea how much the wages are.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The Embassy has a gym and it's free. Nice gyms in town run over US$100 a month per person.

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

Don't use the ATMs in town! I have known some people who did and their account information was stolen.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Christian, Catholic, LDS...

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

None. Most Tanzanians in Dar speak English. If you would like the better price on the bunch of bananas your eyeing or on a fresh tuna, Kiswahili is a must!

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

Very difficult to live here if one has a disability.

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Transportation:

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

I would not recommend taking local trains or buses. Only use a taxi driver that comes recommended by a friend/colleague.

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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?

4 x 4 if you plan on going out of town a lot. A regular sedan is fine in town.

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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 (not that fast), but expensive. We pay about US$100 a month.

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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?

Embassy will issue cell phones. For family members, it's cheap and easy to get a cell phone and buy minutes.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No. There are kennels available. Notify the embassy if you plan on bringing in a pet. They can help with the paperwork.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

No.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Lots.

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

At work, it depends on one's office. Most do not wear a suit and tie everyday. In public, dressing modestly is always appropriate.

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Health & Safety:

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

Yes. All the houses have a guard, security bars, and alarms. Always be aware of your surroundings and don't ever carry a bag/purse/backpack while walking on the street. Many people have been hurt when thieves drive by in a car and try to snatch the bag from an unsuspecting walker. Never carry huge amounts of cash and keep a good hold of your smart phone.

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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?

Yes, malaria and dengue. We are fortunate to have an embassy doctor. IST clinic is also very good.

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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?

No bad air quality where most of the expats live. Sometimes, a neighbor will burn trash, but the smoke doesn't last very long.

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

Hot and humid. June, July, and August are the nicest months when the humidity goes down a bit.

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Schools & Children:

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

Most kids go to IST or Dar International Academy. Some prefer DIA over IST. Do research and talk with parents with school-aged kids before making a decision.

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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?

There are preschools available. Many people with small children will hire a nanny.

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

Yes, through the school.

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Expat Life:

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

Large size and morale is good.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Yacht club, beaches, dinners.

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

Yes. It seems everyone can have a good tour here.

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

No experience with this, but I don't think so.

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

Some religious violence both in Dar and in Zanzibar.

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

Safaris and spending time on the beach. Eating the yummy tropical fruit and seafood is also nice.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

If you are into water sports-sailing, diving, snorkeling, boating then this post is for you! There are also cinemas, paint ball, and a driving range in town. There are no hiking opportunities in Dar, but there are some about 4-5 hours out of town.

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

Wood carvings and chests.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The weather is hot and beautiful. The safaris are expensive, but fantastic. Friendly people, gorgeous beaches, great seafood, and tropical fruit. Yes, one can save some money, but groceries are expensive.

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10. Can you save money?

Yes, but don't miss out on the safari opportunities. Also, trips down to Cape Town can get a expensive.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

Bad power problems (invest in some good surge protectors) and bad-smelling water. Also, the chicken tastes like fish.

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

Yes. I am glad we came. We have some wonderful memories, but 3 years was enough. If you are really not into water sports, you might get bored here.

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

Winter coats and boots. You can also leave behind a sense of urgency. This is Tanzania and things run at a slower pace.

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4. But don't forget your:

Patience, swim suits, sunscreen, and sense of adventure. Don't sweat the small stuff and you'll be fine.

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Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania 02/16/13

Background:

1. Your reason for living this city (e.g. corporate, government, military, student, educator, retiree, etc.):

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

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3. 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?

West coast of US; 28-30 hours including layovers --- one stateside layover and one in Amsterdam. Delta/KLM had the best connections, especially for traveling with pets.

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4. How long have you lived here?

(The contributor was affiliated with the U.S. Embassy and lived in Dar es Salaam from 2010 to 2012, a third expat experience in Africa.)

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Most housing is on the peninsula and is fairly good sized and nice. The commute to the embassy, with no traffic, is about a 10-15 minute drive, but during "rush hour", the ride can take around 30 minutes. Traffic is bad outside the peninsula, and traffic lights usually don't work---or people don't adhere to them.

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

Groceries and household supplies are quite expensive except for fresh produce, which is good and relatively cheap. Bring your own paper goods, toiletries, and cleaning products. You can get good wine for low prices from South Africa. Juices, sodas, and bottled water are pretty cheap. Alcohol is so-so in price.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

More portable fans. Some of the rooms are large and the one little air conditioning unit isn't enough to even slightly cool down one room. Car oil & filters. Lots more sunscreen and mosquito repellant.

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

There is no such thing as fast food in Africa. But there is a good "quicker" Thai place and a couple of delis. There is a Subway that is pretty similar to ours. Lots of restaurants: Thai, Chinese, Indian, Italian, and even a couple of Mexican. Prices are from the medium to high range.

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

Malaria is the main one talked about while we were there. Everyone has ants and roaches in their houses. Spiders are there but not a big deal.

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Daily Life:

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

Only through the embassy.

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

They are everywhere and relatively cheap. Although there are tough laws for insuring them.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There is a small gym at the embassy and a few public ones on the peninsula.

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

NEVER use either one there. You can, but I wouldn't trust using a credit card except at the high end hotels. NEVER use an ATM, the issues with this are getting more and more frequent.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

I'm not sure. Ours was Swahili only.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes. The men in the streets have the latest editions of English newspapers and several magazines. There are several options for TV but we used AFN.

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

You can get by without, but you get better service and attention if you know some Swahili. A little goes a long way with their appreciation. Also, even though English is the main business language, there are still a vast majority that don't speak it.

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

There are no sidewalks, and the roads are in very poor condition. Almost all of the houses are at least two stories. So walking the streets or getting to places upstairs would prove difficult. If you have breathing problems, it may be an issue the farther you live off the peninsula.

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Transportation:

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

Ther are no local trains. Don't take buses, and only use properly marked taxis. Pajaj's are plentiful, but use them at your own risk. Taxis are not too expensive, but always agree on a price BEFORE you get in.

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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?

I would only drive a 4X4. Roads are bad, and when it rains they flood, and some places get pretty deep. I would worry about driving through some areas in a regular car. Parts and services are VERY expensive, as is gas/diesel. Carjackings aren't so bad, but break-ins and theft of mirrors is a big issue. Always pay to park your car in public. While most people can drive their left-hand-drive vehicles without problems, I find it easier to use a right-hand drive. Shipping & customs take FOREVER, so plan ahead to ship a vehicle or purchase one locally. The best option is to get one from another diplomat as they leave. Paperwork & customs can take literally months otherwise. The ports are a mess to process shipping a vehicle, so plan ahead.

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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?

Internet is very expensive and unreliable. There are many competing companies, but it seems several are down more than they are up. The speed is average on a good day. Streaming leaves a lot to be desired. Most you recharge by scratch cards.

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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?

There are several carriers and they are mostly the same price range. For data packages it gets a bit pricey.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No. But they do have to be approved BEFORE coming into country.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

I heard the Italian vet left, and that's the only one we knew of that was high quality. The pet food is expensive and not that great. I would ship most food and medicines.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

The only jobs I saw expats do were within the diplomatic community and charities. That doesn't mean they aren't there, I just didn't know of any.

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

Casual on both accounts.

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Health & Safety:

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

Yes, many muggings, and the house break-ins are getting worse. The biggest problem is that most break-ins are inside jobs from the security company the embassy uses (KK Security)and they don't fire the guards after they are caught.

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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. The embassy clinic is pretty good and there are a couple of good options on the economy.

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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?

Air quality off the peninsula is bad with traffic and trash burning. On the peninsula (where the majority of expats live) is only bad when they are burning trash next door.

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

Very hot and humid 9 months of the year and the other 3 it is still hot and humid, but a bit more bearable. Seasons are opposite of the U.S. and there are mainly only two rainy seasons. Streets flood when it rains and the roads are all bad.

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Schools & Children:

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

I've heard that the lower campus is good and that parents are happy with it. But the upper campus is terrible, other kids hate American kids, the education is horrible, and it makes no sense how they handle things. And the social issues with the teens isn't very good. 11th & 12th grades are especially rough. There is NOTHING for the teenage crowd to do but party with drugs. It is not a U.S.-based school like most we've dealt with elsewhere, and if you are not familiar with the British IB system it is not good to throw your kids into it towards the end of their school career. Most parents send their kids back to the States or to boarding school for their last two years. We did that as well.

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

I would not send any special-needs kids to the International School.

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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?

Not sure about the lower grades. The high school has a few, but they are not well organized and mostly cater to the permanent residents. The soccer team is half a team playing on half a field.

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Expat Life:

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

It's a fairly large community.

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2. Morale among expats:

Fairly good from all that I have seen.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There is a very busy and active receptions/events social circuit. Several social functions for the various holidays. There seems to always be home parties/get togethers. There is a French, Russian, and Indian cultural centers. The local church is always putting on plays and other activities.

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

Families with small children, yes; families with teenagers, NO, singles yes, couples OK.

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

I have never heard of there being any issues.

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

I never heard of or saw any issues with race or religion, but I did experience going to the local doctors, and they wouldn't speak directly to me (being a woman), but only to my husband. That being said, they were professional otherwise.

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

Going on safari, the beach, snorkeling, and Zanzibar & Mafia Island.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Mostly water activities: scuba, snorkeling, sailing, going to the beach. safari, or hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro. There are two theaters, but both take a while to get to through the city traffic and are not close to the housing areas. They are both in malls. Plenty of good restaurants.

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

Crafts, wood carvings, paintings, Zanzibar chests, Massai items and Tanzanite.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Safaris (although they are extremely expensive) and the beautiful Indian Ocean.

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11. Can you save money?

Absolutely NOT. Especially if you must entertain for the job. Just about everything is expensive here. The COLA does NOT reflect the proper cost of living.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

Yes, but I'd be better prepared. It is VERY frustrating to first get settled in. There are a lot of challenges but once you get the system down and learn to live with the quirks, all is good.

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

Rushed attitude. EVERYTHING takes time here and isn't very efficient.

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3. But don't forget your:

PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE. And all your water gear (except surf boards or body boards, as there are no waves) and sunscreen.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

You are on the beautiful Indian Ocean but DO NOT be deceived by all you read up on before you go. There are NO local beaches on the peninsula (well, only one but we are not allowed to use it). You WILL have to drive at least 30 minutes or take a ferry to get to any beach to enjoy.

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Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania 02/04/13

Background:

1. Your reason for living this city (e.g. corporate, government, military, student, educator, retiree, etc.):

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

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3. 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?

Washington, D.C. - 22 hours - Transit through Amsterdam or Zurich.

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4. How long have you lived here?

(The contributor was affiliated with the U.S. Government and lived in Dar es Salaam from 2010 to 2012, a second expat experience.)

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Most expats live in the Msasani area or "Peninsula", which is an enclave of diplomats and business professionals who live in a nice area north of downtown. This is an area with all the NGOs, many diplomats, and nice grocery stores, hotels, and other amenities. The problem was that housing was getting saturated, due to everyone wanting to live in the same area, so plots that might be nice for one house often had two houses on them. This is not the typcial African living---with large gardens and colonial homes. Homes were generally smaller, with small yards. Apartments were also becoming more common. I would say that the biggest problem with Dar was the housing crunch, with its limited opportunities.

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

Vegetables and fruits were very cheap, but imported goods could be very expensive. We were able to find what we wanted and needed, but sometimes we had to go to a few places to find what we wanted. There was also an EXCELLENT South African butcher shop that had great meat and other produce. Otherwise, you can find what you need. One interesting point is that the TZ government subsidized alcohol, so we found alcohol to be generally much cheeper than in the U.S., particularly hard liquor. We could also get great South African wine. There was a woman who imported good wine from SA and would deliver to your house.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Canned goods like black beans, salsa, and other stuff for Mexican food. Also lots of tortilla chips, tortillas, etc. Everything else you can get.

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

Subway, Mary Browns (chicken, burgers, etc.), as well as a number of fast food Indian and Lebanese restaurants.

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

Dar does have a malaria problem, and particularly during the hot season in the evening you should cover up with long sleeves and liberally use DEET mosquito spray. Many people take malaria pills, but we did not. Instead, we chose to remain inside during bad mosquito times and use spray and long sleeves.

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Daily Life:

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

Embassy DPO.

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

Very reasonable. We had a FT housekeeper/nanny that we paid about US$185/month. This was on the higher end as embassy employees, but people generally had a gardener, maid, and sometimes nanny as well.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are a few in town that are nice. The Coliseum Hotel was famous for it's nice gym and attached spa, but it was crowded as one of the few options in town.

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

We used ATM's without much problem, but watched the account frequently and did have one incidence of fraud. I never used major credit cards except when traveling at major hotels or resorts.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes, a number of different churches - mostly planted by U.S. and British missionaries. Some good options including the Ocean and others.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Direct TV from South Africa was available at about US $80 per month. Many people purchased this option and felt the channels and coverage was good. Lots of sports channels and some of the U.S. prime-time networks.

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

Knowing Swahili and basic greetings is certainly helpful, but not necessary and you can get by with English.

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

Dar would be difficult for people with disabilities. There are no sidewalks and the roads are generally in poor condition. Elevators in major buildings are often broken as well.

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Transportation:

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

Local taxis are color coded and generally fine, but make sure you pick a marked taxi and negotiate the price BEFORE you get into the car. Drivers will always charge you more than double if they can. My rule was always negotiate for everything and don't let yourself get pushed around. Drivers were good if you pushed back and negotiated.

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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 really need a 4WD vehicle if possible. Roads are in bad condition, often with large pot-holes and other problems. During rainy season, drains clogged and roads washed out, so something with good ground clearance is important. Also, part of the fun of Tanzania is getting out into the bush for safari and other adventures, so a 4wd vehicle is almost a must if you want to get out and see the country.

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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, but Internet was one of the biggest frustrations and expensive. The cell companies sell the USB "dongle" modems that can be expensive and a bit slow at times. We purchased home DSL Internet through TTCL, which is the main DSL provider. We were heavy downloaders and wanted extra speed, so ended up paying about US$200 per month.

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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?

South Africa Vodacom was there as well as the Indian company Airtel. I recommend Airtel prepaid for phone and data plans with BlackBerry and iPhone. Both worked fine and airtime/data plans were cheap and easy to set up.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

We always left our dog with friends - I don't know there were any places where I would feel comfortable leaving my pet.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Many spouses worked with NGO's doing development work and others were able to find jobs at the embassy. The embassy was growing and there were many opportunities for spouses who wanted to work either full or part time.

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

Tanzanians generally dressed up in long pants and button down shirts all the time with shoes shined. Dress was conservative most of the time and at work business casual was most common.

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Health & Safety:

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

As in most African countries, petty crimes are becoming more common, especially crimes of opportunity. Use common sense, keep windows up, and don't leave items lying out in your car. There was also a rash of drive-by purse snatchings before we left Dar, where some women were injured when a car would drive by and someone would try to pull a woman's purse off her shoulders. Home invasions were uncommon, but they did happen. Violent crimes were not common, but when walking downtown, or by yourself, it is important to remain alert to your surroundings.

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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?

Health care was not good on the local market. We had a great embassy medical staff, but for other problems there was really only one hospital in town. They were good about seeing embassy staff and actually had a CT scan and x-ray services, but for any major medical issue, we were medevac'd out of the country.

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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?

In downtown Dar, the air quality was probably moderate, due to the many old cars, polluting buses, etc. You also have to be careful about the beaches you choose to swim at, because some of the beaches have raw sewage dumped near them. Dar Yacht Club (DYC) is a safe beach, as are the beaches just north and south of the city center.

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

Hot and hotter! The most pleasant time of year is May - August which is the cooler season. Daytime highs are usually in the 80's, but it is less humid---and you get a cooler breeze---at night. The HOT season begins in November and continues through Feb/March. Temperatures get up into the 90's with higher humidity, and it's difficult to be outside for extended periods. It can get very hot and uncomfortable. Dar also has two rainy seasons, but it only rains for shorts periods during the day. Be careful of flooding roads, though, and terrible traffic.

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Schools & Children:

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

There is one international school, which most parents felt happy with. Our kids were younger and attended pre-schools and play groups. For families with younger kids, there are wonderful, organized, play-groups for kids. They are arranged by ages, and moms get together frequently, rotating homes and allowing kids to play. There are also lots of birthday and house parties on the weekends for families, which is nice and helps to make the weekends less boring.

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

We heard from other families this was a problem. Generally schools in Africa have a harder time making accommodations like this.

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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?

Great daycare and pre-school options for younger kids. Kids Corner, Bush Babies, etc. Kids are well taken care of and environments are generally safe and clean. Our kids attended Kids Corner and we loved the two young girls who ran the school.

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

Yes.

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Expat Life:

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

Relatively large between the embassies, NGO's and others.

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2. Morale among expats:

Generally good, particularly if you like water sports.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

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

I would say good for all. Families with kids have regular play groups through school and preschool, and there are often house parties, beach events, and other activities. The Dar Yacht club is also great, with Pizza Nights and fish fry nights for families to enjoy on weekends. For singles, the nightlife was active, as there were a number of young diplomats' clubs and younger NGO workers who got together at various clubs and took outings.

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

I think generally fine.

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

No.

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

Dar Yacht Club, trips to Arusha and Safari Country, weekend getaways to Zanzibar to stay at the many island resorts. Most resorts also provide resident or embassy discounts if you are living in Tanzania as part of a diplomatic mission.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Zanzibar, Serengeti Safaris, Mafia Island, South Beach, Arusha/Moshi, hiking, diving, snorkeling, fishing, all water sports.

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

wood carvings, masks, Tinga-Tinga paintings, and travel.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Ocean living with nice beaches, water sports, and Dar Yacht Club. There are excellent travel opportunities within the country and to Zanzibar and offshore islands, as well as Safari country and mountains in the north. Serengeti is one of the best places to do a Safari in the world, and Tanzania has a well-developed tourist industry, particularly in the north.

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11. Can you save money?

Yes, but groceries and socializing/eating out can get expensive.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

Yes, generally a good post. Definitely some frustration, but a good experience. The key is getting out of the city and finding activities on weekends.

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

winter clothes.

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3. But don't forget your:

sunscreen, snorkeling gear, and hiking gear if you want to climb Kilimanjaro!

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Name Your LinkThe Zanzibar Chest

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania 08/22/11

Background:

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

No- Puno Peru, Lima Peru, La Paz Bolivia, Accra Ghana, Kathmandu Nepal, Dhaka Bangladesh

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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?

East Coast US. It's a relatively simple transfer through Amsterdam, about 20 hours in the air, plus transfer times. Amsterdam (and KLM) offers the best timing for connections. I find London (and BA) somewhat awkward. Zurich (Swiss) was great, but there arfe fewer flights a week.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years (2009 - 2011)

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

Job at an international NGO.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Most expats live on the Penninsula. Traffic downtown is horrible, and can take 45+ minutes to get to the office if you work at the UN or one of the downtown embassies. It takes less than 10 minutes if there aren't many cars on the road. The American Embassy and many NGOs are in the opposite direction, so the commute time is very short.

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

Groceries are very expensive, but you can find everything (down to Keebler cookies and Purina Dog food). It is all imported from the UK and the Middle East. Local meat is of decent quality, and there's a fabulous Italian deli that sells good eggs and wonderful home-made pastas. Bring Mexican staples if that is your thing.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

SCUBA gear!

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

Not so much in the way of fast food. Subway is the only US chain, although Steers and Mary Brown's do the hamburger thing. Lots of good upscale restaurants including French, Ethiopian, Italian, Lebanese, Chinese, Grills, Seafood, Japanese, Korean, Thai, etc. Local food is very bland, but Nyama Choma (grilled Meat) and a Kilimanjaro (beer) always hits the spot.

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5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

The large Indian community means vegetarian options are widely available (you can even get a Paneer taco at the sole Mexican place). Italian Deli carries good Tofu available in bulk.

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

Malaria is a big problem, although it is getting better. Many expats do not take prophylaxis, but they do sleep under a mosquito net or with a strong fan.

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Daily Life:

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

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

Cheap and available, although English can be a problem. Tanzania has some pretty strict labor laws regarding time off and pay, so sometimes expats feel their staff is taking advantage of them (by never coming into work).

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, Colosseum is very popular but pricey. The U.S. Embassy has a gym on the compound.

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

Credit cards are rarely accepted and usually carry a 5% service charge. ATMs are readily available and generally safe, although there have been some scandals recently. Just check your account regularly for irregular charges (particularly withdrawals from ATMs in Eastern Europe or Nairobi), and be mindful of people around you watching you enter your PIN.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

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

More than you think! Swahili is deeply ingrained in Tanzania and, while English is taught in schools, even relatively well-educated people are very uncomfortable speaking it. Unlike in many other African nations, most of the younger generation do not grow up speaking a tribal language, only Swahili, so they aren't comfortable switching between languages. Learning to at least bargain in the market place and hold a basic conversation will go a long way.

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

Roads are rough and sidewalks are non-existent. Many buildings do not have escalators or elevators. But people are very accommodating of those with disabilities and are willing to help out or make special arrangements.

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Transportation:

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

Buses are crowded and drivers are crazy. You take your life in your hands every time you get onboard, but not they are not particularly unsafe from a security point of view. Taxis are a lot more expensive and often seem like they are falling apart. Ask around for a good driver and call him exclusively. If he can't make it, he'll send a nearby friend to get you for the same price you normally pay him. You'll save money and feel much more secure.

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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?

Roads are HORRIBLE, even in Dar. As bad as the traffic is, and as much as I want to tell you to get a little car, you may well need a monster SUV just to get in and out of your house. I've had to drive in mud puddles that COVERED the hood of my Rav-4 sized vehicle just to get to the main road from a friend's house in a good part of town. That being said, I took my small SUV all over the country with no problems... though 4-wheel-drive did come in handy. Make sure every piece of glass is etched with your VIN or license plate number... if it is stolen you can go downtown to buy it back, just don't bring a cop with you or all the vendors disappear.

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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?

Internet got significantly better with the advent of the SeaCom cable, however it remained very expensive... all providers price by kilobyte used (both up and down loaded), so even though the bandwidth is now good enough to download a movie, you'll end up paying a fortune for it! 3G modems are fast and very convenient. I used one exclusively for my home internet use and was amazed to be able to get online in pretty remote parts of the country.

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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?

Cell phones are cheap to buy and cheap to operate. Vodacom and Airtel (formerly Zain) are a bit more expensive but have bigger networks.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No, but you need to get an import permit prior to arrival (available on arrival, but it will seriously slow things down). Check online for the required vaccinations and treatments, make sure your pet is up to date, and send a copy of their shot and de-worming record ahead of time to be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture. They'll stamp it and give it to whoever is helping you with those sorts of things. Bring a copy with you on the plane, and have the person meeting you bring the original, and then you can basically just stroll right out of the airport with no hassles.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

There are two good vets, one Tanzanian and one Italian. Both will board animals but have limited space. There are a few farms out of town and up in Arusha that will board dogs for extended periods of time, but I don't know how pricey they are. Pet food is extremely expensive, but you can get it, even some specialty brands. There are a few nice pet stores. If you don't have a dog, there is a rescue group (Dar Animal Haven) that is very reputable and can help you find a pet. Tanzanians are cautious with dogs, and your employees may be uncomfortable with them, but I never had a problem bringing my dog with me pretty much everywhere. Many restaurants allow dogs in the outside seating areas. Be respectful and keep your dog on leash in rural settings, particularly villages, so as not to scare anyone. Cats are everywhere and are generally tolerated, but be careful because black cats may be persecuted or killed.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Yes, with the caveat that labor laws are extremely strict. It is very difficult (though not impossible) to get a work permit, and it may be impossible if you have a diplomatic passport (depending on the embassy... Americans have an agreement with the government allowing spouses to work, the Germans do not, so there are a lot of bored German housewives/husbands around).

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

Somewhat conservative, yet more casual than expected.

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Health & Safety:

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

Muggings happen at Coco beach or downtown, but only when you obviously are carrying something. I jogged most days and was never hassled.

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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, other tropical diseases. There are a few decent urgent-care places, but anything major requires medevac to Nairobi or South Africa. There is only one (occasionally working) decompression chamber, and it is in Zanzibar. So be very careful diving.

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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?

Great- most expats live on the Msasani peninsula, or otherwise by the sea, so consistent ocean breezes blow away the smog from the horrible traffic, roaring generators, and burning trash.

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

Lovely year 'round... a bit hotter and stickier in January (upper 90s) a bit cooler and breezier in July/August (low 80s).

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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?

Very, very large, and very diverse.

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2. Morale among expats:

Good! (except for those who do not like the ocean).

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

You will go to lots of house parties and some good bars, but watch out for aggressive prostitutes. Hash House Harriers is always a good place to meet some really great people, learn your way around Dar, and have fun. Yacht Club is the hub of many people's social lives. There is also a very energetic club scene, but it doesn't get started until 2am, even on weeknights.

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

Better for families and singles than couples, strangely enough. There are lots and lots of family activities (beach, pools, waterpark, etc), and a lively social scene for singles and young active couples, but not a ton of things to do for more 'settled' couples without kids.

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

It seems okay. As with the question about religion and race, people in Dar are fairly cosmopolitan and accepting of differences. Outside the city, especially along the coast and in Pemba (Zanzibar), there are more conservative Muslim communities where PDAs would be frowned upon no matter what your orientation is.

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

Not overtly. Dar is fairly cosmopolitan, with large Arabic, Indian, and African communities living fairly peacefully with each other, and all religions.

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

Snorkeling with whale sharks in Mafia, Diving in Mtwara, train ride to Zambia, and Safaris.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

In Dar it is all about the water, as it is very difficult to get out of the city. Save your hiking boots for climbing Kili, and don't bother bringing a mountain bike. Bring a surfboard instead, or kite surfing gear, scuba gear, snorkeling gear, and all your beach paraphenalia, as you will use them every day. Join the yacht club and learn to sail. The bay is ranked as one of the top sailing bays in the world, and there are Regattas for all different classes. You can also dive with the yacht club for just the cost of gas and the air fill (but bring your own gear). Diving instruction is available at White Sands or on Zanzibar. Zanzibar is a mere 2.5 hours away by Ferry. It is much easier to get out to Zanzibar than it is to go inland. If you don't like water, there is a pretty intense club scene, but otherwise not a lot of activities.

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

Safaris will eat any savings you make, but there are also good handicrafts. If you have a shipment home, there is beautiful furniture made from old dhows.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Safaris, particularly access to the less traveled and utterly fantastic Southern Circuit (Ruaha, Mikumi and the Selous). it is worth it to go to the Northern Circuit (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, etc.) once to see the migration, but in the north there will be an average of 30 cars to every lion. In the south you'll see 30 lions for every car. Also fabulous beaches, Zanzibar islands, Mafia islands (whale sharks) and world-class scuba diving.

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11. Can you save money?

Yes, if you are careful. Some things are cheap, but restaurants, groceries (in the big shops), and many services are expensive.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

In a heartbeat!

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

land-based activities (like mountain bikes) and winter clothing (unless you plan to climb Kili and/or Meru).

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3. But don't forget your:

patience. There is no hurry in Africa!

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania 06/19/10

Background:

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

No - Europe and South America.

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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?

VA is home - travel options are limited, as TZ does not have a national carrier. People must travel on KLM via Amsterdam, or Swiss Air via Zurich

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3. How long have you lived here?

18 months.

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

Spouse of US Govt employee.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Single-family homes are the norm for embassy personnel, but some expats live in apartments. Rents are outrageous ($4,000-5,000/mo) but most homes are comfortable. The vast majority have generators, as power outages are frequent.

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

Fresh fruits and vegetables are priced within reason; canned goods and other such items are imported from the middle east and south africa, which makes them expensive. Dairy products are very costly.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Bring all your liquids. If you don't have embassy mail, bring clothing and toys, too, as shopping is limited.

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

There are a few hamburger places, a couple of subways, and lots of Italian, Indian and local restaurants. You'll pay what you would in the US

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

Tons of mosquitoes and other tropical bugs - a yellow fever vaccination is a must (among others) prior to arriving.

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Daily Life:

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

The embassy only has pouch mail, so sending things out is difficult. You can receive everything (there is a weight/size limit) except liquids.

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

Domestic help is common and inexpensive ,but watch out for theft.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The embassy has a small gym and a club. There are other gyms, but they are extremely expensive (Colosseum is currently $150/month).

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

There have been recent scams with the Barclays' ATMs -- precaution should be taken. We use the bank at the embassy (Citibank) and have never had a problem.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes - various Christian sects and Muslim.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes.

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

None - Tanzanians in the city are bilingual, speaking Kiswahili and English.

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

Yes, as is the case with most third-world countries.

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Transportation:

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

Taxis are expensive, and daladalas are cheap but crowded and stinky. There are little 3-wheeled carts that are cost-effective but dangerous.

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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?

Roads are a complete mess and are not a priority of the local government. You will drive on many dirt streets, and potholes are the norm. 4-wheel-drives is necessary -- you don't want to bring a low-clearance car.

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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?

Internet is still limited and expensive (4G for $85/month).

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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?

Cell phones are common - pay as you go cards are the norm - texting is okay, but calling is really expensive.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

No kennels, but there are a couple of good vets.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

No - work visas outside the embassy are impossible to come by.

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

Business casual.

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Health & Safety:

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

Yes - theft at knifepoint is on the rise. Unfortunately, walking along the beach is not recommended due to crime. Crime inside the homes is common, but most often it is a result of unsupervised hired help. It can be avoided with monitoring.

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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?

Poor medical care - you will be medevac'd for most serious injuries --- to Kenya or SA

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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?

If you live on or near the peninsula, as most expats/govt employees do, the ocean breeze blows away most of the dust/pollution that is otherwise prevalent further inland.

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

Weather is hot and humid most of the year (85-95 F) with a slight break during the winter months of June-August. Rainy season is April and May.

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Schools & Children:

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

There is a small French school on the peninsula. HOPAC is a Christian school that is a short distance away (but can take forever to get to in traffic). And IST is the international school. It is divided into two campuses, with preschool-5th grade at one the older kids at another. Teaching is generally good these days, with only the math program being weak. A lack of sporting facilities is the big drawback.

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

IST does actually try to accommodate very minor special needs. Some differentiation in instruction in the upper grades can also be seen.

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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?

There are many preschools in the area (Little Scholars, Bushbabies, etc.).

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

There are no community or city sports programs. Kids get their sports through the schools.

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Expat Life:

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

Large with many nationalities, as there are so many aid groups here.

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2. Morale among expats:

Good.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Frequent bbq's and outdoor events.

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

It seems to be a good city for everyone, as the community is fairly active.

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

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

There don't seem to be

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

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

If you like climbing, this is the place for you, with Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro in the northern section of the country, plus beaches and safaris.

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

Wood crafts, tinga-tinga paintings, cloth.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

If you can afford the Yacht Club (currently $1500/family to join and $70 monthly) and if you can get membership, it has many opportunities for sailing, diving and fishing. Safaris and trips to Zanzibar are great fun but also costly.

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11. Can you save money?

Strangely enough, No!

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Words of Wisdom:

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

Yes.

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

winter clothes.

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3. But don't forget your:

bug spray.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

The Zanzibar Chest and East African travel guides.

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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