Hanging in Dar (es Salaam) – 2 of 2

In part one of this two part series, I introduced you to three things I will never forget about Dar es Salaam.

I have always been a very curious child who is always searching and asking questions. That is why visiting and touring Africa is of definite interest to me. The dream is to visit all African states before I leave earth. This is a dream I intend on trying to achieve.

On that note, here are more things I will never forget about my trip to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

(4) Public transport

They have such a beautiful public transport system. We hardly had any trouble getting around. The city of Dar es Salaam is well named everywhere; you won’t get too frustrated if you get lost. We used the maxi taxi from the airport, tuk tuks to get around, the ferry to cross over from Kingamboni to the central business district, and a boat to get to an island. They also have mini buses. Most of these modes of public transport were so affordable; they were so so cheap.

The affordable public transport really assisted a lot with our stay in Dar es Salaam.

(5) Islands

Everyone wants to go to Zanzibar when in Dar es Salaam. So, we also asked about it.  I was not keen on Zanzibar for financial and commonplace reasons. I am not a fan of places that everyone knows and visits. Our enquiries had us board a boat to a small island called Bongoyo, it was a 30-minute ride. I will never in my entire life be able to articulate the beauty of this island to anyone. It has no human population, is green forest and has a beach that comes in at night and opens up during the day. The government has built one restaurant and some coverings for all who visit.

We were on this beautiful piece of island from 10am to 5pm; it is by far one of the most stunning experiences of my life.

(6) Language

Everyone speaks Swahili. By everyone, I mean everyone, foreigners who live there too.  All races. But of course, there are other languages we did not come in contact with, languages not recorded in books. The schools teach Swahili first language and French second.  English is a thing they hear about. You can imagine the amount of hand gestures we had to make everywhere for communication purposes – in English! To me, Swahili is literally all of South Africa’s languages in one.

The day we left, I could understand most of what I read on boards and heard from our taxi driver.  It was beautiful.

(7) Dar es Salaam is definitely still developing

And that is the beauty.  It reminds me of watching the changes in South Africa when I was young. The transition from wells to taps, bad roads to tarred ones. While in Dar es Salaam, we were staying in a lodge located in a village, slam dunk with the villagers. We had light and taps in that building, and people were getting water from wells around us. The contrast is mind boggling but beautiful.

You get the feeling of wanting to hold on to the old but the new also makes life a bit easier. I am sure the day I return to Dar everything will be different.

 (8) The beach

In Dar es Salaam, the beaches are not just warm; they are geyser warm water in a bath! Just beautiful. I made it into the water at Coco Beach.  I stayed in there for hours just having too much fun. The water is warmer than the water in the KwaZulu Natal beaches in South Africa.

It was a dream I had for what felt like forever, wondering what those clear blue waters feel like. The water was amazing, too amazing!

The last point I want to make is that I made a friend in Dar es Salaam.  A friend I believe will be around forever. This is such a testament of Africans. Our neighbours are our friends; we help them and love them. This friend has already visited us in South Africa, and we plan to go see her and her family again one day.

 

 

 

Hanging in Dar (es Salaam) – 1 of 2

This year, I made it to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). I say I made it because it had been a 2-year dream to go there. Looking at the African map and pictures of Dar es Salaam, I wondered what being there would feel like. Mostly, I wondered about the food, the people, the weather and the fabrics.

In February when I finally put my feet on Dar es Salaam soil, the heat beat me. It literally beat me! That is when I remembered that everything comes in high doses in Africa. Actually, after 2 years’ worth of research about the place and asking people in and around Dar, I should have expected the heat. Plus, February is the height of summer in southern Africa!

We spent 4 nights and 5 days in Dar, being proper tourists to the T. Here is a list of things I will never forget about Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:

(1) It was HOTTTT!

I fell in love with the heat. Mainly because it is coastal heat, which is moist. I was sweating every day and came back home darker. The heat was the most beautiful thing for me because I grew up in the sun so it was nothing new. The people there don’t even feel the sun at all, they go through the day effortlessly. This heat awards the land with such beauty. It was green and beautiful everywhere, like Bushbuckridge in South Africa, where I come from.

My soul just ate all the heat and its effects up.

(2) The food was beautiful

The food in Dar es Salaam is very similar to what we eat in South Africa, just different terms and ways of cooking. The one thing I noticed is that their food is cleaner, what I would call organic. They cook ‘nyama choma’ with salt only, no spices. Most of the spice dishes they have are Indian-influenced dishes: curries etc. I was having the time of my life finding all the food I know and recognised. My stomach thanked me for the adventure.

My favourite meal is what they call chapati and maharagi.

This is what we call roti and sugar beans. Sugar beans are magical for me; I grew up eating them. Then they have the chicken and chips set-ups on every corner similar to shisa nyama on every corner in all of South Africa. We stayed away from these because well, I mean we have so many of these outlets back home.

We opted for the ‘hard body’ chicken boiled with vegetables and plantain (yes banana). This meal was also similar to what we eat here except for the boiled banana.

Alcohol in Dar es Salaam

As for alcohol, they have a lot of options for men. This must be tied to some or other belief about women drinking less – the lies. The amount of local beer was overwhelming; they also had South African beers and other imports. There were only one or two options of beer for women and I did not prefer any of the options available. Other alcoholic beverages like vodka and whisky were expensive but we still bought a bottle of Johnny Walker Black or as we call it back home Johnny ‘motsamai’ Black.

I eventually discovered a gin called ‘Konyagi’, and my holiday was complete.

(3) There was an aura of peace

One of the hardest things about being in South Africa is the safety issue. I spent the first two days worrying about my surroundings and how safe it was. On day 3, I started calming down. We started using public transport a lot more and walking a lot more. On all our walks, no one tried to stop us, and we were saying ‘Jambo’ so many times.   People kept saying ‘karibu’ back; I think I will name someone Karibu one day.  People were so helpful; we walked at night in town, on the beach and everywhere else.  Instances of violence and anger were very limited, unless they were hidden from us.  By the last day, we were walking around as if we owned the place, and my anxiety was very low.

Soldiers at the beach

The only thing that seemed to disturb the peace was the fact that the military is always looking at you. They were a like a replace for the police. Any kind of crime is handled by the military, and that is scary. We don’t have this kind of connection to our soldiers in South Africa.

This meant that there were rules we all had to be aware of and adhere to; the soldiers don’t joke!

Read the second part of this two-part series to find out about the rest of my experience in Dar es Salaam.

Soweto Towers Bungee Jumping [Video]

Soweto Towers is one of our favourite affordable South African tourist attractions.

Bungee Jumping in Soweto

Soweto Towers bungee jumping has been on our list of things to do in Soweto for a while now. Unfortunately, we have not taken the plunge yet. The best we came to bungee jumping was to watch other people do it, as demonstrated by the video on this post. This bungee jumping video was taken at the Soweto Towers on a sunny Sunday in the winter of 2018.

One of Two Orlando Cooling Towers

One of the two towers, with a top view of the streets and houses in Soweto, Orlando East.

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Nigerians in South Africa: Globetrotters, Pros & Wanderers [Opinion]

Why are Nigerians flocking to South Africa? What are they doing here? And what are their plans?

To answer these questions, we first need to differentiate between three types of Nigerians living in South Africa. It is important to note that the main differentiating factor between the three is their ‘intention for relocating to South Africa’. Based on this, we have formulated three categories of Nigerians living in South Africa, namely; Globetrotters, Pros and Wanderers.

1. The Globetrotters – Widely travelled Nigerians

The Globetrotters are Nigerians in South Africa who have travelled and/or lived in developed countries such as the USA and UK.

This category of Nigerians see South Africa as a rebound or Plan B. Having lived in a developed country, they have become accustomed to the comfort and convenience that comes with living in a developed country. As a result, they do not see themselves being able to cope with the harsh living conditions in Nigeria. Having had an uninterrupted supply of water and electricity, they can no longer tolerate not having either one of these regardless of how much they love their country. They see South Africa as the best of both Africa and the Western world. With its world class infrastructure and relatively stable governance, South Africa is perfect for this category of Nigerians.Passport and bags packed

2. The Pros – Highly skilled Nigerian professionals

The Pros usually relocate to South Africa in pursuit of personal and career growth. These individuals are typically self motivated and have a solid plan for achieving success in their chosen career.

This category consists of highly skilled professionals such as doctors, project managers, academics, and masters/ doctoral students.
As sought after professionals in their respective fields, they are good at their jobs and are in South Africa to advance their careers. Their goal for relocating to South Africa is to make a better living for themselves and their families. These talented Nigerian professionals love the African continent and are proud to be part of a thriving African country. They enjoy the orderliness and opportunities that South Africa presents to professionals. Their long term plans are to stay permanently in South Africa and make a name for themselves while also developing the country and its people.

Nigerian doctors in South Africa

3. Wanderers – Nigerians who drift from one African country to another with the aim of settling in a developed country.

Wanderers see South Africa as a gateway/transit point to travel to a developed country.

This third category of Nigerians have no desire to officially settle in South Africa. They have their heart set on bigger and better countries and have applied to or tried to obtain visas from the likes of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Wanderers spend months or even years accumulating just enough funds to leave South Africa for ‘greener pastures’. They usually have no set career and are self-employed e.g. hairdressers/ barbers and small shop owner.

Wandering nigerians

What do you think of our three categories of Nigerians in South Africa? Do you agree or disagree with our opinion piece? Please leave your comment below and see what happens.

Lagos to Jozi is also on YouTube

Related article: Audio: 3 questions for Nigerians coming to South Africa [Listen]

Soweto Towers – Affordable Tourist Attractions

Soweto Towers is an affordable tourist attraction in South Africa. The towers were part of Orlando Power Station, which was a coal-fired power station in Soweto, a township based in the South of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Soweto Towers and Bungee Jumping

The power station was active for over 50 years. However, In 2008 the towers of the power station were transformed into a tourist attraction, with fun activities for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. The activities offered within the 33-storey towers are:

  • Tower climb – R60 per person
  • 360 degree view of Soweto at the top of the Tower – R80
  • SCAD freefall – R400 per person
  • A 100 meter bungee – R550 per person

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Soweto Towers - The Two Orlando Cooling Towers
A bottom-up view of the two branded towers, with bungee jumping equipment in the middle.

Bibliography

Gauteng. 2018. Orlando Towers [Online]. Available on https://www.gauteng.net/attractions/orlando_towers

Soweto Towers. 2018. About [Online]. Available on http://sowetotowers.co.za/

Leaving Nigeria for South Africa? Read This First!

South Africa is a beautiful country. However, immigrating to South Africa when you are Nigerian, na very big decision. But, make you no scatter your brain o. We have 15 tips to help you plan well well.

A man cannot sit down alone to plan for prosperity – Nigerian Proverb

1. Location

South Africa has 9 provinces (states) and over 70 towns and cities. Choose your preferred location wisely o.

South Africa, Johannesburg - Nelson Mandela Cable Bridge
South Africa, Johannesburg – Nelson Mandela Cable Bridge

In the United Kingdom, East London is a popularly and informally defined part of London. In South Africa, East London is a city in the Eastern Cape province. Know the difference! Do not get scammed.

Ask Yourself: Which province and town/city will I be living in? How much do I know about the place? Is the area safe for African immigrants? Do I know anyone in that area? Has this area had issues with xenophobic attacks?

2. Accommodation

Use property websites such as Property24 and Private Property to find accommodation in South Africa, while you are still in Nigeria.

Unlike in Nigeria, rent is paid monthly in South Africa and it can be relatively expensive (depending on the property type and where you are renting the property).

Ask Yourself: How much do different property types (house, flat, townhouse etc.) cost in my preferred province? Will I be renting from an agency or homeowner?  Will I be living alone or sharing? Will I be renting a room or the whole property? What are my rights as a tenant?

3. Income

The average cost of living for one person living in the City of Johannesburg is R8500 (N225 462.55) per month (University of the Witwatersrand: 2017).

University of the Witwatersrand: 2017).

South Africa has an expanded unemployment rate of 36.3%; which means over 9.2 million people are unemployed in South Africa (Statistics South Africa, 2018).

Your income will need to cater for rent, food and transport (among other things). You need a job or a business that will cover your monthly expenses. If you will be going the job route then find the job while in Nigeria. If you will be going the business route then start it while in Nigeria (if possible). Make sure that you have permission from the South African government (a valid permit) to work or conduct business in the country.

Already in South Africa but struggling to find job and/or business opportunities? Consider volunteering at one of the Registered Non-Profit Organisations for Nigerians and relatives in South Africa.

Ask Yourself: What is my current source of income in Nigeria? What will be my source of income in South Africa? How much will I need to earn every month to cover living expenses?

South African Rands and Cents

4. Currency

Change your money into the local currency (South African Rand) at the airport.

Do not pay for anything in dollars in South Africa. Think in rands and nairas not dollars. 

Find out local prices and naira equivalent while you are still in Nigeria, e.g. taxi fare, airtime/credit, food, accommodation. Convert South African Rands to Nigerian Naira on https://themoneyconverter.com/ZAR/NGN.aspx.

Ask Yourself: Do I have enough to survive in South Africa for at least 6 months? How much does everything cost in South African Rands versus Nigerian Naira?

5. Banking

Money is a sensitive matter. Do not resort to using other people’s accounts to bank your money. This can get very complicated very quickly.

Unlike most banks, Standard Bank has different banking solutions for foreign nationals and all you need is a valid passport, permit or visa, and proof of residence.

Ask Yourself: Which bank offers banking solutions for foreign nationals? How much will my bank charges be every month?

6. Communication

Buying a South African sim card at the airport is less complicated – all you need is your passport. If you do not buy it at the airport and try to buy it later at a retail shop, you will be asked for your passport and proof of residence. Your +27 sim card is your gateway to communicate with locals as well as family and friends back home.

A new study by Research ICT Africa shows that South Africa has the highest data costs among the continent’s leading economies, which include Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and Kenya 

Calling an MTN Nigeria subscriber back home? MTN offers discounted international calling rates such as their “R30 International Calling bundles with discounted rates”.

Ask Yourself: Which network provider will I be using? How much is airtime (credit)? How much is data? How do I buy airtime? Where do I buy airtime?

7. Explore

If you will be staying with friends of friends, do not let anyone keep you indoors or collect money to go buy things on your behalf. Explore your surroundings – go to the nearest park for a walk or the shopping mall for some window-shopping. Do not explore your surroundings at night, prioritise your safety first.

The best way to get to know a new place is to walk around when the sun is up. 

If safe to do so, ask as many questions as possible. This is not the time to form ‘big boy’ o. If you are too shy then Google and Quora are your friends.

Ask Yourself: Do I know the surroundings of the area I am living in? If living in other people’s home, am I free to leave anytime? Do I feel in control of my stay in South Africa?

South Africa, James Hall Transport Museum
South Africa, James Hall Transport Museum

8. Travel

If you have enough money then consider going on one or more of our recommended Affordable South African Tourist Attractions. South Africa is a leading travel destination; use this time to travel within the province you are in.

“In 2017, South Africa received 3.5 million travellers. The top five overseas countries with the largest number of tourists visiting South Africa were the USA, UK, Germany, The Netherlands and France.” – (Statistics South Africa: 2017)

9. Spending

Use your money wisely and sparingly. Once again, do not try to do ‘big boy tings’ o. Keep your money safe and do not get distracted by the noise of others. Make sure you know what you are paying for. With that said, maybe you should avoid clubs and clubbing for now.

Be quick to think and slow to pay. 

10. Passport

Always carry your original passport or a certified copy to avoid unnecessary drama. Your passport must be valid (not expired) and you need to have a valid South African visa/permit.

Your passport is your responsibility, do not allow anyone   to keep it ‘safe’ for you.

11. Crime

Do not allow anyone to convince or force you to do any illegal activities or jobs. Anyone who has your best interests at heart will not introduce you to an illegal job or business opportunities.

If any one approaches you with an offer to make quick money doing illegal activities, stay clear of them immediately.

12. Rights

Familiarise yourself with the South African constitution, laws etc. Know your rights and always abide by the law. Try a visit to Constitution Hill, it is one of our favourite Affordable South African Tourist Attractions.

To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. Nelson Mandela

Carlton Centre’s Top of Africa – Affordable Travel

At a height of 223 meters and 50-storeys, the Carlton Centre in is the tallest building in Africa. 

The 50th floor of the Carlton Centre is called the Top of Africa and it is reserved for tourists interested in a 360 view of Johannesburg, the city of gold.

Entrance into the Carlton centre is R30 (~N800/ ~$3). This makes it one of the most affordable tourist attractions in Johannesburg. 

What will you see from the Top of Africa?

You will see the North, East, West and South of Johannesburg including FNB Stadium, old gold mines and Gandhi Square.

FNB Stadium/ “Calabash”/ Soccer City

FNB Stadium is the biggest stadium in Africa due to its seating capacity of over 87 400 seats. The stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Old gold mines along Gold Reef City

Johannesburg is fondly referred to as the City of Gold due to the discovery of gold back in the 1880’s. Gold Reef City is a tourist attraction with a theme park, casino, hotel and entertainment centre, and it offers several tours of old gold mines in Johannesburg.

Gandhi Square

Gandhi Square Gandhi Square is currently a central bus terminus for one of Johannesburg’s bus networks. The square is named after Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian leader and human rights activist.

You will also see the skylines of Braamfontein, Hillbrow and Sandton, and more

More information

Open: Weekdays and Weekends
Entrance to the Top of Africa: R30 per person, R20 per person for groups
Address: 150 Commissioner Street Johannesburg

The Carlton Centre is currently owned by Transnet, a state-owned integrated freight transport company. The topmost part of the outside building has the Transnet logo, while the lower floors have a shopping centre with several retails shops. The bottom part of the Carlton Centre is usually busy and crowded due to the retail shops in the centre.

If you are not a local, we recommend that you go to the Carlton Centre with a local tour guide.

Bibliography

Gauteng. 2018. Carlton Centre [Online]. Available on https://www.gauteng.net/attractions/carlton_centre 

Tsogo Sun. 2018. Jozi Story of Gold [Online]. Available on: https://www.tsogosun.com/gold-reef-city-casino/theme-park/jozis-story-of-gold

Stadium Management South Africa. 2018. FNB Stadium [Online]. Available on: http://www.stadiummanagement.co.za/stadiums/fnb/

James Hall Museum of Transport – Travel Johannesburg

James Hall Museum of Transport is a large and comprehensive museum of land transport, which was established in 1964 in Pioneer Park, Johannesburg.

There are several exhibition halls which display transport history, dating back more than a century. The museum makes for a great family trip and entry is free with no hidden costs.

Here are some of the things you will see at the James Hall Museum of Transport:

  • animal-drawn vehicles
  • bicycles and motorcycles
  • coaches, engines, and equipment
  • motor cars, steam-driven vehicles
  • trams and trolley buses

James Hall Transport Museum - More Classic Cars

James Hall Transport Museum – More Classic Cars

James Hall Transport Museum - Classic Car on display

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Fun read: Minibus taxis in Johannesburg, Gauteng