View of Berat, Albania from Berat Castle hill.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Berat, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? South towards Greece.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Back in civilization!

Our main reason for being here in Dar es Salaam so early is that we are flying with Qatar Airways this coming Sunday, and the airline themselves require a negative PCR test done within 96 hours prior to boarding your flight. There's not a lot of accurate detailed information available online regarding where to get the test, or how much it costs. So we wanted to get here with lots of time to spare in order to figure things out.

The government has a website to register for booking your test, but all it does is list the different centers that take the samples. The samples are then sent to the main government laboratory for analysis, and your results are posted online within 24 hours. Or at least that's the way things are supposed to work.

I had read that the different testing centers have different prices. There is a government set fee of $100 USD, but each center can levy their own "administration fee" on top of that, and many of them are private. I finally found out that the public government hospitals don't have any extra fees. The big public Muhimbili University Hospital is walking distance from us, so I contacted them. No response to my emails though, and I tried two different phone numbers that rang, but nobody answered. I finally got through to them late afternoon on their Facebook messaging page!

It turns out they take samples between 8am to 5pm and we were told to go to the Central Pathology Laboratory for more information. It's a huge campus, so fortunately the building shows up on google maps!

So we will head over there this morning to scope things out and find out if we can pay by credit card and make an appointment for Friday morning to have the samples done.

Yesterday, we walked downtown. We took a route that first led us to the coast, and then through the ferry area, and then right downtown. We ended up doing 8.5 kms (5.2 miles).

Nice mural.

Dar es Salaam is a big city of about 6.5 million people. It's considered a fairly safe city, but we wouldn't go walking around on our own at night. During the day, we feel totally comfortable.

Comfortable, except for the heat! It's a consistent 34C (93F) during the day, and 26C (79F) overnight. I guess if you live here you get used to it, but it's too warm for our liking. 

They are renovating the roads and pathways, and even installing some benches.
But there is no shade!

Scenery along the way.

The ferry to Zanzibar leaving the harbor.

Huge car carrier the "Amethyst Ace" leaving the harbor after dropping off a load of new vehicles.

We went through a busy market area.

As with many places in the world, the locals usually don't like having their picture taken. Or, they ask for money. So while there are many photos that we would love to take, we feel that it's better to respect their privacy. And of course we know we stand out like a sore thumb anyhow, but it doesn't help to be flashing a camera around at the same time. These photos were all taken with the cell phone.

Overall though, people are very welcoming and friendly.

Getting close to downtown.

Some of the older buildings built by the Germans during their colonization efforts in the late 1800's.

We stopped in at the big fancy Hyatt Regency Hotel just to sit in their lobby and cool off for a bit! We look like we would fit right in there, so nobody questioned us getting through all the security stuff to get in there. Plus of course, they have a restaurant on site, so they would have had to let us in if we wanted to eat there. We actually looked at the menu and might go back to treat ourselves to a fancy meal out. If you are going to eat in a fancy restaurant, the best time to do it is in poorer countries!

As it is, we've been eating our main meal out in a restaurant each day anyhow. As in South Korea, the grocery store prices are expensive, but the restaurant prices aren't much more. 

Big fan palm outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The building on the left is actually a bus station for the rapid transit system, the road is for buses only.

We ended up at a rooftop restaurant that we thought was going to be more expensive. But it was actually quite reasonable. And, in the shade with a breeze it was pretty comfortable. We actually felt like we are back in civilization for the first time since we arrived in Tanzania!

Having a cold refreshing drink!

We each had the fish.
I thought mine was overdone.

The bill for the two of us was 30,000 shillings ($16.50 CAD, $13 USD).

View from the restaurant looking left.

And looking right.

Modern tower.

We found a decent size grocery store and picked up a few things. Then walked home. We are not usually much for air conditioning, but our little studio apartment has no flow through windows, so it's really a necessity. 

This morning, we are walking over to the hospital to make sure we have everything organized for our PCR tests on Friday.


And in Canada...


  1. I think you are on the right track in terms of eating out. Might as well pay the price and have a good meal in nice surroundings. Enjoy your last few days.

    1. We have actually been really lucky with most of our meals out here in Tanzania, they have been very good for the most part and quite inexpensive but we have yet to go to a "fancy" restaurant so it will be nice treat! :-)

  2. You are definitely back in civilization.
    It would be wise to ask if the results will be available for your flight in case they shut their Labs on the weekends.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. They have to do testing 7 days a week in order to keep up with the number of flights departing each day.

  3. I didn’t think Dar es Salaam was that big a city. Looking forward to more pictures! Perhaps by the end of your stay you might have acclimated to the heat and humidity. That temperature is pretty much the same as in the Philippines ; it’s quite warm in the cities but a lot cooler in the rural areas.

    1. It is a very big city with a population of six million. It is the largest city in East Africa and the fifth largest in the whole of Africa.

      No, I doubt that we will have acclimatised to this heat, it is just like being in Acapulco, Mexico and we don't like the heat there either, it is just too hot for us to enjoy. We are looking forward to the cooler temperatures in Albania next week. :-)

  4. I hope people take your advice on taking people pics. Here in Mexico tourists just start clicking away. I doubt that old man on a horse drawn cart trying to make a living hauling trash really likes having his picture taken. Just a beef I've always had. Those tests are expensive. They are $50 here at home.

    1. We don't mind taking pictures of people from a distance but if we want a close up picture we always ask first. Not everyone wants strangers taking their pictures as you have stated.

      Yes, they are expensive but we have heard of countries that charge more than double that! :-(

    2. Yes , I always think if the tables were turned and we were the residents and visiting strangers were trying to take our pictures, I am sure we would not like it .

    3. Agreed! As I mentioned, it isn't so bad if the picture is taken from a distance and is just capturing a scene with people in it but if it is a close up picture we normally ask if it is OK before taking the picture.

  5. Wow, looks like an cool area. For a minute I forgot who I was talking to, you 2 that climb big mountains!
    How's the walking in the big city? See any interesting areas? Well you two take care, Rawn Stone

    1. We wouldn't say that it is a cool area but it is an interesting area.

      The walking here in the city is very hot and very busy. We would much prefer to be out in the country and in the mountains. What you see in the pictures above is what we saw and thought looked interesting.


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