Saturday, 6 May 2017

MOZAMBIQUE: Mozambique's Tourism |Industry Welcomes Visa On Arrival, Dodoma Airport For 24 Hour Service

The government of Mozambique has now, for a significant number of nationalities, introduced Visa on Arrival, doing away with the cumbersome method of tourists having to apply in advance given the lack of global diplomatic representation.

44 border posts have been designated for the purpose including all the international airports such as Maputo but also Pemba, Nampula, Beira, Vilanculos and Inhambane.

In addition have key land border posts been designated for the purpose including land borders from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

Visa on Arrival are also available at the port of Maputo to encourage cruise ship stops and enable visitors to come on shore without the previous bureaucracy involved.

The cost of a Visa, which allows entry and one additional re-entry, was given as US Dollars 50 per person.

Mozambique's tourism industry has welcomed the move and is looking at vastly improved arrival figures for the years ahead even though language challenges remain a factor as the penetration of English remains relatively low.

Runway lights at Dodoma Airport has been completed. This will enable the airport, which currently handles only about 10 flights a day, to operate around the clock.

Night landings are now possible but presently not likely to happen. Right now do our flights operate during day times only and so do all other airlines flying charter or schedule to DOD.

But this is progress for the aviation industry and for instance urgent medical evacuations can now take place even at night after the lights were installed.

Airlines even begin to offer flights into and out of Dodoma at night to make better use of their fleet but that is still under plan .

The airport is served by Air Tanzania, Auric Air and Flightlink among other airlines flying daily or multiple times a week to Tanzania's political capital.

Dodoma one of Tanzania's airports earmarked for expansion and modernization and with the new lighting system in place has this objective been fulfilled.

The IATA code for Dodoma is DOD while the ICAO four letter code is HTDO. The runway length was given at 8.038 feet length or 2.450 metres, all tarmac.

In 1973, Dodoma was designated as the new political capital of Tanzania. New Parliament buildings were erected and plans were drafted to shift all government Ministry offices to Dodoma by the early 1980's.

However, due to limited water supplies and other environmental factors, this proved impossible and the plan was all but forgotten.

Most ministries and all embassies are still in Dar Es Salaam. Although Dodoma retains the title of capital city of Tanzania, government officials only travel to Dodoma for a few weeks each June when the government is in session.

There are many daily buses from Dar es Salaam. Driving time is seven to eight hours with a stop in Morogoro. Luxury buses leave from Ubungo. Around 11 AM buses from Dar and Dodoma leave which are air conditioned and have more leg space.

There are buses to and from Arusha via Kondoa to the north. The road is not paved, and can be bad in the rainy season. The highway is known as the Great Northern Highway.

Travel time is often in excess of 12 hours, and breakdowns are common. The best plan would be to use Kondoa as an intermediate overnight point and continue north or south the next day.

There are also buses to and from Iringa. Travel time is about six hours on a winding gravel road of varying quality. The road passes right over the Mtera Dam which is worth a look.

Dodoma is situated on the Central Railway Line which goes from Dar Es Salaam to Mwanza or Kigoma. However, the train currently (March 2010) only operates between Dar Es Salaam and Dodoma due to damage near Tabora.

If you are in a hurry the better choice is by bus. If the train service is running again and you are heading west, train is better, especially in the rainy season.

Air Zara flies daily with the exception of Saturday between Dodoma and Dar es Salam for 250.000 TSH on Monday and Thursday, also to Mbeya.

Tickets can be bought at the New Dodoma Hotel. Mission Aviation Fellowships' MAF) small planes fly throughout the country; they have a regular shuttle between Dodoma and Arusha every Monday and also fly regularly to Nairobi and Mbeya.

It is also possible to join other flights, for more information see their website and subscribe to their Joiner List.

There are many minibuses (dala dala) in Dodoma and getting around is easy. Taxis are plentiful too. There are three bus stations: city, at a place called Jamatini; medium distance, at the Saba Saba bus stand, to moderate-distance places such as Mpwapwa and Mvumi.

Long-distance buses leave from the main stand near the Parliament buildings. Some companies, eg. Scandinavia, maintain their own bus stands.

Another way to get around is by bike. There are several places in town which sell or rent (5.000 TSH/day) bikes.