Great North Road

Name ID 206

See also

Spear, Thomas Mountain Farmers, Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru

Great North Road

In the aftermath [of the disasters of the 1890's and the German conquest], men and women alike were conscripted to build roads and the German boma. [in Arusha]

Extract ID: 292

See also

Huxley, Juliette Wild Lives of Africa

At Arusha we were met by John Owen

At Arusha we were met by the new Director of National Parks in Tanganyika, John Owen, our guide all the time we were in Tanganyika.

Arusha itself with its cosy individual character, is unlike any other town I have seen in Africa. It was built by the Germans when they owned the province; they also built the road leading out of town, on which we met many Masai marching proudly and arrogantly with an accomplished feline grace.


To begin with, John Owen took us up to the Ngordoto Crater, a very recently created National Park, only an hour's drive from Arusha.

... [after a visit to Lake Manyara]

The Land-Rover lurched and plunged on the broken track, roared its way through torrents whose rush seems to have doubled in noise and intensity. I began to wonder how I should like to spend a night here with a breakdown, in this forest which now assumed a sombre and malevolent power.

We emerged after what seemed like an eternity, and with some relief returned to our perch on the rim; [the brand new Hotel Manyara] to a bath of kipper smelling water, a drink at the smart bar and a tranquil evening by the welcome fire. The young warden, Max Morgan Davies, joined us for dinner. ..

... [at Ngorongoro crater] Mr Phersen the district officer was putting us up.

... [to Seronera] We drove on to the warden's house. Mrs. Harver received us, and took us straight to the guest-house for a welcome bath.

... In the afternoon, the Chairman of the Tanganyika National Parks, Mr. Hunter, took us up in his small plane and flew us right over the Serengeti Plain.

... [Next stop Dar-es-Salaam.] The pilot of the small charter plane accommodatingly took us right over the splendid grey ash cone of Ol Doinyo Lengai, the Masai's Mountain of the Gods, a still sub-active volcano, puffing out clouds of sulphuric gases. A minute later we looked down into its neighbour the Embegi volcano, now extinct, its forested crater containing a lake. Clouds of flamingos were whirling like pink snow below us, shimmering against the blue water. The sides were very steep, their ravines thick with ancient forests. Such an intimate view of this farouche lonely giant could never have been achieved in any other way.

Extract ID: 1431

See also

Gordon-Brown, G (Co-Editor) The Year Book and Guide to East Africa (1927)
Page Number: c

A road (light cars, dry weather only)

A road (light cars, dry weather only) leads to the S.W. from Arusha to Kondoa Irangi, 167m. and Dodoma, 209m. on the E.A. Central Rly., and thence to Mwaya on Lake Nyasa. 728m. total, and a road runs N. to Longido, 52m., Kajiado, 120m., and Nairobi, 180m. total to the N.

It is proposed to continue the road from Arusha to Kondoa Irangi and Dodoma and the East African Central Railway, i.e. a distance of about 280m. from Moshi.

The soil of the surrounding district is mainly volcanic ash, of great fertility, capable of producing magnificent crops of coffee, maize and cotton

Extract ID: 294

See also

Arusha: A Brochure of the Northern Province and its Capital Town
Page Number: 21
Extract Date: 1929

Road Communication

The Great North Road passes through Arusha, which is the exact centre between Cape Town and Cairo in a straight line. To the East there are roads to Moshi, Voi, Mombasa and Tanga; to the West to Mbugwe, Mbulu, Babati, Singida, Mkalama, Shinyanga (the Diamond Fields) and Mwanza the southern lake port; to the North to Nairobi and Kenya; to the South to Dodoma, Iringa, Tukuyu, Fife and South Africa.

Roads in Tanganyika are on the whole excellent in dry weather and certain sections even in wet weather. The sections over lava ash which disintegrates in dry weather is especially better after rains. Swampy or low-lying sections have recently had the attention of government and the work is still proceeding. Given reasonable weather conditions all important centres can be reached by road from Arusha.

Extract ID: 3431

See also

Tanganyika Guide
Page Number: 058
Extract Date: 1948

Great North Road

The road leaves Arusha township in a direction due west for the first nine miles, thereafter tending southwards in a great curve to the west, until it passes the eastern shores of Lake Manyara, 65 miles from Arusha. Thence the road follows a line due south through Babati and on to Pienaar's Heights, the whole route being beaconed on each side with magnficent isolated peaks.

Extract ID: 295

See also

MacMillan, Mona Introducing East Africa

the new road.

...the new road is being cut through some of the shambas of the Warush, greatly to their indignation. These first class roads must have for the sake of drainage a 100 foot 'road reserve' on either side, which is wasteful of land in populated areas. This stretch of road will be first class when it is finished. ...

Along the first stretch of road to the south there is a great coffee estate owned by Nestles, from which comes Nescafe, and the great firm has advertised itself in the most civilised way imaginable by planting both sides of the road with an avenue of gorgeous flame trees- the trees of a fine size and covered with their lamp-like blossoms were a most exhilarating sight.

Extract ID: 296

See also

Ngorongoro and the Serengeti Plains

The road to the crater

From the turn off the Great North Road 50 miles south of Arusha, the route to Ngorongoro soon begins to lead down into the rift and a splendid view unfolds: the silver gleam of Lake Manyara to the left, the white encrusted cone of Ol Donyo Lengai ("Mountain of God"), a periodically active volcano, far away to the right and, beyond, the deep blue ridge of 9,000 ft hills, in which the Ngorongoro lies, forming the western wall of the Great Rift Valley. We cross the valley, here 20 miles wide, 3,500 ft above sea-level and sprinkled with giraffe, zebra, buck and other plains animals, including a few magnificent but seldom seen black-manned lion, and, unless we can spare the time for a visit to Lake Manyara where millions of rosy flamingos and pelicans vie for admiration with the elephant, buffalo and rhino which haunt its shores, pass through the little trading centre of Mto wa Mbu ("Mosquito River") and over the streams which give it its name, and climb out of the heat up the magnificent buttress of the west wall of the rift by a series of hairpin bends.

There follows a stretch of undulating park-like country and, just short of the European farming community of Oldeani, one turns right and one is almost immediately negotiating a mountain road twisting up the flank of thickly wooded gorges. Suddenly Ngorongoro bursts into view - there is no more apt phrase, for the road turns a corner and there at the side of the road the world end. At least so it seems until far below in a hazy golden glow, one sees the sunlit floor of the Crater or giant cauldron, and 15 miles away the pale mauve mountains of its further rim.

Extract ID: 3693

See also

Moffett, J.P. (Editor) Tanganyika: A Review of its Resources and their Development
Page Number: 130

Ten Year Plan for Roads (1946-1956)

. . The first project to be undertaken was the construction of the new road from Namanga to Arusha. In continuation of the programme in that area it was decided to extend the new road from Arusha through Moshi, to Himo with a short extension towards Tanga. The first contract was let, in 1949, to Messrs. Stirling-Astaldi & Co. This project, which is now complete, provides 135 miles of first class road, with a stone base course, and an 18 feet wide bituminous surface. . . . .

The roads in this area not only carry some of the heaviest traffic in the country, but the volcanic soils are probably as difficult as any in the world for purposes of raod building. In the circumstances the substitution of bituminous surfaces for earth or gravel was long overdue.

It should also be noted that the plan provides for a further stretch of bituminized road westwards from Arusha for 50 miles, but owing to rising costs on the roads now being constructed it has been necessary to postpone the building of this section. It is, however, intended to bring this section of the Great North Road up to bituminized standard as soon as finances permit, since most of it passes over friable volcanic soils and carries very heavy traffic, and along it the produce of the Oldeani farming area and the produce of the Mbulu District is evacuated to Arusha

Estimated costs:

1. Great North Road

a) Namanga to Arusha "950,000

b) Arusha to Makiyuni " 410,000

c) Makiyuni to Tundama "31,051

d) Bridges "200,000

e) Mporotos Deviation " 60,000

Total "1,651,051

split to

Territorial or Loans Funds "796,051

CD & W Funds " 855,000

Extract ID: 2919

See also

Tanganyika Guide
Page Number: 63
Extract Date: 1953

Great North Road

The road leaves Arusha township in a direction due west for the first nine miles, thereafter bending southwards in a great curve to the west, until it passes the eastern shores of Lake Manyara, 65 miles from Arusha. Thence the road follows a line due south through Babati and on to Pienaar's Heights, the whole route being beaconed on each side with magnificent isolated peaks. Over many miles game of every description may be seen, and, owing to the restrictions on shooting, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, gazelle and lion sometimes are to be met with on the road itself. South of Babati, 116 miles from Arusha, much native cultivation is passed, and from here on to Bereku the country is reminiscent of England, the road taking a winding course up the hills through magnificent trees between whose branches impressive panoramas are seen of the Babati area, Hanang Mountain and the Great Rift wall to the north, while to the south and east stretch to the horizon the plains of the Central Province and the Masai steppe.

The road still bears south, and Kondoa is reached at mile 170 from Arusha. From here it proceeds through the Gogo country to Dodoma on the Central Railway, 272 miles from Arusha. Dodoma is an important centre of the Territory's communications. It has a hotel and a first-class aerodrome, with metalled runway, within a mile of the town.

Extract ID: 5542

See also

Marsh, R.J. & E.P. Photos of Arusha Environs
Page Number: 001
Extract Date: 1953-57

Extract ID: 3365

See also

Marsh, R.J. and E.P Safari Diaries
Page Number: 08
Extract Date: 1955 July 30


We had to have everything we might require as I did not know always where we would be staying. So we eventually packed into our new Anglia three camp beds, one suitcase of clothes etc., my case of robes and books for service etc., overnight bag, the boy's kit (Lazaro, one of the houseboys came with us) paraffin, water bottles, primus and lamps etc., etc..

The road out of Arusha is being tarmaced for about 50 miles, and at the moment where work is in progress, deviations are created - made by a bulldozer of some kind just pushing back a track across African bush for cars to travel over. This means that you have to journey over soft ground, in inches of dust, with soft patches and potholes likely to occur anywhere. To save some of this we took the road into Monduli and then backout again on their dry weather road out to the main Dodoma Road. This added a good 10 miles to our journey, but saved about the same number of dusty ones.

We made quite good time and pushed on to Mto wa Mbu for lunch. (about 75 miles from Arusha). We got petrol here and then stopped by the river amongst trees at the foot of the Rift Wall escarpment. We saw none of the baboons and monkeys that are sometimes to be seem here amongst the trees. We climbed the escarpment and took a view of the Rift Wall and Lake Manyara lying below us, and had hardly got going again when the car stopped, and I suspected over heating in the climb up. However it was not that, it was the petrol supply being choked with dirt. Fortunately Lazaro travelling with us had worked as a safari boy and had had something to do with cars so that I could get him to have a go with the carburettor without worry.

This delayed us in the heat of the day, and it was pretty warm at the top of the escarpment. However, we got on to Karatu in fairly good time, and called at the Government Rest House there to find that David Brown had moved and the place was empty. At least we will be able to stay here if required. We then went on to the Oldeani Rest House (mileage 109) and unpacked, leaving Lazaro to see to beds etc. while we went to the Notley's for tea. ...

Lazaro had got our things out and beds seen to, but there was no boy around in full charge of the house so that wood supplies etc. were not available. However, David and Paul were so anxious to see cooking by Primus that we used that in any case. After a meal I got them to bed. (we were not able to have a bath after a very dusty journey as there was no bath available - so the grime stayed on). When the children had settled and Lazaro was finished I went over to the Oldeani Club (about 5 miles) for their club evening.

Extract ID: 573

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 119
Extract Date: 1962

the Great North Road into Arusha

.. .. we sped along the Great North Road into Arusha in fine fashion.

Coffee, as is well known, does wonders to the bloodstream. It turns haggard, droop-eyed, grey-faced individuals into reasonable humans once again. It also makes them think that a wash and a shave would be quite in order, and that a hot breakfast would not be resisted unduly. The New Arusha Hotel is used to this sort of thing. Filthy vagabonds arrive from all parts of the countryside, sign their muddy names in the book, disappear for an hour or so, and arrange a metamorphosis. As caterpillars become butterflies, so were we a markedly changed group as we strode out into the town to go about our business.

There was much to be done. The Gipsy was put in the hands of the Galley and Roberts garage. Barclays Bank was visited. Immense amounts of food were bought from the Fatehali Dhala store. Photographic arrangements were made with Malde's Camera Shop. Peter Champney, the local information officer, was visited, for he was to be of considerable value in liaising with the outside world. Permission was sought from John Owen, director of the Tanganyika National Parks, to camp in them.

Extract ID: 3737

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 120c
Extract Date: 1962

the Great North Road again

Manyara was a mere 70 miles away. The first leg of the route down to Makayuni was along the Great North Road once again.

It was tarmac now, or rather that section was; but, when I had ridden along it seven years before, the section south of Arusha had been one of the cruellest of the whole 7,000-mile journey. Perhaps it was at this very spot, as the motor-bike lurched uncontrollably, and I listened to the banging of its suspension system, that thoughts of a balloon had first come to mind. It was noisy, that machine, and very dusty, and it did pass on a good few of the road's unevennesses to a well-battered spine. I had caught glimpses of animals as they had hurtled away, with staring eyes, with fast-moving hooves. It had been thwarting not to see more of them. In any case, noise and dust or not, battered vertebrae or not, I had to stick to the road. Its destiny had been mine.

At Mile 48 we turned off the tarmac, and on to a dirt road once again. The great western wall of the Rift Valley lay ahead, and beyond it were the Crater Highlands of the Ngorongoro district. The whole area was rich in game, and was fabulous country. It would surely be even more fantastic when seen from a point suspended silently beneath the huge gaseous canopy of a free-flying balloon.

Extract ID: 3740

See also

McHugh, Kathleen (Editor); Willis, Delta (Consulting Editor) Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles

From Arusha, drive south-west to Makuyuni

From Arusha, drive south-west to Makuyuni, then turn right to Lake Manyara. The road is paved most of the way to Lake Manyara, and a new road is being built with World Bank Funds, scheduled for completion in 1990.

Fodor's Guide

Extract ID: 298

See also

Norton, Boyd The African Elephant: Last Days of Eden

From Tarangire you can drive west to Kwa Kuahinia and the new Arusha-to-Dodoma Highway that seems perennially under construction, then north to Makuyuni, then west on the incredibly dusty road that leads to Mto wa Mbu, one of my favourite villages in East Africa (the Swahili name means River of Mosquitoes). Here it's a mandatory stop to buy a not-so-cold beer from a little duka on the main street, necessary to wash down the dust in your throat, and to visit the stalls of the craftsmen selling carvings and Maasai spears and trinkets to the increasing number of tourists passing through. The greying woodcarver, whose tin-covered stall is way in the back, is a nearly blind old mzee, but his ebony wood carvings are still the best. From Mto wa Mbu, it's a short distance to the entrance to Lake Manyara National Park.

Extract ID: 3689

See also

Packer, Craig Into Africa
Page Number: 21
Extract Date: 1 Nov 1991

Great North Road

The highway is good for the next 50 miles. It has only recently been repaved by the Italians after being devastated in 1979. The Tanzanian army traveled over this road when it went into Uganda to overthrow Idi Amin. The government went bankrpt in the effort, and the road was converted to a spindly black lacework of asphalt draped over an endless series of potholes.

Extract ID: 1315

external link

See also

Irene Mbakilwa Axed Kenyan contractor paves way for better job
Extract Author: Irene Mbakilwa
Extract Date: 2000 April 29

Axed Kenyan contractor paves way for better job

Rehabilitation of the road from Makuyuni to Ngorongoro Crater is due for completion early June this year, the acting Arusha Regional Engineer, John Kalupale has said.

Mr. Kalupale said recently that work done by the Italian contractor, Stirling International is promising and that within eight weeks from now the job would be done.

'We are so impressed with the work done by the contractor since he took over the contract early this month,' he said.

Stirling International took over the contract in December last year after the termination of the Kenyan contractor, Charangsons who failed to meet some of the conditions agreed in the contract.

Last year, Engineers Registration Board (ERB) under its chairman Mr. John Masuha visited some of the engineering projects in the region including a road project and discovered that the road construction by Charangsons was far below their expectations and hence halted their contract.

According to ERB, Charangsons were said to be incompetent, and used outdated equipment.

Due to its failure, the company was fined a 10 percent penalty of Tsh. 76,928,750 for the whole contract. They also lost retention cash worth Tsh.42,652,786 and liquidated damages for 14 days which cost Tsh.4,798,634.90. The European Union (EU) granted the money for the emergency work to construct the 77km road.

Extract ID: 1493

See also

Lutengano, lute wa Of Menacing Buses and Lorries

Of Menacing Buses and Lorries

I was reading this travel guidebook, written by a mzungu, which brings up the salient features of the Tanzanian section of the Great North Road ; the road from Cape Town to Cairo. One of the most salient features is the unprecedented concentration of pubs, bottle stores and bars along the highway from Arusha to Mbeya town, near the Tanzanian border with Zambia.

The guidebook goes on to point out that the concentration of these joints does not in any way reflect the wealth of the community along the route. Rather it is a telling sign of the serious boozing habits of most of those who drive on that highway. The book therefore warns you to be very careful with other drivers on that road, as most of them would naturally be under the influence of alcohol.

I had this in mind when I embarked on my trip to my home village, Ilembula, in Njombe district, which happens to straddle the same highway, a few kilometres after Makambako. Driving my contraption, which at one time, actually more than 20 years ago, was a Mercedes Benz car, I went through what I would call as a hell raising experience.

I left Arusha at about 10 am. No sooner had I reached Tengeru than I began getting harassed by huge buses and lorries traveling from Arusha to all sorts of places, i.e. Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Iringa, Mbeya, Tanga etc. Between Tengeru and Himo I was overtaken by hundreds of these buses. One thing common to all of them was that they were all flying very low. They were going at speeds of an aircraft, in this case, an aircraft that is flying on a tarmac road. This, added to their thunderous honking, made my driving miserable.

On reaching Same town, I began getting harassed by buses and lorries coming from the opposite direction. These were from Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Morogoro and later, Iringa and Mbeya. It was as if they were in a rally, in this case a buses and lorries rally. I became so nervous that I requested my colleague, an experienced driver, to take over a few kilometres from Same town.

To cool my nerves I ordered for some canned Heineken beer. I could now understand the importance and necessity of the many pubs along the highway.

We had a brief stopover at Segera, where there is a modern restaurant offering buffet lunch. I enjoyed the lunch there and bought some more canned beer from the stalls on the other side of the road; the restaurant is an alcohol-free zone. I was not amused to find out later, after leaving Segera that the canned beer had long expired. Please fellow traveler; take note of that!

From there we drove down the very smooth Segera-Chalinze road. I was awe-struck by the Chinese-funded massive water project currently being implemented at Wami, a few kilometres from Chalinze. It surely will go a long way in improving the lives and health of Coast region residents.

From Chalinze it was a smooth ride to Morogoro. I was now used to menace by the huge lorries and buses, this time plying between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro, Dodoma, Iringa, Mbeya, Njombe and Songea.

It was early evening when we arrived in Morogoro town and checked in at The Oasis Hotel. Being typical Arushans we enquired from the hotel staff as to where we could get some mouth-watering nyama choma. We soon found out and a few minutes later we walked into the Palm Garden Bar, run by one Kambarage, an academician from the nearby Sokoine Agricultural University College. He must be a member of the Faculty of Veterinary. The nyama choma was very tender and delicious.

Extract ID: 3370