Name ID 974

See also

Map and Guide to Tanzania
Page Number: 04g
Extract Date: 1877


Eaton, crossing Africa from South to North, passed Lake Nyasa and reached Central Tanganyika where he died in 1877 near the Bahi Swamps, west of Dodoma.

Extract ID: 4010

See also

Amin, Mohamed; Willetts, Duncan and Marshall, Peter Journey Through Tanzania
Page Number: 108
Extract Date: 1910


It was not until the arrival of the Germans and the central railway line in 1910 that a permanent settlement came into existence. At the time the area was known as 'Idodomya', which in the local [Kigogo] language means 'the place where it sank', referring to an incident when an elephant drinking in a nearby pond got stuck in the mud. Idodomya went on the map as Dodoma.

Extract ID: 3211

See also

Samler Brown , A and Gordon Brown, G (Editors) South and East African Year Book and Guide for 1920, 26th issue
Page Number: 520-521E d
Extract Date: 1916

History of East Africa : The War with Germany in East Africa 1916

1916, - Later in the year, 1915, General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien was appointed to the command and measures were taken to connect the Uganda railway at Voi with the German line from Tanga at a point near its inland terminus. Owing to the ill-health of General Sir H. Smith-Dorrien, Lieutenant-General Smuts was nominated to the chief command and landed at Mombasa on February 19th, 1916.

Prior to this, our forces advancing along the railway extension above mentioned, had driven the enemy from Serengeti Camp (January 24th), but General Smuts found them still strongly entrenched on British soil behind the Lumi River with their centre on Taveta, S.W. of Kilimanjaro Mountain, and their right on Lake Jipe.

The immediate plan of campaign centred around the snow peak of Kilimanjaro, of which the fertile slopes form the richest and most desirable portion of the German Colony. Fifty miles to the N.W. Longido was already in the hands of a British column under General Stewart, whose objective was a flanking movement, around the western slopes of the mountain, to the enemy's rear. On March 7th General Smuts bridged the Lumi River ten miles north of Taveta and on the following day, by fine strategy and hard fighting, forced the Germans from the swamps and forests which they had been fortifying for eighteen months. On the following day they were driven from Salaita. van Deventer occupied Moshi, the German railway terminus, on the 13th, where he was subsequently joined by General Stewart's column from Longido.

The main body of Germans retreating from Taveta took up strong positions at Kahe station and along the Ruwu River, another body entrenched on the Latema-Reata Nek and were only dislodged after the fiercest fighting (March 19th). The Kahe position was turned by van Deventer on the 21st and on the following day the enemy were in full retreat down the line, destroying the bridges behind them. With the capture of Arusha, the occupation of the Kilimanjaro district was completed.

The second phase of the war opened after a brief interval devoted by General Smuts to the organization of the positions gained. It was soon evident that fighting would no longer be confined to one area.

In April, Belgian troops from the Congo, moving via Uganda, entered the German province of Ruanda, situated at the N.E. of the Colony, and Kigali, the capital of that rich and populous province was entered on May 6th. Germany had declared war on Portugal on March 10th, 1916, and forces were moving on the Rovuma River which forms the southern boundary contiguous to Portuguese territory. In May an independent British column, under General Northey, operating in the south-west from Rhodesia and Nyasaland, completed the investment of the German land frontier.

Having finished his preparations, General Smuts detached van Deventer early in April to proceed in a south-westerly direction at right angles to the German railway which was to form his own line of advance. On April 19th van Deventer, "after ceaselessly marching and fighting", and with the loss of most of his transport animals, seized the important position of Kondoa Irangi, where he was heavily counterattacked with superior forces by the German Commander-in-Chief on May 9th-11th. All attacks were repulsed, but it was only after the advance of a second British Column on his left that van Deventer again moved forward.

In the meantime General Smuts had been fighting his way towards the sea. On his left were the Pare and Usambara Mountains which sloped prepitously to the railway at their base; on his right was the Pangani, an unfordable river, running parallel to the mountains, and the strip, about 15 miles wide, between was densely clothed with bush. The main advance was along the Pangani, the main German defences had been prepared on the line of railway and in this way the enemy was manoeuvred out of one strong position after another. Zame was occupied, May 25th; Micocheni, May 30th; Mombo, June 9th; and Wilhelmstal, an important town north of the line, on June 12th. Tanga itself fell on July 7th, after slight resistance, practically completing our possession of the Usambara Railway, although some bush fighting was still required to clear the district of small bodies of the enemy.

Prior to this it had become evident that the Germans intended to retire on the Central Railway, via Handeni, and General Smuts with his main column crossed the Pangani in pursuit at the end of May. The advance was on a parallel line with that taken by van Deventer but 120 miles further east. This column captured Handeni (June 20th), situated at the head of a light railway and defeated the Germans at Lukigura River (June 24th) after an advance of about 200 miles. Difficulties of transport and sickness made a halt necessary, and the British force remained encamped at the foot of the Nguru Mountains till early in August.

van Deventer now moved forward again (June 24th), seized Dodoma, 85 miles to the south, the first point reached on the Central Railway and commenced to push the Germans along the line eastward towards Mpapwa and westward towards Kilimatinde, both of which he occupied in due course. A further advance eastward to Kilossa (taken August 22nd) brought van Deventer into touch with the British main column who had fought its way from the Lukigura, across the Wami River (August 18th), dislodging the enemy force from the Nguru Mountains.

Part of the defeated forces joined the German troops resisting van Deventer's eastward advance along the railway and assisted in the stubborn resistance he encountered at Kilossa (captured August 22nd); the main body retreated from the Nguru Mountains to Morogoro, the last point held by the Germans on this section of the railway and their provisional seat of Government. This important town was occupied by the British on August 26th, and the remnant of the German forces escaped southward to the Uluguru Mountains where preparations for a determined stand had been made. The German force from Kilossa had also retreated south towards Mahenge.

Without any halt to recuperate and to replenish the almost exhausted transport General Smuts continued the pursuit into the mountains , from which the Germans were driven to Kissaki on the Mgeta River. This position was captured on September 15th, and the enemy retired to a defensive line between the Mgeta and Rufiji Rivers, when, pending the reorganization of the attacking forces he was left unmolested.

The capture of the port of Tanga on July 7th brought the naval and military forces into close touch for the first time; an advance was made by combined forces to the southward, the ports of Pangani, Sadani (August 1st), and Bagamoyo (August 15th) were taken, and on September 4th, Dar-es-Salaam, the former seat of Government, surrendered. Naval forces completed the occupation of the coast line by the capture of Kilwa (September 7th), Lindi and Mikindani (September 16th), and Kiswere (September 18th).

Meanwhile a Belgian force about 10,000 strong, under General Tombeur, had seized Usumbura, at the head of Lake Tanganyika on June 8th and, pushing forward, had, in conjunction with the British, cleared the enemy from between the two lakes and completed the occupation of the lakes themselves, the British capturing Mwanza, on Lake Victoria (July 14th-15th), and the Belgians Ujiji and Kigoma, on Lake Tanganyika (July 29th) at the lake end of the Central Railway. (For naval fighting in the lake, see p.672). Rolling stock was brought across the lake from the Belgian Congo terminus at Albertville and a systematic advance along the line to Tabora commenced. A Belgian column from Ruanda on the N.E.; the British from Mwanza, due N., and a second British force starting from Kirando, a lake port 220 miles south-west of Tabora, cooperated in this movement. After considerable fighting Tabora fell on September 11th.

In the South-West the third attacking force, under General Northey, had cleared the frontier between Lakes Tanganyika and Nyasa of the enemy by the end of May, captured New Langenburg on June 8th, 1916, and Bismarcksburg at the foot of Lake Tanganyika. The force then advanced in a N.W. direction through Malangali (where the Germans were routed "in a brilliant little action" July 24th), on Iringa, occupied August 29th, a military station about 160 miles from New Langenburg and 120 miles south of the Central Railway.

Summing up the position in October, 1916, General Smuts wrote, "with the exception of the Mahenge Plateau they have lost every healthy or valuable part of their Colony".

The effect of climate on the health of the troops, the losses of animals and the bad state of the wheeled transport necessitated a thorough and prolonged rest and refit. It was decided to send home all white troops affected by the climate with the result that nearly 12,000 were evacuated. Kilwa, a port south of the Rufiji position was prepared as a base and a considerable force transported there by sea.

Extract ID: 3532

See also

Read, David Beating about the Bush
Page Number: 015
Extract Date: 1937 December

Journeys to and from school

My journeys to and from school always seemed to be such adventures that I remember more of the travelling to school than I do of the term-time. Sometimes it was impossible to return home for Christmas as this holiday was at the height of the short rains and the fairly primitive mud roads would be impassable. After my first full year at school in 1937 the roads were thought to be acceptable and we embarked, as usual, on the school bus for Dodoma, with one of the teachers as escort, to spend Christmas with our families. Although the rains had not been heavy, the roads were a morass of mud and potholes and we got as far as Pienaar Heights, about 135 miles from Arusha, before our troubles started. The bus was too heavy, the road too steep, and the mud too slippery for an easy ascent. The bigger boys had to get out and cut brushwood to lay along the wheel tracks and then they had to push while the older girls had to walk. The mud was thick and slimy and clogged our shoes, which made walking and pushing very difficult whilst the road was too narrow for the bus to turn round. With no options to go back or to reverse down the hill, we had to persevere with this Sisyphean task until we reached the top of the hill, pushing in the dark and driving rain with our clothes soaked before we were even half-way on the first leg of our journey. To me the activities of the day had been fun and rewarding, and while most of the others, and the teachers, complained about their cold and soggy state, David How-Brown, Jeff Hollyer and I felt we had had a most worthwhile time. We hoped eagerly that calamities would continue to occur, so as to relieve the boredom of the long and uncomfortable trip with a little adventure. It was on that day, while we were covered in mud, pushing the big bus with all our strength, shouting instructions to the driver, falling flat on our faces in the wet, trying to avoid the spraying mud of the wheels that spun and failed to grip, that a lasting friendship between the three of us was, if you will excuse the pun, cemented.

It was four in the morning by the time we reached Dodoma, and everyone had missed their connecting trains. Those who were going east, like Jeff and David, were told that they could travel on the early morning goods train going to Morogoro, but would have to sit in the Guards van, which delighted them and those travelling to the Lakes would go on at ten the next morning. Only three rooms had been booked at the Railway Hotel for the teacher and those of us going south, and these were given to the girls and small boys, leaving the rest of us to sleep in the hotel lounge. Our companions for the night were a motley crew of sleeping drunkards who had been unable to get home. Our coming in had disturbed them and, waiting until the teacher had gone to bed, they started their party all over again, plying us youngsters with drink. We thought this was a great adventure until daylight came when we had to face our escort, Miss Read.

Extract ID: 4180

See also

Amin, Mohamed; Willetts, Duncan and Marshall, Peter Journey Through Tanzania
Page Number: 110


Vines were first intoduced into Tanzania in 1938 by the Holy Ghost Fathers near Kondoa. In 1957 Passionist Father Irioneo Maggioni, of the Bihawana Mission, planted near Dodoma, three vine seedlings out of curiosity. They proved such a success that today [1984] some 2,980 acres of vineyards are under cultivation around the new capital.

Extract ID: 555

See also

Allen, John Richard Down Memory Lane in Tanganyika
Page Number: 39
Extract Date: 1939

Dodoma to Arusha

Driving north from Dodoma was all new country for me. After the first 10 miles out the cultivated areas ceased and the road then passed through broken country, well wooded with 'Miombo' trees (Latin name is Brachystegia, but which one of the 30 different species ????? ). After passing through that five mile belt of forest the landscape changed completely to dry scrub and thorn bush, uninhabited, to the passing motorist. (But 7 years later I was to discover otherwise?). At about 80 miles from Dodoma the large native settlement named Kelema was reached. Here, four or five native dukas (shops) sold a miscellaneous assortment of goods, mainly cloth and local foodstuffs, My only purchase was a hand of bananas to munch on the way. Judging by a few remarks, I gathered some of our vehicles had also stopped there, so the convoy was not wholly �in convoy�! So far, on the journey, only two stops had been made to sort out minor mechanical troubles on a couple of vehicles. From Kelema, for the next 30 miles, onwards, the area was thickly populated by the Irangi tribe. The land is fairly hilly and scarred with soil erosion gullies, some measuring hundreds of feet wide. Many 'sand rivers' crossed the road which could be a great hazard to motorists when the normally dry riverbeds are in full spate after a storm. At Kelema there is a very wide one, a quarter of a mile, which I know has claimed many vehicles driven by impatient motorists.

At exactly 100 miles from Dodoma I stopped, in the shade of a large baobab tree, to eat a few biscuits washed down with a bottle of warm 'pop'. Here, a road branched off, almost due west, down a slope for two miles into the small township of Kondoa Irangi. The District HQ for the Kondoa District. On the opposite side of the road there was a small lake with a fair population of wildfowl. By now the time had crept round to about 15.30 hours, so off we went continuing our journey, The countryside for the next 18 miles along the road was rather barren , over-populated, over-grazed, hilly, eroded and the only trees were baobabs. After passing through the Minor Settlement of Kolo, the road began to ascend into the hills known as Pienaar's Heights, so-named after a South African General who, during the 1914/18 war routed the enemy forcing them to retreat to Kondoa and beyond, However, history apart: Half way up the short escarpment was one stationary 'ambulance' or, in reality, a 2 ton Ford V8 lorry converted for passenger carrying, but on this occasion it had a load of medical equipment on board weighing less than a ton. I wondered how the contents in the boxes would survive after being bounced over miles of a 'corrugated' road surface? After struggling with various engine components for over an hour the thing eventualy started but firing on only 7 cylinders. As for the 8th, to hell with it. (my feverish cold taking over!). Off on the road again ascending to an altitude of 6,000 ft. above sea level and with darkness approaching rather quickly. There was a definite chill in the air and, to my sorrow, my British �warm' army great�coat was, by now, in Bereko! There were more stops en route, but we eventually made it to the camp by 9.30 pm. The Mess cook had put aside a plateful of dinner for me, no doubt on Ali's instructions. Some kind soul gave me a stiff whisky. The tent was up and my campbed all ready to flop into. The CO came over to ask where I'd been, so told him! Whereupon, he withdrew. By the time I had swallowed my drink, eaten my dinner, performed my ablutions, my colleagues had retired to their respective nests so I did likewise, under three blankets in this cold spot, We were at an altitude of about 6,500 ft, asl.

Morning came round much too early but the cup of tea brought in by Ali at 6,15 am was most welcome, A busy morning began with breakfast at 7.30 am and a departure for Arusha at 8.30 am, about 130 miles away. My departure time, anybody�s guess! I scrounged as many spanners, screwdrivers etc. I could lay my hands on to deal with that wretched Ford lorry. One point I insisted on, the Bedford lorry, with its driver, would follow me, since I would be driving the 'wreck.', with the inexperienced driver sitting alongside. After cleaning all the fuel pipes, carburettor, the ignition system, petrol pump and anything else I could find, within reason, the engine actually fired on the fourth attempt. Like me, it coughed a lot and then picked up, sometimes on 7 cylinders, sometimes 8!

It was just after 11.00 am when I set forth. After nine miles, or so, the road descended to a much lower altitude and the area was flat apart from a few distant hills. The next minor settlement of note, was a place called Babati, with an extensive African population and about six Asian owned dukas - so I stopped close by to a large 'tin' (corrugated iron) duka and was welcomed in by its Asian owner. I was amazed at the variety of tinned provisions he stocked, also beer and soft drinks galore! So I treated myself to a Coca Cola straight from the fridge and a packet of savory biscuits. I also gave the two drivers shgs.2.00 each to buy themselves a meal as the chances of reaching Arusha in time for their evening meal with the mob was rather remote.

Arusha was still 110 miles away so as soon as possible after that short break, we were off, into a very warm afternoon. The Indian duka-wallah told me the main convoy had gone through about 10 am so, with luck, it should be 'home and dry' by 16,00 hours.

We made good progress for the next 50 miles through an area known as the Mbugwe 'flats' but when the undulating country was reached, more trouble. Being a hot afternoon the engine had been running at a higher temperature than usual but now, crawling up slight inclines in second gear the water boiled which made me suspect either the cylinder head was cracked or a 'blown' cylinder head gasket. Either way, I could do nothing about that, full stop! At the top of the slopes a halt was necessary to allow the engine cool down sufficiently before replenishing the water, which all took time. Bouncing along a flat stretch of road, in the dark, with the wooden bodywork and medical boxes creating a dreadful din there was almost an 'Incident on the Highway'? Unbeknown to me a car following in my wake of dust had been trying to pass but with all the noise I hadn't heard his dual car horns blaring forth. The first indication I got was from a bush on the roadside reflecting a strong light beam so I immediately pulled over to let the car pass. A few yards further along the road the car pulled up and out stepped a European male who beckoned me to stop. He strode over and, when he was a couple of feet away I wound down the window to be greeted with, in an Australian accent, a mouthful of abuse ending with " � you bastard"? Just what I needed! Momentarily, I was taken aback and just when I was about to give him a well directed punch in the face he stepped back realising that he wasn't speaking to an African lorry driver. I saw him later that evening in the hotel but he did not recognise me. Apparently, he was a high ranking official in the Govt. the Director of Lands and Mines! A pity he stepped away at the wrong moment before I could teach him a lesson in manners. However, the CO dealt with him on my behalf,

Extract ID: 5711

See also

Allen, John Richard Down Memory Lane in Tanganyika
Page Number: 56
Extract Date: 1940 Oct

On Leave - going south

After we had settled in [M'bagathi Holding Camp, five miles south (?) of Nairobi} the time was ripe for making arrangements for leave, for those so entitled, both European and African. My turn came round about the middle of October.

Two days before departure too Sao Hill, I developed 'German measles' so decided not to report it otherwise off into quarantine I�d go for 21 days! Fortunately, by the time I set off towards the Southern Highlands of Tanganyika I felt slightly better. The journey was rather tedious. I Departed from Nairobi Railway Station at 5.00 pm, or thereabouts, to Voi arriving there 01.00 am and then transferring to the Voi/Moshi train, due in at Moshi at about 4.00 pm. Being a 'Hornby' type railway set-up there were very few facilities, No restaurant car! But at Maktau Station there was a dak-bungalow, or station cafe, where one could buy a cup of tea and a few 'eats�. In my case I wanted some breakfast but, having overslept, by the time I was ready the train was about to depart so my next meal looked like being in Moshi much later in the afternoon.

My recollection of events in Moshi is rather vague! I met a family friend, now a captain in one of the KAR Battalion's, who told me to use his army quarter in the cantonment as he was living in the hotel with his wife. After a good night's sleep I was up at 6.30 am preparing for the lorry convoy departing for Mbeya, far to the south at 7.30 am. That day we, there were others like me proceeding on leave, traveled as far as Babati where the convoy pulled off the road for the overnight stop! There was no accommodation whatsoever, nor anything else, which meant sleeping under the stars on 'Mother Earth'. Fortunately, I had my bedding roll with me but no campbed, and was that earth hard! Food? the old standby, bully beef and biscuits, eaten in the flickering light of a small fire. Ablutions and calls to nature left a lot to be desired with us floundering around in the darkness. The convoy Commander could have warned us of what to expect on the journey, not that it would have made much difference. Anyway, I think everyone was mighty pleased to see the dawn. Next stopover, Dodoma. On reaching the Babati Trading Centre a hurried stop to make a few purchases of food and soft drinks to ensure I did not suffer from dehydration during the next 160 hot miles!

The convoy reached the Dodoma Transit Camp about 5.00 pm. Traveling in convoy is an ordeal, mile after mile in a constant cloud of dust, some grey, some red, resulting in a queer application of 'make�up'. The camp consisted of dozens of wooden huts, some large, some small, all equipped with the essentials for comfort, with adjacent 'shower' huts. However, luck was on my side; making my way to the Camp Commandant's office for instructions on where to park myself I met the gentleman concerned. None other than my old friend from the Shinyanga days, 'Hicky�, now, Major Hickson- Wood! The first words he muttered were, "Where the bloody hell �have you come from?� rank forgotten, I told him. He insisted I spent the night in his large house and that Kathy would be only too pleased to see me once again. Within an hour I felt much better after having had a good long soak in the bath, most necessary after living in a dust haze for the two past two days. Three more dinner guests came in later, officers off a northbound South African convoy, so, much to Hicky's pleasure, the alcohol flowed rather freely

Next day we were away on the familiar 162 mile journey to Iringa, arriving there just before 6.00 pm. I had sent a telegram to my parents informing them that I would be in Iringa on the evening of 'such an' such' a date, hoping the �0ld Man' would take the hint to come and meet me. Thankfully, he did! Much to my surprise he appeared driving a very smart 1938 model Chevrolet estate car and when I asked who had been bold enough to lend him such a vehicle his reply was short and to the point. "I bought it," said he!

After chasing all round Iringa looking for the lorry my kit was on I eventually tracked it down and then retraced my way back to the hotel for something to wash down the dust in my throat. The Bar was full of young Rhodesians on their way to Nairobi to enlist. One of them, hearing I had just spent eleven months in the 'battle zone' (?) insisted on buying me drinks. After the second pint of beer I thought it advisable to make for home! I Rounded up Pa then away on the last lap of the journey - 61 miles in comfort. A pleasant change after being bounced around in lorries for the past twelve months. Those miles did not take long to cover, one and a half hours.

Extract ID: 5716

See also

Allen, John Richard Down Memory Lane in Tanganyika
Page Number: 57
Extract Date: 1940 Oct

On Leave - retuning north

There was the question of petrol too, a commodity strictly rationed, However, that did not impose too great a problem! The dear lady behind the desk in the Rationing Office, whom I knew, very kindly allowed me 12 gallons for the holiday, and, since I would be traveling back to Nairobi, passing through Dodoma at an unsociable hour, issued me with coupons for enough fuel to reach Arusha where I could collect more for the final leg to Nairobi.

The few days relaxation soon petered out but it was a change from army routine, although that couldn't be ruled out completely as there was a constant flow of Army personnel calling in at the hotel enroute North or South , whose requirements had to be catered for with the emphasis on food and drink. The latter other than tea or coffee having to be dispensed by me at times. Who's grumbling.�

Departure day came along too quickly as there were two jobs I had to complete which would take about four hours. That lot finished I got away soon after 1.00 pm making for Kondoa Irangi, 324 miles away to the north, where there was a Rest House (of sorts) to spend the night? With the intention of driving the 360 miles to Nairobi the following day: But the best made plans go wrong! I reached Dodoma 6.00 pm-ish, filled up the car with petrol and, feeling rather thirsty, went along to the Hickson-Wood house to scrounge a cup of tea. That was where the itinery went wrong? Staying with the H-Ws was a Sao Hill neighbour Esme Creswell, and young son aged 5 - 6 yrs, looking for a lift to Nairobi to join her husband, a Captain in one of the KAR. Battalions stationed there.

With an almost empty car I agreed to take them, with the proviso that they would have to be prepared to travel another 100 miles on to Kondoa and spend the night in an awful four-roomed Government Rest House containing a bed with a terrible mattress, a table and couple of chairs! That information had been passed on to me by someone who knew the place, and I found I was not wrong! Poor Esme was in a bit of a quandary as she didn�t have any bedding, only two cases full of clothes. I had my bedding roll and whilst at home I'd knocked up a 'chop' box and stocked it with the bare necessities of life to last a day or two. So that didn't pose any great problem. Kathy H-W. offered to lend Esme two blankets which were gratefully accepted. After tea and a snack we set off on the two hour drive to Kondoa. After covering something like 25 miles it was all too obvious the young lad suffered from car-sickness! Mopping up operations took time and thereafter I had to adjust my driving accordingly hoping it would prevent further mishaps, but there were two more. So instead of the journey taking two hours it was more like three.

The Rest House was rather grotty, but did boast of a caretaker who managed to provide water, both hot and cold! The building contained four rooms with cement floors. The walls were constructed with sun-dried mud bricks and a corrugated iron roof over the lot. A coat of whitewash, inside and out, would have made a great improvement. However, we had to sort ourselves out. One room contained a bed and mattress, another room a table and three rickety chairs and the other two empty. So, into one of them went the mattress, dumped on the floor for Esme and son with the two borrowed blankets (I often wondered whether they were returned?). My bedding roll went on the bedstead, not quite as hard as the floor, and since I had a pair of pillows the lady was in luck. She had one of them. Lighting was by torchlight! A good lesson in 'How to be uncomfortable on safari'. For supper a Cream Cracker or two washed down with 'pop', and so to bed.

Next morning the caretaker produced a wash basin, a most useful piece of equipment, and better still, hot water for washing ourselves in, which also gave Esme a chance to clean up the young lad after the previous night's ordeal.

The idea of driving through to Nairobi in the one day had to be abandoned due to 'junior' (I cannot remember his name) being such a poor traveler, so there was no violent rush to leave Kondoa as our next night stop would be Arusha, a distance of 175 miles, which, on this occasion, would take about five hours.

We arrived there mid afternoon, clocked in at the hotel, and after a few cups of tea we retired to our respective rooms where I enjoyed a long soak in the bath followed by a useful nap before climbing into a clean uniform etc. and making my way to see what the Bar had to offer. But not before going to a nearby shop to invest in a large Thermos flask! Esme eventually appeared for a 'quickie' before dinner, after having spent most of her time attending to the domestic chores involved when traveling around with a young child. Incidentally, he survived the day's journey without any trouble. Thank heaven.

Nairobi next. 184 miles, which would take five hours. By the time I'd collected my petrol coupons, filled up the tank, and Esme had sent a telegram off to her husband, Richard, saying that she would, hopefully, be at the New Stanley Hotel anytime after 3.00 pm it was 10 am.

The journey to Nairobi was uneventful. A stop enroute to look at a few giraffe browsing happily on the roadside trees and time to devour our sandwiches the Arusha Hotel had prepared for us. The Thermos flask I bought yesterday was duly christened too, and poured a very refreshing cup of tea!

Extract ID: 5713

See also

Allen, John Richard Down Memory Lane in Tanganyika
Page Number: 92
Extract Date: 1942

More leave. South to Sao Hill

My leave date eventually came round and since I was going to the ancestral home, Sao Hill, 680 miles away in a southerly direction, it was necessary to plan the pick up points for petrol ration coupons en route. To complicate the problem even more I would be traveling over the weekend when Petrol Ration Offices would be closed from 12.30pm Saturday until 08.00am Monday. On the Friday afternoon I called at the Nairobi Office and after explaining to the pleasant young lady behind the desk that I wanted sufficient fuel to reach Kondoa Irangi, 360 miles away. This was to insure against the Arusha Office being closed. So she gave me 16 gallons worth of coupons. I offered to take her out for a dinner on my return but She declined.

Our Sgt. Maurice Tyrant was in luck in more ways than one. Since he was spending his leave in Dodoma his transport worries were over as I had to pass through the town to reach my destination, another 220 miles further on. Also, by giving him a lift instead of taking the usual route by train and bus he gained two extra days holiday, plus saving expenses on food and accomnmodation en route. For my part I was thankful tor his company since it is not advisable to make long car journeys solo in Africa.

It was my intention to leave Nairobi at 7.30am on the Saturday but like all well made plans there is always a hitch, which delayed us for 30 minutes. Time was an important factor since I wanted to reach Arusha by 12.30 pm, a distance of 184 miles. That meant averaging a speed of 41 miles per hour over an indifferent earth road. A tall order. For the first 60 miles the road surface was corrugated and there is only one way to tackle such a surface to avoid rattling the car to pieces - speed! Consequently, after one hour that came to an end and from there onwards the road wasn't too bad and we carried on non-stop, except for a very brief halt at the Customs Post on the Kenya/Tanganyika Border.

And on to Arusha in time to collect some petrol coupons, by which time our dry throats were in need of a gargle. So along to hotel where the cold beer tasted like �nectar. Entirely the wrong liquid to drink knowing there is a hot afternoons driving ahead, By the time we had quenched our thirst, partaken of a good lunch followed by coffee and taken fifteen minutes shut eye in a comfortable chair the hour of departure was upon us and I had yet to make a decision whether to spend the night in Kondoa or carry on another 100 miles beyond to Dodoma, From Arusha that would entail a total ot 280 miles or six hours driving. A tiring thought after the morning's rush, Maurice, who is in the Transport Section of the Service Corps was not, in my estimation, a very good driver so that left me to do all the work!

After filling up with petrol, and purchasing a few groceries to top up my 'chop' box - in case of emergency, the hour had moved round to 1430hrs. So, without further delay - off. Glancing sky-wards in our general direction the clouds were rather black and heavy and it was the' rainy' season. After a few more miles the heavens opened and remained 'open' for miles which reduced our speed. An army convoy of about 50 vehicles that he would be along to see her in the very near future - and Dodoma had its fair share of licentious soldiery (to be continued later!). The last 60 miles to Kondoa Irangi - to give the place its full name, took more time than anticipated due to the wet conditions prevailing over a 35 mile section of road commonly known as 'Pienaars Heights", with plenty of bends and hills to contend with. By the time the sun had long disappeared over the horizon, and with no lamp available in the Rest House, we had to grope around with a torch and the car lights shining through the doorway. With regard to beds etc. I was self-contained with campbed, bedding, food and drink. Maurice had no choice, He had a couple of blankets in his kitbag to put on the rickety old iron bedstead and mattress, too dreadful to describe!travelling in the opposite direction had churned-up a few muddy stretches of road. By this time it became obvious that the Kondoa Rest House would be our sleeping quarters for the night. Perhaps just as well because Maurice hadn't informed his wife, an attractive, young, 'white' Seychellois lady, who enjoyed life to the full,

Our greatest priority was a cup of tea so calling on the services of the RH attendant a kettle full of boiling water was soon on the table. With the torchlight becoming dimmer by the minute we didn't waste much time sitting around drinkiing tea. To quell that empty feeling the edibles purchased in Arusha, biscuits, butter, ham and cheese went down very well. And so to bed, rather earlier than usual. Breakfast on that Sunday morning was a repeat of last night's 'dinner'. At 8.30am I plucked up courage to call on the Asst District Officer to enquire about the possibility of petrol coupons, eight gallons worth. He was very pleasant and co-operative, so along to the Boma (District Office) which was not far from the ADO�s house, for the important piece of paper. I now had on board sufficient petrol for the 324 miles to Sao Hill with a drop or three to spare! By the time we arrived at the Dodoma Hotel, 11.00am, I felt the need for a cup of coffee so, after Maurice had unloaded his kit, we went into the so-called hotel lounge where Mrs Maurice just happened to be with six army chaps in tow! Safety in numbers, but the look of surprise on her face was worth being photographed! The menfolk disappeared into thin air.

Maurice had told me she was forever running into debt in spite of collecting practically all his monthly pay in the form of family allowance and he, rather foolishly, was accepting more pay over the table in excess of the amount he had elected to receive, due to the lack of an endorsement in his Pay Book. When the Army Pay Records discovered the anomaly his wife's allowance was cancelled until the over-payments had been paid off. Result - a broken marriage. After his leave he transferred to another unit and I didn't see him again until the mid 1950s. But a few months after their separation - or divorce, the young lady made the headlines rather tragically. Her demise being recorded as murder, a mystery which I do not think was ever solved.

After that digression, back to Dodoma. I left at 11.30am and after an uneventful 222 miles, or 5 hours of driving, I arrived at my destination to enjoy many cups of excellent tea and good food, etc, etc; But I couldn't get away from the army! Every day members of the Forces travelling from Nairobi and South Africa and in the opposite direction would call in at the hotel for refreshments and acommodation. This was all good for trade, but acting as barman, to give the 0M a rest, made a slight hole in my pocket. But it was enjoyable. I visited a few friends and aquaintances to catch up on the local news. Mother had been invited to attend a wedding in Iringa so I had to act as chauffeur. In uniform, and 'gatecrashed' the party, but that was no problem since I knew the bride and her two sisters well enough not to worry about being the uninvited guest and their father couldn't care less. Anyway, a good time was enjoyed by all and the party was still in full swing when 'Mama' and I left at 5.00 pm.

Extract ID: 5714

See also

Allen, John Richard Down Memory Lane in Tanganyika
Page Number: 94
Extract Date: 1942

More leave - back north to Nairobi

My ten days leave didn't seem to last very long before it was time to think about the return Journey with a couple of passengers with large suitcases, plus my kit. Mother had decided a holiday in Nairobi would be a pleasant change -- if she could find a friend to accompany her. That was soon organised. A lady, Mrs Iris MacGregor, who lived in Mbeya, a town about 200 miles away in a south westerly direction from Sao.

One relief, travelling mid week I wouldn't have to worry about carrying gallons of spare petrol since I could collect the necessary coupons during normal office hours in Iringa and Arusha. Refuelling points were a little distant apart - the longest hop being 185 miles. Except for Nairobi all the other places sold the petrol in sealed 4 gallon tin containers (debis) which were very prone to leakage and also had to be bought in multiples of 4 galls so heaven help you if you miscalculated the amount to top up the tank!

Departing one morning at 9.00am, our first stop was Iringa for the fuel coupons, and a short gossip with the lady who issued them, whom I knew. The two 'passengers' were very pleased to see Dodoma, and the hotel, sometime around 4,30pm after the hot afternoon's Journey. Neither of them were accustomed to tropical heat after living in the Southern Highlands for years. Cups of tea followed by a bath revived them but they still complained about the heat! The next day would be equally as warm to within 50 miles of Arusha. We left the hotel at a respectable hour after breakfast but soon after leaving the town disaster almost hit us. About a mile out there was an iron barrier across the road to stop vehicles to have their loads checked. Something to do with the 'black-market' and grain trade. However, approaching the barrier at 40mph, I applied pressure on the foot brake pedal and, to my surprise, it went all the way down to the floorboards. Without brakes and an iron barrier in the way a quick decision was called. There was only one choice to avoid a pile-up and that was to aim for a narrow gap approx 6ft wide between the barrier and guard hut. So with two deft movements the car was through the gap and back on to the road before the ladies realised what had happened! Fortunately, the barrier attendant was in the hut instead of standing by the barrier unaware of a vehicle in the vicinity until I shot past his front door. Back we went to Dodoma for urgent repairs.

The owner of the garage, a Greek, was very co-operative and soon had a couple of mechanics removing the brake master cylinder, etc, to renew all the hydraulic seals contained therein. After about an hour we were back on the road once again heading towards Arusha. There were no more hitches en-route and we rolled into Arusha soon after 4.30pm to a well earned cup or two of tea. At breakfast the following morning a member of the hotel kitchen staff ambled across to our table to greet mother like a long lost friend, which I suppose she was, he having been our first cook when we settled at Sao Hill way back in 1928, thirteen year's ago. Since he was now the hotel cook I asked him to knock up some decent sandwiches for our lunch at Namanga. We reached Nairobi at about 4.00pm, After dumping my passengers at the Queen's Hotel I carried on to my army abode, returning later with Charlie to dine in comfort with Ma and friend. They enjoyed their week's spree in civilisation but were not looking forward to the return journey by train and bus, the former taking 25 hours and the latter 3 days.

Extract ID: 5715

See also

Tanganyika Guide
Page Number: 48
Extract Date: 1953

Dodoma Station

Extract ID: 5538

See also

Tanganyika Guide
Page Number: 49
Extract Date: 1953

Section III�Dodoma to Tabora

Dodoma is situated near the watershed of the Indian Ocean and the Rift Valley. The great trough of the Rift, with its salt lakes and its large and small volcanoes, intersects the East African granite-plateau from latitude 6 deg. South, and then continues northwards through the Red Sea into the valley of the Dead Sea and the River Jordan, right to the foot of the Lebanon. The Central Railway cuts this rift near its southern end and, as the train crawls up the steep western scarp, a grand view unfolds itself, and like a gigantic map the valley lies below with the glittering surface of a great salt swamp in its southernmost corner. In the vicinity of Manyoni, on the top of the scarp, is the grave of the explorer James Elton, one of the first Englishmen to cross the interior. He died in 1877. Manyoni was the junction for the Singida railway line, which has how been taken up and replaced by a road from Itigi.

From near the upper edge of the scarp to Tabora and again for a long distance west of that town, the track passes through miles of wilderness into fine agricultural country. At kilometre 634 is a stone monument indicating the highest point of the line (4,350 ft.), and at kilometre 785 in flat country comes the Continental Divide, to the west of which water flows into Lake Tanganyika and thus, through the Congo, into the Atlantic.

At last there is a welcome change from thicket and wood into the open country surrounding Tabora, and soon the town itself, surrounded by granite hills and mango groves, is reached. It is the capital of the Nyamwezi country and, as the place where one of the largest and most industrious Bantu tribes is administered, continues the part it has for long played in East African history. Founded as an Arab colony for securing the long line of communication from the coast to the great lakes, the town is full of links with the past, and the tourist can see here the old " tembe " at Kwihara where Livingstone and Stanley lived together in 1872, the pass between two hills where they parted, or again the battle grounds where first Nyamwezi chiefs and Arabs, then Germans and Belgians have fought for the possession of this country. At Tabora is situated the leading Government school for Africans in the Territory.

As Tabora is at the junction of the Mwanza Line, it is on one of the through routes from Kenya and Uganda to the Congo and Northern Rhodesia ; it is also on one of the trunk air routes to South Africa, and travellers stop the night at the spacious German-built hotel which has recently been modernised.

Extract ID: 5539

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

Green, Geoff Capital Capers
Page Number: 38

Dodoma's Drought

Extract ID: 3359

See also

White, Paul (Text); Emery, Ossie and Udey, Edwin (Photos) Jungle Doctor Panorama
Page Number: 120
Extract Date: 1960

Map showing location of CMS hospitals

Extract ID: 5706

See also

1991 Publishes: Palin, Michael Pole to Pole
Page Number: 225
Extract Date: Oct 1991


We've 250 miles ahead of us today, so up at 6.15 for an early start. Peer out over the balcony to see baboons swarming all over the place, taking apart the ornamental gardens.

Leave an hour later, taking the right turn at the end of the hotel drive. The safari traffic turns left and I feel a quite

poignant sense of regret at leaving the animals behind.

A rough track, uncomfortably negotiated, brings us out onto the main road from Dodoma to Arusha. This is a fine, recently constructed highway. It even has white line markings. We sizzle along it for 15 miles, as far as a large phosphate factory at Minjingu. I know it's called Minjingu because it's written several times on a roadside hoarding: 'Have You Applied Minjingu Phosphate Fertiliser?', 'Have You Taken Your Sample?' and finally 'Bon Voyage from Minjingu'. It's quite the opposite as it turns out. Mal voyage from Minjingu to Dodoma, on a road surface, once metalled but since left to break up into a cracked and pitted mess.

We're out of the dramatic scenery and bumping along between dry straw-coloured fields through which bare patches of an ash-grey rock can be glimpsed, with only the occasional 'sausage tree' to enliven the view with its long, cylindrical fruit dangling from the branches.

The villages are plain and poor, growing staple foods like banana and papaya and tomato. At the junction town of Babati we buy samosa and bread for lunch. Even the children here seem to view us with caution, a sort of guarded suspicion which we have not met anywhere else but Sudan, where xenophobia seemed like government policy. What have the children been taught here? I know that Julius Nyerere preached self-sufficiency and nonalignment which may have delivered national pride but not much in the way of economic self-confidence.

For five or six hours we progress along a winding ridge, densely wooded with acacia resplendent in colours of deep green, pale brown and golden yellow, a splash of Vermont in the fall. Then we're running down onto the plain and the baobab trees are the star turn. Some of them are believed to be 2000 years old, massively built, 20 or 30 feet around the trunk, with flanks the colour and texture of gunmetal. Birds love them and owls, hornbills, bats and buffalo weavers nest amongst them.

Over 10 hours after leaving Lake Manyara we finally reach the outskirts of Dodoma, a city of only 45,000 people, not even among the ten largest cities of Tanzania, but plum in the middle of the country. It is announced by a faded sign beside a broken road, Welcome to Dodoma, Capital City'.

This is strong missionary country. On the way in we come across the incongruous sight of orderly rows of Vines, tended by the Passionist Fathers, and producing Dodoma Red, which I am warned against.

The Vocation Centre of the Precious Blood Missionaries and the Assemblies of God Bible College beckon with their signs as does the New Limpopo Bar. A stretch of dual carriageway around the refreshingly modest Parliament building passes the Roman Catholic bookshop, the Paradise Theatre � Elliott Gould and Kate Jackson in Dirty Tricks � and the headquarters of the ruling CCM party (attached directly to the Parliament) before depositing us before the colonial fa�ade of the Dodoma Hotel. Considering this is the best hotel in a capital city it's disappointing that there is no hot water on tap, but a bucketful can be brought to you on request. In the public rooms fat armchairs with their stuffing leaking out are set around an old John Broadwood piano with middle C missing. The food is dull but the beer is cool and welcome. My bed has a huge mosquito net, though I point out to the attendant that it has three very large holes in it. He smiles helplessly and produces a can of fly-spray the size of a bazooka which he uses so freely that I am unable to breathe inside the room for at least ten minutes.

There is a disco in the hotel tonight and it's a measure of how tired I am that the music blasts me to sleep.

Extract ID: 5726

See also

Palin, Michael Pole to Pole
Page Number: 227
Extract Date: Oct 1991


I've noticed that everything in my room from the grey pillow that I didn't dare lay my head on to the mirror I don't shave in front of because there is no hot water is stencilled with a long serial number and the initials TRC � Tanzanian Railway Company. It's appropriate I suppose, for our destiny is now in their hands from here to Mpulungu in Zambia � 800 miles through the heart of Africa.

When nine years old or thereabouts . . . While looking at a map of Africa, and putting my finger on the blank space then representing the unsolved mystery of the continent, I said to myself with absolute assurance and an amazing audacity which are no longer in my character now: 'When I grow up I shall go there'.

I read this last night as mosquitoes poured through the holes in my net and, although it is Joseph Conrad's recollection of his childhood in Poland, it could as well have been an expression of my own boyhood fascination with somewhere as remote from my domestic surroundings as it seemed possible then to be. Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest lake in the world (after Lake Baikal), set in the centre of the African continent, surrounded by mountain and jungle and God knows what is, I'm sure, what I was thinking of. It's now one railway journey away.

I like Dodoma. It's not beautiful but the people are pleasant. Tanzanians don't intrude, they aren't curious or reproving or obsessive starers. They quietly go about their business, which might include selling wooden whistles outside the Parliament building.

`How much?'


`I only have 200.'

`I'll give it to you for 300.'

`I only have 200.'

`All right. 200.'

Now that's the sort of haggling I like.

I meet an Englishman, a university professor checking out Tanzania prior to some investment from the World Bank. He is in despair over the paperwork needed to get anything done here. He shakes his head in disbelief:

`They have a saying in this country that bureaucracy is like God. It's everywhere.'

The servants of God are certainly here in force. Religion seems to be the growth industry. On one of the major intersections the Indian Christians' huge domed neo-classical chateau stands next to the sweeping modern redbrick lines of the Lutheran cathedral, which in turn faces across to the squat polygonal towers and domes of the Anglican Church.

The English language Daily News has a sports headline with a familiar, almost nostalgic ring. 'Angry Fans on Rampage.' Football is popular here with a big match in prospect tonight as Black Fighters of Zanzibar take on Railways of Morogoro, whose players most likely have TRC stencilled somewhere on their bodies.

At ten minutes after midday a large metal cylinder hanging outside the office of the stationmaster at Dodoma is rung loudly, and the purveyors of nuts, eggs, bananas, dried fish, sweet potatoes, rubber sandals, fresh water, loaves of bread, toy aeroplanes and other traveller's fare edge closer to the railway track. Beginning as a distant shimmer, a diesel locomotive with a red cow-catcher and a distinctive yellow V on the front slowly materializes, bringing in the express from the port of Dar es Salaam, 280 miles to the east. It's an enormous relief to see it. This and the boat down Lake Tanganyika are two of the essential connections on the journey. Neither is easy. There is an element of uncertainty about our rights to seats on the train as none of our bookings has been confirmed, and indeed, all our compartments are occupied. Polite persuasion is not enough and we just have to move in and hope that the sight of 30 boxes of film equipment will put the skids under anyone. An emotional farewell to Kalului and Kabagire who have looked after us since the Ethiopia border. I leave Kalului my Michelin map � Africa North and East and Arabia � which I know he coveted.

The train is not in good shape. Most of the windows are broken, and that's only in First Class. There are, considerately, two types of lavatory, announced on their doors as 'High Type' (European) and 'Low Type' (non-European). Once we are under way, I approach the High Type, prepared for the worst, only to find that it is not there at all. The High Type has vanished, leaving behind only a hole in the floor.

It's seven in the evening. To the restaurant car for dinner. Hot and crowded, but there's something familiar about it. A metal manufacturer's disc by the door reads 'BREL, Derby 1980'. Of course, these battered coaches rolling across the East African bush, are exactly the same design as British Inter-City stock. They may look as if they've had it but they're 30 years younger than those which many London commuters travel in.

Chicken or fish with rice and potatoes. Run DMC rap music sounds loudly from the next door table, making it difficult to hear my dining companion who says he is a footballer with CDA Tabora. CDA stands for Capital Development Authority. Not an easy one to chant on the terraces.

We stop frequently, and I wish I hadn't eaten on the train. By the line-side is a feast of food � tables set up with chicken stews and rice and beans, all fresh from voluminous saucepans. Kebabs and live chickens and even a duck are bought and sold through the windows. At all these stops I've been aware of a persistent clicking sound. I thought it might be cicadas but now I see it is made by children who carry their wares � cigarettes maybe, or bananas � in one hand and click loose coins in the other to attract business.

Craig and Nigel have ears pressed to a radio at the window, trying, in the midst of this line-side cacophony, to pick up the sound from Edinburgh where England are playing Scotland in the Rugby Union World Cup semifinal.

Nigel suddenly turns from the radio with a look of total disbelief: `They've gone to the news! . . . They've gone to the news with two minutes left!'

As we pull away from Itigi, 105 miles beyond Dodoma, Mbego, our coach attendant, a wraith-like figure in white cap, blue tunic and trousers, appears dragging a shapeless green canvas bundle from which he extricates my bedding which he lays out with infinite care and precision. Later I see him sitting at the open door of the train gently and ruminatively stroking the head of a young man next to him.

Night falls and the electricity supply fails. To sleep reading Heart of Darkness by torchlight. Outside is Africa . . . 'its mystery, its greatness, the amazing reality of its concealed life . .

Extract ID: 5727

See also

Palin, Michael Pole to Pole
Page Number: 231
Extract Date: Oct 1991


Dream of thousands of shuffling feet, a babble of strange voices, baby cries, chickens clucking, heavy objects being dragged close by me, clicks and curses and strange cries. My eyes are wide open, but I can see nothing. My window has been boarded up. The noises continue, growing in intensity.

Dawn. In the Low Type, which is filthy and caked with un-flushed waste, a sign reads The co-operation of passengers is required to prevent waste of water and the misuse of this toilet compartment'. There's no water to waste.

Something is different about the train this morning. It's shorter for a start, and the restaurant car is different (the clock has stopped at 8.10 rather than 1.05). Over breakfast of fried egg, boiled potato, bread, marge and three cups of sweet tea, I hear the explanation of my dream last night. Soon after midnight the train stopped at Tabora in order to be split up and re-grouped into three separate trains. Patti and Craig had to spend three hours on the platform making sure our equipment was not sent north to Mwanza or south to Mpanda. Apparently Patti received one proposal of marriage. Craig none, sadly. Angela tried to help out with her torch until she found out that the entire shunting manoeuvres at Tabora were being co-ordinated by torch signals.

Later, to the restaurant car for elevenses. It is closed. All the windows have been covered up with some kind of material. Rueful smiles all round. No one seems particularly worried, except me. I try again in half an hour only to find the rueful smiles turned to wholehearted joy at the continued closure of the restaurant. Then a soldier emerges from inside, positively wreathed in smiles.

`It is a girl,' he announces.

It must be almost as we touch the 30 degree meridian, for the first time since the Mediterranean, that a little girl is born in the restaurant car of the Dar es Salaam to Kigoma Express. It is certainly the best thing the restaurant car has provided so far and I take it as a very good omen for the rest of our journey.

Mercury being well out of retrograde at the moment things do seem to be going, if not comfortably, at least smoothly and we are on the final curve into Kigoma by late afternoon, only three and a half hours behind schedule on a 27-hour journey. A lush, thick, heavy heat spills in from the open doorway. Children run out from groves of bananas, papaya and mango to wave at the train. Mbego sits on the step at the end of our coach, unselfconsciously tickling the ear of his friend. There is a marked absence of the heightened stress and strain that usually grips arriving passengers.

Kigoma Station is a fine old colonial building, and looks as though it could be North Italian with its arches and loggia. Its grand clock, in the fine tradition of TRC, is stopped. Useless Facts Department: from a hanging sign above one of the doors I learn that the Swahili for Stationmaster is Steshinimasta.

We are driven to our lodgings by a soft-spoken middle-aged man in a well-kept Toyota Corolla, with a transfer of the Pope on one window. He turns out to be a doctor as well as a taxi driver and apologizes for not taking the direct road to the hotel.

`There are large holes in it, you understand.'

Our detour bounces us along a red earth track, scattering chickens and goats, which leads to the low, nondescript fa�ade of the Railway Hotel.

We unload for the 53rd time. Kigoma, elevation 2541 feet, population 50,044, is just about bang on course at 29.36 degrees East. We have completed our long, enforced eastern swing from Khartoum in 30 days, and hopefully we've made it in time to make the infrequent but vital ferry connection to Mpulungu and Zambia.

Clem, who should be feeling very pleased with himself, appears from hotel reception looking quite the opposite. Apparently no one knows anything about our bookings, and they do not have enough rooms for us. Kigoma is by no means awash with alternative accommodation so this is a cruel blow. As Clem and Angela embark on the slow process of sorting out the reservations, I walk across a bare and uninviting lobby to be confronted with the sort of view that lifts the spirits however low they might have sunk. A descent of chipped concrete steps leads down to a grassy bank, studded with tables and parasols, beyond which the waves of a wide blue-green lake spill lethargically onto a beach of coarse red sand. Lake Tanganyika, confined here into a small bay between low, grassy headlands, stretches away, across to the hazy cliffs of Zaire, once the Congo, Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

It is a breathtaking revelation of scale and space, as if I had opened a door onto the centre of Africa.

`When I grow up I shall go there . .

Well, I've had my cosmic moment and now the reality must be faced. The Railway Hotel, Kigoma is not the heart of darkness. It is more like a cross between a pub in Earl's Court and a minor Hilton. Encamped on the thick unmown lawns are two dozen Australian and New Zealand overlanders drinking beer. A Japanese film crew are at work in the lake and another harassed European rushes past us clutching a sheaf of papers.

After hours of patient negotiation we are all found rooms. They are arranged in unglamorous functional blocks which do no justice at all to the splendour of the location. Mine has a small bed with a frame for a mosquito

and basin, but no hot water. My lavatory is of the High Type, but the cistern overflows gently and persistently. As if to further mock my dreams of solitariness and isolation, all I can hear as I unpack is a radio crackling out the last seconds of commentary from the Rugby Union World Cup followed by a roar from the darkness outside as Australia defeat New Zealand.

Later I settle down with Conrad on my narrow bed, and read myself to sleep to the sound of 'the howling sorrow of savages' and the gentle lapping of an overflowing lavatory cistern.

Extract ID: 5728

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 109
Extract Date: 14 Feb 1858

The rough nurse of rugged men: Zungomero to Ujiji and Kigoma

Chapter 4

When we left Zungomero, we left what Burton called the First Region of his trip and entered the Second, or mountain, Region. Ahead of us, between Zungomero and Lake Tanganyika, lay four more of his regions. Traversing the Second Region would take us from Zungomero over the Rubeho Mountains to the edge of a country Burton called Ugogo, which is near present-day Dodoma. The trek through the Rubeho Mountains was a difficult one for Burton because of the rugged terrain. For us it was also difficult, but mainly because we could not be sure what route Burton's expedition had taken to reach the mountain pass.

Beyond Dodoma, the explorers passed through the Third Region and part of the Fourth Region to reach Kazeh (present-day Tabora), where they rested for five weeks. From Tabora they proceeded to the Malagarasi River, which marked the beginning of Burton's Fifth Region; and from there they plodded laboriously on, reaching Lake Tanganyika at Ujiji on February 14, 1858, seven and a half months after leaving Bagamoyo. When I glanced at Burton's careful list, I counted ninety stations between Zungomero and Lake Tanganyika.

Our own expedition telescoped Burton and Speke's seven and a half months of travel into eight days. We left Bagamoyo on October 25, and arrived at Lake Tanganyika on November 1. Swift though our progress was, however, when we set out from Zungomero I had hoped to cover the distance much more quickly than we actually did. The trip to Lake Tanganyika turned out to be a difficult slog as we detoured and backtracked ceaselessly, trying to identify some of the more elusive portions of Burton's trail.

The rough nurse of rugged men: Zungomero to Ujiji and Kigoma

Extract ID: 5734

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 124
Extract Date: 1996

The main road to Dodoma

Eventually, at Mbande, we hit the main road to Dodoma, still eighty kilometres away. The road was well paved, but we still managed to get red dust on everything. My khaki clothes were covered in filth, my shoes were caked with the stuff, and I got a lungful of it every time I breathed.

Burton and Speke's route took them a little to the south of Dodoma. Along the way we passed some huge outcroppings of rock that Burton described:

"a large crevasse in lofty rocks of pink and gray granite, streaked with white quartz, and pudding'd with greenstone and black horneblend�. Farther down the bed huge boulders � rose, perpendicularly as walls, to the height of � one hundred and twenty feet [thirty-seven metres]�."

Extract ID: 5750

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 125
Extract Date: 1996

The place where it sank

Dodoma began as a settlement of thatched huts of the Gogo, a tribe that Stanley called, "masters in foxy craft." The settlement grew with the arrival of the railway at the beginning of the twentieth century. The railway stations became the centres of the towns that lined the old caravan routes. That is where the markets and shops were established.

Dodoma dwindled considerably during the First World War, when thirty thousand people died of starvation in a famine caused by the misappropriation of food supplies by the Germans and the British. In the 1970s the Tanzanian government declared that Dodoma was to replace Dar es Salaam as the capital in the 1980s, but this still has not happened.

"Idodomya," Meaning "the place where it sank" and referring to an elephant that got stuck in the mud of a Gogo washing hole, is a phrase that gave the town its name on German maps. The name, like the elephant, stuck.

Extract ID: 5751

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 125b
Extract Date: 1996

West of Dodoma

West of Dodoma, we took yet another rough, sandy road, this time headed towards Manyoni, a railway town and the centre of a tobacco-growing region, about 140 kilometres away. Wagogo herdsmen struggled to make a living in this desolate land, sometimes, according to Burton, resorting to extortion from the caravans: "In Ugogo," he wrote, "the merest pretext � the loosing a hot word, touching a woman, offending a boy, or taking in vain the name of the sultan � infallibly leads to being mulcted in cloth."

We stopped to camp at 5:00 p.m., and were asleep that night by 8:30.

We were up at 5:45 a.m. the next day, to the by now familiar sound of doves cooing and hornbills drumming. It was light early on the plains, and we roused ourselves as soon as the world started moving around us. In this early part of our journey, my mind was always on Burton and his struggling train of reluctant porters with all their complaints and mutinies. We were now entering Burton's Third Region, which he described as the flat table-land from the Wasagara Mountains to Tura in Unyamwezi, rising gently to the west.

We broke camp at 8:00 a.m. and set off westward towards Manyoni and Tabora. We passed numerous villages, and along the way were reminded that the Swahili word for "white man" is Mzungu, which comes from Mzungu kati, Meaning "wandering around in circles, going nowhere." I was beginning to understand why. Manyoni, when we reached it, appeared to be little more than a dusty strip of small hotels: Manyoni Inn, Royal Hotel and Inn, Caribuni Hotel, Central Line Hotel, Video Inn, Dara Inn. These "hotels" were really small restaurants or tea houses. We looked in the market for a hengo, a unique, long-handled knife used by the Wagogo. No luck.

Extract ID: 5753

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Extract Author: Daniel Benno Msangya, Dar es Salaam
Page Number: 01
Extract Date: January 22, 2001

Tanzania's Grapevine Production Faces Lean Year

Copyright � 2001 African Church Information Service. Distributed by For information about the content or for permission to redistribute, publish or use for broadcast, contact the publisher.

Every year gloomy faced vegetable and fruit growers in Tanzania watch helplessly as their produce rot in farms because of lack of transport, reliable market and adequate canning or preservation facilities. It is indeed the most painful period especially for the growers in Dodoma, one of the leading vegetable and fruit producing regions in East Africa. Many farmers are rethinking their careers.

Magge Matonya (not her real name), a widow and mother of seven children - all school drop-outs - is no longer interested in growing mizabibu, literally grapevine, the famous cash crop of Italy as well as of Dodoma region in Tanzania.

Her family's efforts had been frustrated after the death of the head of her household several years ago. She is presently the only provider for her family and all her energy is directed towards gainful endeavours.

Mbukwa Matonya, her husband, died of AIDS-related ailment. But unlike in many other similar circumstances, he left his family reasonably provided for. He earned much from his three acres of vineyard at Mpunguzi Village situated about ten kilometres south west of Dodoma town.

Extract ID: 3894

See also

Okema, Michael The Capital City in the Middle of Nowhere
Page Number: 1
Extract Date: 1999, April 22


Copyright � 1999 The East African. Distributed via Africa News Online

Dodoma is supposed to be the political capital of Tanzania. This name is derived from 'idodomia', which in the local Kigogo dialect means 'to sink'. Legend has it that an elephant once sank in quicksand in the vicinity of present-day Dodoma.

Extract ID: 3955

See also

Amin, Mohamed; Willetts, Duncan and Marshall, Peter Journey Through Tanzania
Page Number: 108
Extract Date: 1910


It was not until the arrival of the Germans and the central railway line in 1910 that a permanent settlement came into existence. At the time the area was known as 'Idodomya', which in the local [Kigogo] language means 'the place where it sank', referring to an incident when an elephant drinking in a nearby pond got stuck in the mud. Idodomya went on the map as Dodoma.

Extract ID: 3211

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 125
Extract Date: 1996

The place where it sank

Dodoma began as a settlement of thatched huts of the Gogo, a tribe that Stanley called, "masters in foxy craft." The settlement grew with the arrival of the railway at the beginning of the twentieth century. The railway stations became the centres of the towns that lined the old caravan routes. That is where the markets and shops were established.

Dodoma dwindled considerably during the First World War, when thirty thousand people died of starvation in a famine caused by the misappropriation of food supplies by the Germans and the British. In the 1970s the Tanzanian government declared that Dodoma was to replace Dar es Salaam as the capital in the 1980s, but this still has not happened.

"Idodomya," Meaning "the place where it sank" and referring to an elephant that got stuck in the mud of a Gogo washing hole, is a phrase that gave the town its name on German maps. The name, like the elephant, stuck.

Extract ID: 5751