Rupert’s updates

I recently travelled overland from Zanzibar to Rwanda and found your Bradt guide invaluable.  Bus from Dar to Dodoma then Mwanza, ferry to Bukoba, minibuses/taxis to Kigali.
For what it is worth, I offer the following updates.
Zanzibar, Pongwe:  Seasons Lodge Hotel, next to Pongwe beach Hotel, new, opened a few months ago.  Very good.  Santa Maria Coral Reef appeared closed.
Mainland trains:  Dar-es-Salaam to Dodoma not in service.  Dodoma – Tabora (and beyond) OK, twice a week, Wednesday and Sunday.  I witnessed the departure from Dodoma on Wednesday at 9.00 a.m.  Tabora to Mwanza not in service (since about 2009).
Dodoma-Mwanza main road all tarred.  Had one bus Dar-Dodoma (8 hrs) and another Dodoma-Mwanza (9 hrs)(it had started in Dar).  Bukoba-Rusumo tarred except a 30-mile stretch north of Biharamulo (new road under construction).
Dodoma:  CCT Hostel OK, single room now TZS 11’000.
Mwanza:  New Pentagon Hotel OK;  Deluxe Hotel now a brothel!  New:  upmarket Gold Crest Hotel opposite New Mwanza Hotel.  Fourways Travel agency gave wrong information on ferry to Bukoba (wanted to sell us flights there instead!)
Mwanza-Bukoba ferry.  “Victoria” goes twice a week.  We left on a Thursday at 9.00 p.m, arr Bukoba 7.00 a.m. after short stop at Kemondo Bay Port.  Second class cabin (6 bunks) TZS 23’000.

Morogoro to Mwanza by road

Morogoro to Singida. Road in good to excellent condition except for 2 stretches of bypass tracks just north of Manyoni. One of about 30 km is only in preparatory stage for building so will probably not be ready till next year. The other a little further north is about 7km long and in appalling condition, not passable by non-4×4. The road next to it should open by end of April 2010. Later there are patches with potholes but generally of limited extent. Note: we found the Traffic Police particularly diligent on this stretch and were stopped several times.

Paladins cave in Dodoma is in a bit of a time warp. Lots of sweets in jars and huge selection of ice cream and toppings at escalating prices. Coffee was black only so had vanilla ice cream to add flavour. The owner could make so much more of the place but I do not think he has the desire.

Stayed at Stanley Motel (18,000Tsh double), rather small rooms but lovely cotton sheets, comfortable beds with nets. Dark restaurant but reasonable food. The bar next door had the loudest bass amplifier in Africa, which could be useful for military ultrasonic warfare: it was Friday Night!

The J 4 Singida Motel is closed for renovation .

They are building a hotel on the western shores of the Lake and another on the road out to Nzega that looks over the Lake.

Road to Mwanza in good / reasonable condition with more potholes and repairs the closer you get to Mwanza.

Stopped at Nzega Hotel for a coffee at about 11 am. Place full of people drinking beer but the staff did oblige us, having sent a runner to the ‘duka’ to get a tin of coffee.

Mwanza. Stayed at Tilapia Hotel. Very well appointed rooms, banda for $90 double, everything worked! Nice to go for a swim and good restaurant. Plenty of customers (Saturday night)

Rupert Gude