Tanzania has been working for tourism for 50 years, now. Its wonderful wild National Parks, its stunning coast, its islands are the most popular destinations for those who come to Africa looking for nature and emotions. The reference cities and villages also are part of this touristic plan and are slowly changing. Places like the capital city, Dar Es Salaam, or Arusha, or the lake city Mwanza have their own attractions for foreigners. They also offer accomodation and guided tours for safaris. Recently, new places have been highly considered as tourist locations: Tanga, for example, or Moshi in the northern regions.
A railway to Kilimanjaro
In the past, the main connection with the great region of Kilimanjaro was the road that led from Dar Es Salaam to Arusha. A large dusty road, first, then asphalted, it welcomed all the traffic of locals and tourists. But as soon as tourism increased, also road traffic increased and this caused a lot of problems. Most part of the traffic of goods and business moved to the railway, which was very old though, and was in use also from Tanga to Moshi stations.
It helped to lighten the load of the main road but was not enough for the more and more demanding tourism. So the new plan of the Tanzanian government was to stretch the railway line, modernize it and add also a railway line for passengers. A touristic train from Dar Es Salaam to the Kilimanjaro region with the final stop at Moshi.
The new railway
The first Tanzanian railway was built by German settlers in the 19th century. They needed it in order to connect the Ocean – and Dar Es Salaam – with Lake Victoria, so to speed up trades between the inner regions and the port. Later on, a new branch of the railway connected the main station of Dar Es Salaam with Tanga, up north, and Moshi in the Kilimanjaro region. This second line was mainly commercial and was abandoned at the end of the 20th century.
In 2019, the Prime Minister promoted a campaign for the recovery and restoration of the Tanga-Moshi line. The plan was to turn it into a brand new passenger railway, and to stretch it to Dar Es Salaam along the old commercial railway. This will allow an improvement of trades, of agriculture and tourism, especially to the famous Kilimanjaro area. Since 2019, trains for passengers started running between the capital and Moshi, but only twice a week. The work is still in progress, with the help of Chinese companies. The goal is to create a modern railway lines’ net so to make it easier and faster to move through the Tanzanian territory. And also to connect the nation with Kenya and Angola.
The importance of a railway to Moshi
Dar Es Salaam is the capital, and a very modern and active city. It is already connected with other important cities, both on the coast and on Lake Victoria. But the region of Kilimanjaro was lacking a real reference point, even though Arusha was already a tourist location. Moshi is a town in full growth right now. It is one of the most beautiful in Tanzania and the local “little Florence”, because of the many historical buildings and high quality schools.
Since Moshi is also very close to Kilimanjaro it will become more and more important, as for tourism, in the future. So the new fast connection via railway with Dar Es Salaam gives new opportunities for the tourist traffic. Besides, along the way – half coastal and half intern – tourists will admire one of the most charming landscapes of Africa.