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Tanzanian Airport Reviews

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Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA): Our flight departed Wilson late, and therefore arrived in Kilimanjaro late (probably by about an hour) (website www.kilimanjaroairport.co.tz). We flew Regional Air from Kilimanjaro to the Crater (Lake Manyara Airport). Since our flight was full, we did not need to stop in Arusha en route to the Crater, although some flights may if there aren’t enough passengers for the direct flight. Kilimanjaro is a “real” airport, but still very small. I only saw one snack bar inside, several bathroom facilities, and (joy!) an indoor/outdoor smoking area near the departure gates. There were a few shops outside of the security area (I saw some fake designer bags in the windows). The staff at Kili were great--and also led us by the hand through baggage claim and luggage recheck. There was no wait at the visa window, although we had gotten our visas before leaving the US ($50 USD each, plus another $50 each for the service). There is regular security here, and we were not allowed to take liquids on board with us. Luggage was not weighed, even though there were facilities.

Lake Manyara Airport: This is an actual airport, but teeny-tiny. The runways are paved (macadam). There is a small departure area (think grandma’s basement, complete with velour sofas) where you can smoke. There is a building across the parking lot with crafts and souvenirs. There is a bathroom building nearby, which even had toilet paper, soap, and running water on my arrival (but none of those on my departure, so it seems variable). People were quite nice. There was nowhere to buy drinks or snacks (which isn’t a problem if you use CC Africa, for they won’t let you go hungry or thirsty for a moment and always pack you a to-go bag with a sandwich, small dessert, fruit, nuts, and drink box; sandwiches were delicious!). Luggage was not weighed, and I did not see any facilities.

Arusha Airport: This is a CUTE little airport, with everything that you need: tiny coffee bar, several small shops, snack bar/coffee house, decent restrooms. There is no problem smoking here, since everything is indoor/outdoor. There is a security scanner and X-ray machine, but it was no problem taking liquids on board. Luggage was not weighed, and I did not see any facilities (although we transferred through). I would fly through this airport anytime!

Zanzibar International Airport: This is a small airport, but very traditional (website www.zanzibar-airport.com). It is indoor, and semi-air conditioned with chiller machines. Oddly, there is no restroom after passing through security, but it wasn’t a problem to go back out if necessary. There is a restaurant (?called the Palm Tree Terrace?), but again, it was prior to security so not really accessible. There are two shops inside (one duty-free with lots of books), one that sells drinks and snacks. There is NO smoking inside this airport. There was even a priority lounge (I guess for first class passengers flying internationally), but it had NO amenities other than being blocked off from the masses (no services inside). We flew Coastal Air from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam, and since we arrived at the airport early, they put us on an earlier flight, so we only spent about 20 minutes waiting (it would be tough to spend 1+ hours here constructively). This was the only airport where we needed to pay a departure tax, which was $5 USD per person for flying domestically (I think it was $30 USD for international). They took dollars for the fee. All the check-in counters are almost at the curb (so outside), and those flying Kenyan Air looked the most harried.

Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam: For one of the country’s two main international airports, this was surprisingly disappointing. Helpful Hint: Use a porter! It will be $5 or $10 well spent. They greeted us at the car door, whisked us through special security line, waited to grab bags, and then deposited us at the airline check-in counter (even though no one knew at that time that we were business class). There were shops outside, but the inside security business takes a bit of time, and I wouldn’t linger outside too much. The ”regular” security line was quite long, and there were at least two other security checkpoints inside. We weren’t allowed to take matches on-board, and they screened our bags heavily. Our luggage was weighed (with the meat-hook type devices, not digitally). There are a few nice shops inside security, along with a snack bar. There are a good variety of souvenirs, and reasonably-priced. Another airport where it’s difficult to spend 1+ hours, though. The priority Tanzanite Lounge was disappointing (see my other review for Emirates), but still better than waiting with the masses. The airport is not air-conditioned except after passing through the final security scan just before boarding, where there were chillers. There were bathroom facilities (though small for the number of people waiting), but there was NO smoking allowed inside (even though it seemed sort of an open-air building). I wouldn’t jump at the chance to fly through here again, unless it really fits my schedule well--just disappointing for an international airport.

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