|Dedication and Acknowledgements |
Dedicated to my father, Charles William Snowden (1915 - 1994), who
joined the East African Railways and Harbours (Road Services) as the
Mechanical Inspector at Iringa in 1950. In 1955 he was appointed Motor
Transport Officer and remained with the Road Services until April 1964
when he returned to the UK. |
I should like to thank friends and
fonner colleagues of my father who have assisted me in writing this
short history of the Tanganyika Road Services: Les Ottaway, John Wall,
Stan Pritchard, Doug Golding, Marion Gough (Doug Golding's daughter) and
Jean Doubleday. My particular thanks go to Stan Pritchard for allowing
me to reproduce extracts from his book "Driving Mad" and to Marion Gough
for providing me with photos and copies of her father's papers.
| The Beginning |
| In October 1940 the Tanganyika Government asked the Tanganyika
Railways and Port Services (TR&PS) to run a road service between
Morogoro on the Central Line and Korogwe on the Tanga Line, a distance
of 178 miles. The TR&PS were asked to run this service because a lack of
shipping and the irregularity of sailings meant that it was becoming
increasingly difficult to move goods between Tanga and Dar-es-Salaam.
"This has proved most successful", Mr Robins (General Manager)
wrote, "and in view of the decrease of coastal shipping services has
fulfilled a most useful function. The service became an integral part of
the transport services at the end of the year. The rather primitive
facilities will be improved as opportunity permits." |
In 1942 a
first class bus service, using a number of 7 -seater safari cars built
on 10-cwt chassis, was introduced between Morogoro and Korogwe. The
fares charged were double the normal second-class fare on the ordinary
bus. This service proved extremely successful and by 1943 demand was so
heavy, especially for carrying troops, that all ordinary goods traffic
was diverted to the sea route between Tanga and Dar-es-Salaam - only
passengers and baggage were carried by road.
| Expansion |
| In 1942 the TR&PS were asked by the Government to provide a road
service from Dodoma to the Southern Highlands. This service was
inaugurated on 1st January 1943. At the time there was a shortage of
vehicles in Tanganyika and consequently the railways had to purchase
second-hand vehicles. Many of them were in a bad state of repair, there
was a shortage of spares, roads were bad, the drivers poorly trained and
there was a lack of suitable workshop facilities for proper maintenance.
Despite these difficulties, by 1944 the service was able to carry not
only the normal traffic to and from the Southern Highlands but also
large quantities of food for famine relief, labour to and from the sisal
and rubber plantations and provide transport support for the refugee
camps in the Southern Highlands. In 1944 a road service was started from
Mombo to Lushoto. |
In 1944, as a result of the expansion of the Road
Services, N E Spencer was appointed Assistant Traffic Superintendent -
an additional post.1 In 1945
Stanley Martin was appointed Foreman Grade 1 Motor Transport
During the years 1946 to 1948 the Road Services continued to operate
under very difficult conditions with inadequate workshop facilities and
unsuitable vehicles. Many of the vehicles had been bought during the
war, had been worked hard and were in poor condition. Although in 1948
the Road Services' fleet consisted of 250 assorted vehicles many had
been fully depreciated and were waiting their turn to be scrapped.
Despite these problems, the volume of traffic carried increased, rates
were kept at a reasonable level and the revenue earned steadily
increased. Orders were placed for large diesel-engine vehicles that
later became the mainstay of the road service fleet.
During 1947 a
new passenger road service was started between Arusha and Dodoma, a
passenger and goods service between Arusha and Oldeani and when the
Singida line was closed it was replaced by a road service between
Singida and Itigi.
| The Formation of EAR&H
| On 1 st May 1948 the TR&PS merged with the Kenya and
Uganda Railways and Harbours (KUR&H) to form East African Railways and
Harbours (EAR&H). The Headquarters was established in Nairobi. |
Uganda, EAR&H operated a small passenger and freight road service
between Masindi Port on Lake Kioga and Butiaba on Lake Albert, a
distance of 75 miles. The Headquarters and workshops, under a European
Motor Transport Officer, were based at Masindi Town. The service closed
in 1963 when the marine services on Lakes Kioga and Albert ceased as a
result of the opening ofthe Soroti-Lira-Gulu rail link.
| Managing the Road Services
When EAR&H formed the Road Services came under the
Mechanical Department. On 15th May 1950 the management of the Road
Services was transferred to the Transportation Department
(Superintendent of the Line). "A Motor Transport Officer was appointed
in direct charge of the services but under the administrative control of
the District Traffic Superintendent, Dodoma, and answerable direct to
the Superintendent of the Line on all mechanical matters. His
headquarters were established in Iringa.3 |
Then on 1st January 1952 all road services
were placed under the control of the newly established Commercial
Department with a Road Motor Engineer in charge. On 1st January 1955
central control was strengthened by the appointment of an Assistant
Superintendent (Roads) based at the Commercial Headquarters in Nairobi.
A Road Transport Superintendent, based at Iringa, was responsible for
day to day operations. On 1 st October 1966 the Commercial and Operating
Departments were merged into the Traffic Department.
In 1950 my
father joined EAR&H as Mechanical Inspector and we moved to Iringa -
from Nairobi where he had worked for Gailey and Roberts. I remember it
took nearly a week to get there. We travelled by train from Nairobi to
Kisumu on Lake Victoria, then by lake steamer to Mwanza in Tanganyika,
by train to Dodoma, and finally by road to Iringa. There was no house
for us and so we lived, along with a number of other European families,
in the Iringa Hotel for 18 months until houses were built. We had a
suite of rooms at one end of the hotel but facilities were fairly basic.
For example, there was no electricity in Iringa although the hotel had a
generator: every evening a tractor was driven up to the hotel and a
large belt was connected from the tractor's drive pulley to the
Writing in his book, Driving Mad, Stan Pritchard (Traffic
Inspector) recalls his introduction to the Road Services:
standing in the middle of Tanzania (then pre-independence Tanganyika)
holding an ex-army jerry can in my hand. A score or more of African
males stood in a line facing me. The next to step forward was a Masai
warrior. He jammed his spear into the ground, hung on to it with his
left hand and, with his right hand, flung aside his ochre coloured
garment to reveal his nakedness from his belly button down to his toes.
Then, with great aplomb, began to urinate in the general direction of
"In it, not at it!" I yelled as warm liquid trickled down
my hand. The Masai grinned and, though my tactful instructions delivered
in my best Lancastrian accent obviously puzzled him, said a cheery
"Ndiyo Bwana". As the last few drops dribbled into the can I called out
"Next!" - and wondered how the hell I had got myself into this
I had few qualms about performing this function, vital to
the efficient working of the Road Services branch of the East African
Railways and Harbours Administration, but I couldn't say, in all
honesty, that I was enjoying it. The old Albion bus on which I was
travelling sprang a leak in the radiator and, when all the spare water
he was carrying was used up, the driver had no alternative but to resort
to more desperate measures. As he lined up all the male passengers by
the side of the road he handed me the empty can with instructions to
collect all the liquid which would soon materialise.
admired his initiative, I was anything but comfortable with my part in
it, but felt I couldn't refuse. Here I was, not long out from England,
from where I and nine others had been seconded to the East African
Railways in 1951, and was on my way to Dodoma in central Tanganyika, to
take up my post as District Traffic Inspector on the Road Services.
The main railway line ran for nearly 600 miles from east to west and
connected the Indian Ocean port of Dar-es-Salaam with the inland ports
of Mwanza and Kigoma on Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika. The many
scattered townships and villages to the north and south of the railway
line were served, in the 1950s and 60s, by a fleet of buses and lorries operating out of railheads at Morogoro, Dodoma and Itigi by the road
services branch of the Railway.
None of my seconded colleagues from
British Railways - all keen railway buffs - wanted anything to do with
the Road Services, but I was in my element. I would have a brand new
Austin A 70 car provided for the job, two thousand miles of Tanganyika
bush roads over which to drive it, and twenty odd stations and depots to
supervise. I couldn't have been happier. It was the answer to my boyhood
Stan Pritchard also recalls his introduction to the Road
"...Within an hour my prayers were answered in the
form of one of our railway buses. I could see it in the rear mirror,
lights ablaze, crawling steadily forward through the deep mud and rain
as nonchalantly as an ocean liner coping with a Channel storm.
aid of a wire rope, a knowledgeable, cheerful bus driver, and 120
horsepower of throbbing diesel power, the car, and L were dragged along
the bottom of the ditch - but no matter what I did with the steering
wheel I couldn't get the car to climb out and back up onto the road. The
bus driver stopped, stepped down from his cab and, pushing his cap to
the back of his head, looked wonderingly for a few long moments at the
beleaguered car. Then, shaking his head - and me waiting for some
knowledgeable pearl of wisdom to come forth - he began to speak. In a
depressing tone, and still shaking his head slowly, "Mbaya sana bwana,"
was all he said.
'Well that's a great help!' I thought. "Look," Said I - "I can see as well as you can that it is very bad but think, what can we
do about it?"
He pondered this question for a moment then, with a huge
grin, said, "I know! I get all the way out of the bus and they lift you
out. OK?" This seemed a rather drastic solution but, before I could
object, he opened the rear door of the third class compartment and
propelled all the protesting passengers out into the rain - men, women
and children, it made no difference. He paid no heed to their grumbling
but, like a bossy sergeant major, lined them up all round the car and,
in Swahili, called out something which sounded like "One, two three!"
Suddenly, with an intense grunt and almighty heave, the car was lifted
bodily and deposited back on the road.
I wanted to thank the, now rain
soaked, passengers for their noble effort but, before I could say a
word, they vanished back into the shelter of the bus and slammed the
door. I did, however, tell the driver how much I appreciated what he had
done and would inform head office and have it recorded on his personal
file. "Ahsanta sana, bwana," he said with a grin, and obviously
He was a nice fellow but, being a conscientious inspector, I
felt I had to make amends for all the working time I had wasted in the
ditch so, why not check this bus? I asked to see his papers and, one of
the first things I noticed was the mail bags he was carrying were
destined for Kondoa Irangi, Babati and Arusha to the north, and this bus
was heading south to Iringa. Surely something was wrong? I questioned
the driver about this, but he was adamant. He always drove the Iringa
route he said and the loading clerk at Dodoma must have put the bags on
the wrong bus. Then I checked the passengers' tickets, and this is where
the confusion really set in. The third class passengers at the rear of
the bus, still dripping water and not very happy to see me again, all
had tickets for Iringa, but the three passengers patiently waiting in
the dry and cosy comfort of the 'superior class' at the front, had
tickets for Kondoa Irangi.
They were three three young females, all wearing crosses round their
necks. They were new missionaries, they explained, just out from Europe
and on their way to their first posting in Jver Africa - a mission
station near Kondoa Irangi. They were obviously worried about the delay.
"Excuse me," said the eldest in a strong continental accent "but I
wonder if we can go now. We are being met at the Kondoa Irangi bus stop
and do not want our hosts to be kept waiting too long in this rain."
"It's that stupid booking clerk's fault at Dodoma," said the driver. "I always
drive to Iringa, way and he knows that. He put them and the mail bags on the
wrong bus. " But the mail bags, and the the driver's documents, which he
admitted he hadn't looked at very closely, clearly showed that he should, on
this day at least, be going to Kondoa Irangi and Arusha. Whilst I was pondering
how to sort out this little problem, and the missionaries became more and more
of agitated, another bus came lumbering into view. This one was clearly destined
for Iringa, and not only had a few vacant seats in the third class compartment,
but the superior class was completely empty. I decided to transfer all the third
class passengers from the Arusha bus on to it - but didn't bargain for the chaos
which resulted. Nobody it seemed was interested in the vacant third class seats
and, despite my feeble protests, goats, chickens and passengers all crammed
themselves into the carpeted luxury of the front compartment - but I
ana was now past caring.
The missionaries became even more confused, and worried, when, with the aid of
two bus loads of third class passengers helping to push and shove, we slid their
bus round to face the other way. "Where are we going?" they asked.
Putting on what I thought was a disarming smile I said, "Kondoa Irangi, " and
hoped that would satisfy them. But it didn't. When I saw the alarm on their
faces I felt I had to add something more. Though backing off telling a blatant
lie I condensed my explanation to only a half truth. "Kondoa is a few miles back
up the road," I said, "but don't worry, you'll get there, and hopefully your
hosts won't have to wait too long."
"Oh dear!" was the response of the eldest of the missionaries, "We are so sorry
if we missed the stop and have caused you all this trouble. It is very kind of
you to turn the bus round for us and we thank you very very much. We will pray
for you - and may God bless you. " A pang of conscience swept over me as I
thanked them politely and sheepishly crept back to the drier confines of my car.
However much these kind ladies prayed for me I was sure God was most unlikely to
bless me, let alone forgive me. I couldn't blame him if he had me destined for
somewhere rather hot at the end of my earthly days. And, with that unsettling
pressed the starter and resumed battle with the slippery muddy track on my drive
| 1948 Onwards
By 1948 EAR&H was operating both passengers and goods road services over
a 1686 route
mile network on the following routes: Iringa to Dodoma, Iringa to Mbeya,
Itigi to Mbeya,
Itigi to Singida, Dodoma to Arusha, Arusha to Oldeani, Morogoro to
Korogwe and Mombo
to Lushoto and Malindi.
When Les Ottaway (Accounts Department) joined EAR&H in 1948 there were
no staff cars
and whenever he travelled the roads, with Margaret his wife, he had to
beg a lift, usually in
an old Bedford truck. Les, who now lives in Upper Hutt, New Zealand,
tells the following
"It had been a hot dusty and tiring day way back in 1948. We had left
Sao Hill in the Southern Highlands of Tanganyika in the early morning
and now in the late afternoon with Chimala River behind us we chugged
slowly and hesitantly up the winding corrugated murram road in our
clattering ramshackle Bedford truck of ancient vintage. With steam
hissing and spitting under the crumpled rusty tin bonnet we reached the
top of the escarpment and after a brief stop to cool down the reluctant
engine we clattered down and around the last few miles to the small
town of Mbeya and came to a shuddering stop at the Mbeya Hotel.
Red dust and grime washed off, we sank into the lounge chairs and ordered long
It would take an hour to get over that nine hour ordeal from Sao Hill to Mbeya
by way of
Njombe and Chimala River!
As we sat there a bleary eyed old timer with khaki shorts reaching below his
kept staring across at us. After a while he came across and without a smile on
face gave us a belligerent look and in a loud not-so-friendly voice enquired,
cross? " We were taken aback at this unwarranted intrusion by a stranger and to
we were both feeling somewhat cross and irritable after the long and tiring
Speaking up I replied, "No, I'm not cross", and thinking, "It's none of his
business anyway ".
The old timer spoke up again, a look of relief on his face and not so unfriendly
this time, "I'm
so sorry, I thought you might be Cross, the Government Auditor. I'm supposed to
him", and with that he turned his back on us and stumped away.
We had both got our wires crossed it seems!"
During the last quarter of 1949 until March 1950 large areas of central
stricken by severe drought. The Government used the Road Services to move
large quantities of famine relief food from Dodoma to Iringa for distribution.
In 1951 a Dak4 Bungalow5 was opened at Itigi - the junction with the Central Line
Services. Initially lighting was by kerosene lamps but generators were installed
Beckenham, in his book Wagon of Smoke, describes Itigi: "Itigi is the
junction for the Road
Services to Mbeya via Chunya, but apart from the station, garages, a rest house
and a few
native houses there is nothing: it is like an oasis in a desert of bush. Here I
saw some of the
l0-ton Albion lorries which do the 302 mile journey southward to Mbeya through
Road Service traffic increased by more than 10% between 1949 & 1950. Consequently,
vehicles had to be hired to keep the traffic moving and two trucks were transferred from the
Uganda Road Services to Iringa.
Up to 1961 the network was continually changing to meet traffic demands, increased
competition and because new rail lines took over some Road Service routes. For example, in
1955 a new passenger bus service was introduced from Nairobi to Arusha. By 1961 the
network operated in Tanganyika had expanded to 2,611 miles.
In 1954 new Road Service depots were built at Morogoro and Mbeya and extensive
improvements made to the Iringa depot.
In March 1950 the Dodoma Hotel opened. In 1955 the Iringa Hotel (24 bedrooms) was
purchased and in September 1955 the Mbeya Hotel was opened.
| Vehicle Fleet |
Vehicles were based at depots around Tanganyika and were maintained by Asian and African
staff working under the supervision of European Road Service Foremen, who in 1956
numbered 25 but by 1961 had been reduced to 16 as more effective vehicles became
available and operating efficiency improved. Depots were located at Iringa (main
workshops), Mbeya, Itigi, Dodoma, Arusha, Morogoro and Korogwe.
The fleet had been built up during World War 11 and consisted of a collection of petrol engine vehicles of different makes with low capacity:
By 1953 a new all Albion diesel-engined fleet had been purchased and this allowed a
standard maintenance programme to be used all depots. My father was largely responsible
for this programme - see the testimonial on page 47. This all Albion policy was maintained
and the fleet variations from then on were in number only:
The above table includes Uganda where Road Services were operated between Masindi Town and the lakes.
In 1951 my father took 6 Albion trucks to Johannesburg, South Africa, to have bus bodies fitted by Brockhouse Ltd. He took the convoy overland through what was then Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia and was away for nearly six months. I remember the convoy returning to Iringa - such was the interest that the whole town must have turned out to see them. He also brought me back a brand new bike! The first time the drivers had encountered traffic lights was in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. Dad had briefed the drivers that they were to go on green and stop on red. One of the buses was half way across a busy cross roads when the lights changed to red. The driver just stopped, as he had been told to do! It took some time to sort out the ensuing chaos!
Occasionally, during peak periods, private goods vehicles were hired to clear backlogs. In 1957 the purchase of 5 new Leyland Bulk tankers (a mix of 2,500 and 3000 gallon capacity) increased the tanker fleet to 18 - the 13 original tankers only had a 1,500 gallon capacity. Tankers were used to carry petrol and diesel from Dodoma (where various companies have bulk storage installations) to petrol stations throughout the Southern Highlands. Additional tankers were added to the fleet in 1962 and 1963.
| Road Conditions |
During the 1950s road
traffic increased quite
considerably and so the
government invested in a
number of new trunk
roads, eg Iringa to
Morogoro. However, it
was both difficult and
expensive to maintain
roads to an all-year round
standard. Road surfaces
were mainly earth, with
short and intermittent
stretches of gravel or
ballast and covered with corrugations, ruts and potholes. Not just for a few miles, but for
hundreds of miles. In some places the road was soft sand, elsewhere red earth (murram) or
black-cotton soil. In dry weather clouds of dust were a driving hazard and during wet
weather thick mud made movement slow and treacherous. Only permanent rivers were bridged. Those which only flowed during the rainy seasons had 'drifts' across them - a flat
concrete road surface built about 1 '3" above the river bed. However, they were often
impassable because the water was usually deep and fast flowing.
Stan Pritchard describes the first time he drove on Tanganyika's roads:
Shortly after my arrival in Dodoma the District Traffic Superintendent handed me the keys
to a brand new Austin A 70 'pick-up' which I was to use on my inspection duties. He instructed
me to drive back up the Great North Road to Arusha and carry out a thorough inspection of
the depot there, and also call in and check the small wayside stations of Kondoa Irangi and
Babati on the way.
Arusha, the northernmost depot on the Tanganyika Road Services, was an attractive small
town nestled 4,000 feet up in the foothills of Mount Meru and close to the more majestic
Mount Kilimanjaro. It had a cool agreeable climate and I looked forward to a few days
pleasant outing - but was not so enthusiastic about tackling the brutally rough 280 miles of
earth and stony road to get there. I had sampled the road as a passenger sitting comfortably
in a tough Albion bus on the way down, but what would it he like driving over it in a flimsy
car? And driving alone through strange hostile territory? And what if the radiator sprung a
leak? I wouldn't have any male passengers aboard to provide the necessary liquid for topping
I don't think the DTS had any more confidence in my driving ability than I had. He explained
at great length some of the perils of driving on rough Tanganyika bush roads, such as over
corrugations and through deep loose sand with its tendency to throw vehicles off line and
into dangerous skids. And in heavy downpours of rain, when the roads turned to slippery
mud, they were even more treacherous, he emphasised. "Just remember, " he added, "driving
out here is not like cruising along England's, or even Nairobi's, tar-sealed roads - here it is a
perpetual battle between you, the car, and what ever sort of ground surface passes for a
With a packet of sandwiches and vacuum flask full of tea, and the DTS's stern warning not to
exceed 30 mph during the first 500 miles running period, and his parting words of "not to
bend it", still reverberating in my ears I set off.
The corrugations on the relatively wide section of stony road just outside Dodoma bounced
and rattled the car up and down in an alarming manner. The vibrations made me feel I was
holding a pneumatic drill instead of a steering wheel, and even my head bounced high
enough up occasionally to hit the roof The car felt it was going to shake apart and, even
more worrying, I couldn't keep it going in a straight line. It was a most unnerving situation
with the car constantly sliding from one side of the road to the other.
Fortunately, when the bouncing around caused my foot to slip and bang the accelerator
down to the floor board, I found how to improve the situation. The car accelerated for a few
seconds and, almost miraculously, the vibrations eased noticeably. With a slightly guilty
conscience I deliberately disobeyed the DTS's instructions, pushed my foot harder down, and
speeded up to 35 mph. Without a doubt, progress became marginally smoother. Encouraged
by this, I crept up to 40 mph and then - very guiltily - even to 45 mph. At this recklessly high
speed the steering wheel felt less like a deranged pneumatic drill; the rear wheels weren't
bouncing around out of control so much and my head was no longer hitting the roof I felt a
little happier - but not much.
Though the bumping and bounding up and down eased slightly, the car was still skidding all
over the place but now, to my alarm, the skids were even more difficult to control. The car
would turn progressively sideways and slide at high speed almost at right angles to the road.
This was worrying as I was having to turn my head further and further round just to see the
road, not through the windscreen, but now through the side window. It was most
uncomfortable, and I had to do something about it otherwise I felt I would soon be travelling
along the road backwards - and I certainly couldn't turn my head that far round! By painful
trial and error, I quickly learned to leave the brakes alone and just lift my foot off the
accelerator, then, very gently and very gradually, turn the steering wheel and try to coax the
car into a straight line. It required much concentration, and I had a few hair-raising
moments when I occasionally over corrected and brushed against roadside shrubs but,
gradually, began to get the hang of it.
With rising confidence, and the DTS's instructions about running the car in momentarily
forgotten, I began to enjoy the challenge and thrill of sliding along over these loose surfaces
at higher and higher speeds. It was fun - but soon came a shattering setback. A battered
signpost loomed into view. There were no 'ifs' or 'buts' about it. In large faded letters it said,
quite categorically, "Slow Down - Speeding Causes Corrugations". This was a blow, but I
dutifully obeyed. The steering wheel again began to vibrate and the car to shake and bounce
around violently and uncontrollably. It seemed to me that my slower pace was making the
corrugations worse. So, torn between obeying the law and keeping the car in one piece, I
chose the latter. And I learned later, from a PWD engineer, that the signs were a great 'con'
anyway. He told me that much research had been done into the formation of corrugations -
but nobody had found the answer, and there was little evidence that speeding was the cause.
So I carried on speeding.
The road gradually changed from wide and stony to narrow, bendy and dusty, and
corrugations gave way to a rutted surface littered with potholes. This posed different sorts of
a problems for me. The constant vibration and sliding around of corrugations gave way to a
slightly smoother ride, but was interspersed with jarring bangs whenever a wheel hit one of
the potholes - and they were so numerous it was impossible to dodge them all. Even worse was the feeling of helplessness, with all control of steering lost, whenever a front wheel
lodged itself in one of the deep fissures which sometimes ran down the middle of the road.
After a couple of hours of this I decided I needed a break so, seeing a huge baobab tree
ahead I stopped in its shade and began to nibble at my sandwiches. 'This is the life', I
thought, 'fresh air, sunshine and wide open spaces'. Even if the road surfaces were
challenging this was much better than working in a dreary old railway office in the industrial
north of England. I was suddenly woken from my euphoria to see a baboon appear on some
roadside rocks and sit there watching me eat. Animal lover that I am I threw a piece of
sandwich to it, and other baboons quickly appeared. I threw out more pieces of sandwich to
them and enjoyed watching their antics as more and more of them acted and fought with each
other for bits of stale bread and bully beef They were enjoying it far more than I was, I
The car was soon surrounded by a road full of squabbling baboons. At first it was amusing,
but became a problem when I wanted to get on my way again. No amount of horn tooting or
frantic 'shooing' and waving of my hand out of the window would move them. I was becoming
a little apprehensive, but was too scared to get out of the car to chase them away. When one
cheeky fellow jumped on the bonnet, and glared at me through the windscreen I even
hesitated to drive into the mob. I didn't want to injure or upset them, and I certainly didn't
want to arrive in Arusha with an angry baboon or two still sitting on the bonnet clinging to
the windscreen wipers. So, summoning up all my courage, I gingerly opened the door a few
inches, reached down, and picked up a sizeable rock from the road. 'Right', I thought, 'if you
lot want to be stubborn then I too can get tough'. With that I hurled the rock into the middle
of the group. Most of them scattered, but one old fellow, bigger than the rest, had other ideas.
He picked up the rock and, with surprising rapidity leapt towards the car - and flung the rock
back! I cringed as, with a sickening clang, it bounced off the front of my shiny new car.
On my return to Dodoma a few days later the newest car in the railway fleet was closely
examined by some of the old garage hands to see if this greenhorn to Tanganyika's dusty
tracks had managed to keep it on the road. They looked at the small, but conspicuous, dent
and nodded their heads knowingly. When the DTS arrived and surveyed the damage I was
lectured at great length on how to handle a vehicle on loose murram surfaces, and told that
young greenhorns', like me, really had to learn how to drive all over again when they went
out on African roads.
"But Sir" I said - this was in an age when one was expected to call one's superior 'Sir', and
certainly were in the British Colonial Service, and before there were any 'Madams' in such
exalted positions - "the dent had nothing to do with me".
"What do you mean, 'nothing to do with you'? You were the only one driving weren't you"?
When I came up with the devastatingly simple reply that, "a monkey chucked a rock at it",
the garage foreman gave the sort of expression that said I was even dafter than I looked, and
I distinctly heard him mutter, "We've got a right one here!" But the DTS wasn't so
"Look here young man", he said, rather unkindly I thought, "Any more cheeky comments like
that and you'll be on the next boat to England, and back to British Railways".
1 got the impression I hadn't made a very promising start to my career on the Tanganyika
Road Services. "
In Wagon of Smoke, Arthur Beckenham describes a bus journey he undertook in September
1950 from Dodoma to Iringa and then on to Mbeya and Tukuyu:
"Wed. 13 Sept. (Road Service) At 09.20 hours we departed in convoy, 20 minutes late, a 6-
ton Albion lorry leaving, carrying mails and freight with a two-mile headway: and two
(Bedford) passenger buses. The Albion was given this headway due to the dusty condition of
the roads. The reason that it leads is that if it breaks down the mails are taken on by one of
the buses. Once out of Dodoma township we ran onto the notorious corrugations and potholes
of the earth surfaced Great North Road .... at Mile 44, a small escarpment at
approximately 3.000 feet as!. Just beyond Mile 82 a further small escarpment is reached
which descends down onto the plain of the Great Ruaha River. The twin span bridge, newly
painted with aluminium paint, can be seen many miles before it is reached. From Mile 155
the road gradually rises all the way to Iringa, which is 5,200 feet as!. Ten miles before Iringa
one passes Nduli airport, one runway is across the road, and we were brought to a halt
whilst an East African Airways plane took off. Iringa is surrounded by hills in a pleasant
setting and the main street was lined with lovely mauve jacaranda trees. The evening
temperature was quite low and a log fire burned in the hotel lounge fireplace.
Thur. 14 Sept. The run to-day is of 187 miles to Chimala. Our lunch stop was at the
Highlands hotel at Sao Hill, in attractive open country rather like the Scottish Moors. During
the afternoon we crossed the Mbarali river and passed close to 19awa where gold is mined.
We were now following along the foothills of the Poroto mountains.
The Chimala Hotel, where we arrived at 17.05 hours, consists of a main building housing the
lounge and dining room, whilst the individual rooms are little round white houses with
thatched roofs, the whole place is set in an orchard of lemon and grapefruit trees, with the
high hills of the Porotos in the immediate background. From the lounge balcony one could
look northwards for forty to fifty miles across the Buhoro Flats.
Fri. 15 Sept. Thirteen miles after leaving Chimala we began the great climb over the Poroto
range. The summit at Mile 220 is 7,500 feet. We arrived in Mbeya, a place in appearance
like a Swiss mountain village, at 11.10 hours.
Sat. 16 Sept. Visited Tukuyu, 47 miles to the south, travelling over a very dusty road. The
southerly extremity of my trip. Part of the route was over another part of the Poroto range,
with a good view of Rungwe Mountain (9,700 feet). The District Commissioner's Boma is
what used to be an old German fort, and the battlements and thick walls look very resolute.
Back again in Mbeya, I explored the town. In the evening I met Mr. K. Menzie6 the
Englishman who started Mbeya, he was a living history book. "
| Other Hazards |
Besides the natural hazards other events occurred involving wild animals and swarms of bees,
but perhars one of the most bizarre concerned a snake as reported in the June 1954 EAR&H Staff
"An Unwelcome Travelling Companion. An unusual and unpleasant experience befell a
lorry crew between Dodoma and Iringa recently when a snake about 5 ft long fell on to the
vehicle from an overhanging tree. The Road Service Foreman who was called used smoke
bombs and these drove the snake on to the top of the engine cover, where it vanished. The
snake was later seen in the cab of the vehicle but once again it disappeared. The following
morning the van boy succeeded in killing the snake with a knife."
Theft and loss of goods on the Road Services were a continual problem and during 1955 a
concerted effort was made to tackle the problem on the worst route - Itigi to Mbeya (304
miles). Stan Pritchard was tasked with tackling the problem and recounts:
"In the mid 1950's Nairobi HQ were getting worried about the rising amounts of
compensation we were paying out for losses on the Itigi-Mbeya route, but matters came to
head one day when we lost a very valuable consignment of gold bars from the Saza Gold
Mine. The police were getting nowhere with their investigations into that theft, or any of the
previous ones, and, in desperation, the DTS (Quentin More at the time) told me to, "get out
on that b ...... road and don't bother coming back until those thefts are stopped!" And I did - I
was out there for about a couple of months without ever seeing Dodoma or Iringa.
Basically I discovered how the doors of our sealed and locked vans could be removed
without disturbing the seals, and that a mysterious lorry came down from Tabora from time
to time and met up, in the middle of the night, with certain of our drivers at Rungwa. With a
couple of plain clothes askaris from the Mbeya police, and after setting up the suspect drivers
to drive that night, I arranged an ambush at Rungwa to catch them all in the act. Whilst we
were laying waiting in the bush by the roadside a herd of elephants disturbed us and the
ambush had to be abandoned. We didn't catch anyone, but we must have given them all such
a fright that the thefts fell dramatically afterwards.
A day or two later I was spending the night in the dak bungalow at Itigi only to be told by the
goods clerk in the morning that a railway wagon, waiting to be unloaded, had been broken
into overnight and a lot of valuable goods stolen. This infuriated me to think such a thing
could happen whilst I was right on the spot, so I immediately drove to Manyoni and got
search warrants from the DC there, and the help of his Asian police inspector, to search
every duka in Itigi. We found nothing, except one duka which was still closed. We were told
the owner had gone off to Singida on a Arab owned bus with 'mingi'luggage. So we went off
to Singida and searched the town for an Arab owned bus. We found it late at night parked
outside a suspicious looking Asian house. As my search warrants were not valid in Singida I
called on the local European police superintendent for help and he arranged a raid on the
house at about midnight. Not only did we find all the stolen goods, but also the Asian
station master from Itigi! He was supposed to be offwork sick, which was why I hadn't seen
him the previous day. Anyway, it seemed to be an open and shut case and the
superintendent told me I would be required in court as a vital witness in due course. From
then on we had little further trouble with thefts.
As my overseas leave came closer and closer, and as the case never seemed to come to court,
I was getting worried - the Singida police superintendent always had some valid excuse
whenever I enquired. Eventually our Nairobi HQ took it up with police HQ in Dar-esSalaam.
The outcome was the Singida police superintendent was convicted of taking bribes
to keep the case out of court."
Traffic accidents were a regular occurrence. A copy of a report made by Doug Golding on a
fatal accident can be found below along with the subsequent Coroner's Report.
| Convoy Supervisors |
In the very early days of the Road Services vehicles used to run in convoys with a Convoy
Supervisor travelling in the last vehicle. He carried a few spares, such as fan belts, water
hoses etc., and a tool box. This system was soon abandoned as uneconomical in vehicle time.
After being loaded trucks had to wait around until all the others were loaded and ready to go:
then they went off together, all arrived at the same time and, again, had to hang around
waiting their turn to be offloaded. This system was gradually abandoned and the Convoy
Supervisors provided with Land Rovers in which they patrolled the roads to assist vehicles in
trouble. That too was eventually abandoned as an expensive luxury which could be
| Passenger And Goods Traffic |
Despite the road conditions the Road Services moved reasonable tonnages, and in later years
the revenue earned more than covered the working expenses:
However, not all traffic earned revenue, as Stan Pritchard discovered on the Mbeya - Itigi Road:
"Gradually I gathered together many snippets of information. Most of it general
background information, ... Some information, such as at what time, and at
what point, particular lorries were seen bore no resemblance to the information shown in
their log books.
Whenever I caught up with one of our lorries in daylight I would sit closely on its tail and
observe it, unnoticed, for several minutes before dropping behind and letting myself
disappear in its cloud of dust. My one exception to this routine was when I came up behind
lorries carrying passengers. This was a lucrative business for some of our drivers who
charged each passenger considerably less than the normal bus fare. It was not uncommon to
find twenty or more passengers perched precariously, high above the cab, on top of the
tarpaulin covering the load on a fully laden lorry, and often clutching small children as well
as hens and, in some cases, even goats. This was exceedingly dangerous, and especially so if
the driver had lingered in one of the huts with an illicit still and thought he could get back
onto schedule by speeding and throwing the lorry round corners with gay abandon. This just
had to be stopped and I went to town on it in a big way. I stopped every lorry 1 saw and
cleared it of all the illegal passengers and, with the occasional drunk sometimes threatening
violence, often putting myself in danger but, almost always, making myself unpopular with
both the driver and passengers alike. But it has to be done. The drivers were always
disciplined. If I had evidence of them being involved in thefts they were dismissed from the
service. If merely carrying illegal passengers they were relegated to smaller vehicles on
shorter runs and, consequently, a loss in wages.
The practice began to decline and rarely did I see a lorry carrying passengers until, one day
following closely behind a lorry in daylight, I thought my eyes were playing tricks. The
tarpaulin cover was moving in an odd way. It would slowly rise and develop a small bump,
then move to another place, so I stopped the lorry and had the tarpaulin removed. Underneath, blinking and rubbing their eyes in the sudden bright sunshine, were half a dozen
Africans. It may not have been as dangerous as riding on top of the load, but the heat and
stench in the airless condition must have been most uncomfortable and unhealthy. But what
concerned me more was the marvellous opportunity it gave for pilfering, at leisure and
unobserved, from the merchandise being carried. Whenever I came upon future similar
situations I simply danced a sort of Irish jig along the top of the tarpaulin, and listened for
squeals. I think I can claim to have, literally, stamped out this practice. Not surprisingly bus
passengers and earnings began to increase and it amused me to see the explanations for this
phenomenon put forward by the knowledgeable statisticians in Nairobi headquarters who
study these things."
| Road Service Licencing |
In 1957 the Tanganyika Government introduced road service licensing managed by a
statutory Transport Licensing Authority and all EAR&H passenger and goods services had to
obtain a licence in the same way as any other operator. The Authority was particularly
interested in the financial standing and vehicle fitness aspects of applicants. By 1959 the
General Manager was able to report that "the control over passenger service schedules
exercised by the Transport Licensing Authority in Tanganyika continued to be effective in
rationalising road passenger transport services over routes operated by EAR&H."7
| Route Changes |
In January 1961 a major review on the future of the Road Services was undertaken. In recent
years the services had experienced severe competition and the revenue had generally fallen
short of operating costs including renewals. Account also had to be taken of the
Ruvu/Mnyusi rail connection being built to link the Central and Tanga lines. The
conclusions reached were that the Dodoma - Kongwa - Gulwe service should close at once,
the Itigi - Singida passenger service should close at the end of the year and that once the new
Ruvu/Mnyusi link became operational the Morogoro - Korogwe and Dodoma - Arusha -
Nairobi routes should close.
The service between Itigi and Singida (75 miles) that had operated since 1948 was withdrawn
at the end of 1961.
With the demise of the East African Groundnut Scheme and the closing of the Kongwa
branch line in March 1956 a new road service was introduced between Dodoma, Kongwa,
Mpwapwa and Gulwe, a distance of 89 miles. By 1961, however, traffic on this route had
diminished to an uneconomic level, and services were withdrawn.
On 1st April 1957 the Morogoro to Iringa road was opened to heavy goods vehicles. This was
part of the process of introducing Road Transport Licencing. The result was the rerouting of
traffic away from the Dodoma railhead and improved transit times between Dar-es-Salaam
and the Southern Highlands.
In September 1962 the Kilombero Sugar factory opened at Kidatu and the Road Services
carried the factory's products until the opening of the railway branch line from Mikumi to
Kidatu on 1 st June 1965.
| The Strike |
In 1960 the Tanganyika Railway African Union called it members out on strike, over a pay
dispute, for 82 days from Tuesday 9th February until Saturday 30th April. The Road Services
were severely disrupted and only kept going because the European, Asian and some of the
African staff drove the vehicles. Some services were withdrawn, such as the Mombo to
Lushoto bus service. During the school holidays the only services to operate were the buses
to get children to/from the various boarding schools in Tanganyika. I remember on one
occasion my father driving a goods vehicle, in convoy, with Bob Cluett to Morogoro. They
decided to take a rest and as my father pulled over to the side of the road the surface
collapsed and his vehicle became stuck. He was not popular! In Iringa, the Railway wives
kept the Iringa Hotel running. It was a case of all hands to the pumps. The strike eventually
| The End |
On 9th December 1961 Tanganyika became independent and on 9th December 1962 became a
Republic within the Commonwealth. On 26th April 1964 it merged with Zanzibar to form
With the creation of the East African Community in 1969, EAR&H was split into two
Corporations8, the East African Railways Corporation and the East African Harbours
Corporation. The Railways HQ was established in Nairobi and the Harbours in Dar-esSalaam.
However, the East African Community collapsed in 1977 and the Tanzania
Railways Corporation (TRC) came into being on 21 st October 1977, taking over full
responsibility for the services previously provided in Tanzania by the East African Railways
Corporation (EARC). These services included railways, road services, marine services,
hotels and catering.
Since the early 1990s the TRC has undergone a restructuring process involving a gradual
divesture of its non-core services. Consequently, the Road Services has been closed, hotels
and catering services have been franchised to third parties and a separate 'Marine Services
Company Limited' now provides marine services on Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika. The
TRC now only operates railway passenger and freight services.
| Epilogue |
Christine, my daughter Julie and I visited Tanzania from the 3rd to the 18th September 2002.
This was Christine's and my second trip in 3 years but Julie's first. Initially, we spent 3 days
in Dar-es-Salaam, staying at the Sea Cliff Hotel on the Msasani peninsular. The Sea Cliff
was opened in 1998 and is an excellent modern 5 star hotel headed by a British General
Manager and a team of South African and British Departmental Managers. Although the city
centre is much as it always was there is a lot of new building and development taking place
on the periphery. There is now a Holiday Inn on Ohio Street, a brand new mini shopping
mall at the Msasani peninsular slipway, several South African supermarkets and two
branches of Barclays Bank complete with ATMs. The Royal Palm (formerly the Sheraton) is
now the top city centre hotel with the New Africa in second place. The Kilimanjaro Hotel
and Agip Motel have closed and the Oyster Bay Hotel looks more like a scruffy building site.
The General Post Office has an intemet cafe - something UK Post Office Counters should
I visited Dar-es-Salaam station in the hope that I could photograph the restored steam loco
2927. Unfortunately, neither the Station Master nor his Assistant could be found and as I
didn't want to be arrested for trespassing I came away empty handed. The station buildings
looked fairly clean and well maintained but both the passenger and freight rolling stock were
dilapidated, especially the freight wagons which seemed to have more rust than paint on
We travelled up to Iringa on the Scandinavia Express bus service. Scandinavia operates out
of the former DMT depot in Dar-es-Salaam and covers much of the former EAR&H Road
Services network. Buses run to a strict timetable, there is no stopping to pick up passengers
on the side of the road, seats have to be booked and tickets paid for in advance, no standing
passengers, all baggage has to go into locked baggage lockers, each bus has 2 conductors,
videos are shown and free soft drinks, biscuits and sweets are handed out. The current single
fare from Dar-es-Salaam to Iringa is Tshs 7,500 (approx £5). Scandinavia also runs services
from Dar-es-Salaam to Nairobi and Kampala using air-conditioned coaches and provides an
at-seat stewardess service. The road to Iringa is in good condition apart from about 30 miles
of diversions for road works between Morogoro and Dar-es-Salaam.
We stayed with Elizabeth and David Phillips at Kibebe Farm, 3 miles from Ipogoro Village
on the Dabaga Road. The Phillips settled in Iringa in the 1950s and are one of the few
families left from those days. They are dairy farmers with a herd of some 200 cattle and
employ 95 workers. Until recently they supplied milk and dairy products to shops in Iringa
and hotels in Dar-es-Salaam but now just supply the local Iringa dairy - Azids. Their son
Richard runs an excellent campsite and picnic area on the banks of the Little Ruaha River and
has recently won the contract to maintain the Iringa Commonwealth War Graves Cemeterythe
Town Council are in the process of privatising the majority of their functions.
Iringa has not changed very much since we were there 3 years ago. As I mentioned in my
last notes (Newsletter No 20 January 2000) the Iringa Club is still there but the tennis courts
are overgrown and a Banking Academy has been built on the golf course. The former
EAR&H Road Services HQ is now occupied by several companies - including Cresco Ltd
(Oil Contractors), Tanganyika Arms Ltd and RETCO - and the Goods Shed and Yard by
General Tyres. There is actually an armed guard on the Goods Shed! I was arrested by the
guard for taking photographs but managed to talk my way out of it. The workshops area is
occupied by RETCO who also bought the former EAR&H European Staff houses. Some of
the houses have been renovated and look in very good condition whilst others are in need of
loving care and attention. Marion Gough (who visited Iringa in October 2002) tells me that
she was able to go inside their old house and that it is in good condition. The Snowden house
now has a beautiful garden with immaculate green lawns and well-stocked flowerbeds.
Remnants of the Road Services can still be seen around Iringa. Two 2000 gallon bowser
tanks (presumably empty) are laying on the side of the road near TANESCO, parts of vehicle
cabs can be seen in the goods yard as well as outside the fence and there are 5 goods vehicles
in Bala Singh's garage at Ipogoro. I spoke to Mr Singh who said that until recently all 5
vehicles were running, including a 1947 Albion truck.
The general impression of Iringa is that it is clean and tidy although slightly run down
because of a lack of money. Most roads are free of potholes, buildings are being maintained
and the Police Station has recently been re-painted - from white to brown. The former
EAR&H Iringa Hotel is now part of the Banking Academy. The White Horse Inn is now
called the Iringa Hotel but sadly looks very scruffy and lacks customers. The MR Hotel, opposite the Post Office, is probably the best hotel - Marion Gough stayed there and said it
was basic but OK. Lulu's, next to the Iringa Bakery, is good for eating out. There are 2
Internet cafes offering access to the world-wide web and e-mail facilities. The Iringa Stores
is still there but the shelves look empty - most Europeans now do their food shopping in the
dukas in Jamat Street. There appears to be no shortages, even imported chocolate is now
readily available in the shops.
I borrowed a vehicle from Richard Phillips so that we could look around the Iringa area and
one afternoon we drove out to the Iringa Airfield at Nduli. The road is in a terrible state, only
accessible to either 4x4 or heavy truckslbuses. Apparently the road is like this all the way to
Dodoma and a bus journey now takes about 12 hours. In the days of East African Airways 3
planes a week served Iringa but nowadays there is only the odd charter or government flight.
The airfield and buildings looked as they were 40 years ago. In the 1950s and 60s Nduli was
very much in the bush with elephant and other game in the vicinity but to day it is surrounded
by villages and huts.
We also visited the Mufindi Tea Estates and Mikumi National Park. We hired a vehicle, with
driver, at a cost of US$180 each way to get to Mufindi from Iringa. 'At Mufindi we stayed at
Mufindi Highland Lodge, run by GeoffFox and his family. The all-inclusive price of US $65
per person per night includes accommodation, 3 meals a day, horse riding, bird watching flyfishing,
hill walking and from next year golf. Excellent value and highly recommended.
Geoff Fox and his family also own Fox's Safari Tented Camp at Mikumi. The Scandinavia
Express bus will drop passengers off at the junction of the campsite track and the main road -
a camp vehicle then collects you from there. The camp is well run and of an extremely high
standard. The food is excellent and the 8 tents luxurious - each has an en-suite flushing
toilet, hot shower and washbasin. The price is US $225 per person full board including 2
game drives a day.
We spent one night at Mikumi and then continued to Dar-es-Salaam on the Scandinavia
Express bus. We stayed at the Sea Cliff Hotel again for 2 nights and then caught the BA nonstop
daytime flight back to Heathrow.
We are planning to return to Tanzania again in the not too distant future. One of the first
things that strikes any visitor is how happy, friendly, polite and helpful the people are. Of
course there are problems, especially poverty and unemployment, but you don't have the
feeling (as in Kenya) that you are liable to be robbed any minute. In particular, no one is
starving because, thanks to Julius Nyerere, most people have their own shamba. The
Tanzania Government is currently undertaking a mammoth privatisation programme with the
result that investment is beginning to flow in. In particular, the South Africans are investing
heavily and there are approx 17,000 South Africans in the country.
| Appendix 1: ACCIDENT TO RAA 881 IN COLLISION WITH P.W.D.
TRACTOR AT MILE 74 IRA/MOR RD. ON 5/5/59. |
| Appendix 2: Coroner's Report: INQUEST NO.42 OF 1959 - DECEASED: ISSA ABDALLIJI. |
| Appendix 3: Extracts from "A Guide to Tanganyika" - Fourth Edition 1959 |
The roads of Tanganyika do not, of course, compare with the highways of Europe and
America, but travelling on their surfaces for most of the year is safe and pleasant in a roomy
To ensure trouble-free touring on long journeys a little organisation beforehand is well worth
while, and travellers, especially in wet weather, are advised to seek information from the
nearest District Office or Public Works Department officer regarding the state of the roads
and the places where petrol may be bought before they set out. Road maps are available from
the Surveys Division or the East Africa Tourist Travel Association Office, Dar-es-Salaam
and the branch office of the Royal East African Automobile Association at Dar-es-Salaam.
Apart from roads in townships there are 18,770 miles of roads in the Territory classified as
(a) Territorial Main Roads, (3,517 miles), which are through trunk routes and which are in
nearly every case up to an all-weather standard with permanent bridges.
(b) Local Main Roads, ( 4,319 Miles), which are main feeder roads of local importance,
generally of a slightly lower standard to (a).
(c) District Roads, (10,934 miles), which are earth roads with bush type structures, usually
passable in dry weather.
Both categories (a) and (b) are maintained by the Public Works Department while category
(c) are generally maintained by the Provincial Administration. In addition there are nearly
9,000 miles of village roads and tracks of which 6,000 miles are passable to light traffic
except during the rains. The following are some of the main routes the traveller may use
during his visit:
1. The Great North Road (Kenya Border - Arusha - Kondoa - Dodoma - Iringa - Mbeya -
Rhodesia Border, 804 miles)
This is the Tanganyika portion of the highway from Uganda, through Kenya, Tanganyika and
the Rhodesias to Cape Town.
It crosses the Kenya-Tanganyika border about 120 miles from Nairobi and proceeds almost
due south to Arusha, first through open, undulating country and then through European owned
farms crossing the western foot-hills of Mount Meru. Arusha (70 miles) is the centre
of important farming activities and possesses banks and hotels. It is the best place from which
to visit the famous Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti Plains.
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
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 first class
hotel and an aerodrome, approximately a mile from the town.
Leaving Dodoma in a southerly direction, the road gradually rises to a point 12 miles distant,
and then descends until a small escarpment is reached at mile 44, at an altitude of
approximately 3,000 feet. An easy descent of this escarpment is made to the Fufu flats, 300
feet below, which continue to mile 82, when a further small escarpment is reached, which one
descends to the Ruaha river and bridge, at mile 87, and at an altitude of 2,500 feet. From
Dodoma to the Ruaha the country is sparsely populated by the Gogo tribe, who graze their
cattle in the vicinity of the road. For 30 miles beyond the Ruaha the road runs through the
Magoli flats until the main Iringa escarpment is reached at mile 116. The well-graded ascent
of this escarpment, which rises 2,000 feet in its length of 9 miles, is easy, but sharp bends
necessitate care and circumspection. From the top of the main escarpment the road runs more
or less level to mile 155, where a further easy climb is made, and thence the land gradually
rises to Iringa town, at an attitude of 5,200 feet, 162 miles from Dodoma. Iringa is the centre
of a large European settlement and possesses a cool and pleasant climate. It has two hotels
and a bank. Its aerodrome is situated at Nduli nearby, from where there is a thrice weekly
service to Dar-es-Salaam and once weekly to both Mbeya and Tabora/Mwanza.
From Iringa the road proceeds in a south-westerly direction to the Rhodesian border. To the
Mbarali river, mile 157, the country is undulating and the altitude varies between 4,000 and
6,400 feet. At Sao Hill (mile 61) is a hotel in most attractive open country, in parts rather like
the Scottish moors, where fires are necessary on most nights of the year. From the Mbarali
the road follows along foot-hills at easy grades to the Luana river, mile 200, at which point it
begins to climb steadily, and thence drops towards Mbeya, which is reached at mile 236.
Mbeya, Provincial Headquarters of the Southern Highlands Province adjacent to the Lupa
Goldfields, is a flourishing town in pleasant surroundings. There are two banks, two hotels, a
rest house, wireless station and cinema, also two large Government boarding schools for
European education and African teacher training.
The main road to the Rhodesias leaves Mbeya in a westerly direction passing the new Panda
Hill Mine and over another escarpment to cross the border at Tunduma, 84 miles from
The Towns of the Territory
Arusha, beautifully situated on the lower slopes of Mount Meru - one of the highest
mountains in Africa - is the capital of the Northern Province.
It is the centre of social and business life for a widespread community of European farmers
and planters, and its cool moderate climate makes it a healthy and invigorating place in which
Mountaineering> For keen mountaineers, Mount Meru (14,979 feet) offers a most
interesting climb. It can be tackled either in easy stages in a three-day climb, or the ascent
can be made in a day, starting from an advanced point reached by car.
Fishing Good rainbow trout fishing can be had in two streams flowing out of Mount Meru;
the Temi, which is only a 100 yards away from the New Arusha Hotel, and Nduruma, six
miles away by road. A trout fishing licence must be obtained from the Arusha Trout Fishers
Association. (PO Box 329, Tel. Arusha 103).
Games Clubs Rugby and Association football, hockey and cricket are played at Arusha,
and the modern Gymkhana Club has an excellent 9-hole golf course. The Gymkhana Club
has also a library, card room and billiards room.
Rifle Range The facilities of the Northern Province Rifle Association can be enjoyed at a
Rifle Range just outside the town.
The Shops Arusha is the main shopping centre for the Northern Province, and has modern
shops in the north of the town and a thriving, colourful bazaar for Africans and Asians.
Cinemas There are two modern and well-equipped cinemas showing up-to-date films with
programme changes twice a week.
Theatres Arusha has an active Little Theatre maintained by the Arusha Arts Society,
which seats 120 people.
Hotels There are four, centrally situated hotels of which the New Arusha is the largest with
spacious bedrooms with bathrooms attached, plus tennis court and swimming pool. A dance
is held on the first Saturday of each month. Other hotels are the Continental, the Safari
House, and the Meru.
Banks The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited and Barclays Bank D.C.O. have
branches in Arusha.
Dodoma is the capital of the Central Province, and an important town on the Central Railway,
lying at the inter-section of the railway and the Great North Road from Kenya to Rhodesia.
The climate is dry, with very little rain. The town is in the centre of the large cattle producing
area, inhabited by the Wagogo tribe. Its main exports are consequently livestock for slaughter
and hides and skins.
There is a small European club with a golf course, tennis courts, etc., and an excellent hotel
owned· and managed by East African Railways and Harbours.
The town has two recently built cinemas, modern shops, and a bank.
There are two cathedrals, one Anglican and one Catholic. The largest mental hospital in the
territory is situated in Dodoma which is also the headquarters of the Geological Survey
Department. There is a fine geological museum in which samples of all the rock formations
in the territory can be seen. To assist in the search for radio-active minerals, the United
Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority has established a research centre there.
Situated at the top of a high escarpment, Iringa is the main town in the district of Iringa. It has
a pleasant, cool climate, and is the centre of a large European settlement.
The town was founded by the Germans, and some of the old German buildings are
particularly attractive with their unusual tiled roofs. Today there are some fine modern houses
and shops and in addition two hotels, a cinema and a branch bank. St. Michael's & st.
George's, a magnificent secondary boarding school on the outskirts of the town, was opened
in January 1959.
The principal crop grown by the settlers is tobacco, but vegetables, fruit, dairy produce, meat,
pyrethrum, wheat, poultry and eggs are also produced. There are extensive tea estates in the
highlands at Mufindi, including a factory in which tea is processed.
An airfield is situated at nearby Nduli, and the East African Airways plane makes a twice weekly
Kilosa is the administrative capital of the district of Kilosa in the Eastern Province, and is
situated on the slopes of pleasant hills overlooking the valley of the River Mkondoa. Wild
game of every description may be seen on the plain bordering the railway line.
Kilosa is the centre of a large cotton growing and sisal area, and has two hotels and several
modern shops. There is also a hotel at Kimamba, 15 miles away.
Korogwe is an important communications centre on the Tanga Railway line and IS the
terminus of the road link between that line and the Central line at Morogoro.
The climate is oppressive during the hot season, but pleasantly cool from May to October.
The town is the centre of a large sisal producing area, and tea and timber are exported
through the town from the U sambara Mountains. There are a few modern buildings, a hotel, a
cinema and a recently built hospital.
Originally built by the Germans as a hill station, Lushoto is now an administrative station in
the. Usambara Mountains. It lies at the head of a sheltered valley in magnificent mountain
surroundings. The hillsides are covered with forest, plantations of eucalyptus, cedar and
wattle. The countryside is always green as there is plenty of rain and mist. English flowers
grow in profusion.
The climate is delightful all the year round, but there are sometimes rain mists for days at a
The town has a small hospital, some shops, a police barracks, European and Asian houses.
Just outside the town are a European boarding school, and a hotel with a golf course and
other amenities. Farther up the mountain road at about 5,500 feet is another hotel set in
beautiful surroundings where fishing, golf and tennis are available. The altitude and the
rainfall make the mountains unique in Tanganyika, and they contain some of the most
beautiful scenery in East Africa. The Governor has a lodge in the hills between Lushoto and
Mbeya, a small attractive town in a mountainous setting, is the headquarters of the Southern
Highlands Province. The climate is delightful, seldom being hot and uncomfortable, with
invariably cool nights.
The chief activity is commercial and there are several garages for servicing motor vehicles,
farm equipment, etc. There is a modern branch bank building, two hotels, and a number of
shops and houses.
Outside the town is the Government European Primary Boarding School to which children
from all over the territory are sent.
MOMBO (FOR LUSHOTO)
Thirty miles from Korogwe, on the main road, one reaches Mombo, from which a good allweather
road climbs through fine mountain scenery to Lushoto (21 miles from Mombo), the
centre of the Usambara Highlands, with heights varying from 4,500 to 6,000 ft. This area is a
popular health resort for visitors and residents from all over East Africa, among its many
attractions being delightful scenery, an invigorating climate, good trout fishing, golf and
Morogoro is most beautifully situated at the foot ofthe impressive blue Uluguru mountains.
It is the administrative and commercial centre of the Morogoro District and has recently
become the Provincial headquarters of the Eastern Province.
Morogoro is the centre of one of the larger sisal and cotton growing areas of the territory, and
a large quantity of mica is mined in the district.
The climate is cool and pleasant. There are two hotels in the town, a cinema and two banks
and some modern houses and shops.
The district is the home of the Chagga people totalling 310,000, who are renowned for their
co-operative movement and as producers of some 6,000 tons of coffee annually. The inhabited part of the district is at altitudes varying between the low-lands of 2,600 feet and
the mountain forest boundary of 6,000 feet.
The railway station is a junction of lines connecting Mombasa, Nairobi, Tanga and Arusha.
The town has five hotels, three cinemas and five clubs, also good public playing fields where
the country's athletic meetings and the annual Northern Province Trade and Agricultural
Show are held. Moshi is an educational centre with the Territorial Police Training School,
two secondary schools, a trade school and a commercial college, and several primary and
nursery schools. These cater for over 3,000 students.
Two hospitals, a nursing home and private practitioners provide for the physical welfare of
the inhabitants, and seven places of worship for their spiritual needs.
Twenty-five miles from the town on all weather roads are two modern holiday hotels at an
altitude of 4,500 feet where thousands of visitors from all over the world go to enjoy the
beautiful mountain scenery and walks, and from where expeditions are organised for
climbing the mountain (three days up and two down). The tourist who can spare the time for
a closer exploration of the mountain is advised to get in touch with the Honorary Secretary of
the East African Mountain Club, whose address is P.O. Box 66, Moshi. Trout fishing is also
Moshi is particularly favourably situated for the location of secondary industries. It is served
by two ports (Kilindini and Tanga), well supplied with hydroelectric power and plentiful
water of a high degree of purity. A potentially large residential labour supply awaits work,
and the trade school and College of Commerce are turning out commercially qualified young
men and women who are available for employment. Numbers of factory site plots in the
industrial area, served by railway sidings, are available.
Moshi is a junction in the main road system of East Africa to which it is linked by all-weather
roads, and there is a first class airport within the Township boundary.
The district is unique in the fact that it can supply material for the closest study ("from the
seed to the cup") of the famous Kilimanjaro coffee industry. The Coffee Research Station (14
miles from town) is one of the finest in the world. All aspects of the industry are readily
available including seed selection, nursery production, cultivation and processing activities.
At the Coffee Curing Works in the town some £5,000,000 worth of coffee is handled each
season. The Moshi Coffee Auctions are attended by buyers representing the world of coffee,
and Kilimanjaro Coffee at its best can be had at the various hotels and restaurants in the town.
Mention must be made of the Chagga Local Government whose headquarters (three miles
from town) and Council Chamber are of the most modern design, and which, under the
leadership of Chief Marealle II, is one of the most progressive African local governments East Africa, playing a most important part in the development of both urban and rural areas.
| Appendix 4: EAR&H Road Services European & Senior Staff |
| Appendix 5: Road Services Staff List 1962 |
|EAR&H Crest |
|Tanganyika Map 1948
Road Services Route Map |
|Colony Profile |
| Tanganyika |
| 1. PRO Kew Tanganyika Registers 1944 -
Index Ref No 42029/31. |
2. PRO Kew Tanganyika
Registers 1944 - Index Ref No 42029/42 & Crown Agents letter MIN 12374
dated 30 May 1944.
3. EAR&H Annual Report 1950
4. Dak (fonnerly in India) - a system of mail delivery or passenger transport by relays of bearers or horses
stationed at intervals along a route.
5. Dak Bungalow - a house where travellers on a dak route could be accommodated.
6. Ken Menzies (1879-1955), one of the pioneers who fought in the First World War in Tanganyika. Worked
gold in the Lupa and at 19awa, built and managed the Mbeya Hotel.
7. EAR&H Annual Report 1959 page 13
8. On 1 June 1969
|Related Articles |
| My Introduction to African Roads |
by By Stan Pritchard
|Further Reading |
Wagon of Smoke |
by Arthur Beckenham
| East African Railways & Harbours Staff Magazines
And Spear |
From June 1952 to December 1969