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Living in Mbeya as an Expat

Living in Mbeya as an Expat

Living in Mbeya as an Expat | Vacational Rentals in Mbeya | Accomodation in Mbeya | Expats in Mbeya  | Move to Mbeya  |Hotels in Mbeya | Home Stays in Mbeya  |Mbeya town | Mbeya Travel Guide 

Tanzanian are generally friendly, genuine and delighted to meet people from other parts of the world and English tends to be widely spoken, especially in the Dar-es-alaam and Arusha area. The down side of that can be that Tanzanians are so anxious for you to feel welcome and happy in their country that they will tweak the truth in order to give you the answer they think you want, so be careful and double check what you hear from people! Try to  meet proffesional people that will be straight forward to you and this will be very useful to you.

Modern Mbeya is a forward-looking City, with many investors, including businessmen in many part of the world actively seeking investment opportunities within the City and other part of Country. The city economy is growing and there are numerous opportunities for employment in the City. This ancient land of Mbeya has countless opportunities for all. The current metro area population of Mbeya in 2020 is 566,000, a 4.62% increase from 2019. The metro area population of Mbeya in 2019 was 541,000, a 4.84% increase from 2018.

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If you shop in Shopping Malls in town, you’ll get just about anything under one roof, including most imported items – although there are occasional shortages – or the exact wine you want might be out of stock. But in most suburbs there are plenty of smaller butcheries and greengrocers for good quality, too. Some supermarkets take credit cards, as do the restaurants; smaller shops, once they’ve got to know you, will usually take a cheque, but for market shopping you need cash – with change

Market kiosks, which are periodically knocked down by authorities, but spring up again days afterwards, are found along most roadside and are always a good bet for cheap fruit and vegetables or second-hand clothes (you can sometimes find a designer label for a couple of quid!). Bargaining is part of the course – local vendors tend to double the price at the sight of a foreigner, but it’s always a friendly and humorous business.

The service is usually excellent in Tanzania. Shop assistants automatically carry your heavy shopping to your car, fuel stations aren’t self service, and you’ll get an under-the-bonnet check and windscreen wash thrown in too. Tipping is appreciated, but nobody expects very much, if anything at all.

Banking, Phones and Internet

Expatriates do have their complaints: setting up local banking arrangements and dealing with the banks and their queues has people spitting nails, and – even more irritating – overseas banks sometimes refuse to send your cheque books and cards to Tanzania. Then there are those frustrations at home like power cuts, unreliable telephones and difficult or slow internet connections. But it’s easy to get a mobile phone, or sim card, and the four major competing networks, Vodacom, Airtel, Tigo and Halotel both offer GPRS internet connection, post-paid and pre-paid services, and their sales staff are generally well-informed and helpful. 

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Roads and Driving

Mbeya’s roads can be an alarming experience for newcomers with their potholes and lack of proper lighting at night, not to mention the Tanzanian driving – often aggressive and lacking in courtesy or consideration for other road users. The minibuses called matatus, a local form of public transport, can be particularly inconsiderate. Un-roadworthy vehicles are also not such a rare sight – belching out black smoke, driving askance in crab-like fashion, or even sneaking around at night without proper lights. 

Some people have company or private drivers (who might be better at those traffic-navigation tricks than you), or favourite taxi drivers (ditto). Vehicles can be expensive in Tanzania, and garages to repair them (unfortunately often necessary due to the state of the roads) are many and varied. Mbeya’s mechanics are inventive when spares aren’t available, and can generally sort most problems even if their methods might be unorthodox. Before buying a second-hand vehicle, though, don’t fail to check whether spare parts are easily available in main cities of Tanzania, especially Dar-es-salaam.

On the Street

Beggars, street children and even the roadside hawkers are often upsetting and unnerving to newcomers. The general rule is not to give money; instead support the shelters and homes which assist such people. Sometimes, of course, those street hawkers do have good bargains, but beware stopping by the road with your window down – you could lose your handbag, along with your wing mirror. 

Laws and Licenses

However relaxed about it others might become (in Tanzania there does seem to be a contagious tendency to ignore laws) it’s worth staying on the right side of the law. Speed limits are 50 kph in city environs, and 100 kph elsewhere, but don’t expect signs to let you know this! Seatbelts are compulsory, and you are required to carry warning triangles in your car in case of breakdowns. You can only drive on a foreign licence for a limited period, so you will want to know about the courier and messenger services that will make getting a Tanzanian licence (and many other time-consuming, potentially frustrating exercises) simpler and less stressful: You can email or ask us for help.

Mbeya tranfsers to Ruaha National Park

Important Hint!

Tanzania has large numbers of unemployed people, so it’s easy to find domestic staff but it can be overwhelming because there are so many people looking for jobs. When you find someone with good recommendations letters and references, hire him! (and you’ll find his extended family all need jobs too). Labour laws are strict in Tanzania, (regarding leave, maternity, dismissal, compensation for injury, overtime etc – worth adhering to or you’ll find the local labour office on your back). 

Wages tend to be shockingly low to expatriates, but it’s worth weighing up whether you should employ one person on what might be a vastly inflated salary to most Tanzanians, or employ several on standard wages and thus assist more than one family. You’ll inevitably find yourself involved in school fees, loans and family affairs of your staff, but most people are happy to do this in exchange for good work and loyalty.

The minimum wages, as set out by law, are so low that most people pay more, but ask around to see what other people pay staff and on what terms, first. It’s also advisable to take somebody on a daily basis for a couple of months before taking them on full-time and thus committing yourself to the labour laws. 

Honesty is a tricky one – it’s just not worth leaving large amounts of cash lying around, considering that it might pay an employee’s six children’s school fees for year, or be equivalent to several months’ wages. However many expatriates build up trust with their employees, increasingly leaving their children in their care. Generally Tanzanians adore children and are kind and loving towards them, if a little inclined to give children their own way all the time. However, the local papers have as many cases of child abuse as anyplace, so nobody should hide his head in the sand about such issues.

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Planning your trip? Whether you’re looking for things to do in Mbeya such as events and attractions, key traveller information to make your Mbeya visit run smoothly or are planning where to stay in Mwanza, you’ll find everything you need for your Mbeya holiday on Our Website. Mbeya City Travel guide has the information about latest events not to miss while you visit Mbeya – there’s always something going on, so don’t miss out on the latest exhibitions, shows and more on your trip to Mbeya.

Discover the best day trips from Mbeya or try one of the best tours in Mbeya and nearby regions. If you’re here as a family, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Mbeya with kids and find suitable accommodation such as Mbeya holiday apartments. Whether you’re looking for the best weekend breaks in Mwanza or planning a longer holiday in Tanzania, you can be sure you’ll find all the information you need. Talk to us for all your Kilimanjaro and Meru Climb, Safari and Beach time in Zanzibar! 

Tanzania Travel Guide |  Climb Kilimanjaro and Meru | Beach Holidays in Zanzibar | Mwanza Travel Guide  |Dar-es-salaam Travel Guide  |Dodoma Travel Guide | Tanga Travel Guide | Mbeya Travel Guide | Arusha Travel Guide | Tanzania Safari and Tours | Africa Safari Forums | African Safari Questions and answers | Expat Guide